Monday, 8 December 2014

Day 1

So, I have finished my first day at Makers… I had been waiting for this day for the last four months.

In case you don’t know what Makers is, it’s a start up company called Makers Academy and are currently based in Old Street, however Makers will be relocating to brand new offices near Spitalfields next week.

Makers Academy is a Web Developing bootcamp, in 12 weeks…  Yes… 12 WEEKS…  they can provide you with the tools to create web and mobile applications. They do not teach you, they merely facilitate your learning process so that once the twelve weeks is up, you will be equipped to tackle any challenges within the industry.  The standout feature is the Makers culture. 

Having visited the offices on a number of occasions before starting my course, I can only describe Makers as like... Everyone is so excited to be there, everyone is… Everywhere… There are people on bean bags, people practicing yoga, people meditating, groups congregating and talking about projects, pairs working together, people playing table tennis… and they all have one common feature… A huge smile beaming across their faces.

However, for me, it hasn’t been plain sailing getting to today…  

I embarked upon a career break in November 2014, and I have been trying to teach myself the Command Line, Git & GitHub and Ruby ever since. There have been days when I look at the computer screen and have no idea as to what anything means. There have been times when my chest has constricted my breathing and anxiety has set in. There have been numerous times when I have thought about going back to my secure old job and giving up this dream of a new life.  

So what has kept me going?

Well… There have been some great days, when I understand small bits of programming… I call them “small wins”… As my old Rugby coach used to say, the great Latham Tawhai… “The one percenters”… If you win the “one percenters” then you will win the game.

I have also had some great support and encouragement… She will hate me for mentioning her, but my Penguin… Sally McCutchion… She has been an inspiration, and is my foundation of support.
My dream is to create something to make a difference in the world. Technology can enhance our lives, technology has the capabilities to enhance global consciousness and create a better world.   

This is why I want to code.

So a bit about me…

I graduated from university with no clear direction as to what I really wanted to do. I had an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience with no idea for what I was going to use it for.  I had decided that Academia was not for me.

The Police were recruiting and offered a diverse job description that appealed on many levels. The different types of jobs available within the Police service is incredible, you can work in one area for 4 – 6 years and then change to do something else.

I really enjoyed working with some of the people in the Metropolitan Police. There are some amazing people within the service who do their work for the right reasons and I am proud to say I have worked with them. There are too many to mention on here.

The decision to leave and try something completely new, something which I am an absolute novice and had never even read any books about, was a huge decision. I had been thinking about leaving the Police for two years. I could not find anything that I thought I could be suitable for and I did not believe my skills that I had gathered in the Police were transferrable anywhere else.

So, fortunately for me, I met Jordan Poulton through his brother, he told me about Makers and after doing a lot of research, I decided to make the leap of faith and applied.

I seem to remember submitting the application at 1.30am having returned home from a long day at work. I was invited for an interview so I contacted Makers for some advice. I started my Ruby journey by reading “Learn to Program” by Chris Pine.

The interview was fun and relaxed… some general questions about me, why I wanted to do the course. Then some questions about the Ruby language before finishing with some games to explore how our minds operated and to see whether I was suitable for the course.

A few days later, I received confirmation that I had been selected. Great news!!! I chose to join the December 2014 cohort.

Four and a half months later, here I am… Having completed my first day at Makers.

Day 1 – At the Makers Academy…

Today was a meet and greet with everyone fine tuning their Mac’s. We spent the day working through our pre-course challenges and having a one-to-one with a coach, working through the challenges and earning our “badges”.

The morning lecture was from Sam Joseph, Director of Education, who touched upon “Agile Process” and the layers of Web applications.

The afternoon meeting took care of all house keeping matters and blew away all the expectations that a student may have arrived with.

The message for us is that it is for us to take as much out of the course as we can, and not for the course to give to us what we want. A proactive learning environment where you will learn if you seek, with a great support network around you who will guide you and facilitate you so that you will find the answer yourself. A very powerful message and I know now what is expected of me. 

So… I know what the next 14 weeks will hold for me (this includes a two week Christmas break for which I am extremely thankful)…

Friends, family… if you try to contact me, please be warned - I will not be available until Friday 20th March 2015…

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