PD 4 Jnr Devs

learn-to-code

After about six months at Flick Electric Co. and then working on my blog post about Webstock I started to wonder about what I was going to do about my professional development in my new career. This got me thinking about how do graduates / juniors who aren’t working in a big company like Xero, Trade Me or Powershop continue there learning?

Are there courses people do? How  do people continue learning? What type of support are people getting from their employers? What do people do to keep up their own learning?

WHAT I DO…

Online Courses 

Before and while I was studying at Enspiral Dev Academy I enjoyed using Treehouse and occasionally Codecdemy. There are courses on Treehouse and Code School that I would like to take but with working full time and not wanting to spend all my non-work time coding I can’t justify the cost as it would probably take me a few months to complete a course (you pay monthly).

What I have done though is pay for a React for Beginners course by Wes Bos. This allows me to not only stream but also download videos, which I then can complete in my own time. I like this as I can stop and start as I please and I won’t lose any money!

Are there online courses or face to face courses that you have used/attended? Are there courses you recommend?

Attend Meetups

I am a member of a number of meet up groups. EDA has run a number of meet ups and I have found RailsNoobs really good.

RailsNoobs have pretty regular events and with a talk/presentation for everyone and then a break out for an intro to Rails and others can do other coding they are interested in. The people that run this are well organised and enthusiastic.

The other main two that have semi-regular meet ups that I attend are WellRailed: Wellington’s Ruby on Rails Community Group and Node.js Wellington.

There was a great presentation at the RailsNoobs meet up by Raquel Moss – Continuing your learning as a post-beginner programmer (a 3 part series). I think it is a must read for any new developer / programmer (no matter what age) who has finished their training and is making the next step into the working world.

What meet ups do you attend? Are there other groups you have found useful?

Make Stuff

Start making stuff, even if you never finish some of them. I have started working on a couple of ideas. One is a karate site of terminology which I am making in Rails. Some ideas of where it will go are making it into a quiz; adding JS to the frontend (vanilla and then a framework; improving styling. I am also adding things I want to do to the issues in the repo. Karate repo / site

Don’t be scared about putting your code up on GitHub, it is a way for others to see what you are up to and a way to get help as well. I would also recommended having a crack at getting some sites/apps set up on Heroku or similar..

What are you making? Do you have any recommendations for projects for new programmers?

Goal / Aim

I decided before I got my job at Flick Electric that I would consider the next couple of years as kind of an apprenticeship and work on trying to do something code related for around four hours a week outside of work. Whether this be going to a meet up or doing coding on one of my projects. This has been flexible, in that I don’t berate myself if I do none, but it has also been really good to have a aim to do coding away from work.

Do you have goals/aims?

Today I Learnt

Awhile ago I also started a repo called TID/TID – Today I Did / Today I Learnt. I was having a crisis of how to record things I was learning when coding (at work and outside of work). I was thinking about doing short blog posts about things like errors, however getting to my blog site wasn’t immediate enough. I asked the world of Slack (EDA and Ruby NZ) and found out about the concept of Today I Learnt (a couple of examples https://github.com/jbranchaud/til, https://github.com/thoughtbot/til).

Mine is a bit different as I have added Today I Did. I thought this would be a good way to have a record on things I have worked on. Although it is a bit difficult with not being able to be very clear about things due to not telling the world what I am doing at work.

The Today I Learnt is a collection of snippets to do with everything from Ruby on Rails, to Postgresql errors and MacBook shortcuts.

I have found recording things useful as just the act of typing notes helps me embed that learning. And it gives me a great resource to search when I have forgotten how to do something, or a similar error occurs.

In what ways do you embed your own learning?

Ownership

At Flick Electric, the whole company has gone through a performance review recently and from this my manager and I came up with some goals for the next six to 12 months. With being part of a tech team in a small company, where there are about six developers, the onus will be on me to be active on achieving my goals. This will involve  finding opportunities inside and outside of work. This, I think, is quite different to big companies where training and development programmes are in place and I would imagine developers have clear milestones they have to meet.

