What I’ve Learned in The First Month of iOS Bootcamp

As you may know, I am currently in the iOS Immersive program at the Flatiron School and tomorrow marks the end of our fifth week. It is has been an incredible experience in so many ways. I thought I would reflect on what I have learned — about programming, about the iOS community, and about myself — on this blog.

On Programming:

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” — Frederick Douglass

Programming is like solving a puzzle. You see the pieces, you learn how they work with one another, you try to see the big picture, you try to put the puzzle together to make something awesome. As a kid, I loved puzzles so perhaps that is why I am drawn to pursuing programming as my next career. It’s challenging, it’s in demand, it pushes ones mental limits and at the same time, requires creativity in finding effective and efficient solutions.

In completing the coursework (labs), I’ve learned that creativity is essential in programming. For example, earlier this month we learned some basic animation using key frames. Two different people presented their solutions involving animating with bounds and animating with constraints. It amazed me to see the different ways you could make a sun animate! (It also amazed me to see that it took about 15 lines of code to do this.)

I am still in the process of finding my “sweet spot of creativity” to apply to iOS programming and am aware of skills that I am struggling with (animation), skills that I’m not struggling with but could still sharpen up (white-boarding problems), and areas that I feel confident applying to my own app (tableviews). I will continue to seek out ways to self-teach, read, reflect and seek out assistance not just from my instructors but also my peers.

The iOS Community:

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller

Though it’s only been a month, through the interactions I have had with developers at Meetups and our weekly guest speakers, it is clear that iOS developers are eager to learn, eager to help and generally adhere to the RPP (reasonable person principle). As expected, the staff and students at Flatiron are sincere and demonstrate how much they genuinely want to advance iOS development and the programming community itself.

On Wednesday, we took a field trip to ustwo, where we received a tour of the campus, met some talented developers, learned about their work and even did some white-boarding. I was thoroughly impressed with their genuine desire to reach out to budding developers (me 🌮) and give us some insight into what we have to look forward to after we graduate. I look forward to working as a developer soon so that I can contribute to this supportive community!

On Myself:

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” — Lena Horne

At Flatiron, every Friday afternoon we get together and share our feelings — to vent, to share successes, to express concerns aloud, to show gratitude. These Friday sessions are helpful in that they give me time to reflect on the progress I’ve made since week 1 as well as a mental-health check: “Am I doing ok?”

The start of the programming started out well. During week 1 and 2, I was getting at least 7 hours of sleep, eating right. Heck, some days I was working out AND biking home! However, that changed during week 3 and 4 when I caught a cold and my productivity and ambition waned. The list of “things I need to do” and “things I want to do” kept growing (and still is growing).

This week (week 5), I’m healthy again and starting to make better choices. I’m eating pretty well (eh, except for that bowl of Halloween candy I had by my desk this week… oh and the pizza I ate on Tuesday… and Wednesday). I started working out again. Overall, I know I should be tending to myself more and tending less to my laptop. If I don’t get enough rest, I won’t be able to code!

Overall, I feel like I am doing satisfactorily in class. I have been lucky to have been assigned seats with some really awesome pairing partners. My cohort consists of some incredibly clever people! While I may not be the “top” student right now, I know that this program isn’t really about that — it’s about learning as much as you can and learning in a way that’s best for yourself. I am honored to be learning alongside these great minds and hope that I can one day help them as much as they have been helping me.