Week 0

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I completed my first week of work as a Web Developer. Here is a quick summary of what happened.

Orientation
There were seven other people schedule for the same orientation. They consisted of people assigned to various departments and levels. The group had interns, part time employees, full time employees, hourly employees, salary employees, basically the most diverse crowd for an orientation I have seen.
After some administrative tasks and presentations we took a tour of the building and checked out four of the eleven floors in the building. Yes the company works on all four floors. We also got a sneak preview of some of the many active projects/sites that the company manages.

Understanding
The remainder of the week I started my various components for my training. A couple trainings required by the HR department and the rest relating to technology. Some of the topics covered were understanding team workflow, team structure, various processes, an intro into the company content management system and many other topics. There was tons of information I covered, too much to list here.

Feeling
I recall the feeling I had after completing my coding boot camp. It felt like I was able to physically see hundreds of doors open and I didn’t know which door to go through. After getting invited to work at IB, it now feels like I have been pulled into one large door only to realize this was a door to another, much larger universe. Much like the final scene from Men in Black II (check out the last 15 seconds).

Guilt
I have to be honest. I feel guilty for getting paid for what I do. I heard from developers before that we get paid to learn. I just didn’t realize I would feel guilty about it. I really do enjoy the path I have taken. Hopefully I will get used to it one day. I am glad I get to learn, organize, build solutions and code for work. I like it… a lot.

Tips
There is so much information to take in so…

– Mind Map everything that seems confusing or unclear.
The process of building these maps has helped make more sense of things. My favorite app right now is MindNode, but it doesn’t really matter which one you use.

– Level up
Always keep learning, everyday.

– Learn to Project Manage your life
In another post I will share my schedule and tools I have been building on for quite some time now.
I have recently moved from managing my daily, weekly and monthly tasks with OmniFocus to Trello.
Trello allows me to have more customization for organizing my projects, recurring tasks and other GTD tasks (Getting Things Done). Some info about GTD wikipedia and gettingthingsdone.

Philosophy
Craft
n.
Skill in doing or making something

Craftsman
n.
A person who practices a craft with great skill

Everyday.

Tick Tock

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The Monday Interview
As I eagerly await the start of my interview I am escorted into the room we had reserved for the next two hours of my life. The room was dead silent making the clock located near the top of the photo excruciatingly painful to listen to. I was ready and nervous, so I had a notebook ready so I can write down what happened incase I blacked out.

Some stats about my interview:
It can be summarized into 3 parts.
I was schedule for 2 hours but ended up staying for about ~4 hours.
It was a lot of fun.

Part 1: Estimated Duration ~ 15 minutes
The Recruiter
For the first part of my stay I was able to meet face to face with the recruiter that had reached out to me so that she could get to know me. In my nervousness I had forgotten most of the questions she asked but they were mostly about my resume and some personal details to illustrate who I am.

Part 2: Estimated Duration ~ 30 minutes
The Project Manager
During the second part I met with the project manager for a potential team that I was being interview for. We had gone over my resume and he checked out my personal website. After that introduction we began the technical part of the interview. We went into questions discussing various topics in programming that required me to answer by definitions and explanations to demonstrate my understanding of various topics. We also went through some algorithms followed by more technical questions.

During this part of the day I was not feeling so hot about my performance so far, but I knew what I needed to do afterwards. I need to get better at expressing my knowledge and understanding in technical explanations. I also needed to brush up on my vocabulary so that I can make a clear connection between topics and to demonstrate that I know what I am doing. At the end I was already starting to feel defeated but tried to calm down and convince myself otherwise.

Part 3: Estimated Duration ~ 2.5+ hours
The Technical Director
This was my chance to redeem myself. Considering the amount of overtime we went on our room reservation I think I did okay.

