Learning anything new is hard. Learning to program is hard. Learning it at a (very) accelerated pace is hard. Anything associated with the words “boot camp” is hard. Put all this together in one place — add a steady diet of homemade lunches — and you have a lot of difficulty.
Days might look like the following:
Lecture — During which you are either 1.) Hopelessly lost, or 2.) Positive you get it. Then soon find out you do get it, but not totally. Or you do, but not as it relates specifically to this. Or you did an hour ago, but now facing a blank screen, the leap from lecture to assignment seems like a chasm a mile wide.
Lab — Valiant attempts to apply newfound knowledge. Hours invested in the following: Your brain, Codepen, Google, Terminal, Sublime, Chrome console (Sublime, console, Sublime, console < — that part loops indefinitely), Github. Repeat.
5:00 — That moment you look up and realize you’re a human being that needs food and sleep and a shower… and you probably won’t get all of those things for another 7 hours.
We’ve done some pretty cool assignments, like writing an encryption function (which I was told should be split into two functions because apparently one big function gets a big ego). I won’t tell you the super secret algorithm, but it was virtually uncrackable in the 8th century. It allows me to write things like this:
Zl cnffjbeq vf cnffjbeq. Fuuu, qba’g gryy nalbar.
All kidding aside, although it has been very challenging, I am impressed with how much I already know and am able to learn, process and apply, and am continually surprised (and relieved) to work out a solution to a really tough assignment (which they all are to me at this point.) And it’s a really good feeling to complete an assignment and know that I get it (for the most part!)
I’ve found that one challenging aspect of programming is not so much the syntax or understanding how one particular function or method works (though that can also be way hard), but putting it all together in a larger project. Coming up with the logic of it all, breaking it down into simple steps and trying not to think too “linearly”.
Now that I have a newfound respect for calculators and Etsy (seriously), I’m looking forward to what comes next. Just when things seem graspable, they get harder (recursive functions and closures…. noooooo!) but holding onto faith it will all come together, as usual, right before the assignment is due.