One Word to Describe Lambda School’s Curriculum: Intense

What We’ve Learned So Far

It has been more than a week since we started studying in Lambda School and tons of things have already happened. That is to say, we have already learned loads of stuff.  Here are some of the topics we’ve covered so far:

  • User Interface
  • Inheritance
  • Specificity
  • The Box Model
  • Flexbox
  • Responsive Web Design
  • Fixed vs fluid vs adaptive vs responsive design
  • Web Tools
  • UI Frameworks
  • Preprocessors
  • LESS
  • Bootstrap

Over two months ago, before we joined the mini bootcamp, we didn’t even know what in the world Git was, or what the difference was between that and GitHub. We didn’t even know what terminals and text editors were.

Now, we use all of those things — GitHub, GitBash, VS Code, and many others — every single day. They have become so easy and unintimidating to use because those tools have become part of our daily routine. And we already have at least a working knowledge of User Interface and Responsive Design, as well as Web Tools and UI Frameworks. We still have a long way to go to become good frontend web developers, but if you’ll ask us right now to create a decent website that is responsive across laptops, tablets, and smartphones, we’d be able to do it. Crazy, right? And to think that we’re total newbies at this. We’ve only just begun.

Intense

Here’s what our typical day at Lambda looks like:

8am to 9am             —  Code Challenge
9am to 11am           —  Live lecture/instruction
11am to 12pm        —  Lunch
12pm to 4pm          —  Project/ pair-programming
4pm to 5pm            — Open queue
5pm onwards         — Team standup

Lambda School is based in California, so their time zone is PST. Philippine Time is ahead by 15 hours, so that means we start our classes at 11 in the evening and end at 8 the following day. We’ve rented a tiny office in a co-working space not very far from our house so we could eliminate all our distractions, focus on our studies, and avail of high-speed Internet. What we’ve realized is that it’s not enough to just spend 8 or 9 hours a day to learn the material we have at Lambda. You actually need to study and code for as many hours as possible. So we actually go to our office 3 or 4 hours before our class starts just so we could review our previous lessons and get acquainted with the topic for the day. After class, we’d stay in the office for 2 to 3 hours more just so we could read and code a bit. So, on average, we spend around 15 hours daily for study and coding. For example, we are still at the office right now. We came here last night at around 7 or 8. It’s currently 10:30 in the morning, so we’ve been here for more than 14 hours.

laptop01

I can barely keep my eyes open while I’m typing this. Web development, and in general programming, is hard. It takes a lot of energy and effort to learn. It requires long hours of sustained, uninterrupted concentration and work. But it’s rewarding. There’s something fascinating and exhilarating about creating intangible products (which websites, web apps, and software are). The process is also intellectually fulfilling because it requires the solution of mental problems or puzzles. And we have this “itch” to always be at our computers to type away codes at our keyboards.

Scratching the Surface

Of course, we’ve only been scratching the surface these past few days. Next week, we’ll be studying JavaScript (and that fills me with dread); after that, the lessons will only become more difficult and challenging. But there’s one important thing I’ve learned so far, and that is to just trust the process and push on even if things don’t make a lot of sense in the beginning, because in the end they will (make sense).

We’ve hardly had enough sleep this week, but this is nothing compared to last week. Last week, we only had a total of 8-10 hours of sleep, because a lot of things converged and occurred simultaneously: our kids’ activity-loaded literary week (we enjoyed our time with our kids, but that meant not sleeping), our preparations for a cousin’s wedding in Manila, our trip to that city, and our attending the wedding. Instead of reviewing past lessons and preparing for the coming topics, we spent the entire weekend with family and friends. We have no complaints, though, for we had a fun and memorable time, but that meant time away from the computer and our studies.

 

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