The Future and JavaScript

 Week Five at Enspiral Dev Academy

Day 29 of EDA finally arrived and this was the start of the highly anticipated “JavaScript Week.” For more than a few of us, we had identified this as what we were most looking forward to in our time here at EDA, so it was safe to say expectations were high. I don’t know why I looked forward to it so much. I’m not saying that it wasn’t worthy of the anticipation, but I really knew nothing about JavaScript - just that it was currently the cool kid on the block and I suppose like others, I wanted in.

 It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen

Well it was actually mid June, but as far as I can recall it may have been a sunny day. The clocks were striking 1.45pm, and more relevantly 8.45am. This was the start of JAVASCRIPT WEEK. Sorry for screaming, but looking forward to something is a really bizarre sensation for me. I don’t really do surprises and have been known to bring forward small things like Christmas or Birthday celebrations due to despising anticipation. That said, I knew I was just going to have to wait for this one.

And it was well worth the wait…

We were introduced the the land of JS through what else but pirates. With only a small amount of code the Admiral EDA was sailing along the seven screens right before our eyes. There were murmurs of “what is this black magic?” I now knew why I was so excited for JavaScript week. We were about to become wizards.

 But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought

I launched into my first JS challenge with pure excitement. I was lucky enough to be working on this one with Mike who knew the JS ropes pretty well. This meant that we progressed through it pretty quickly as well as me being able to ask 101 questions to make sure to get a good foundation of understanding.

Although I was enjoying myself I couldn’t help feeling a little dirty. The challenge we were working on was a repeat of a phase one Ruby challenge but with a JS spin. I almost felt as though I was cheating on my first love. Everything in JS was exciting and new and oh so beautiful. My Ruby Racer really couldn’t compare to the JS equivalent I had just built, and in half the time. I’m not saying I’m now on #teamJS, but I guess I now realise more now why it doesn’t really matter what language you start out on as there is a best application for every one. And I also now appreciate Ruby even more as it’s kind syntax allowed me a flatter learning curve than I would have had otherwise.

 He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past

Tuesday and Wednesday rushed past as we steadily familiarised ourselves with more JS syntax, concepts and general ideas. We also explored JQuery (as it is kind of hard to avoid with JS) and dove head first into ajax. It was on Wednesday that I really felt out of my depth. I guess it was a mixture of mid-week-meltdown and the sheer amount of information that I’d been cramming into my head this week but I had to take a step back to slow things down and recover some concepts to get a better grasp on them. Once I had revisited these core JS concepts I felt a lot better about moving on and things that I had previously been stressing about were now (for lack of a better word) easy.

This was the first time I’d really felt out of control of my learning here at EDA. I started doubting myself and my abilities which isn’t a nice feeling. Once I realised that it was just due to being on the cliffs-edge of my comfort zone and not actually correlated to ability I was alright. We tend to push and push and push ourselves here, always moving forward, always progressing towards our goals and desired outcomes. Sometimes we just need a reminder that in revisiting past learnings we can discover a better faster path to that end goal.

 A lunatic is just a minority of one

We’re all a little bit crazy here. You have to be don’t you? To sign up for the inaugural cohort to a nine week course that will launch you into a new career?

I’ve started to realise how amazing my cohort really is this week. I couldn’t have asked for a more inspiring bunch of individuals to go through such an experience with. Everyone is so different and because of that we have such a rich environment to learn in, oozing diverse experiences and varied personalities. Everyday I’m surprised, mystified, humbled and usually (if Yosan is around) chuckling about something hilarious.

Then I went a little meta on things and wondered whether it was a coincidence that the first cohort was full of brilliant individuals. I concluded that in fact it was not. Here is the academic report of my findings:

  1. We’ve got to be at least slightly risk loving to sign up
  2. We all seem to love learning and personal development
  3. Everyone is here for the right reasons

My results are full and conclusive and research is statistically backed (this may or may not be true).

 In the face of pain there are no heroes

The week wrapped up like most other weeks do, with a two day project. The only difference this week was the way the groups were allocated. Two things differed this week. Typically the Sharpies and Rubiests were segregated and secondly those with prior technical experience were usually distributed amongst all the groups. This week my group consisted of three rubiests and one sharpie, none of whom had a solid technical foundation before coming in here. At first I was like wow and then I was like wow.

The two days were my best here at EDA. I can’t explain how much I learnt and how incredible the environment was to learn in. Everyone was supportive and inclusive and by the end of it we knocked out a brilliant game of Connect Four. I was so proud of what we achieved in such a short amount of time and seemingly from being on the back foot. I also believe a lot of the others in the cohort could see how beneficial the experience was for us and hope for a similar experience of their own.

 Closing Thoughts

I hate semi colons.


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