See Sharp??? Kicking Off Our 2nd Month at Computer Coding Bootcamp.

NOW, we’re getting to the good stuff!

But, before I get to that, let’s recap what occurred during week 4 at the Redwood Code Academy’s Full Stack Immersion computer programming bootcamp.

During week four, we drew from what we learned of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (via AngularJS mostly, and a little jQuery) to produce our first independent applications. We were free to work individually or as teams. The three Army veterans of the cohort, of which I am one, worked on our project as a team. A team self-dubbed…

“The Scrumbags.”

“the bottle of jack, evidence that we are, in fact, veterans”, writes the non-drinker, me

Our team built a notional website (“notional” in the sense that it wasn’t publicly shared, and resided on the local host only) that could serve as a resource for veterans or prospective military members. The site included user authentication, a library of military-related sites (which the user could update), and a job search function that identified military jobs related to the user’s interests.

Was it ground-breaking stuff? Of course not. But for three guys who had three weeks prior not known JavaScript from Java (or from a cup of java, for that matter), it wasn’t insignificant!

In good military tradition, our application included all sorts of Easter eggs that, in good nature, roasted our instructors and poked at funny topics that were unique to our class. It made for a fun presentation and drew lots of laughs.

That the site functioned made it a success. But, more so, I claimed victory because:

1. The project instilled confidence that we could apply the lessons so far learned.

2. We functioned as a team. We relied on each of our strengths and, where any of us were weak, we tried to teach each other to form a common level of knowledge.

3. We had fun.

Using git to collaborate was certainly an aspect of this project that proved to be a beneficial experience. There were no major catastrophes, but with all the pushing and pulling we were doing, it was sort of like a game of tug-of-war and, at times, equally as exasperating.

speaking of git, the code is on github:

With the initial phase of this 12-week course now behind us, we move on to learning back-end functionality, and we are beginning that by diving in to C# and the .NET framework.

Like I said, the fun stuff!

The opportunity to become familiar with C# (along with the general positive vibe I felt during my initial visit to the Redwood campus) was the primary reason that I chose this bootcamp over others in the area; most of which taught strictly JavaScript-based stacks.

Day one of C# has not dissuaded me of the affinity I suspected I’d have for it. When it comes to JavaScript, I’ll admit that I have to refer to some reference material to code nearly anything. But, today, I wrote the C# application below completely from scratch:

im basically a wizard at this point

This is a number guessing game. Though totally simple, I would struggle to write it in JavaScript. Though, ultimately, in JavaScript, it wouldn’t look much different than it does in C# above.

But something about the structure of C# makes more sense to me. Though — caveat — this remark is based on my HOURS (as in two) of experience with C#.

My trouble with JavaScript is due to my overexuberance. Which is a flattering way to say that I don’t always pay attention to detail. You can get away with that with JavaScript, but it can make for headaches. C# offers no such leniency. And, for me, that’s perfect.

I’m writing from the perspective of a noob, of which I am very much one, but I appreciate having to constantly declare my variable types in C#. Maybe it’s borne of the regimented military mentality but, whatever the reason, it helps me make sense of things. Keeping track of the type of each variable being one less thing for me to worry about, I am more able to focus on thinking through the logic of the functionality I am trying to create.

I find it liberating.

I sense that in years from now and probably sooner, I may feel differently and find the act of explicitly declaring variable types an extraneous exercise but, for me and my current skill level, it’s a benefit rather than a hindrance.

Digging into C# gets me closer to the simple console application that I want to build in order to make my music DJing hobby a bit easier:

The music files I download have random digits appended to the beginning of their file names. I must remove these digits to make the files more easily sortable. I do this by literally right-clicking each file name and removing the digits from each individual file. It’s tedious. Soon — to more satisfaction than you may guess — I’ll be able to automate that activity.

And, if you think about it, making life easier is really what programming is all about, right?

There’s more to the appeal of C#. Since JavaScript is still owning me, I certainly can’t belittle its rigor as a programming language. But knowledge of JavaScript is sufficiently ubiquitous that, to me, it feels like dipping the toe into the water, whereas C# is really diving into the pool of programming.

I know it’s not some mystical esoteric knowledge, but it won’t be until I’m comfortable building with C# that I’ll feel like I’m anything more than an outsider to the developers’ guild.

Everything is progressing well. The level of instruction at the Redwood Code Academy continues to be excellent. The aptitude of my fellow students continues to be nothing short of motivating (and, seriously, I mean this; there are some super sharp folks in my class), and I really look forward to being in that classroom every day.

So, please continue to follow me as I travel on my educational journey and subsequently move on to my career search.

And thank you for joining me so far!

To return to the beginning of this series, please click HERE.