Completing The Firehose Project, & Return of the Blog

I’ve been on a blogging hiatus for a few months. The last posts I made were before the start of 2016 on my personal website with a blog powered by Jekyll and hosted on GitHub pages. As cool as Jekyll is, blogging with Medium feels more natural and less distracted. None of the templates provided appealed to me, and as much as I’d love a chance to hone my front-end skills, I didn’t think that pouring hours into designing my own for a personal static site was the best use of them. My personal page is now a simple landing page of my own design with links to other places I reside on the internet. Yes, I’m fully aware that as a user of Medium I am creating value for them and that they may use my content to promote their platform, but as long as I still own the content I write here, I’m happy to use it. Worst case scenario, I export all of my posts and return to Jekyll or WordPress. While I haven’t fully engaged with the social aspect of the platform yet, it does have its appeal; maybe someone will actually read what I post!

The Firehose Project, and Current Activities

Since my last blog, I completed my apprenticeship with The Firehose Project and began the hunt for my first job as a web developer. FHP was a great experience, and I’m truly grateful for the opportunity I had to work with some great people. My mentor Pablo challenged me in ways that stretched my coding abilities and forced me to think hard about what my code was doing. During our mentor sessions, if I was struggling with a problem, he would have me share my screen and let me make errors as I went, learning along the way. Even if I solved a problem and achieved the result I wanted, he would also point out how my code could better abide by principles of object-oriented design. Ken, one of the co-founders, was immensely helpful in the office hours, and it’s been a pleasure to work with him on the open source group project.

If anyone is looking to do a coding bootcamp, I highly recommend FHP. Obviously, the one drawback of it being online is that you don’t have others physically present to help you with whatever challenges you’re facing. However, the upside of this was that it forced me to be self-motivated, and I learned to interact with people online, something which I never did much before. Furthermore, the community of students and mentors more than makes up for the lack of a brick-and-mortar meeting place. There are almost always other fellow developers hanging out in the Slack channels and Google+ page who are willing to interact with you. I would even argue that that’s one of the greatest strengths of FHP: the community. Learning to program can be daunting for a novice, and having others who know what it’s like to learn offering to pair program or share resources, knowledge, and experience can make a world of difference. Since graduation, I still hang around the Slack channels and contribute to the open source group project with newer students.

Fun fact: trying to pair with people around the world develops an important trait of a developer: hating time zones.

DEFCON

The open source group project was one of the highlights of my time with FHP as well. Among the final project tracks that they offer, the one I chose involves contributing to and collaborating on an OSS project to build a community site for FHP students that will eventually replace the Google+ group. The site is called DEFCON, and can be found by clicking here. DEFCON can only be joined by invitation, so you’ll have to join The Firehose Project to see more ;).

(but seriously who doesn’t love that landing page?)

Of course, you can view the source code for it by clicking here.

One of my favorite parts about working on DEFCON is seeing new students come through and getting to help them out. We try to pair on tasks, but those damn time zones get in the way quite often. Regardless, I’ve had the chance to write code and conduct weekly stand-ups with some great people.

The Future

Expect to see more from me here. I’ll try to post every weekend, and discuss something I’ve learned that week. I’ll also include links to things I’m enjoying, most likely books, podcasts, or articles, since that seems to be something people do quite a bit of. My new media game is strong, everyone.

Until next time,

R.S.