Weeks Eleven and Twelve and The Iron Yard
September 21, 2015
These were the last two weeks of the program. I was head down in dev mode working on the final project so I’m lumping these together for a final post. Here we go.
Building RoadTable with my partner was easily the biggest challenge of the summer. We took a big risk and I think it’s paid off well for us. This project was full of new technology we didn’t have experience with. We had to allocate quite a bit of time familiarizing ourselves with these new tools, which took some time away from building out the features. I’m grateful for having a partner that is as excited about trying crazy ideas as I am.
Aside from jumping into Swift and Xcode, which I wrote about in my last post, we tried some new things on our API as well. Our cohort only focused on SQL databases, mostly Postgres. For our API, we decided to go with MongoDB for a couple reasons. First, we thought embedding documents would be valuable for our API. We’re making multiple requests from the app and we liked that everything could be stored together when we needed it to be. Second, we knew NoSQL databases are popular, and we wanted to try something new. For testing, our cohort learned how to use Minitest and Capybara. We went with Rspec. This was another learning focused decision. Rspec is huge, full of features, and widely used. We wanted to get some experience with it before working on professional projects.
The major themes of this project are learning and risk taking. When will we get three open weeks to use whatever we want and make something awesome in the future? The answer is probably never. We wanted to get as much from this experience as we could. This is involved some risky decisions and many late nights, but I’m very happy with the result. I’m also more convinced than ever that the best way to learn something is to just start using it.
The final chapter in our twelve week program. Three weeks of work all leading up to two hours of presentations. It could not have gone any better. Before I get into it, you should see what was being presented.
An awesome app for networking and finding events in your area. Very useful and easy to use.
An app for helping nurses keep track of appointments. This was the only project that wasn’t done by a group and she did an amazing job.
An app for keeping up on your local government. It helps you find out who your representatives are and who is running for local offices. This app is incredible and I really hope to see this becoming a big part of my community.
And of course RoadTable. Helping you find convenient restaurants on road trips.
I’m extremely proud of my cohort for these projects. We all worked hard on them and the community recognized that. Our space was full of colleagues and employers looking to find out what The Iron Yard is doing and I think many were impressed. From my perspective, I made some great connection and met some awesome people. I also enjoyed getting to answer questions about my app. I’ve been working on it for three weeks but most people were seeing it for the first time. It was interesting to see other peoples’ perspective on the project. Overall, I’m very pleased with how our Demo Day went and I can’t wait to return as an alum to see the next one.
The Stomping Yard
The Iron Yard is truly a one of a kind experience. Beyond my new skills, I’ve made some great friends and even more memories. I don’t want to lose touch with anybody in my class and I hope we work together again in the future. I’ve mentioned the staff before but I feel like I need to again. Chris and Emily truly go above and beyond what I expect. I said early on you wouldn’t be able to tell that this was Chris’s first cohort and I believe that even more today. He has this innate understanding of the way people learn and think when they’re just starting out. He worked through the material in a way that built on itself. It seemed like every week we’d learn something new and I’d both look back and realize older topics made more sense, as well as look forward and see new possibilities. He just gets it. Emily is the queen of getting things done. Our cohort had more than our fair share of setbacks and she handled each one like a champ. She’s good at keeping everything in order while being genuinely fun to hang out with. Our cohort had a great environment and it certainly wouldn’t have been that way without Chris and Emily.
I hope The Iron Yard sees this because they really knocked it out of the park with these two. The Indy campus will be one to watch.
This is my last post for TIY. If anybody interested in The Iron Yard (or a similar program) sees this, feel free to reach out. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions or give you advice. It’s been a wonderful experience and The Iron Yard knows what they’re doing. My experience may be a little different than other peoples’, but the challenges along the way are very similar.