Project week is back!

On Thursday we started working on our second larger project. Once again we will have a week to create a Rails application, except that this time it’s a team project.

Michael has predicted that by Wednesday latest a lot of us will be at each others throats but I have a good feeling about my team. I think we’re more likely to be eating a civilised dinner and drinking fine French wine than arguing over Git commits, but let’s see…

On Wednesday this week the instructional team assigned us into our groups of three or two and gave us the available project options. This time each team will have a different project. The projects were things like a website for fitness instructors to present themselves to clients, a website for the best coffee shops in the area, a website for a food sharing service, so quite fun stuff. But the most fun thing was (and my team and I agreed on it straight away): a dog dating website!

In order to have a fair process of picking the projects, we played code golf in our teams on Thursday and the team that won picked first, then the second team and so on.

Code golf is quite an interesting game whereby you have a number of challenges (holes) and you need to try to complete these with the least amount of characters of code (so basically as few strokes as possible).

Anyway, the outcome was that our team got to pick the dog dating app project. We got so excited, we set up a Facebook page for it straight away: Date my Dog on Facebook

We started planning the app on Friday and spent the whole Saturday together to work on the initial set up and figuring out a way for users to message each other (to set up the dates for their dogs) and to integrate Google maps with geolocation (to see the dogs in your area).

I think we’ve definitely got the right attitude and team spirit, now we just need to figure out that minor detail of technology…

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Back end boys and front end girls*

We’re in week 7! More than half way through the course. And after the hardcore JavaScript week, we focused on slightly lighter topics at the beginning of this week. Phew!

On Monday we learnt about HAML and SASS, two languages which help you write better and more effective front end code. The syntax is different from vanilla HTML and CSS respectively but makes a lot of things more concise or lets you use functions and variables where you normally can’t. Pretty cool.

On Tuesday we learnt how to implement a log-in functionality with omniauth (“log in with Facebook/Google/Twitter etc.”) and in the afternoon we learnt about responsive design (media queries, mobile first approach, hamburger menu – just to throw some funky buzzwords out there).

To summarise, a lot of front end related things happened. And I found it relatively easy and straightforward. However, I got the impression that some of my classmates struggled with it for one reason or another. And these classmates were mainly men.

Huuuuhhhwwehhewww… yes, I’m moving into dangerous territory here, but hear me out.

I’ve noticed in our course that it seems more likely that boys will be good at backend database stuff and girls will be good at frontend. I understand that we’re not really a representative sample because we’re only 6 girls and 11 boys.

But it reminded me of the languages vs STEM subjects phenomenon in school. There are these language girls who are really good at learning foreign languages (I was one of them) and the maths and science boys who can hardly speak a work of French but excel in statistics.

Now I’m wondering: is frontend like languages and backend like maths? Am I a typical frontend girl just like I was a typical foreign languages girl? Are people who are good at foreign languages good at frontend?

If my observations are correct, should the initiative ‘Girls who code‘ be changed to ‘Girls who master backend development’ and do we need a frontend Codebar for boys only?

Yes, yes, I can hear you all screaming that these are generalisations and the boys are simply not interested in pretty pictures and that I should stop being sexist and just get on with it. But it’s something that I’ve noticed.

What do you think? Am I right? Am I wrong? Is this all BS?

*Title inspired by the Pet Shop Boys