5 Tips for Incoming Cohorts or: What I wished I had known on my first day of class

By Mark Srethabhakti

With my group project completed and presented and the new cohort starting today, I thought I would take some time to welcome the new class and share some survival tips!

  1. The “Parking structure that’s down the street” in the FAQ is Horton Plaza’s Fruits and Vegetable parking structureIf you are planning on paying for monthly parking enter in through the G street entrance on either 2nd or 3rd street, grab a ticket and after class head to the parking office by entering the garage from 4th street where the cars come in and turning left or by navigating to the 3rd floor of the vegetable side of the garage. They will waive that day’s fee when you sign up. Monthly parking card holders must enter through the 2nd or 3rd street entrances from G street by scanning their card as they enter before they reach the ticket dispenser. Don’t keep taking tickets after you get the card and then go ask them about what you should do with all of the tickets you took over the course of a week. They don’t like that.
  2. Never take G street out of downtown at rush hourI made the mistake of leaving at 5 PM exactly a few times. Never again. G street might as well be a parking lot between the hours of 4:45 and 5:45 PM. If you are trying to reach any of the freeways, there is a shortcut out through the monthly parking entrance through the 3rd floor of the vegetable side that is sometimes available that will put you out on 1st street that you can take all the way to Broadway. From there you can go down Broadway until 11th street for the 163-N and 5-N or 17th street for the 5-S. If you must leave through the G street exits, go straight instead of turning onto G street and turn onto Market from which you can reach the aforementioned cross streets.
  3. Required prework is requiredI joined the summer cohort really late so I had about 5 days to get at least 1,000 points on Treehouse. It was a pain to get through, but  15 hours of videos over the weekend were absolutely vital to surviving the first weeks of class. The required prework is very much required, and if this particular course wasn’t emphasized, I am going to highly recommend that everyone take the HTML/CSS course on Treehouse”How to build a Website – with Nick Pettit”. This particular class is a good introduction to HTML and CSS, the two languages that will form the basic skeleton of all of your projects. Also, if you complete all of the Workspaces exactly as Nick does it, you can pull them up from the video and copy different things that you would like to add to your first assignments. Treehouse is invaluable for working examples of code snippets that you can use with video walkthroughs on what each part of the code actually does so I would really make the most out of the subscription.
  4. Class is not like Treehouse…at all… Google is your friendI think that one of the reasons that Origin requires Treehouse prework is that the classes themselves are nothing like them. If you come into class expecting live versions of Treehouse videos with an instructor in the room, you are going to have a bad time. If you come into class without having done the requisite prework, you are going to have a VERY bad time. Projects will come at you hard and fast and while there are code demos, there will be no full walkthroughs. Thankfully, everything you are about to do has already been done by people with more experience and you can access that information through the power of Google! Type in the name of the technology you are working with (i.e. HTML, Javascript, C# etc.) and what it is you are trying to do or the name of the error message you received and hopefully you will find some tutorials, or stack overflow postings of people who did the exact thing you wanted to do or encountered the same bug. You will leave this class a Grandmaster in Google-Fu.
  5. Everything is “Fun”This course is hard. And why wouldn’t it be? In 3 months we will be joining the ranks of an intensely technical field that people go to college and get 4-year degrees to enter. It’s easy to get caught up in the swirling maelstrom of deadlines and projects and forget that this is a class, and learning is supposed to be fun. You’re not building something that has to go live tomorrow with millions of users. You don’t have 8 different bosses breathing down your neck. Take that pressure off of yourself, and play with the code. Break it, see how it breaks, put it back together and see what amazing things you can build. You’re here to learn, so try to approach each new problem and bug as a challenge to be overcome with a smile, rather than a task that must be grudgingly completed .

It was great meeting the few of you that came to our group project presentation on Friday! If you guys need any help or have any questions, we are just around the corner. Good luck, and have fun!

Never too late to start: 8 weeks at Origin Code Academy

By Mark Srethabhakti

Greetings and salutations! Today marks the end of the 8th week here at Origin Code Academy’s 2016 Summer cohort (Go Fighting Ducklings!). On my very first day, Origin CEO Jeff Winkler walked into the classroom and in between many great tips, recommended that everyone start a blog to document our experiences. Like most great pieces of advice I get, I filed that away under “things that would be cool to do, but I clearly don’t have the time for right now.” That’s not to say I have all of the time in the world right now. Quite the contrary in fact, as heading into the final project, all of the training wheels coming off. It’s a little too late to document my entire journey through Origin, but I figure now is as good a time as any to start reflecting on my time here so far.

