Yesterday marked the beginning of gSchool for myself and 25 comrades. We were thrown into the fire on Monday with a full day of improv provdied by The Improv Effect. It was a great way to start things off. Although I felt resistant to having to act, and was really eager to start coding right away, the activities really helped me to get to know my new classmates. I’m pretty sure I learned every single name, and got a taste of everyone’s personality.
Today, we finally got to sink our teeth into some code. We spent the morning going over the procedures we’d be following, and listening to Jeff Casimir (the principal of Jumpstart Lab and of the program) tell stories about the history of himself, and of Ruby and the Ruby community. I was really interested in the “Pomodoro Method” that we’re using: 25 minutes of work time spent on a single task, followed by a 5 minute break in which you do something completely different. I think it’s great since people’s attention spans are so short - they told me adults maxed out at about 20 minutes when I was in Education training. Besides, it’s good for us to get up and move around. I used pomodoros for the rest of the day.
In the afternoon, I had my first pair programming experience with classmate Rolen Le. It was a lot of fun. I also found it really challenging, because I’ve gotten so used to writing code on my own in the last five months as I’ve been preparing to start gSchool. We worked on the Event Manager tutorial and got through everything but the iterations. We decided to do everything via GitHub and switch off, which went great until we discovered we didn’t really know how to use forking and pull requests! We figured out how to merge branches, though, so at least we each have a repo with the updated code in it.
We were also using Screen Hero to do screen sharing. I think that app will come in very helpful in the future if I have to collaborate with someone remotely (since I am commuting and have to leave early each day). Earlier, I also discovered Quicksilver, when one of my classmates was trying to figure out if there was a keyboard shortcut for Terminal in OS X. Answer: no, but you can create one with Automator and Keyboard Shortcuts in System Preferences. However, Quicksilver does the same thing much more easily, and can do the same for any other program you use often, with ease.
All in all, it was an awesome day of discoveries: Pomodoro, pairing, merging branches on Github, Screen Hero, Quicksilver. Not bad for the first day of actual coding.