Advice from a current student: Aaron’s story

Aaron is in week six of his journey at The Iron Yard, taking our Front-End Engineering with JavaScript course in Durham. He only has six weeks left and has been updating his blog, Aaroninbeta, weekly.

We love his take on life at The Iron Yard and are impressed with how he has learned to embrace failures and celebrate wins. We asked Aaron if we could share his thoughts here and he was happy to pass on what he’s learned to future Iron Yarders. Read his advice below, in his own words: 

Honesty time. I’m 5 weeks in and I think it’s time to share some wisdom about this whole experience for those coming after. I’ve beat into the ground the importance of asking questions, so I’ll share a couple of other tips that might help if you’re about to start the journey that is The Iron Yard. Be ready to fail. This was one of the hardest lessons for me. I still struggle with it. The Iron Yard and, it would seem the coding world at large, is an uphill climb. You fight with your code and sometimes the code lands a punch or two. Allow yourself to write broken code and don’t beat yourself up over it. Learn from it. In every failure there is a lesson. Remember this. Learn. Get better. That is the name of the game. The next lesson is directly tied to failing. Know when to move on. On every project we have had there are parts that are hard. There are parts that are easier. Coming up with a gameplan on how to attack a project is a good idea. However, sticking to that plan at nauseum can set you back. Something isn’t working? Jot down on a note on why you think it’s broken, and move on to something you know how to do. Don’t get caught up and have no time to do the parts you know how to do. One thing I have found is that if I have something that is just not working the answer comes at the weirdest time. Sometimes it just takes fresh eyes. Or a nap.

Aaron: Level 6 developer.

Week 5 AKA: The Calm Before the Storm Week.

Week 5 is beautiful. Week 5 is review week. Week 5 is needed. After the weekend cross class project and all the frustration and hours that came with that I was feeling deflated. As is normal, The Iron Yard knows what they are doing and while it wasn’t a light week, it was the week we needed.

Monday we all presented our cross class projects. I am very proud of where my group got. We had hit all the major functions of the site and scrambled together everything in time. It wasn’t the prettiest but it worked 95% the way it should, and 95% is much better than I expected after a terribly frustrating Saturday. We then were taught some advanced CSS using SASS. It’s a nice additional tool in our belt and makes CSS considerably more powerful. We had a fairly small workload Monday night.

Tuesday we were introduced to the mythical world of Bootstrap. To explain Bootstrap I’ll ask you some questions. Have you been to a site that you were like oh wow this is pretty cool? Did that site have a giant header looking thing at the top? Did the Nav Bar/ Buttons/ Tabs look like 50 other sites you’ve seen? Yes? It was probably made with Bootstrap. Bootstrap is a plug and play system used to build a website. It seems impressive at first and very easy. It had a few of us worried as to why anyone would ever hire us with such a simple tool out there. It even has some plug and play JS! So what’s the problem? It’s generic and hard to manipulate if you don’t know the basics, and even then it can become cumbersome to make it stand out from the other Bootstrap sites out there. It is good however for a quick hit if you want to focus on the function over the style. Tuesday our assignment was based in Bootstrap and those lovely API calls from last week.

Wednesday we were introduced to a lovely little lady called Susy. Susy is a simple, no math involved way to make a grid layout. It cleared up any confusion I had about Grid layouts and makes responsive design much easier. It has it’s flaws but I am sure I will use Susy many more times.

Thursday we dove into 2d arrays and manipulating them. Like the rest of the week it wasn’t entirely new information but a new way to look at something. Nothing too terribly complicated. But like I had mentioned, this is the Calm Before the Storm week. Next week as we have been told will be full on learning AngularJS, which I have heard can be a fickle nightmare. We will see.

Friday was graduation for the Python class. The Front-Enders all worked in our classroom on the weekend work. At 2:30 it was Python presentation time for their final projects. A few of us went over and watched to see what we were in for in a few short weeks. It was entertainingand well worth the time. After the demos there was a social hour and I met a guy from a local company looking for Front-End developers. It was nice to see that real world people were interested in Iron Yard grads, and me specifically. I left after about an hour and went back towork more. It should be a fairly chill weekend assuming JS wants to be my friend.

See you soon


Week 5 in review!

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