First things first, a little background. I am currently a certified Ballroom and Latin dance instructor teaching group and private lessons after I leave the academy most nights and some weekends. My girlfriend actually saw Jeff on TV (on … MSNBC? CNBC? one of the BC’s) being interviewed about his crazy notion to start a code school to get people jobs in San Diego, and when she told me about it, the idea got filed away in the same place Jeff’s blog advice would later go. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later, about 2 weeks before the summer cohort was due to start, that I decided that I might as well see if I can get in. By some stroke of luck, I made it through the admissions process and had a few days to complete as much prework as I possibly could.

When I first started the class, I had taken exactly one C++ coding class approximately 9 years ago in college, and that, combined with the 1,000 points on Team Treehouse that I managed to accumulate the weekend before the first day encompassed my entire coding education. Yesterday, my classmates and I put together a full-stack web application that does pretty much what we intended it to do… minus a few things that we had to drop to make the deadline. If you had told me 3 months ago that I would be doing this right now, I would have laughed in your face. My time here so far has been an exciting string of new challenges every day, and while there have been many frustrating, hairpullingly difficult tasks, I can’t wait to solve the next seemingly impossible problem. It’s been a grueling 8 weeks here at Origin Code Academy, and all I can say right now is “Bring it on!”

Origin coding bootcamp San Diego

Is it acceptable to cry in class?

By: Zak Dietzen

In my last blog post I mentioned it being the hardest week yet. Well, this week surpassed that 10 fold. I really feel lost currently but I am excited to say that we wont be learning anymore new concepts or languages. This gives me a chance to go back and read over everything and study it more.

We started learning front end this week. We took a few older projects and built a front end for them. I really felt like I struggled with the new materiel because I knew nothing about JavaScript, CSS, and HTML before this week. We moved on from C# and started working with the above tools. Right when I felt like I was understanding the C# I get thrown a curve ball. It hasn’t been all to bad though. Being thrown into the deep end teaches you how to swim, or sink if you just give up. This is the first time I felt like I was getting completely left behind/lost. Instead of sinking though, I’ve been reading, watching videos, and doing tutorials online to understand JavaScript and HTML. I am struggling still with time management now that I have to learn these new tools and still try and get all my projects done for class. There just isn’t enough time in the day.

A really fun project we worked on this week was our “Movie Nerd” application. We used knockout.js and bootstrap to create a responsive webpage that scales to different size screens.Movie Nerd Screenshot We called a movie database API that returned information on whatever movie the user input. This project was my first time working with JavaScript and my first time with knockout,js and bootstrap. Both of those tools were extremely useful and interesting to learn but also took a lot of my time. I had to read up on all the documentation, watch videos, and do the tutorials on their site to try and understand what I was doing.

Another project that we worked on this week was our BigBank API and making it a full stack application. We were to build the front end and use knockout.js and bootstrap again. This has been by far the most difficult task to date in the class. I’ve been coding away for the past 3 days non stop and still have yet to get the project finished. Whenever you think you get close to being finished you find out you are nowhere close. There is always something to add or fix and it seems to be never ending. It is encouraging that I am only a month into learning this and have been able to complete mostly all of my projects.

Thursday night we had a MeetUp at the Evo Nexus building and wow what a turnout! Ever seat in the place had a body in it. We went over some JavaScript and learned what it does. We checked out a few awesome websites from the 90’s that had no/very little JavaScript. Needless to say that was a blast from the past! It is really incredible how far the web has come from its beginning stages. We also had a guest speaker, Nick Head, he is the Director of Software Development at HireAHelper.com, come and speak to us. He gave us some valuable information for Jr Devs on hiring, tools they use, and some great sources like blogs and podcasts. I love being able to have access to all these Developers and CTO’s every week.

That’s enough blogging for now though. I have to wipe the tears from my eyes and jump back into the gauntlet! Time to get in the zone and bust out some code! Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Check back in next week as always.