Week 5 @ HackerYou

So I’ve fallen a bit behind on my blogging since the beginning of the summer but I’m going to try and change that, starting today. I took the train back from Toronto this morning (6:30am!) and I am struggling to get back in the mindset of coding. For the last month, my Accounting and Finance exams were always sitting at the back of my mind, even if I wasn’t fully studying. Today starts my month of code devotion. Devotion because I want to eat, sleep and breathe code for the next few weeks to that it seeps into my mind.

Challenges to code devotion

1. Frustration– It is hard to be  fully satisfied if there is no struggle but too much struggle can be a major hindrance to my personal growth. When I feel like I’m drowning under my load of work or learning new concepts, I will take a deep breath, walk 5 steps away from my computer, get a drink, then come back.

2. Pressure– I hate to sound like I’ve got a defeatist’s attitude but I’m not fully satisfied that I have accomplished anything with my little life so far. Yes, I’ve had jobs and I have felt fulfilled but I have never really created anything from start to finish. I need to keep the end goal in sight but not kill myself with expectations.

3. Partying– It is pretty tempting to be in a new city with all new people and stop myself from going out all the time. That being said, I’m not really here to meet people, that is just a happy accident. But if the people I am meeting here are not in the same mind frame, I’m going to have to sick it up and be a granny. Early to bed, early to rise.

4. Foggy End-goal–I want to finish something. Get on making your plans now

My First Week @ Hacker You

** Thursday, July 4th

Ok… so I should probably be working on making an application to generate the famed lyrics of 99 Bottles of Beer on the wall through github but I think my mind is about to explode.

Today is the third day here at Shopify and I will definitely say I know more now than I did when I started, I am just waiting for my “Ah Ha” moment when it all makes sense. I’m sure it is on its way.

At first I felt like I really needed to have my hand held for fear of breaking something. Today was the first day that I was able to successfully trouble shoot all by my self. On the verge of calling for help during the “Ruby in 100 Minutes” tutorial, I figured things out.

**Picked up today, Friday July 5th @ 2:07 PM

Today we’ve worked in teams, Teacher + Student based on how strong we felt thus far with the content. I have been working with Ron and Jeff and they have brought me way more up to speed. I can actually see being able to do this by myself one day.

Onwards and upwards.

I was a little doubtful the first few days that I would really be able to build a working app by the end of the summer but I think that my knowledge is on track.

Tonight I’m heading out to dinner with a client from work who is the Administrator for a LTC/Hospital in Ottawa. He and I worked very closely while I was the implementation coordinator at MEDe-care to standardizing the installation process for the Diversicare chain along with translation of the French product. He has a huge following in the LTC industry in Ontario and I think he will be a great resource while I’m specing out my product requirements.

Because that is the step I’m at– I can see the programming knowledge falling into place but I don’t want to drive this car if I don’t have a map. From school, the most emphasized parts of the development process was always the design and analysis, steps which must occur before the actual coding. I would like to dedicate some time this weekend and next week to diagramming the program I would like to build so that I am very specific with my Classes>Attributes>Methods. I’m scared I will leave something out in the beginning and be screwed at the end so the drawings are my only way around it.

Another benefit of my diagraming will be for me to really see this project from start- to finish through the whole design process.


I can’t wait to see how it all turns out

See below for my fancy diagram of the processes….

ITM 305 Homework 1

Where do I see myself at the end of the summer?

It has become very normal for me to spend a weekend every 3-4 months thinking about my future and trying to decide if I’m on the right track. There always seem to be the same triggers for these weekends. Either I have done something very bad, or something I’m proud of. Without these pushes to the extremes, I’m quite content bobbing through the days.

On the verge of a summer not like any I have experienced thus far, I am proud to say that I’ve spent the weekend fantasizing of all the places I’ll go. And I don’t mean locations.

So here are a few things I have learned about myself in the last few years

  1. I am a terrible student in the “normal” sense, if I’m not interested good luck getting the knowledge in BUT– if I’m interested, there are no limits to my obsession
  2. I love helping people fix problems
  3. I put lots of value on physical/ technical skills– things that take commitment to learn
  4. I only feel like I’ve accomplished something if at one point or another it made me uncomfortable (beyond my limits)

To my future self (yes, you little one)

I’ve got lots of plans for you. I want you to learn as much as you possibly can this summer and truly develop a skill. I hope you feel strong, and accomplished and fulfilled. I hope you struggled beyond anything you’ve ever been through and I hope you really have something to show for it.

They say to become a master at something, you need to dedicate at least 20,000 hours to it. By the end of the summer, you will have spent about 300 hours learning the basics for Ruby Development. Please remember, 300 hours does not make you an expert. You are not finished yet. I expect you to feel like this world is just opening up for you.

The things I hope you spent time on include:

  • Social Media improvements, you’d better know how to use twitter– maybe you’ll even like it
  • Professional branding, what is the value that we (You+Me+I)  have to offer?
  • Technical skills– did you get a good understanding of….?
    • Ruby
    • Ruby on Rails (MVC patterns, testing, AJAX, caching, profiling, etc.)
    • UNIX (command-line / terminal stuff)
    • SQL
    • Git
    • JavaScript
    • jQuery
    • LAYERS!!!!!!!
  • Integrating Healthcare– did you visit your contacts in Ottawa? Did you open your eRecords books? Can you picture a model that  will make jobs easier for home care


Normally I map my life out in 5-10 year increments, I think this course may be a major, defining step for my 20’s. I’ve talked about wanting to work in IT and Systems Architecture but to this point there is little I have done outside of work/school that gives me the skills to really accomplish it. Don’t give up.