Northcoders Bootcamp: Weeks 7–8… Projects, Projects, Projects

Aaaand we’re back, back, back, back again to detail the magical mid-point of this wonderful journey I call the Northcoders Bootcamp!

Having successfully survived the initial 2 weeks of backend, we dove head first into our first project! Ahh! Starting in pairs, we had the challenge of constructing an API from scratch to mimic something along the lines of Reddit. Such fun! We would be putting everything we had learned so far on the course into practice and had an entire week to focus solely on this mega spring! Exciting? I think so!

I spent the initial few days in a pair to get the basics down and the initial set up of everything. Who knew seeding a database would be so hard! Honestly, we expected the practice from the week before would have given us enough to run with but let me tell you, it wasn’t as easy as it looked! Though after some ‘simple’ data manipulation we got over our initial issues and got the database running! (Both the development one, and the test one, obviously). After then spending a while setting up our routers, controllers, models and everything else we finally got going with the sprint and after an initial few hickups we successfully managed the first endpoint! That huge sigh of relief we felt when we finally retrieved that first data set from the database, it was amazing!

After a fun couple of days with Harry, it was time to bid farewell and set off on our own API journeys. This was the exciting bit because to date we’d never had 3 full days on our own to get our teeth properly stuck into 1 sprint, it was so exciting! Obviously we had help on hand as usual should we need it, but I had really been looking forward to this moment. Don’t get me wrong I’d really loved working on the project initially in a pair, but there’s nothing like getting your hands dirty in the code testing things out and playing around with it seeing what works and what doesn’t on your own! Needless to say it was a tricky few days ahead but I soldiered through and got through the majority of the endpoints we’d been suggested to cover. Little did we know, we would be building the backend of the project this week, and then the frontend half in another few weeks so that we could join these both together for one full stack project. It’s a very exciting time!

This first proper project week was a great experience I really enjoyed and it has certainly made me excited for future projects and also the eventual workplace! Being able to build something and end up with a tangible product was giving a new sense of meaning to what we were learning!

Having rounded our project week with some constructive feedback on my code and my direction with the project from a tutor, I was thoroughly exhausted but so pleased with what I’d built in a relatively short amount of time!

Week 8 then cheekily popped around the corner after the bank holiday…. Careers Week! A slight change of pace considering the last 7 weeks have been CODE, CODE, CODE! A week with the dedicated Careers Team to focus on how we might eventually land a job role, with time dedicated to CVs, our online brand, our portfolios and a special mention to tech tests! Besides CVs, these were all relatively new concepts to me having come from financial services. Luckily, being a child of the internet I had been creating an online brand for roughly 10 years through the multitudes of social media I’m prescribed to nowadays. It was interesting to see how this would all now play such a different role in my future. Historically I’d seen the internet as a place for a breather and now it was a place I had to really consider a route for employment!

Luckily, we had a large amount of time this week to focus on the variety of areas just mentioned. Between CV editing, finishing the backend project, LinkedIn profile pruning and portfolio building, there was suddenly a lot to do! I must admit though, the opportunity to just sit and focus on these things this week was really appreciated. I’d grown fond of the daily lectures and paired programming but beyond 10:30am most days this week I finally had a chance to just sit on my laptop and work my way through this ever-growing list of jobs which I actually quite appreciated. I like a bit of alone time once in a while. Especially being given the chance to dabble in some HTML and CSS to start constructing some sort of portfolio. I’d been really excited to approach the frontend portion of the course and so this little taster was a really enjoyable snippet of what is to come.

Overall, the week allowed me to really put in perspective what was soon to be happening. I am now over halfway through the bootcamp with a short 6 weeks left until graduation and being unleashed into the bit wide world! Am I scared? Nah. Am I ready? Definitely not! Am I excited? Of course! 3 weeks of frontend and then 3 weeks of projects! It’s a lot to do in a relatively short amount of time but it’s so exciting to know how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go, and now getting to the stage where we can showcase our talents and skills is awesome!

As I write this, I have realised just how many things I do want to work on now things are getting a little more real! And I have a feeling that the perfectionist in me could be tweaking the HTML and CSS in my current projects for a while yet! So if you don’t mind, I’ll leave it there for now. See you in 2 weeks for my the details of my frontend escapades!

A young, aspiring Software Developer taking a leap into the unknown and documenting the journey, among other things!