Hackathon, job hunting and Meteor

Phew, what a week! I feel like I’ve done so much this week that it could have easily been two weeks.

On Tuesday I had a really interesting lunch with our careers advisor (as you know I won a competition). We had some nice steak and wine and she gave me really good tips for finding a job after graduation from the bootcamp.

The main take-away for me was that it’s important to put as much effort into the job search as possible. No surprise really but I think I’ll have to work harder than ever to find a job. None of that submitting an online application and waiting around for an interview. It’ll be more like an intense sales process with cold calling and cold emailing and setting up coffee meetings etc.

London tech scene, be prepared. I will be hassling you from the end of February.

But that’s ok, I don’t mind it. I’ve briefly worked in sales during my four months stint in Stockholm in 2006. No problem.

In fact, this week I’ve started to feel slightly less worried about finding a job. We had a Thursday lunch time talk with a couple of former GA students who talked about their job search process. And it didn’t sound too scary. I think I’m slowly starting to believe all these things about there being more developer jobs than developers and that we’ll have enough knowledge to get a junior dev job after the bootcamp. And I’m slowly feeling a bit more confident about my (still very limited) developer skills.

Other than worrying about job hunting, we were busy learning more Angular.js this week and on Thursday afternoon we started our 24 hour hackathon.

A hackathon is an event during which programmers create a website or software during a limited amount of time. It was quite intense but a lot of fun!

I used the time to implement an idea that I’ve had for a while: a German Lorem Ipsum generator along the lines of the popular Hipster Ipsum and Bacon Ipsum.

I tried to play on the German stereotypes and created a handpicked list of German words which I thought sounded particularly German to English ears.

Depending on the strength of Germanness that the user chooses, the original latin words are replaced by German words. The higher the strength, the higher the density of German words.

And here it is! http://german-ipsum.herokuapp.com/

It was really good fun and I’m glad that I managed to style it reasonably well, make it mobile responsive and deploy it to Heroku during the 24 hours.

If any of your favourite German words are missing, leave a comment and I’ll add them in next week.

On Friday night we had a General Assembly potluck dinner, except that the other courses who attended were told that they didn’t need to bring anything (we bought food) and the GA sponsored drinks ran out by about 8:30pm. A bit lame but I was so tired from the hackathon anyway that I didn’t stay too late.

The weekend homework was to prepare a lesson for week 11. We’ll all be presenting a topic in class. It had to be something that we haven’t learnt yet and that we needed to research on our own and then prepare to present. Apparently this is something that will happen from time to time in a developer job, so GA want to prepare us for this.

I chose Meteor.js because it sounds like an awesome new thing. I spent today playing around with it and creating a presentation, so I hope the others will enjoy (and understand) it.

Tomorrow (Monday) we have to pitch our ideas for the final project. We’re approaching the end of the course!

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Angular.js and a careers lunch

It’s the beginning of week 9, which means we only have four weeks to go until our graduation. I can’t believe how fast the time went. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all this free time when the course is over. What do people do who don’t code all day?

Anyway, I don’t need to think about it just yet. This week I once again settled into the (dis)comfort of our usual days of 9 to 5 to 8/9/10.

We started learning Angular.js today, a JavaScript framework which provides a browser side Model-View-Controller structure. We had only seen something like this on the server side in Sinatra and Rails before.

And it wasn’t even that difficult! We’ll learn more about it tomorrow and Wednesday, so I assume the complexity will increase. But for now we displayed data from a JavaScript object (normally the data would come through an API in JSON format) and created an interactive view of this data with a search function, a display and hide functionality and a few other things. Writing these functionalities in JavaScript would have taken a lot longer, so in that respect Angular is pretty cool.

Of course it means that it’s another thing to learn and at the moment, while I’m still not comfortable with it, it’s a pain. But it reminds me of my experience with jQuery (crazy! I seriously thought I’d rather write JavaScript than jQuery because I knew how to do it… Mental! Luckily this delusion only lasted for about a day).

Homework over the next three days is to create an interactive WDI 10 yearbook page which introduces the students and what we’ve been up to. Apparently the best one will be published online. I think it’s nice to do a homework which might have the potential to be actually useful. The page will ultimately help to promote our skills and experience to potential employers.

On that note, I’m going for lunch with our careers adviser tomorrow! She made our Christmas homework into a little competition and I won. The prize is a lunch with her during which I can ask all my questions about finding jobs after the course. She hasn’t disclosed the venue yet but said that it would be a very nice restaurant, so I’m excited!