I’m sitting in my apartment in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter listening to music playing through the speaker on the table beside me, taking the time to write this article as I sip my coffee. This is the first time since last weekend that I’ve been able to relax.

On Monday I started the Ironhack Barcelona full-time Web Development bootcamp along with 21 others. The cohort is a mix of nationalities mostly comprising of Spaniards, with representation from the USA, Germany, Italy, Portugal, France, Philippines, Sweden, and the UK (me). Some of the students come from web development backgrounds, like myself, who want to improve their skills and knowledge, whereas others are contemplating a career change.

Each morning is started with a stand-up where we share with the group how we’re feeling, what we achieved yesterday, what we hope to achieve today, if we submitted a pull request (usually tied to a homework exercise), and if we had any ‘blockers’, or issues that inhibited progress/completion of the exercise.

Following the stand-up we have a kick-off where the teacher and the teaching assistants (TA) go over the agenda for the day. It’s also an opportunity for them to adapt the day’s material to slow the pace (in particular when the group is tired or frustrated), revisit material if we’ve had issues understanding it fully, or to change the agenda if we’d like to cover something different but related to what we’ve already gone over.

This week we’ve covered a range of topics from HTML, CSS and Javascript basics to the more advanced flexbox, Javascript objects and arrays, and agile principles. The days are long. Class starts at 9am and finishes between 6-6.30pm and we’ve had homework each evening which has so far taken me between an hour to 3 hours to complete (I’ve logged 39h 37m of computer time this week!). Whilst you’re not required to complete the homework before the next class, you’ll get more out of the bootcamp if you do as it’s usually putting into practice what you’ve learnt to date, and identify any issues with your understanding of the topic.

I’ve found the more visual exercises more enjoyable and easier so far. It could be because I’m more familiar with HTML and CSS and that I’m more of a visual person. Having been schooled in using floats and clears to position elements on the webpage, I can clearly see the benefit of using flexbox to design layouts. We will cover CSS Grid next week.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing though. Thursday morning I felt tired, deflated and frustrated at not having been able to complete the homework. I was struggling with Javascript objects and arrays. But I wasn’t alone. The teacher and TAs adapted the day’s material to go through the exercise to address any blockers. This has been invaluable as I’ve had numerous questions that has only emerged through trying to apply what I’ve learnt.

We ended Friday with a fun, interactive quiz on what we’ve covered during the week followed by beers, to unwind going into the weekend. I finished this weekend’s exercise earlier, and if you’re interested in seeing how I’m progressing and what I’m learning have a look at my Github profile.

3 comments

Lynda Reply

Sounds intense Scott, good to hear what you’re up to though. 😊 Enjoy!

Jacqueline Banki Reply

Bootcamp is certainly what it sounds like! Challenges will be overcome and you’ll shine like a WD star!

Johnny Raper Reply

Scott! Hello, hello. Sounds like you’ve made a huge decision in moving again, and I hope things really work out – Barcelona is an amazing city from what I remember.

I’m really interested to hear what you’re learning on the course. Flexbox and Grid do have overlaps, although I find myself often defaulting to flexbox as it just seems easier and always allows me to accomplish what I want. Grid is a bit fancier with a bit more of a learning curve, but ultimately is more powerful. As for JavaScript, I hope you’re enjoying the challenges and you’ll pick it up quickly – from what I remember you’ve done a bit of this before (but perhaps not for a long time?)

It would be lovely to see you – I’d love to come to Barcelona as well. How long are you planning to be there? Wishing you every success and good luck to you!

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