Beyond programming at Makers 🚀

What I learnt beyond web development

Jaycee Cheong
Apr 18, 2017 · 4 min read

At Makers, we spent 12 weeks growing as a web developer. Understood that we will be learning a few languages and Agile methodologies from the curriculum, I found myself also practising other skills too.

We all learnt so much!

Empathy ❤️

In our cohort, despite we all came from different background and life experiences, we all had the same goal. A goal where we will be ready to have a career in web development, and we were ready to help each other to get there.

The first few weeks of constant pairing was difficult, working with different classmate every day was no easy task. Empathy really comes into play at pair programming, to understand and to learn how each other learn.

Before I start pair programming with a new classmate, I lead with questions to understand their needs. This is their opportunity to learn, and a chance for me to learn from them. They are few people benefits from reading further materials, few benefits from diagramming together, and other techniques such as live examples.

From there, I learnt how to diagram, recommend easy to digest materials, and provide live examples that is specific for the knowledge gap that we were hoping to fill.

Asking for help 🗣

Pride is a funny thing, remember when you were younger that you often don’t raise your hand because you were afraid that you may be teased at? It also may not be a pride element, some people find that asking for help is an act of nuisance.

At Makers, we were encouraged to ask for help. There is an escalation process where we ask for helps from our peers as the first point of call and it often works out very well.

I have learnt how to ask questions by giving specific keywords and giving brief but substantial context on how I tried solving the problem and my expected outcome.

Receiving and giving feedback 👥

Like any crafts, you grow from the feedback you receive, and you can learn by reviewing and giving feedback to your fellow crafts people. Every week or two, I will have a one to one feedback session with my coach on specific programming issue. After receiving feedback, I plan a small learning project to make sure I learn from the session.

Giving feedback is something that I am actively mindful of, and I follow the Recurse Center’s manual to ensure that I am encouraging learning, rather than putting others off by injecting too much of my opinions onto it whilst giving feedback.

Growth mindset 🌱

Many people did a very good job describing the growth mindset from a theory perspective. What I can give context here, is how I have adopted growth mindset during the Makers course.

The materials set in Makers course is very different to the free online resources that I’ve read. Not to say that free online resources aren’t great, but often they don’t cultivate growth mindset due to the brevity of the tutorials.

I was also challenged by my coach, fellow students and the building projects to get out of my comfort zone and try something new everyday. This growth mindset is going to help me to get the most of my programming career.

Self assessment 📋

This is something that I learnt a lot from my other classmates. The retrospective at the end of the week during Makers where everyone discussed what they learnt or topics/skills they wish to improve, helped me assessing my own ability/skills and understand where I wish to improve. It helps me focus and it’s something that I am adopting for my personal development after Makers.

I would like to thank my fellow classmates from my cohort, my coach, companies whom gave me feedback and any advice given to me by the kind people on the Internet. 😍

Jaycee Cheong

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