The Real MVP is….

As I begin my final project here at Flatiron School, I find myself reflecting on everything I’ve learned thus far and how I can put it to good use, either in the last three weeks of the immersive program or in the rest of my (hopefully long!) journey as a coder.

I’ve learned a lot — more than I ever believed I could in two and a half months. In the first few weeks, I got over my obsession with making all my Ruby methods a single line. I conquered my fear of hashes and learned to map, filter, and inject like a pro. I discovered that Rails apps are both much easier and much harder to create than I’d previously imagined; you can spin one up in an hour or two, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to troubleshoot it a month later.

Time sped up after that. In our JavaScript module, I learned that feeling totally overwhelmed as I took on new information didn’t mean I wouldn’t be able to use it later when I needed to. My JQuery skills could use some polishing, but I picked up a lot more “vanilla” JavaScript than I’d given myself credit for, and it’s stood me in good stead since then.

After clearing that hurdle, I went into our React lessons with renewed confidence. React is great, although there’s a lot to it, and I picked up tons of exciting skills on my project that round. I can now make a single-page app with relative ease, thanks to React Router. Not only that, but I’m well-versed in pulling data from APIs, and reasonably skilled at building a Rails API of my own. My styling abilities, while still in their infancy, are coming along slowly but surely.

I can make dynamic web apps, and that is awesome!

One of my biggest takeaways from React project week, though, was… humility. I had the opportunity to partner with one of the strongest coders in my group. We were excited about our concept and spent hours planning out our models and components, drawing up a site diagram and a plan of action — all of which fell apart as we realized we’d bitten off far too much project to chew in the four days we had.

We came out of the experience relatively unscathed, with an app that (mostly) worked even if it only did — if I’m being generous — about a fourth of what we’d hoped it would. Which brings me to the other huge lesson I learned that week, one I hope will stand me in good stead as I push onward into the adventure of module five.

When you plan your MVP (minimum viable project), take what you think you can do in the time you’ve been allotted, and cut it in thirds. Keep one and figure out how to make it into something solid. The other two thirds are gravy (or “stretch goals”).

Wish me luck, I’m off to the (code) races again…

Originally published at on August 30, 2017.