What a Journey!
Well, it seems like I just began this journey yesterday, but today is my last official day of coursework at Lambda School. In the time since I started in February (on my birthday, nonetheless), I’ve come a long way as a developer, both in technical skills as well as soft skills. I knew that I could learn to code on my own before joining Lambda, but the structure, relationships, and opportunities have made the experience more than worth the income share agreement that I will hopefully begin repaying soon as I join the workforce as a paid iOS Developer.
One of the great benefits of attending Lambda was the opportunity to take on the role of being a Team Lead (TL), which along with offering modest pay, allowed me to grow and develop mentoring and leadership skills. I had the opportunity to lead after-hours sessions on various topics, guiding a group of students through small projects in 1-2 hour sessions. One of the instructors I worked with also had me fill in for him several times to do review sessions with the students. I discovered that despite my initial nerves, I enjoy teaching in a live setting, and would love to continue to do so in the future as circumstances allow.
Another benefit to becoming a TL was that I met a great friend, fellow TL Michael McGrath. Learning to code on your own can be quite isolating, and Lambda has the benefit of bringing you together with people from a wide variety of places and backgrounds. While Michael and I have very different backgrounds, we hit it off pretty quickly. From the start, we have helped each other learn and grow, especially as we went through the Computer Science portion of Lambda together.
Michael is an amazing TL who goes above and beyond to help his students, even when not on the clock. He is also an excellent developer, who is constantly digging in to learn new things and is always excited about code. It’s crazy to think how far he has come from not writing a single line of code before Lambda School! You can check out his LinkedIn profile here. If you are looking for a dedicated developer to add to your team, he’s your guy!
Over the past two months, I have been working on a project for the non-profit Eco-Soap Bank along with fellow teammates Jon Bash and Christopher DeVito. Eco-Soap Bank partners with hotels and other organizations to recycle lightly used soap bars and distribute them to people in disadvantaged countries. I was excited from the start to be working with such an amazing organization. It has been a great learning experience and I am so proud of the app that we put together! It was our first time building an app on this scale, and there were many learning opportunities, both technical and interpersonal.
Here is a partial list of some technical aspects I gained experience with through Labs:
- GraphQL networking (using only URLSession)
- Animating table view and collection view cells
- Custom date decoding
- Dynamic Type
- Dark mode
- The coordinator pattern
As I mentioned, this was also a great opportunity to work together and learn how to communicate and work through difficulties to deliver a professional quality app for a very worthy cause. From merge conflicts to slight disagreements, we had our share of hurdles as a team. However, I tried my best to take these as moments to learn, grow, and help prepare me as I look to find a role as an iOS developer working on a team soon. If you get the chance, take a look at our GitHub repo which has more information about this project.
Eco-Soap Bank iOS Demo:
As I should have more available time coming up shortly, I would like to resume writing on my blog more frequently. I have some things that I learned throughout Lambda and Labs that I would like to share in upcoming blog posts and possibly even videos.
I also want to spend some more time doing what musicians would call “woodshedding”, aka honing my skills. I will be diving more regularly into some programming books that I have purchased, and as well as sharpening my problem-solving skills with some code challenges.
Finally, I will also continue pursuing job opportunities and hopefully soon join a team as a full-time developer, which of course I will share news of on this blog. While I do experience slight “imposter syndrome”, I am confident that I have found my niche in being a developer.
In reality, I found my niche as a developer long ago, when in fifth grade I gave a presentation on how to build a web page in HTML. However, that presentation resulted in me being made fun of for “shaking like a leaf” by my classmates, and earning a failing grade because my teacher wasn’t tech-savvy enough to understand what I was presenting.
Twenty years later, I am confident in my abilities and can present in front of a group of people without being a nervous wreck. In contrast to my fifth-grade teacher, whom I disliked, I had amazing teachers at Lambda, including Spencer Curtis, Ben Gohlke, Dimitri Bouniol, and Paul Solt. And now I’m looking forward to the next twenty years where I can constantly learn, grow, and improve in this profession that I love!