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Today I graduated from Dev Bootcamp and I can honestly say I learned a lot. Last time I did say it was crowded, which is true. But the more people I got to know, the less it became an issue. I felt closer to more people as I learned more about them. In the end we’ve learned to be a big family. Sure there will be arguments and skirmishes, but in the grand scheme of things it’s fine, because we can find a solution. In essence the more comfortable and honest I was to myself, the more I opened up, and the less intrusion I felt on my own space.
These last few weeks have been tough. As usual I spent more time improving my communication than straight up programming. And as usual I felt like I learned more about programming than I ever would have just hacking away on my own piece of the project. Collaborating with honesty and integrity have lead to a spontaneous and interesting programming experience.
I always try to improve my interpersonal skills because people are what matter, the code will come. I am thanking Shereef, the founder, for teaching me so much. He did a lot of heavy lifting to really make DBC a sanctuary for us to be honest and build solid relationships. As a side effect I learned how to be an engineer.
When I first came to DBC there were about 30 students. The DBC building looked huge. There were a lot of nooks and crannies to relax and engage in intimate conversation, it felt like home. You could even hang out with yourself if you wanted, but now things are very different.
There are currently three and a half cohorts and if you include the teachers then there are about 70 people in the space at once. I feel like there are too many people and space has become tight. I frequently find myself having trouble concentrating and I am frustrated.
I have started going home earlier and earlier to empty myself of the mental fatigue built up. I’m beginning to clam up around people and I find myself disengaged throughout the day.
I’ll bring it up with the staff sometime this week, but I don’t see the problem being resolved unless Dev Bootcamp opens up another location nearby. Regardless of what type of person you find yourself to be you’ll want some quiet time, make preparations to find yourself a coffee shop or somewhere quiet to work.
Not only is it cool to speak and interact in another language, but it’s useful as well. Research has shown…just kidding.
I haven’t had any major programming hiccups at Dev Bootcamp these past few weeks. There were only a dozen concepts that took me a while. On the other hand I’ve had many varied experiences interacting with many people. When it came to working with a pair programming, our session wasn’t always productive and sometimes it was counter productive (hurt feelings).
I always aim to improve my pairing experience, since that’s what we will be doing when we go on to work as programmers. When communicating becomes tough I often look back to my year in Hong Kong for guidance.
When I moved to Hong Kong I didn’t speak a lick of Cantonese and I would often struggle to make friends and work with others. I became exceptionally good at juggling my body language and throwing in the occasional Cantonese phrase to get my point across. Each time was different as I was speaking to very different people, with very different experiences. I learned quickly that communication is a two way street and misinterpretation is rampant. If I approached others with kindness, without confrontation people were more willing to communicate back. Frustration and anger while important emotions yielded poor results.
After my counterpart noticed how genuine I was when we hung out or worked together they tried hard too. The embarrassment of asking was pushed aside and I made a lot of friends. That is where the real learning begins.
I suggest everyone spend time learning another language, if you were born with it, it doesn’t count. With language learning you don’t just learn the words and phrases, but you learn to communicate your feelings. You also learn about humility, kindness, embarrassment, accountability, failure, adaptability and humbleness (and arrogance). You will learn all of good and bad, and these combined experiences will help make you a better-communicating programmer.
When you do anything, anything at all people aren’t really looking at how skillful you actually are, or how much knowledge you actually have. It’s how much they perceive you have. You can either have the actual knowledge or manipulate them into believing you have the knowledge.
The same applies to programming.
I spend a significant amount of time actually programming at DBC, around 50 real hours a week, excluding planning. There are many people who spend significantly longer, and others who spend less than me. There are many times that I don’t finish all my assignments too. This stuff is all fluff and it doesn’t really matter.
All that matters is the perception people have about me. When I finish my cores, I look good in the teachers eyes. When I explain a programming topic clearly others assume that I have a good grasp of the subject. When I work with my partner programming as long as they think we are getting along fine then that’s the truth in their mind.
It doesn’t matter how my internal environment is, but the mirage or truth in the eyes of others. Which is why I spend most of my time at DBC thinking about how I can become a better person and interact better with others. The more integrity I seemingly have, the more I’m likely to succeed. I really just need to make the cut as a programmer.
The extra programming that I do to go above and beyond as well as the honesty and integrity I have towards my programming partner and teachers is for myself. It’s for my own happiness and enjoyment, but in the eyes of others, it couldn’t matter less.
We live in our heads and that’s our reality.
