Programming out of my parents basement

Programming out of my parents basement

The hiring week is well over, and a bit of a disappointment. No one in my class was offered a job. We are still waiting for a few companies to say if they are offering follow-up interviews – fingers crossed.

I ended up moving back into my in my parent’s basement – a step down from my brother’s couch in Toronto. My brother got engaged last Tuesday and I figure it would be nice to give him some space to start a new life. Also I don’t think my efforts to hustle for a job will be fruitful right now.

I realized from the last meet-up I attended that people may be reluctant to hire a junior developer. It is risky to hire someone who requires a lot of training and may end up leaving for another opportunity after they have some experience. At this time I believe the best thing I can do is being able to hit the ground running and prove I can be an invaluable member of a team. With my previous experience as a web-dev, a consultant, certified as a project manager, and educated in computer science, I believe I just need to prove I can be a decent mobile dev.

The barrier of entry for a mobile app developer is fairly low compares to other jobs. After a few apps in the App Store and the capability to write clean code would make a person appear capable enough to bring them in for an interview.

I am going to focus on getting a few solid apps in the App Store. I already have the lead with the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition to build them an app, and I’m sure I can figure out a few other fun apps that can be App Store ready.

This is a time for self-reflection and hard work. I have the bug in me to get myself established in the industry and I’m not going to let this hurtle of working out of my parents basement slow me down. Hopefully it will only be a for a few weeks.

 

Final Presentation and Next Steps

Final Presentation and Next Steps

It’s the morning after the final presentation – nothing changed but everything changed.

Today is the first day we moved our computers from out of the “Classroom” and into the “General Work Space”.

I’ve had many conversations with my brother how changing a person’s work-space can have effect on their emotional state. A desk is like a home, and an upheaval of a person work space is can reconstruct the way they perceive their environment.

It seems appropriate for a day like today.

Up until this point, my time at BitMaker has focus been primarily focused on enhancing technical skills, suddenly it has turned 180 with the focus on business savvy to get jobs. Our day to day will be focused on prepping for interviews and build our portfolio. A little scary because there is no definite end to this period of our careers.

I woke up this morning driven by improving my portfolio. I would love pair programming opportunities and am willing to share my already half built programs. Alas, interview prep is equally important.

Last night, during the final presentations, my app experienced a memory issue during the demonstration. It wasn’t a memory fault issue due to a nil reference because I know that would cause a crash.  The issue behaved more like the app was processing incredibly slow. Off the top of my head I believe it was the hardware, since it was downgraded recently before the presentation. I want to investigate the software using the profile template tools in Xcode to get a deeper understanding of the memory demands.

Of course this cannot change the impression I gave in my a final presentation – yeah technology.

I learned many valuable lessons last night.  I was most surprised at how many people reacted to the mishaps and said I kept my composure well.  I ended up getting a few cards and some interest, so it wasn’t too bad in the end.

Few Days Left…

Few Days Left…

It’s the Friday before the big final “Meet your Makers” presentation on Jan 12th 2016. About 8:22am, and no one is in the office. Excellent time to write a blog post eh?

I’ve been seeing people a lot more people I the Lab in the late hours of the night. I always appreciate seeing people hustle, even though they decided to do it last minute.  Better late than never.

I’m in a funny place because my app is pretty much complete. The best use of my time is now polishing my presentation. I see other groups hustling and almost scrambling to get things done at this point, I realize all those long days are paying off.

Of course the opposite could be said, I’ve always gotten the short end of the teacher support. Obviously the teachers need to help students who “are not getting it”, instead of entertaining my edge cases and digging deeper into the advanced subjects. It is hurtful because I did pay the same amount of money as everyone else but the students who didn’t work as hard end up getting more support. I’m going to chalk this up to one of those burdens of being at the top.

With all this free time now, I am focusing on other aspects of my life here in Toronto. My hashtag #vagabond is getting me some twitter traffic which is cool. I am looking into events around town I want to attend, like Now’s free showing of Scott Pilgrim, the Andy Warhol exhibition at the Bell TIFF Lightbox, and my artist friend’s independent hipster showcase (Casual Drone 14). I am also entertaining the idea of participating in the No Pants Subway Ride and Dance Party. That last one may be a bit tabu, but it would be fun to turn a couple heads.

As of Wednesday next week the bootcamp will line us up with interviews. I started my interview prep early – being ahead of the curve. Part of me feels kinda desperate that I won’t find a job, which drives me extra hard to secure one. I know that 90% of acquiring the job with be my connections, and BitMaker is providing me with those connections. Hopefully next week will turn out to be fruitful and then we will have reason to celebrate.

