Monday, January 13, 2014

gSchool Prep

It's time to prep!  gSchool has sent out the list of things to accomplish prior to the first day, and here's what it's looking like:

  • Watch a 1-minute video by a master coder/typist {complete}
  • Spend 20-30 minutes/day on
  • Extreme Programming Explained by Kent Beck
  • How to Count by Steven Frank
  • The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward B. Burger
  • Codecademy Web Fundamentals {complete}
  • Codecademy JavaScript
  • Codecademy Ruby {complete}
Not so bad, eh?  The only thing I'm dreading is doing the JavaScript lessons and lesson.  I've been avoiding it, but as this list gets closer and closer to completion... the more I have to do it.  Ughhh. is a pretty cool web app.  I was pleasantly surprised at my typing (code) ability.  My average over ~22,500 is 52 WPM, though lately I've been consistently in the 60's and even in the low 70's.  What's even more cool is that it shows you the amount of useless keystrokes (10% currently), and your total time spent practicing.  The biggest issue I'm having now is finding out how to effectively reach for the special characters and get back to the home row.  That's been killing my accuracy and speed.  I should add, these stats are mostly for Ruby.  When I do JavaScript lessons, my WPM drops like a rock, somewhere in the low 40's.

On another note, I've tweeted with a few soon-to-be fellow students.  Interestingly, two of the four I've connected with have also lived in Japan and one seems to speak fairly fluently.  This should be an interesting class!  gSchool just opened up the Google Group for the incoming class, so I'm really looking forward to connecting with the others. :)

Completely off the topic of gSchool, I met with another person who recently finished DevBootCamp - one of San Francisco's oldest and most respected code bootcamps - and picked his brain about his experience.  He said that it was a great program, but because of how short it was and the hours required (~80hrs/wk), he felt like the biggest downfall was that you didn't have time to work on your own projects.  He said that's important because when you're interviewing, it helps a ton to have stuff on GitHub that you've done from start to finish.  That little bit of feedback has caused me to set a goal for myself:  while in gSchool, have a personal project that I can complete by the end of the course.  I've already got one in mind, but I'm not sure if it's too complicated to do on my own and with the little time I will have over the next 6 months.

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