Hack Reactor Week 1 Retrospective

Hack Reactor Week 1 Retrospective

Week 1 ... debuggers, closures, data structures, and PAIR PROGRAMMING

Keegan Leary
Keegan Leary

I'm attending the Hack Reactor 12 Week immersive coding bootcamp from 11APR to 8JUL in an effort to develop my programming skills to offer a wider range of services to my clients. The schedule is jam packed with 11 hours of coding content 6 days a week Mon-Sat. I'll be keeping a journal of my experiences with the program here.

It has begun! I'm excited and a bit nervous of course, but once everything actually kicks off it's not so bad. The first two days are spent settling in. We jump right into content but it's stuff we've seem before from pre-course - functional programming and javascript fundamentals with a rewrite of the underscore library. It seems the actual challenge is not in perfecting the code but in adjusting to life as a Hack Reactor student. Between the calendar blocks, Slack rooms, Google Sheets "digital whiteboard", Github submissions, gLearn website, and Zoom meetings, there are a number of places where information is distributed and each has its own process and learning curve.

I'm in a pod with about 30 other students called the "Flamongos" named after "MongoDB" and we received a welcome email last week from our non-technical lead asking us to provide a short intro over email. It's fun to check out everybody's background and there are a number of veterans in my pod as well, including another sub guy. Glad to see others utilizing VA benefits (VR&E and VET TEC). Since Hack Reactor has gone fully remote with their program, the other students are from all over, though most seem to be from Seattle or Los Angeles. Very few  from SF like me. Our cohort has one other pod starting at the same time called the "Flying SQLs" hahahaha. Not sure how much we will be interacting with them.

The other new process to learn is pair programming. Hack Reactor emphasizes pair programming as a way to develop both hard and soft skills and much of our time in the first few weeks will be spent like this. We are randomly paired up with another member of our pod, given a programming assignment and a Zoom breakout room, and left to figure it out with our new friend! I'm skeptical at first, but my first pair session goes just fine and it's not long before I'm given a new partner and new assignment to tackle.

Data structures and data modeling are covered in the second half of week one, which I'm particularly interested in as a means to smartly develop larger programs (I'll still need to get the week 4 database schema content). We spend time building stacks, queues, graphs and hash tables from scratch interspersed with lectures on time complexity analysis and function binding. The keyword this continues to confuse me though I'm already a lot smart on it than I was a week ago.

At the end of the week we reflect how everything in a Google Forms document. I note the following:

  1. Learning a LOT - new debugger tricks especially
  2. Pair programming better than expected.
  3. Want to be more diligent about whiteboarding new problems before diving into the code.
  4. Want to be more diligent about debugging, specifically acting as the interpreter.
  5. Wish there was more explanation of git workflows. It doesn't appear that Hack Reactor will cover this and expects us to figure it out.

There's a ton more to cover but I suppose that will tease itself out in subsequent weeks. Bye for now!

CodingHack Reactor

Keegan Leary

I'm the dude the website is about.