The Holidays are Over

The Holidays are Over

Now that the holidays are over, I’ve never seen the BitMaker labs so busy at this late of an hour. January 4th, and everyone is back at the lab cramming their last bit of work before the final presentations on the 12th.

I made my way back to Toronto because I really don’t have anywhere else to call home. My parents place isn’t conducive to work since they don’t want me to setup my desk. Sleeping on couches has become normal as I bounced around amongst different friends over the holidays.

At this time everyone in the cohort is working either on final functionality, fixing up the UI, or preparing resumes and cover letters for hiring week. I feel confident with all the extra work I’ve been doing over the break that I will be breezing through this final wrap-up week. Mainly focus on my online presence and my portfolio projects.

Looking forward to having a job and finding a place to call home.

Finally Finished BitMaker

Finally Finished BitMaker

Week 9 completed.
9 gruelling weeks of immersive coding – I regret nothing.

I occasionally make the joke that it was an intense vacation and now I have came back to real life – since I am now going back home to my old job and taking care of my sick mother.

I see haven’t made a journal entry for a few weeks. I was trying so hard to make journaling my experience at BitMaker and in Toronto a regular thing. When things got intense this journalling went on the back burner.

In the end of 9 weeks, it is impressive what we are capable of. Seeing there was one student in the course that had no programming experience and is now a capable junior developer. I also saw myself gain the confidence and excitement about diving into technology, which wasn’t there before.

We had our final presentations on Friday, and everyone’s presentations looked amazing. Our class is constantly being reminded that we are the strongest Mobile Development cohort to come out of BitMaker labs.

Now, the holidays, is a time to reflect and polish off my skills. In the new year we’ll be hosting demonstration and begin our hiring week. Very exciting.

Working on the Weekend

Working on the Weekend

Four weeks into the bootcamp and this is the first weekend I’m spending in BitMaker’s Lab.

To be honest, lots of life has kept getting in the way and it seemed easier to work from home. Thinking that I dropped everything to be in this bootcamp, it is still a challenge for me to coordinate with life to be able to work from the lab.

Even prior to arriving, I was running around the apartment cleaning and getting things settled. I told myself to arrive before PM to ensure I get a solid day of work in. All this maintaince of life and health to be able to be in a bootcamp.

Well, life is never easy but it sure is fulfilling.

This week I had a few networking opportunities. One with a Tacow on Tuesday an independent iOS developer group who are definitely at the cutting edge of technology.  On Wednesday I attended a Swift Hack Night with my mobile dev cohort. They both were great opportunities to make few new friends.

Classes have been solid, as we are now learning to use APIs and using the phone’s MapKit. Considering what we can now build four weeks in, it is impressive. BitMaker has given us the tools to build solid apps. I am curious how remaining weeks will make us employable.

A group of the students from my cohort are planning on meeting up this Sunday. It’ll be our first iteration of being a regular study group. This week we are going to do presentations to each other on subject mater we found interesting. I figure I’ll talk about Agile Project Management and being a ScrumMaster since I have a ridiculous amount of experience on the subject. It was a topic overlooked earlier in the semester for what the professors deemed more interesting technical subjects.

Well today I intend to work on practicing muscle memory and cleaning up my GitHub account. Better get started.

Restless Ambition

Restless Ambition

Toronto is restless. The city never sleeps, with people busily going on with their business in all hours of the night. I’ve been walking around Bay street during my lunch hours and that has redefined money for me. People on the subway are not your friends with everyone in a rush to get to where they are trying to go. I am trying to make it, while I sleep in a living room on a air mattress with holes in it.

I just finished my third week of my BitMaker Bootcamp, and I am able to make an iPhone App that is able to load photos from a Flickr gallery and use gesture controls like Tinder. The entire class is progressing faster than the teachers expected but I am learning Meteor on the side to make myself stand out above the crowd.

All this learning and sleepless nights I decided to go back to my home town for the weekend. A large bed to sleep on a warm food made by my family, it was a great way to recharge. I also got to visit friends and talk about the comparison of Guelph to Toronto. Our conversations remind me of the pay it forward culture of small cities and how this is only prominent in certain subculture of Toronto.

After a nights romp through the city, I am reminded of how small it is. How the politics and drama exist here as well. How people are trying to make it and most people are just lax about the ambitions.

It is Sunday now and I am packing up to go back into Toronto. I am ready for more restless nights and looking forward to the challenge.