@gSchool Week 1

What a week! Following months of anticipation, we finally started programming bootcamp as gSchool’s first Boulder cohort. There are 26 students consisting of 12 women and 14 men. We range from having four months self-taught coding experience to years of experience as front-end developers. A few of the students are graduates of shorter programming bootcamps.  There are engineers (chemical and nuclear), a lawyer, several musicians, a waitress, a fitness club owner and a Tibetan translator. Rumor has it that we range in age from 24 to 55. Despite our diversity, we’re unified by a tremendous sense of excitement at being a part of gSchool.  Our enthusiasm is driven by the support and encouragement provided by the teachers Mike Gehard and Jeff Dean.

In the first week alone, we’ve touched on Command Line,  Developer Workflow, Git, Github and Heroku, Test-Driven Development, Ruby, Pivotal Tracker, Basic HTML site deploy and pushing apps into production. Meanwhile, one whole day was spent doing Improv (yes, theater improv… as a very successful first-day Ice Breaker tool) and we also squeezed in a Happy Hour on Friday afternoon. The pace has been tremendous, but not overwhelming (again, largely credited to Mike and Jeff’s teaching style and the sense of cohesiveness among the students).

Considering myself on a lower rung of the cohort’s knowledge-base, I’ve been studying long hours trying to keep abreast of the staggering amount of material covered in class. The phrase that comes to mind is ‘struggling… but not drowning’. Earlier this year, I read Chad Fowler’s book The Passionate Programmer. He devotes a chapter to the topic ‘Be the Worst’. The idea is that if you’re the worst programmer in the room, you’ll always code with people who are better than you. He intimates that an instinctual herd behavior takes over and helps raise your ability to the group’s level. That thought brings me comfort as I struggle with basic concepts around Git and Developer Workflow.

Another effort on my part is to expose as much of my ignorance as possible. Bringing light to the parts that would normally remain hidden ultimately will help me be a better programmer. In the meantime, I’m a squeaky wheel begging for grease and study assistance from more knowledgeable classmates. Hopefully, I’ll grow out of this awkward stage and be able to offer them assistance further into the course.

Time for bed, but I’ll post some pictures of the Galvanize gSchool space in Denver for those who might be interested. These first four photos may give a sense as to the size of the first floor open space. Included is a bar, a small cafe and plenty of tables and counters for techies to mingle while relaxing or working on coding projects:GalvanizeBarConvo




These last two photos were taken in the classroom leading up to Friday’s Happy Hour (note the anticipatory beer):



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5 Responses to @gSchool Week 1

  1. Josh says:

    Thanks for posting your experiences at gSchool. I’ll keep reading. I am looking hard at RefactorU right now, which is what brought me by. Good luck,

  2. Thanks, Josh. I really liked Sean and only heard praise about the head teacher Raine Lourie. As it was put to me, “Raine Lourie is an absolutely incredible teacher. Two people in this cohort had previously taken other bootcamps–dev bootcamp and hacker square– and both claim that Raine truly has a gift for teaching code.”

    If you haven’t come across it yet, Brian Hedberg (Twitter: @hedburglar) blogged a little about his experiences at RefactorU (http://gemfarm.blogspot.com). He very kindly answered many of my questions.

    So that you can make a completely informed decision, there is another bootcamp opening, Turing School (Twitter: turingschool) in Denver, CO. The founder Jeff Casimir (Twitter: j3) also co-founded the first programming bootcamp Hungry Academy and then gSchool.

    Thank you for commenting and I hope you’re able to get into the bootcamp of your choice.

    • Josh says:

      Wow, great info. I read Brian’s blog. I think a lot of bootcamp students start out with the best of intentions to write about the experience. However, the extreme amount of learning in a condensed time frame seems to get the better of them. You might have a better shot with gSchool since the course is 6 months long.

      It’s funny how everyone has different challenges regarding education. I have a great job with a good company already. I want to increase my development skills mostly for personal improvement, and options going forward. The huge issue for me is that taking time off for bootcamp will cost me vastly more than the tuition. It’s a nice problem to have, but when the end result is not growing like you want….

  3. Jenny Knuth says:

    Hi Peggy, I am in the process of applying to gSchool and Kate Vovk sent me to your blog, which I am currently reading—and enjoying immensely! I too am in the middle of a mid-life career change. I have to second the recommendation for Raine Lourie. I took classes at BDA with him and he was fabulous. Nice to see his name pop up again.

  4. Hi Jenny, I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the blog and that you are in touch with Kate… she’s a really nice person! Thumbs up for Raine… I’ve never met him but consistently have heard really good things about his teaching style.

    If you’re in the Boulder area and ever want to talk about gSchool, let me know and we can chat over coffee/tea.

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