Friday, January 27, 2017


So it's the last week and we are now fully trained Coding Gladiators.

The week has become a bit surreal as everyone is competing against each other for the glory of a new job. Some are performing coding tests set by prospective employers, some are attending group interviews and some are having cozy chats.

What was once a close group of 21 friends who worked together and had each other's back has changed into Gladiators coding to the death?

There will be casualties…

This week is the final project and the brief is we can do anything we want from what we have learned over the last 16 weeks. The only caveat is that we need to show evidence of architecture design and planning, and we have to learn something.

We have 6 days to create something and come back and present it on Thursday in class.

I chose to do a Ruby on Rails app and I set myself a project brief:

“Create a personal portfolio app that I can use to continue to develop my coding skills when I leave CodeClan”

I set my MVP (Minimal Viable Product) to:
be a Ruby on Rails project
be live on the internet (to date all apps we have developed have only existed on servers on our MacBooks)
be a sandbox to add further projects over the next 52 weeks
include a database with data served as API to applications
have Javascript with TDD setup

The 52 weeks is the key for me and although I have learned a huge amount since I started the course it has been a frantic learning process and moving from one language to another and one technique to another with little or no time to practice. What I need now is to practice and practice what I have been taught before I forget it all. Thankfully I have taken a lot of notes and these are backed up by some excellent class notes for all lessons.

So my plan is to create an App (this week) that I can use and set myself the challenge to extend once a week from here on for the next 52 weeks. I will add an additional page per week with some functionality as mini-projects.

I started this on the Friday of the previous week and spent some of the weekends working on it before I was back in Edinburgh for Monday morning standup.

Monday standup had us discussing how we were getting on in our projects, and how much or how little that had been achieved. As discussed above some had been set code tests by employers so that had been taking priority over the projects.

Following standup, we were back in the classroom for the morning to do a series of tests for the Professional Development Award (PDA). These are done under exam conditions with invigilators. The tests consisted of 4 modules related to computer science, development, and testing. For each test, we were given 45 minutes to complete and were performed online on our mac books. The tests were fairly straight forward and thankfully I had done some revision over the weekend and passed with flying colors.

In fact, I'm happy to say that everyone passed. The Pass mark was 60%. Go us!

In the afternoon and through to Thursday morning it was all about project time. I however did mix the project with collating my PDA evidence which is due to be completed at the latest 3 weeks after the course is finished. As this is my final week in Edinburgh I thought it was prudent to get it all wrapped up before I left on Friday. I don't want to be finishing things the following week as I have big plans to get on with.

My project went smoothly and I had something to show to class on Thursday morning. I achieved my MVP and had my App hosed on a Heroku remote server. It was up there in all its glory, No Scaffolding, no help from SquareSpace, Go Daddy, or WordPress. My app was purely my code. It may not have been as slick as the aforementioned but it was all mine.

I had knocked up a quick presentation to give to class along with my demo. It went well and following a few questions and a round of applause I was done.

And yea that was me done literally. I had finished my course. There was a small code test to do on Friday morning but I had been made aware we could do this anytime so I had also done this during the week to get it out of the way. A bit swatty I know but if I can get something done and ticked off Id rather get it done.

So yea that's my 16 weeks over. What have I learned? A lot! probably too much to recall here. I will go into detail on my views of the course and a summary of what I have learned next week.

But for now, I have to hand back my laptop and I will be sent on my way back to Aberdeen. But before I leave I need to graduate and there is one final social night and a chance to say bye to all my new friends.

Massive thanks to CodeClan, its instructors, and support staff you have been great, very welcoming and you provide a fun learning environment.

And to my fellow Gladiators, go easy on each other, you are all champions. Fight with the bears in the pit rather than each other...

And for me, I get to go home to see my boys...