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Sebastians experience report #1

29th May 2019

Erfahrungsbericht München Web Development
Sebastian quit his job as product manager and reports "live" from his web development bootcamp

The right move!

I became aware of the neue fische Web Developer Bootcamp thanks to the "On the Way to New Work" podcast with founder Dalia Das. I was familiar with the basics of web development through my work as a digital product manager, but with the exception of a few small private "projects" - a bit of floating labels here, a Snake game there - I had no programming experience worth mentioning.

After eight weeks of intensive bootcamp, I can state: 

  • Bootcamp is exhausting.

  • Programming means solving problems.

  • I love to solve problems.

My personal interim conclusion: The step from Munich to Hamburg and from "PM" to "IT" was the right one for me!

A lot of input - and a lot of coding myself!

After two months of lessons and countless small and large individual and team tasks, we are moving inexorably towards the final project: our digital journeyman's piece. Time flew by. And no, after eight weeks you're not one hundred percent convinced you've mastered the digital journeyman piece, your own app.

My tip for the first weeks of bootcamp: Don't worry unnecessarily about the topic of the project! The final project is always in the back of your mind or lunch table conversation anyway, so don't worry: you won't forget it ;-) I deliberately took my time to first learn the tools needed for the project and to find out where my interests and strengths lie.

Programming means solving problems

Even though eight weeks seems very short, we got to know the core subject areas both in the frontend (HTML, CSS, JS, React) and backend (node, mongo, express) and also used them in small projects ready to go. Another important insight I took away from the numerous projects and many thousands of lines of code over the last weeks: Programming means to break down a big problem into many smaller sub-problems. Then you set about the task of solving them using the wealth of experience available (known design patterns), research (there are countless very good sources and a very active community) and sometimes a bit of trial-and-error.

My final digital project = interests + strengths + advice from coach.

But most importantly, the digital journeyman piece is a deepening of what we've learned. We know what options and technologies are available to us, what "best practices" and "clean code" are, and how and where to find help. We had preliminary conversations with our head coaches about the motivation, content, and direction of our final project. StackOverflow can help figure out how to write a useEffect hook. Less than a week before the start of the journeyman piece, I began concrete project planning: what are the minimum requirements for my product? What are the dependencies? What should the frontend look like? Which technologies do I want and should I use?

For us inexperienced developers, however, it is still difficult to estimate what we can realistically implement and create in four weeks of project work. It was therefore - once again - very valuable to be able to draw on the wealth of experience of our head coaches Christian and Jerry. In preparation for the interview, I drew the first screens (wireframes) of my app on a DIN-A4 sheet of paper, as well as the minimum requirements and the core technologies and applications used in the development.

 What I am writing now will be incomprehensible to many without experience in web development. Why I write it anyway? It shows how an amazing amount can be learned in two months. 

I will use React to write the frontend part (view) of the app, I will style with styled-components, I will retrieve data via an open application programming interface (API) and then store it prepared in a database. 

And in the end I want to create a time tracking app that helps sports enthusiastic developers to find their "sports code balance". How much time do I spend programming, how much sport do I do, and is it more this week than last week? These are all questions I want my app to answer.

As a [user], I want [], so that []

The next step on the way there: In the first sprint, the foundations are laid: For the backend, the data is retrieved from an external source and in the frontend, the start page of the app with start-stop timer is to be built. To make this a reality, I'm now getting down to writing my user stories. As a former product manager, I know how to do this - and you'll soon find out how my digital journeyman's piece is progressing here! 

Background pattern

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