It was mid-November last year that I graduated from General Assembly’s Ruby-on-Rails backend course. Since then, I’ve built and launched my first startup, a marketplace for conference videos, called Xavy.
Before joining the course, I had massive reservations about whether I would actually be able to code. I’d tried and failed to learn independently at least three times before. I have always studied humanities subjects and avoided logic or maths wherever possible. My family and friends thought I was joking when I told them what I planned on doing, the response generally being “but you’re not remotely technical!”
Well, I took the course and succeeded in learning to code, so thank you GA for helping me learn the technical skills I needed to start executing on the vision I had for Xavy.
However, you can’t learn everything in 8 weeks, so here are some of the technical lessons I’ve learned since graduating, which could prove useful to anyone else taking the course:
There’s no substitute for hard work.
If you expect to turn up to class, do the 2 x 2 hour lessons each week and be a decent programmer 8 weeks later, you will probably not get the results you want. I put in a lot of additional hours between classes, and particularly in the early days, it’s important to build your ‘muscle memory’ for the key concepts until they become second nature. Continue reading
The past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the onboarding experience for students entering General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive (WDI) program. WDI is a 12-week, full-time program that gives people the foundation and skills needed to become full-stack web developer.
From 9 am to 9 pm on weekdays, and all day Saturdays and Sundays, students are immersed in code. Because the program is so intense and the learning curve so steep, we, along with other coding immersives (also known as “bootcamps”), advise students to start preparing before they arrive on day one.
Pretty standard is the concept of “pre-work”: 50-100 hours of readings, tutorials, and exercises designed to give everyone a foundation in basic web development concepts, as well as level set the class. At GA, students cover Git, HTML, CSS, and Ruby before starting WDI.