Weeks One and Two at The Iron Yard

July 13, 2015

I’ve decided to make one post about my first two weeks. Not enough explosions to justify two posts. Maybe just enough for one post.
The first couple weeks were very different for me compared to my classmates so my retrospection won’t be useful to everybody looking at code schools. When I enrolled in the Ruby on Rails course I spent a considerable amount of time going over the basics of the language and how to use it. I had already covered most of what was taught in the first week. My instructor was very helpful in adding difficulty to the assignments to anyone who could handle more. I suspect in the next week or two my classmates will catch up in their understanding and we’ll all be learning new material together.

The Class

My class is awesome because we’re all from different backgrounds. That’s what makes The Iron Yard so great. They can take any motivated person, regardless of previous occupation, and turn them into a developer. It’s not just tech people and nerds. I love that. In some ways I think people overestimate how hard it is to program. Yes, it’s difficult and requires years to become great, but it isn’t this super complex process reserved only for the smartest members of society. It’s interesting to me that one of the fastest growing occupations in America is also one of the most confusing and mysterious jobs to the average person(based on my own experiences). Often when I tell someone I’m learning to program I can’t describe what I’m doing because they don’t have even a basic understanding. I imagine this will change in the next couple decades. But for now, it’s kinda funny.

(re)Building things

Like I said before, I already had a basic understanding of Ruby going into the class. The homework each night was simple enough that I was able to finish it before class was over. But it was never “finished” for me. I have this belief that every problem has a solution, and every solution can be improved. This has been important to me throughout the years and applies to many aspects of my life. When I “finish” my homework, I start breaking it apart and making it better and with fewer lines of code. Then I rebuild it again. And again. One night in my first week I laid in bed awake thinking about this particular piece of code that wasn’t quite what it needed to be. The assignment had all the features it needed, but I knew it wasn’t right. So I got out of bed and spent about 45 minutes refactoring it. I’m happy with it now. Hopefully that doesn’t keep happening.

The Staff

The Indianapolis campus is only offering Ruby on Rails for the first cohort so there aren’t many people around. The only Iron Yard staff I see are my instructor, Chris, and the campus director, Emily. Both of whom are incredible people who genuinely care about the school and the students. We’re in a temporary space waiting for our building to be finished and Emily has done a great job making it feel comfortable. Chris is equally awesome. His patience and readiness to respond to everything is exactly what you want from an instructor and he has owned his position from day one. I doubt you’d be able to tell this is his first cohort.

Weekend Thoughts

I’m feeling really good at this point. I more confident in my understanding of Ruby specifically as well as what I’m looking to accomplish during my time here. I’m starting to see how everything fits together in the bigger picture. I’m ready for a challenge though. I haven’t been pushed very much yet and I’m excited to start new material. The reassurance is great but I know if I want to learn anything I’ll need to get more on my plate.
I’ll try to post each week, or whenever it feels relevant.
I can be found complaining on twitter (@CalebOnesimus) and posting selfies on Instagram (@CalebOnesimus).