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Axel's experience report #7

26th September 2018

axel Web Development erfahrungsbericht Erfahrungen
Axel wants to become a Digital Nomad - and that's why he decided to attend a bootcamp as a Web Developer!

UX design, React, Redux, unit testing, integration testing, Agile

What's up

My name is Axel, I am 32 years old and I am on my way to becoming a digital nomad. I decided to join a bootcamp at neue fische after a long lead time and self-study. How it came about, what experiences I've had so far in the field of web development and what lessons I've learned from them, I'll share with you here step by step.

It's almost done - now we have two months of coding input behind us. Eat, sleep, code, repeat. The web developer bootcamp from neue fische had it all. We learned HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Bootstrap, React, Redux, Git, GitHub and node.js, tools like WebBack or Babel and many more tools and technologies. Also, towards the end, while working on our digital journeyman piece, we have the opportunity to participate in a 30-hour top-up course on Java with Spring Boot. 

The final topics in weeks seven and eight were once again tough as nails and quite energy-sapping. If you think a bootcamp like this is a piece of cake, you're sorely mistaken. We all went to our limits. Fortunately, we have a great team in which we always support each other. And luckily we have Jerry and Dalia, who always support us with advice, action and motivation. In the following I will tell you what we have been up to.

Every web developer should also be a bit of a designer.

At least that's my idea of a good web developer. It's important to know what makes a good UX (user experience), what shapes and colors work together, what tools designers work with, and what image formats there are. I think these are basic areas where you should be able to have a say. If you don't come to the bootcamp with this prior knowledge, it doesn't matter. Because these topics are also covered in the bootcamp at neue fische. We had a full day of basic color theory on the schedule, learned about different tools for image editing (vector and pixel graphics), and also talked about good UX design. 

 React and Redux? Wow, wow, wow! Another big hurdle....

We all had to jump that one. More or less, it throws out or extends some previously learned concepts. React is a very popular frontend framework developed by Facebook. A so-called view engine, it's standardized for modern web development these days, alongside Vue.js and Angular. React is component-based and relies on object-oriented programming with JavaScript. It is possible for us to realize so-called one-page web applications with React. This means that we only have one HTML page in which we render our components to the right place at the right time without generating a reload of the website. Technically, I could write a whole novel about React and the state management tool Redux. But I don't want to bore you too much with technical bells and whistles. But what I want to tell you: React is simply great and in my opinion should not be missing in any developer's skillset. Once you understand the principle of view engines and state management, it's a piece of cake to learn other frontend frameworks like Vue.js. You must never stop learning. But you also have to be careful not to waste your time jumping straight into the latest technology hype. It's better to wait and see if a technology has proven itself. Only then should you approach it slowly. If you take every hype in your stride, you probably won't have written a line of code at the end of the day because you were only busy learning.

Testing is uncool, but damn important! 

Wow, we thought we were so far through with the biggest issues when Head Coach Jerry came up with testing. I imagine no one likes to test their code. Unfortunately, when we talk about testing, we're not talking about WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), "I click a button and see what happens" testing. Rather, it's about writing more code that makes use of different testing libraries. So we write more code to test our actual code. 
There are so-called unit tests and integration tests. With unit tests, we write test functions for our individual functions, and with integration tests, we can test entire sequences of functions that interact with each other. When an app gets more complex and contains many thousands of lines of code later on, testing can be pretty darn important. With these techniques, we then always know where and when our code stops working, without having to go through different sections of a website ourselves first. Because even here, the errors are not always immediately obvious.

Before the digital capstone project comes project management

Agile is the keyword. The most popular and well-known agile methods are Scrum and Kanban. Scrum originated in the field of software development and Kanban originally comes from the automotive industry. However, Kanban is nowadays used in almost every industry to enable an agile way of working. Both methods follow nothing less than the Lean or MVP (Minimum Viable Product) approach: "Develop a product as lean and minimal as possible, go to market with your MVP and test your product on real users who will develop the product together with you." With this method, you only develop features that are really needed. This saves time, money and resources.

We are developers, we are problem solvers.

The moment we've been working toward for so long is right around the corner: our final project, the digital journeyman piece. We have a whole month to apply what we've learned to our own project. We are all very excited because it is the first step of independent programming. We get our first taste of what it must be like to work as developers in the big world of the tech industry. 

Dalia and Jerry are of course there for us during this time as well. The goal of the whole thing is to act autonomously, to solve questions and problems on our own and with the help of Google Skills or in a team. Because we are developers, problem solvers.
I'm already a bit sad because I know that the exhausting but very nice time at neue fische will soon be over. For me it means to swim out of the pond of neue fische into the open sea!
But before that you will hear from me again.

Your Axel

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