Half-time

Halfway through the course now and week 1 feels like a lifetime ago, we have all achieved so much in such a short space of time and grown ever closer. In particular this week as it was our first project week, no workshops, no practicals just diving head first into planning, executing our first full stack applications.

With no actual teaching taking place this week, I had anticipated a relaxed week since we would not be learning new content and just solidifying our existing knowledge, oh how wrong I was. It proved to be an extremely challenging week but also highly satisfying seeing everyones efforts come to fruition before our very eyes.

The project this week was to create a clone of AirBnb with minimum guidance, no walkthroughs to save us this time! No safety net to fall back on if we got stuck, our sink or swim moment had arrived. Balancing everyones expectations, working styles and workload didn’t necessary prove as challenging as we had predicted. We all had a clear vision set out early on in the week with how we were going to tackle this project, so much planning we spent the entire day on Monday doing it. It proved to be time well spent as although we may not have used the trello board or personal goals document much during the week, it helped everyone establish personal/groups goals early on which was invaluable to the harmony and success we achieved.

It definitely wasn’t all plain sailing, it’s bound to be a rollercoaster of a journey when you are placed with 4 other random individuals tackling on your first project with a programming language noone was particularly familiar with. After much planning we split the team down the middle into front-end and back-end. In hindsight perhaps it would have been better to work together initially on the core, controller of the project before expanding into front and back and adding more features along the way. Nevertheless we didn’t experience too many hiccups in joining up our front and back and it all panned out quite well.

A big issue we had early on was deciding on which database to use that would minimise any problems we would encounter as a group. Rather than have a separate offline databases stored on our local machines we found a cloud based solution called ElephantSQL. A new low on the project started with a whole day wasted trying to figure out how to hook the database up to our node.js which is a runtime environment for Javascript to allow it to be run on a server. If only we had read the documentation! The answer was sitting in front of us the entire time and we completely failed to even look in the most logical place, luckily everyone saw the funny side of it all and set our team off. I feel blessed to be stuck with such wonderful and supportive group.

I definitely feel like I’ve learned a lot this week, with so much going on in the project it’s easy to feel lost trying to keep up to speed with where every part of the project is. The pressure of time was also weighing on our shoulders throughout having only a week to complete the task at hand. As everyone was putting in so much work and effort it was starting to have a effect on our concentration and energy levels with them dipping with the finish line in sight.

Overall i’m super pleased with the fruits of our labour, everyone in our team was 100% committed to making the project the best it could be. This project was all about the journey and who you share it with and I can happily say we achieved both successfully. Bring on the second half!!!

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Makers Alumni

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