Coder Academy — Bootcamp Update #2
11 Jul 2016
9 minute read
As of Term Two, our Fast Track coding bootcamp really began to ramp up. There was an expectation that at the end of the month, Coder Academy students would be able to complete a fully fledged Ruby on Rails project. The task? To identify a real world problem, brainstorm a solution, and resolve it by coding a fully functional web application.
To get to this point, our bootcamp students spent Term Two learning in-depth about industry practices, emerging technologies, computer security, ethics, databases, APIs, deployment, payment systems, serving data, and of course, Ruby on Rails.
The Term Two projects took many sleepless nights to complete, as students laboured through the day and night to get them done. You could feel the camaraderie amongst the group as they mentored each other after hours, and worked tirelessly in the classroom during their one week break. Between coding sessions, the students had a bit of fun in the Vive VR room, which we brought in for those times when the coding gets to be too much. The project was very much a journey as the students tested their ability to apply the concepts.
Pete Argent, our Founder and Academic Director, was encouraged by this. He said of the atmosphere, “Learning to code is like a rollercoaster of emotions! The students went through feelings of being overwhelmed, and feeling like they were never going to understand it. But, then they had those moments of clarity and joy and feeling empowered, and felt overwhelmed again as the next challenge approached.”
Elaborating, Argent continued, “The nature of a coding bootcamp is that it’s so immersive you have to block out the rest of your life, which isn’t easy for anyone. A lot of the students say they have dreams of themselves coding. Over time, our students have a growing sense of belonging to a new breed of people that see the world in a new way, and see the power and opportunities technology possesses. They meet people who are doing interesting things in tech that inspire them, and they are excited that they can now bring to life ideas they’ve had for ages.”
A Sneak Peek: Fast Track Bootcamp Term 2 Ruby On Rails Project
So, all of this learning culminated in a single challenge. By the end of the term, students were indeed able to implement a two-sided marketplace, utilising user authorisation systems and translating user stories into functional code. They built an app of their choosing that solved a real world problem, abiding by the guidelines and requirements of professional web development. The only constraint was time! There were deliverables in terms of documentation, tools and methodologies, Rails application features, deployment, and finally, presentation.
In modern professional software development, there is a common practice called stand-up, where one talks about what they’ve achieved since the last stand-up and what they aim to do. The aim of the documentation and presentation was to prepare students for standups and other similar practices that will come up as the software industry evolves. With the time constraints that we’d imposed for this assignment, it was agreed that while more implementing more features would indeed get more marks, so would implementing a few really really really well.
concepts and planning
We’ll present to you one case study, of Anne Maree Calpito, a former design student on her way to becoming a successful code/UX master.
Talking about Anne Maree’s project, Pete said, “It was great to see her vision come to life! She’s great at exploring and communicating a vision, using imagery so well you get caught up and inspired by her vision.”
He was impressed by her design documentation and even more blown away by her implementation. She is a great designer not simply from a visual standpoint, but in her thinking through the problem and coming up with interesting solutions.
Pete assigned this project with the hopes of his students solving a meaningful problem, and with Anne Maree’s application that’s exactly what he got. The standard to which she built the app was amazing for the relatively short amount of time she's been coding.
So, what did she create?
The concept Anne Maree worked around was ‘Open Books’ -- an open marketplace for free books (much like Korean Tesco with it’s food you can scan and expect when you get home) but with e-books. Customers use the app to scan the QR code of a book, which then downloads a project gutenberg book, or other books in the public domain. It could also be used to help new and upcoming authors get their name out there, as the website also incorporates reviews, ratings, and discussion features for each book in its database.
Term Two was chock full of mentorship, as well! We had Ian Scrivener, Hugh Gaukroger, Sameera Gayan, David Bolton, Dion Beetson, Sean Hall, and Robert Love over to talk about development. Hugh Gaukroger talked about the possibilities of AR/VR; Dion Beetson discussed how to implement Code Review and how it’s done at News Corp Australia; Ian Scrivener elaborated on the rapid rate of change in the tech industry; Sameera Gayan went over the structure of a Rails app; Sean Hall talked about UX and accessibility; and Robert Love explained further development with an inspiring discussion about hiring practices and APIs. Not to mention the bootcamp students also ventured out of the classroom with two excursions to News Corp & Atlassian!
Up next, the students prep for their internships… Stay tuned!
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