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Web development for higher education

No Turning Back: A Journey through Montana Code School

By | 2017-12-05

With a large amount of experience and self-study under my belt, I was ready to commit to finally getting the full exposure of modern web development with Montana Code School. Discover what I learned and view the projects my teams created.

My previous history included years of working as a front-end developer in higher education. It was hard to know what I’d get out of a 12-week bootcamp, but with a large amount of experience and self-study under my belt, I was ready to commit to finally getting the full exposure of modern web development. With 11 weeks behind me and only one week left, I wanted to share the journey so far.

Overview

As we all gathered around for introductions and the course layout as described on our first day together, my cohort and I were introduced to many concepts. These included Agile methodologies, expectations and the warning that we might reach the desert of despair. (Did we laugh at that then?)

It’s impossible not to learn while being surrounded by code and developing projects 40 hours a week

Learning Through Teaching

When asked about my experience, I have to admit I’m amazed with how enthused I’ve become with explaining concepts to fellow students–nothing helps reinforce learning faster than teaching others. We’re all struggling to keep up with all the ideas and implementations, but as we continue developing applications we are becoming more familiar and comfortable.

Always Be Coding

The primary thing I hear fellow developers suggest is to continue coding. Many note that a code school graduate has a beautiful grid of consecutive productive days on Github, and then their repositories are abandoned, falling off into an abyss of white. If you want to keep honing your skills and shine among your peers, keep developing projects or contributing to other project’s you are interested in. This October, Digital Ocean hosted another Hacktoberfest which includes a number of Github repositories specifically tagged to help newbies become proficient at updating others’ projects. Keep an eye out for this annual event if you’re looking to get started!

I cannot promise that future classes will offer cookies and amazing coffee, but it’s impossible not to learn while being surrounded by code and developing projects 40 hours a week!

Resources and Inspiration


Projects

Timeline Overview

  • Week 1: Review agile concepts, set up class guidelines, expectations and share resources
  • Weeks 2-3: Introduce Github, review JavaScript and practice challenges
  • Week 4: Create a group app using user stories, mockups and MERN with the Spotify API
  • Weeks 5-7: Work on a team project–the Yellowstone Odyssey: set up Trello tasks, work with National Park and Weather API, implement Semantic UI and work hard to understand how the front-end (React components) communicates with the back-end (the server), group presentations
  • Week 8: Review, introduction to relational databases (PostgreSQL), completed freeCodeCamp Recipe App and independent study
  • Weeks 9-12: Work on second team project–Coffee Pot Pi: outline project setup, features and user stories; set up Tello tasks, learn how to interact with Raspberry Pi using Python, create React and React Native programs, group presentations.

Project 1: Happy Songs

Our rough first effort at creating an app with signup and login functionality. Calls the Spotify API and receives an Auth token in order to view a Spotify Playlist with options to play songs. Play counts are saved.

Project 2: Yellowstone Odyssey

Using beautiful imagery and interactive quizzes, the app provides a source for learning facts and trivia about Yellowstone National Park and its sights.

Technologies: React, Express, Node, MongoDB, SemanticUI, Weather API, National Park API

Project 3: Coffee Pot Pi

Solving the problem of how much coffee to make! Utilizing React and React Native front-ends, communicate with a Raspberry Pi LED display. Let your co-workers know how much coffee you want, so when they brew a pot, they know exactly how much to make!

Technologies: React, React Native, Raspberry Pi, Python, Express, Node, PostgreSQL, Nodemailer, Material Design, SVG

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