My First week as a Bitmaker

It’s only been a week since starting Bitmaker Labs, but it already feels like 4 have passed.

Bitmaker Labs in downtown Toronto, Canada is a programming school, offering 9 week ‘bootcamp’ style courses in subjects like front-end development, UX design, and what I’m taking, full-stack web development using Ruby on Rails. My first week as a full-stack student was packed with events, introductions (followed by immediately forgetting names), coding, and of course coffee (Bitmaker Labs has a pretty sweet cappuccino machine).

Everyone in my cohort of 30-something students has a completely different background story. It was exciting to meet everyone, including the instructors and Bitmaker employees, and share my own story.

The lessons and assignments started right on day one. The first 3 or four days were mostly just review of the prep work for the course, soupin’ up our laptops with all the sweetest IDEs and shells, going over terminal commands, and reviewing control functions in ruby. It was a nice, easy way to get the brain juices flowing.

Friday’s assignment was substantially larger than the rest of the week’s. We were all tasked with making a customer relations application; essentially an interactive contacts list. The list had to be able to store new contacts with as many attributes as we wanted, display one or all contacts, modify a contact’s attributes, display a list of a single attribute from all contacts (like everyone's email address or something), and delete contacts. Adding a contact was covered in the lecture and laid the groundwork for most of the rest of the tasks. Modifying contacts proved tricky and it looks like a lot of students came of with different ways of accomplishing it. My solution was to prompt the user for the id of the contact they want to modify, display it, confirm their selection, then prompt the for the new values of each attribute. It requires less work on my part and more on the user’s part, which is bad practice, but I aim to remedy this when we turn the CRM into a web app next week.

I ended up thinking too deeply into deleting contacts. I thought I had to figure out how to remove a contact class instance from the memory, but Ruby’s garbage collection actually does this automatically once you remove all references to the instance. So in the end I only had to remove the reference to the contact instance from my array holding all of my contacts.

The events Bitmaker Labs had organized included seeing the last cohort’s final projects and having a recent Bitmaker grad who’s now working in the industry as a junior web developer come in to talk to us about her experience. Both were very informative and I’m excited to see what else Bitmaker has in store for us (There’s Yoga on Monday).

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