How are you taking ownership of your own learning and professional development?

Other thoughts

Join channels on Slack – I belong to RubyNZ, JavaScriptNZ, RailsNoobs, WebDev Meetup to name a few.

I have chatted with some people who have talked about working on open source projects as a way to code and learn. I haven’t looked into this at all yet. Have you? Where would someone start with this?

Questions???

What courses have you done? Recommend?

What support are you getting from your employer?  What support do you get from other programmers? Colleagues? Is pair programming part of your teams ethos?

How are you continuing your own learning?

Are there online courses or face to face courses that you have used/attended? Are there courses you recommend?

What meet ups do you attend? Are there other groups you have found useful?

What are you making? Do you have any recommendations for projects for new programmers?

How are you taking ownership of your own learning and professional development?

If you work in a large company, what is the professional development like for you? What are you getting out of it?

Employers, how are you providing professional development for your new developers?

I would love to hear your thoughts!

WDCNZ – a bit late!

WDCNZ happened on 23 July 2015 and I was luckily enough to get a ticket through Summer of Tech.

It was my first conference / event in the tech / developer world and I was quite excited after reading about all the speakers.Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 3.11.17 PM

It was pretty amazing having so many international speakers with such varied topics. The ones that stood out for me were:
Push notifications for fun and profitby  Monica Dinculescu. I liked the use of Chrome for generating notifications and see that Facebook have recently got this going with Chrome (unless it wasn’t so recently cos I don’t get onto things as quickly as others). The example site that Monica set up was this one – https://caturday-post.herokuapp.com/ – what is it with developers and cats?! I love cats and it has actually made me laugh lots when I had notifications on and was getting cute cats. Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 3.21.49 PMNothing better than a good old chuckle!

Is Your Code Too Solid? by Sarah Mei. Great speaker. She gave the talk in such a way that even a newbie like me was able to understand it. Great use of images and metaphors. I have already tried to use some of SOLID in the coding I have been doing at work.

 

Another one that I found really interested was HTML5 Web Forms by Estelle Weyl

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 3.27.19 PMI have  wanted to get back and have a good look at this as there is a lot that I do not know about forms and how to get things down with HTML & CSS that I probably would have thought you had to use JavaScript for.

 

Other talks that I went to were:
Consequences of an Insightful Algorithm by Carina C. Zona, thought provoking.

Walking the fuzzy line between design and development by Amanda Dorrell, interesting.

Automating the real world: an evolution in web development by James Macfie, touches on my work.

Ones I wished I had got too and need to make the time to watch the videos:

Revenge of the ORMs – Why SQL skills matter in 2015 by Megan Bowra-Dean. Was able to see a version of this talk at a Wellrailed meet up!

React Tips and Tricks by Vimal Jobanputra

And Joyful Web with Ruby on Rails and  Troubleshooting Node.js – What to do when things go wrong.

I think the next weekend when there is no surf, I’m too tired to go to karate and the weather is absolute shit and my wife is away I might have to have a WDCZN session!

Oh and thanks to Sam, Cara and others that kept me company during the day!

Half way through Phase 2 @ EDA Bootcamp

This is a very quick post as Phase 2 of Enspiral Dev Academy is really full on, madly busy.

In week 4 (week 1 of Phase 2) covered:

Testing, Simple Web Applications, and Github: In week 4, we cover Rspec, Sinatra, ActiveRecord, HTML, CSS, and Heroku. Your primary objective is to feel confident that you can create simple web applications on a team and on your own, test them, and get them hosted on the Internet for your friends and loved ones to see.

Feeling good with Sinatra as I am working on the first personal project, which is using Sinatra, Ruby and ActiveRecord (and HTML/CSS) to make a shopping cart. I didn’t think I really knew what I was doing but after talking with a teacher and a couple of teaching assistants about how to approach it, I have really surprised myself. I have a shopping cart that can display all the orders for a particular user. Yay!