In summary here is a list of hings I did that might have helped me:
– Asked a ton of questions
– Prepared some even before I arrived
– Asked some questions about the tasked I would be performing “if I were selected”
– Expressed my genuine interest in the company, role, team, services they provided and culture
– Did my homework on the company
– Asked more about it because the internet didn’t have everything I was hoping to learn about the company
– Kept learning everyday before the interview and even during the interview
– Paid off when I got the questions “What have you learned on your own? How did you learn it?”
– Focused on getting better, even during the interview
– Talked out loud to demonstrate my problem solving skills
– Asked for clarity on questions and algorithms
– Took a ton of notes during the interview
– Explained my answers whether it was a confident answer, a guess or an educated guess

At the end of the day I think I did pretty good.
After a few days the recruiter emailed me saying “We would like to go forward with your candidacy!”. It’s unclear exactly what that means to me so I will have to wait until my reference check clears, background check clears and starting date is established.

Until then I shall continue to develop my craft…

Coding + Mind Mapping

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I am so glad I learned how to code this year. For the latter part of my life I have been searching for something that I could do everyday that would bring me joy. I knew I was always into technology but this year it was time to learn to build things with it. Programming tests me everyday to make sure that I keep challenging myself. Some days I feel like I am a boss at it. Most days I feel like a total noob, but I keep coming back for more.

My bootcamp experience taught me how to learn and tested my patience for this new found discipline. The above quote is an excellent summary of how I learn best.

“Tell me and I forget.” I have a terrible memory. In one chapter of my life I learned to not trust my memory and write things down. This habit I have developed helped to organize my life better.

“Teach me and I may remember.”. Lectures definitely do not stick. Even in elementary school and high school, I was never really able to pay attention the whole time in a lecture. During the bootcamp I was somewhat able to because it was usually a demo or at least it was involving my new found passion, coding.

“Involve me and I learn”. I like how involved we get to be when learning to program. I get to practice and try things out while following along with a lecture, demo, book, video and whatever other source I might be using. The best way to learn to code is to code!

Sometimes coding seems really difficult for me to understand because a lot of the things I am learning are usually abstract ideas. I am a very visual person so I found that mind mapping really helps me pick up new topics.

According to litemind, information in a mind map is structured similar to the way the brain works. It is also an activity that engages both halves of the brain.

If you haven’t tried out mind mapping, I highly recommend it!

There are many different programs out there that do the same thing and it usually comes down to preference which one you choose to use.

Check out this one at coggle to get started.

Otherwise, I’m going to back to coding!

Start of the Next Chapter

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We have to live life with a sense of urgency so not a minute is wasted.
– Les Brown

Welcome, to the transition to the next chapter. I now have a clear path in my mind. I am a Full Stack Engineer. Right now I am focused on honing my Front End Engineer skills. I build web apps, I make functional interfaces, I care, I am hungry, I am organized, I am fun, I like being outside, I like to code, I am interested in all tech, I am a programmer, I am an apprentice.

I have been studying Front End Technologies.
I almost have the whole process understood.
React apps are in the making right now.

Status Report:

Apps = 14
TopCompanies = 3
ShouldApply = 1
Books = EJS 4/21 CTCI 0.5.20
ActiveProjects = 3
Topics = Data Structure, System Design, Javascript
Mentors = 0
Interviews = 0
MeetUps = 1

The Tortoise and the Hare

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Progress update for Dojo After Dark overhaul.

Initially I was going to generate most of the views with a template I had found and transfer it into a React application. This week has proven that to be a much more difficult task because of the nature of React thus progress has slowed. I am going to rewrite the template into a React app  and rewrite the styles as well. This is going to be great practice for me to grow my understand of both React and css. During this ground up building process I am also going to familiarize myself with the new tools that most React apps are build with like webpack and other libraries needed in conjunction with React. After I finally complete all the views I am also planning to put together a D3js demo to share on the site.

Since I started learning how to program and my experiences in my boot camp, I always saw myself as the tortoise from “The Tortoise and the Hare” in the race of learning all that I can. I find it difficult to learn some of the concepts and it takes me multiple videos, readings and demos to have it sink in. I know that programming is my passion and I will continue to work on my craft until my time is up. I will be a master coder one day.

Check back here weekly for more updates!
Feel free to message me with any feedback or questions.
Also I don’t like coding alone, contact me for some coding hangouts if your in the area!