My Approach Towards Project Weeks…

Photo by Blake Connally on Unsplash

I’m currently attending an immersive software engineering bootcamp at the Flatiron school in NYC. Due to covid-19 the program is fully remote. My cohort and I started July 13th of 2020. The program is structured over five modules of three weeks each, and each module builds up on one another.

On week two of each module, we have a code challenge which helps both students and instructors assess the level of understanding of each student, and also give feedback on areas that need improvement. The challenge is often preceded by a mock challenge to prepare us on what we can expect for the actual challenge. I find it very helpful.

The third week of each module is dedicated to building up a project, either solo or in pairs. The project is a representation of all the material learned in that module, and also the previous modules since they build up on one another.

In this post, I will be talking about the phases I go through before, during, and after a project.

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Before The Project Week…

I always start the project wondering if I’ve learned enough materials in order for me to be able to work on a project.

Thinking about what idea to build can be very stressful. I spend an eternity trying to figure out what to come up with. After finding one, my brain start thinking about why I shouldn’t do it, instead of the opposite. That leads me to another hunt for new ideas.

After settling for one I start wondering if I will be working solo, or with a partner. After putting so much thought into coming up with the idea I’m afraid the idea isn’t good enough if I’m pairing, so I start thinking about a second just in case. My other resource is praying my partner comes up with a better, and more interesting idea.

Then comes project ideation. We have to put a pitch together for our instructors and await their approval before we can actually start coding. Best case scenario, you get approved form the first trial, with some minor comments about things to keep in mind. Worst for me is to not get approved, meaning we must come up with a better pitch, or sometimes a complete different Idea.

During The Project Week…

After the ideation and approval, the excitement takes place. I start visualizing how I want the project to function, and how i would like for it to look. That period is often filled with positivity. Saying things like “We got this!!!”.

Half a day in and it turns into…

For a moment I start questioning what am I trying to do, and why did we or I chose to work on this topic. Then I realize I can’t go back to a new idea because the time won’t allow it, but also I might just end up at the same spot with the new project. Only one way, push through it and get it to work.

After a day or two, I start feeling better, still encountering some little bugs that need to be squashed. But over all, things start clicking together. The last two days are usually spent on refactoring, and styling.

Finally comes the time to sit back and admire the fruit of our work.

After The Project Week…

It’s finally time to present and receive feedback from our instructors and cohort mates. These usually go really good because we all know how we started and the struggles we faced together to get where we are.

As mentioned earlier, before starting I get cold feet about my knowledge of the material. Sometime during, and once the project done, I realize that I actually know a bit more than I would give myself credit for. Pretty great feeling. It keeps me motivated in the learning process.

Summary…

To sum it up, the idea of project weeks, and coming up with a project can be intimidating at times, but the one thing we should allow ourselves to do is go through the process and try and enjoy every bit of struggle we encounter. The end product is pretty great, but enjoying the process that get us there will make it way more rewarding. I know it’s easier said than done, but we should at least try to enjoy it.

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