This is the end…

… of MakerSquare, anyway.

Today is “Career Day,” otherwise known as the day we take over Capital Factory for the evening and show off all the great apps we made for our final projects. Within the next couple of days, I will make it a point to post our presentation slides and the screencast of CrossfitHub in action. In the meantime, you should know that Nick, Justin, and I built a terrific app using Rails 4, Postgres, ActiveRecord, Javascript, jQuery, some sweet Ajax goodness (I’m particularly pleased with how comments on a post will appear immediately after being posted, as inspired by Facebook), Firebase, and Foundation with some custom SASS.

Ever since yesterday, when my student spotlight went up on the MakerSquare blog, I’ve been cracking up about having been pegged as “creative with a tech twist,” which I’ve been joking is someone’s polite way of saying, “she’s got purple hair, talks about music a lot, and likes to cut her t-shirts into new and exciting shapes… and we aren’t sure what to say about that.” I would have preferred that they had said “tech with a creative twist,” but looking at what I wrote 11 weeks ago when asked what excites me about being a web developer, I suppose I can see where they got that.

I do see writing good code as an art form, more now than I did even then. And while I can’t draw, paint, or play a note of music (although I am absolutely a karaoke rockstar), I am a “creative type,” especially since I’ve become a web developer. I can come up with an idea for something cool, and iterate over it until it becomes an idea for something I can build, and then get a team together to actually make it (like Lyric Ipsum). I can create it, figure out what parts of it suck or could just be better, and make those improvements. I can join a team, work on someone else’s inspiration, and still contribute in meaningful ways to the project (I chose to work on CrossfitHub not because I’m at all interested in Crossfit, but because I wanted to work with Justin and Nick and build something big and complicated).

Anyway, tomorrow is the real last day here. We’re going to work on polishing up our resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and GitHub accounts, and do some training for technical interviews. I hear there’s going to be BBQ for lunch, and I’m excited about that, too. (By the way — my LinkedIn already looks pretty sweet, hint hint!)

That time I didn’t have time to blog for a few weeks.

Things have been looking up. I’ve become terrible at blogging, but I’m still powering through MakerSquare. Really, I’ve become terrible at blogging in part because I’m still powering through MakerSquare. Understand that when I say “powering through,” I mean it. When I ask questions of my friends who have been developers for a long time, they often express amazement at the level of understanding I must be at to ask the questions I’m asking, for having been doing this for under two months. (Lesson: don’t let Impostor Syndrome get to you… no matter how little you think you know, you’re probably doing just fine.) So when I say that by the end of the day, I’m often too tired to even look at a computer screen, much less write a blog post, that’s a testament to the sheer amount of data my brain is processing.

Anyway. Blogging. I haz it. Here we go:

In week 4, the day after most of us deployed our first ever Sinatra apps up to Heroku, we started out on Rails. Having a framework to create apps in makes life so much easier! Lightbulbs went on over the heads of many in my class as a bunch of “think like a programmer” type logic clicked beautifully into place.

In week 5, we got deep into Backbone.js, and deeper into Rails. Working on learning two MVC pattern syntaxes at once notwithstanding, just having a solid idea of how model-view-controller patterns work makes a lot of other logic make sense. I won’t say I’ve never put Ruby syntax into my Javascript code at the end of a long day, but at least the logic is correct. And, y’know, I eventually notice and fix it. 😉

Week 6 was rough, I’m not going to lie. I had been feeling pretty good up until that point. I’d been taking good care of myself, getting enough sleep, making sure to have a day each week where I didn’t code, and just doing all the things one should do to avoid burnout during a 10-week learning marathon. My energy was high, and I felt like I had a reasonable understanding of most/all of what I was doing in class. And then… I hit burnout anyway. I hit it hard. There may have been tears involved. And by “may have been,” I mean I was crying over my Underscore.js templates in the front room while the amazing @elyseholladay was leading a class on SCSS in the back room. Luckily (although admittedly also embarrassingly), Nick happened to come out and see me losing it. I’m actually pretty decent at Javascript, but in that condition I was no use to anybody, least of all myself. He pointed out what were essentially a couple of dumb typos on my part (lesson: stop freaking out and check your spelling) and then dragged me outside so I could rant some more before I headed home and he headed back to the DevHouse to get some rest.

Thankfully, the next day was a half-day, because of the Austin Startup Crawl. In theory, Nick and I spent that afternoon at a coffee shop to work together on some Rails stuff that was confusing us both in different ways (lesson: different teachers have different teaching styles that will mesh well with different learning styles; find a friend who learns best from a different teacher than you do and teach each other ALL THE THINGS), but mostly, we shared some badly needed decompression time and just goofed off a whole lot.

Anyway. That night, after my shift as the arbiter of sign-ins and drink tickets at MakerSquare’s front door, Nick and I grabbed our homeboy Justin and headed out for some networking (and drinking, for the first time in weeks). Long story short (she said, at the end of this gargantuan post), after that night of loud drunken bonding, the three of us will be working together over the next few weeks on a really terrific final project.

And no, I’m not going to tell you about that project just yet. Tomorrow is the first half of our second hackathon. The guys and I have a pretty sweet minimum viable product planned out, and no way am I going to spoil the surprise before we even start building it. 😉 Stop by next week for details of what we accomplished. I promise I’ll be good about blogging again and post them.

PS – I did finally manage to get in on a SCSS lesson. CSS with math! Sassy, indeed!