The Firehose Project - Week 11

Week 11, how? How does it feel like this whole thing has ran at hyperspeed? I feel like these last weeks have gone by far too fast and each week that I get closer to the finishing line it feels like the week goes by faster and faster. It’s insane. Anyways week 11 is all over now and it sure was a week packed full of activity. Learning markdown language, preparing a lightning talk, lightning talks, building chess logic, pair programming and giving a helping hand to other firehosers have been my highlights of the week. It’s been busy and it has flown by but what a damn week! So much fun!

The beginning of week 11 kicked off with rushing to get my lightning talk all ready to go but it wasn’t without it’s snags. Like with most things I can be a bit of a perfectionist and so that often results in me biting off a tad bit more than I can chew which has taught the indispensable skills of failing quick and learning fast. My biggest hurdle was learning the “markdown” language because that’s what Jekyll uses for its blog posts. Markdown is a markup language with plain text formatting (think emails) designed to be converted in HTML relatively easy. Now this is great but the documentation on the syntax and formatting is not up to date or even very presentable so it was a bit of struggle battling this. The other struggle with Markdown was that there is no native embedded video support so I had research and write a piece of code that will allow me to embed videos, which was a great learning experience. Needless to say the start of the week, pretty high level with a mean learning curve.

After battling with the markdown I finally had my presentation for the lighting talk ready. The next big thing for me this last week was the lightning talk. I’ve never done a talk like this for any sort of web development. I’ve given talks on security, IT administration, computer 101 courses but never a technical lightning talk on a software development topic so this was a new territory for me and I was very excited. The talks were AMAZING everyone came with their A game and it was fantastic. There’s something extremely rewarding about giving a talk to your peers and then listening to other peers give their talk. What’s awesome is that we are all on the same page so we all come at the talk with the same mindset of wanting to get someone new excited about this thing that we’re talking about because we just recently experienced that same excitement when we learned it. Man what a rewarding experience, not only do you get to help other people but there is something very satisfying personally about giving a talk. The lightning talks were a huge win for me and I rode that high all week long and I just want more.

Week 11 continued the progress on our Chess application with my main focus on building out move logic for the Knight and the Pawn. While the Knight was pretty easy to take on the Pawn did challenge my brain slightly. Just thinking about where I was when we first started the Chess app 3 weeks ago to now, I know for a fact that I would’ve REALLY struggled with the Pawn logic but now all I struggled with was how to not allow the Pawn to go backwards. What this has told me is that each week as a result of being challenged in the apps, doing coding challenges, and partaking in code wars is that I’m starting to get a little bit more comfortable with raw Ruby code. Still no where near proficient I am gradually being able to recognize what I need to do next through the results of my previous experiences with coding. The Chess app has really given me great direction and motivation on diving into more challenges. There’s been a huge emphasis this week on pair programming, whether it has been with my mentor, with my group, or with fellow students, each time it reinforces the great deal of benefit that it holds. It truly has been a great way of learning by either getting help, working together or teaching the value of pair programming has been to reinforce the things that we are working on. Each time I pair with someone I learn something new, frankly it may not even be something new about code but maybe something new about the person I am working with and I find that a fascinating result from pairing. I’m very glad that it was emphasised a lot through theFirehoseProject.

Lastly because of my lightning talk I have had the opportunity to inspire other people and with that I’ve been able to help them with the issues that they have encountered. I fear that in everyday life the opportunity to share knowledge and teach someone is often overlooked and as a result we may not develop deeper understandings of the thing that we are working on. Every Time I have ever taught a topic or helped someone work through something that I have already muddled through myself it has taught me more about the topic and about myself. Teaching is an excellent way of solidifying the things that we are learning. Even if you’re not an expert you can still know more than someone who knows nothing which makes that an opportunity to share and teach. Teaching is such a joy and seeing someone have their “ah-ha” moment is priceless. I look forward to being taught new knowledge as much as I do to be able to teach others new knowledge.

This week was busy and went by super fast but it has been an extremely rewarding week. The more I give to this program the more I receive and the better I feel. If nothing comes of a career in web development after this program (that’s a BIG if because I am bound and determined to land a web dev job) I will be able to look back on this experience and check it off as one of the greatest I have ever had and each week reinforces that notion. Another week done, another week closer to the final chapter of theFirehoseProject and I still love what I’m doing, that to me says the world about this program.

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