Ironhacking 101

I registered for the Ironhack web development course a few months ago hoping to rekindle my career as a front-end web developer. At the time I applied, I wasn’t very happy in my job as a consultant and felt like an intensive bootcamp would be the ideal solution and let me return to an industry where I had always felt happy.

Then we moved to France and it seemed like the ideal time to let go of all the stressful things in life and fully embrace change. I am so glad that I did!

I never really formally learned how to be a web developer, I picked up the basics from colleagues and tutorials online – simply learning HTML, CSS and JavaScript as I needed to. At Ironhack we are learning the fundamentals as well as practical implementation skills. With each task or exercise we complete, we are cementing the knowledge and improving constantly.

The main topics we are learning are:
• JavaScript, jQuery + NodeJS
• Ruby, Sinatra + Ruby on Rails
• Git + GitHub
• Databases + MySQL

But more than that we are learning how to pair-program and to use Test Driven Development (TDD) and write clean code. I always knew it was important to write clean code, but never really bothered too much as I figured solving the problem I was working on was more important. I now think that maybe both are as important as each other.
In the first week we blasted through HTML5, CSS3 (and SASS) as well as JavaScript and jQuery. The pace is very fast but that should come as no surprise as it is an intensive course. I have been finding it very stressful, but when I focus on all the small achievements that I make each day, I feel a real pride in myself and my fellow students.

In the second week, as we dived deep into Ruby and Sinatra I started noticing the most amazing thing: in our group of sixteen pupils, there is very little competition to be the best; in fact there is a huge amount of support offered between programming pairs and table groups. We are swapping tables and programming partners quite regularly and obviously some combinations gel more easily than others, but there is a really nurturing atmosphere among the students and Ironhack staff.

Each week we provide feedback on our teachers, assistants and more generally on the format of our days. It is so clear that this feedback is important to the Ironhack staff and we can see the effects very quickly.

This week we are exploring Ruby on Rails as an extension to last week’s Ruby classes and once again I am stressed about all the new information. The funny thing is that I’m not worried about being stressed in the way I am normally. Instead I feel quite calm about that knot in my stomach because I know that between me, the other students, my teachers and their assistants, I can refactor all the new things I am learning until it makes sense. It’s going to be a great week 😉

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