Although I haven’t done any testing yet and need to add some more functionally. But that important thing is that I have learnt more than I have realised and that I can do this!

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 10.06.19 pm

Looking forward to spending more time on getting deployment working. We deployed our group project – EDA Face Cards – but isn’t working on Heroku properly. We are really happy with the design of the site. I did this with another group member in a few hours on the second day of the project. They are two day projects at the moment.

The first personal project is due on Wednesday and then we get given the next two! Which I think are due the following Wednesday – madly busy! But on what fun!

Community connections

Tim Harford, Digital Technologies teacher at Wellington Girls’ College – making industry connections!

Digital Technologist

This is a description of the process I/we’ve gone through in the last 6 months to build relationships with a bunch of local tech companies, relationships that benefit our students in a range of ways.

Why?

For 2015 a personal goal has been to make links with local tech businesses. There’s three main reasons we started this journey:

Seeing how this stuff they’re learning is used in The Real World

Hearing it from the teacher is one thing, hearing it from someone who does it every day is another. It makes everything so much more [here comes a currently trending education buzzword] authentic for the students. When we’re looking at programming, hear from some programmers. When we’re doing some web development, visit some web developers. As it turns out if you’re discussing big ideas like responsive design or accessibility, there are people out there who love this stuff and are more than happy to…

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JS Visualisation: Online Python Tutor – Visualise Python, Java and JavaScript code!!

Exicting! I have just started the course on JavaScript Loops Arrays and Objects on Treehouse and in the video “Simplify Repetitive Tasks with Loops” they are stepping through a random number while loop.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 7.25.08 pm

This reminded me about the Online Python Visualiser that I was introduced to during a uni paper I took last year –  http://www.pythontutor.com/http://www.pythontutor.com/visualize.html#mode=edit.

So, I searched for JavaScript visualiser to find that the online python tutor has the ability to run Java code and JavaScript code!! I am excited about this as I found it very useful in understanding some code and worked out some problems using it as well.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 7.34.29 pm

Plus, you can add in code and then either share the link or embed it. One thing I had to change though was I was writing out the random number to the web page with document.write but this throw an error in the visualiser, so changed it to console.log and this then meant the program output worked.

I can see this being useful for some stuff but perhaps not big things!

Moving the ‘un-moveable’ teacher

Great post, I need to work on understanding teachers who don’t love technology as much as me! thanks

EDUWELLS

i4S GAFESUMMIT

Google Inspired

I’ve just had the pleasure of presenting at the EdTechTeam’s Google For Education Summit and it was an excellent event. NZ Educators came away inspired and full to bursting with new Google tricks and tips that will change the way students across New Zealand learn. I had a great time meeting EdTechTeam and must give a big thanks to Mark Wagner & Kim Randall for their generosity in letting me present (especially given my Twitter name & blog 🙂

I picked up many great new tips and tricks which I will implement  in my classroom immediately. I pointed out to many people I spoke to that although the device I use and help people with is the iPad, the main eco-system I use is Google. It is only Google apps and services that will effortlessly deal with all media types and integrate and publish them as single products.

The presenters…

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Blended learning using Code Avengers and W3CSchools

Really like this idea. Could be really useful for Level 1 as students will be coming in with little prior knowledge.

edwin bruce, teacher

images

I have decided to try a range of blended learning strategies in the classroom, experimenting with a Year 10 class learning HTML5 and CSS3.  Blended learning is a mixture of online learning (done at own pace) and classroom instruction/facilitation.

Code Avengers designed for Level 1 is generally very successful with students, they move at their own pace and I can check progress. I also have the ability to establish usernames and change passwords. HOWEVER for some students this is too challenging (it can be a little pedantic when working out if a student is correct in their coding) especially those with English as a second language. For those students that find it too hard I am getting them to attempt the W3CSchools tutorials.

If I can get the mix correct then students can work at their own pace and if they skip a few classes they can catch up in…

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