Weeks 1 & 2 at The Flatiron School.
It is the almost the end of week 1 here at the Flatiron School, a coding school that cultivates professional, entry-level computer programmers in a matter of 3 months. On the first day, one of the instructors told me to enjoy every moment because things move so fast here, and he couldn’t be more accurate. As of this post, it’s already the end of week 1, and for me, all 5 days have felt like a long string of days. All the lectures, introductions and exhilaration feels like is one continuous day, kind of like they’re all concatenated to one another. …wait a second.
We also went right into action on our very first day by tackling our first coding lab with the classmates next to us. No prior lecture— it was just us and what we knew coming into the program after the 150 hours of assigned pre-work. The assignment essentially asked us to create a questionnaire in the Xcode console that help us learn more about our classmates. It seemed pretty daunting at first, but soon after my neighbors and I collaborated on breaking down the lab into smaller sub-tasks, it was a successful team effort from then on. The lab was called 'Deploy on Day 1', and we reason why we were thrown into the fire our first day was so that we could overcome the imposter syndrome of a software developer. Granted, the final lab was no material worthy of the App Store, but it was a powerful start to Day 1.
After spending most of our morning on the questionnaire lab, we were given an introductory talk by Avi, a founder of The Flatiron School. He told our class:
By the time you finish this program,
your lives will be completely different.
I wouldn't doubt that. I’ve grown so much since this past Monday after walking through the Flatiron doors, with a big Learn, Love, Code greeting your way in. Everyday is something new, and everyday is another series of challenges.
Because of that, I think it’s why all of us students find this process so stressful, yet addicting. I fail so fast and so often, that the moment I have the slightest Eureka moment and dare celebrate with my arms up, the next lab/ lecture/concept just smashes me back down to earth reminding me that— it’s just the beginning.
One of many motivational quotes on the walls of The Flatiron School.
The Week of Blackjack.
It felt like the workload at Flatiron slowed down a bit in intensity, but I think I’ve just gotten acclimated to the everyday demands. There is so still so much to learn and incomplete labs to finish, but aside from that, I’m feeling okay with my pace of learning and my progress this week. We began to work with UIViews, and even though I feel like I’m not yet ready to move on, it’s probably best to learn the visuals so that I can begin connecting the core principles with the interface.
This entire week has been a series of labs predicated around the game of blackjack. It started with just the logic. Figuring out how to deal and hit and update the score was the most challenging part for me. The user interface material is definitely the easier half to grasp. Eventually I got most of the wiring done and I put cards on the screen when a button was clicked. Gotta keep moving. There are simply way too many things to learn in these few months and I can’t wait to get cracking at my own personal projects.
Happy Hour, Flatiron Presents and Meetups.
There is also so much going on even after class is over. It doesn't always pertain to iOS Development but it's fun to sit in and absorb the tech scene in it's entirety.
Every month, the flatiron school hosts an in-house happy-hour open for all Flatiron students- alumni or current- reconnect with your classmates and meet with the new. It’s a really positive atmosphere because you know that just about everyone in the room has gone through or currently enduring the vigorous Flatiron program. On top of that, Flatiron School simply tries it’s best to admit good, likable and motivated people. And because of that, it keeps the growing circle a fun one to be a part of.
And if you're too eager to wait until next month for the next happy hour, Flatiron also hosts a meetup every Tuesday, 3-4 pairs of current students from both our Ruby and iOS classes speak for 5-10 minutes each on a project they worked on during their studies (we have to do it). Despite the insurmountable work we already have with an assigned side project that we eventually need to show everyone, it's a nice to sit and support your classmates, even if they're in another cohort and have no idea how their technology or language syntax works.---
Lastly, there are language-specific meetups held here occasionally, such as Manhatten.js and other companies our Flatiron Alumni have moved on to work at. This week we had an iOS Flatiron alum stop by to discuss what he and his company, Cardstreams, is doing in iOS development. I'm not going to lie, I couldn't keep up with what they were talking about, but the gist of what Cardstreams does delivering your app's content through personalized cards that you can embed on a multitude of web platforms. It reminded me of Google Now's feed, but with this service, apparently all you need are just a few lines of code. I really wanted to participate in the raffle for a Apple Watch, but if order to qualify, I'd have to submit a project utilizing their cards API. If it weren't week two, I'd have been on it immediately, but I barely have pointers down right now!
- Cardstreams.io presenting at The Flatiron School with Apple Watch raffle.
Model View Controllers
Once we wrap up this week, we will move on from the intensive pre-work material, which covered the basis for iOS programming, and we will start working on the interactivity between our data collections and the views we see on the iPhone screen. We’ve already touched on the idea of separating the model-which are the data collections in our program, from the view controller which handles the communication between our app’s logic and it’s visual representation. It’s known as the MVC model, short for model-view-controller. It’s a fantastic concept that ensures that everything in our app is strictly compartmentalized by their sole function. And that sums up weeks 1 & 2. There is so much going on that it gets hard to keep track of the day's highlights and to write about it. But I have to make the extra effort because I know it'll be worth reading it all again in hindsight.
Anyways—on to Week 3.