SkaeHub Boot Camp Experience
Having never been to any boot camp before, the SkaeHub boot camp gave me the opportunity to experience it. The boot camp was two weeks and was split into one week of on site learning and the other one was remote learning with each having its pros and cons. The programming language of choice was Python and while I had worked with python before, it was still very new to me.
Half of us went to the boot camp physically the first week while the other half learned remotely and we switched the next week. I was lucky to be in the one that attended the boot camp physically in the first week, lucky because in my opinion, remote learning can be impersonal if you do not know each other well. So we were able to foster a strong team cohesion that made it easier to communicate and work together even when we switched to remote learning. While it was generally easier and faster to communicate with my fellow teammates while we were there physically, we did have to deal with the commute in the morning and evening which was made considerably longer by the many constructions going on in Nairobi and this is where remote learning was very advantageous. One could wake up five minutes to the start of the work day which was 8:30 am, not worry about what to wear that day and start learning.
Each day focused on a different topic and at the start of the day we would individually research on a topic, have a group discussion about what we found and dive into the group task of the day before finally doing the personal assignments of the day. Some days I was able to finish all the personal assignments before 4:00pm, the end of the working day, and other days the work extended late into the night. I did not really mind as this gave the opportunity to learn and practice and when I finished the work before four o’clock I did some code katas on https://www.codewars.com/to enhance my python skills.
Apart from the group and personal assignments, we were told to choose a project from a given list that we would do. I chose to do a Whatsapp scheduler because it looked the most interesting to me and I took the opportunity to apply what I had learned in the boot camp to the project. I had not been applying good programming practices such as planning before coding, writing readme file and writing comments before the boot camp because I never saw the value of them before but I learnt their importance.
I also tried a new development style called Test Driven Development that involves first writing failing tests, then writing code to pass the tests, refactoring the code and finally repeating the cycle for the next functionality. Although it takes longer to develop, you are able to write better code that is sustainable in the long run.
All in all the boot camp was filled with lots of learning that have transformed how I approach problems and made me a better developer although there is still a very long way to go. Plus I was able to make some pretty good friends.