If you want to make a quick buck, programming is not worth it. I’m sure a successful startup founder looks like they are winning jackpot after jackpot on a rigged slot machine. The reality is that they failed over and over and over and over.
Two weeks ago Justin Kan came to DBC to give a talk. He discussed his successes and his random projects to us. He told us mostly about what lead to his fame with justin.tv, twitch.tv, and exec, but he also discussed his failure. I asked him how he felt about failing all the time, and he said it was horrific. He stuck with it because of the great people he worked with.
In 2009 I dropped out of college. I decided to go to Hong Kong and incorporated a startup website with my friend called LeetBoss.com. It was an ecommerce site selling electronics and we failed after one year. It was extremely depressing. Sometimes when I think back to it I can actually feel physical pain. I haven’t given up, but I’m taking some time to greatly improve my programming skills.
One day when I’m ready again I’ll dive head first startup world, but for now I’ll work on making cool stuff that I love.
Programming is a type of meta thinking. We spend all day making up fake scenarios in our head to create elaborate movies. Once we have the script hammered out on paper, we go on to write it down. We fail all day long and it’s never perfect. We keep on changing and changing our scenes until we’ve decided enough is enough.
Sometimes though you make too many changes and confuse yourself. I feel like that all the time, sometimes I can fix a scene, and other times I need to start over.
Meta thinking can be applied to anything.
So next time you eat a whole pie, think about all the utensils and techniques you can use to make you’re pie eating experience, just a bit more enjoyable.
While I have a pretty good of front end programming and design due to freelancing for a few companies the part that will be very challenging for me is working in groups and having mental integrity. Pair programming for me is exhausting and I go into stupor after an hour or two.
When people first meet me I seem outgoing(because of my easygoing mannerisms), but in reality I am very introverted. I often need grotesque amounts of downtime to recover from big parties and meetup events. I have been pushing my limits for human interaction and it’s going well so far.
Right now I’m at Dev bootcamp along with just two others. It’s very comfortable being in a low key environment, but perhaps it’s too comfortable.
Time to go hard in the paint.
If you’ve been accepted or you’re looking to become a dev bootcamp student I suggest you study as much ruby and psychology as you can. I’ve been learning to program for over a year. But I definitely wasn’t ready for DBC it felt like a mack truck running me over. Of course it reversed and drove over me again. That’s how it feels.
Today one student from my group was let go and another was told to repeat these first three weeks. I spent over two hundred hours with my group and just like that we became fragmented. Our group had various opinions on how this was a wrong decision by DBC and it was bad, but I feel that the teachers made a good choice. They want to help you become better people and get jobs. They aren’t in it for just the money, or else they would pass students like how some private online universities do.
The assessment wasn’t hard, but you really have to know your stuff. Have the major concepts down, and know them like the back of your hand. Yeah make sure to count those hairs too.
I’m incredibly lazy. If I lay in bed and need to pee I’ll wait until it’s rushing towards my urethra to go to the bathroom. If I need to get on bart I’ll employ JIT on myself so I get to the bart station one or two minutes before it leaves. There have been several times that bart left me behind. I felt angry at myself and disappointed. How could I do that to myself and bart, It was my fault bart, I’m sorry. That’s in the past. Nowadays I can honestly say I am proud to say I am good at optimizing for many situations so I can get back to my real life. AKA nothing at all.
I think for programming that this is a strength. I do all the thinking before I actually sit down and code. I frequently skim a problem. I brew on it by walking around or pondering on parts of the program I want to future proof. I really don’t want to do more than the minimum in the future of the program unless I need to. I’d rather do everything now and get it over with. My lazy mentality has helped me continue to architect code that I am almost willing to go back and improve. Sometimes I don’t even cringe when I look at my past code! I’ll keep improving at being lazy, I can always do better. That way I can get back to my real life.
The suburbs of San Francisco, the bay area, have a “rich history” associated with them due to the American Indians and fallout from the industrial revolution. But built on top of this history, in cities such as Milpitas, Pleasanton, Pinole, are small identical houses. Inside of these houses are smaller identical 10 x 10 rooms. Rooms that are designed to have two thirds of the space designated for a bed and perhaps a table in the corner.
Today I’m attempting to be productive coding, but It’s 7pm and I haven’t touched a lick of code. I started thinking about the environment I’m in and how I am surrounded by this big ol bed. It’s everywhere and when I want to do something else the abysmal, comforting aura just sucks me back in. I’m going to try and do my weekly programming assessment now and fend off the productivity killing design of these rooms.
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