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This is The Iron Yard

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The Iron Yard - Orlando, FL

It's now been 2 weeks at the Iron Yard, the academy whose program is designed to take someone from zero to a hero in programming concepts in only 3 months. After 2 weeks, I'm no where near a hero - however, I can say with confidence that I know a hell of a lot more than I knew before. 

What sorts of things have I learned you might ask? Well. I'd love to tell you; it just may make me feel like I have some slight inclination of what is going on - haha.


Github

Getting funky during morning standup routine

A large part of what we've learned has been navigating and using Github. This source control tool, or similar ones, are used heavily in the tech industry to ensure that changes to code are taken incrementally without damaging the "master" code; this is done by using "branches". Branches allow a developer to "branch" off the main code, or create a duplicate, and then implement changes to that main code independently, without affecting the original master branch. A "pull request" with these changes can then be reviewed by someone before "merging" the branch into the "master", thereby effectively eliminating or gainfully avoiding damage to the main code. For example, could you imagine hundreds of people making changes to Facebook without this system of checks and balances? The site would be constantly unstable, crashing, and unusable. Therefore, this is an extremely powerful and important tool for developers.


Xcode

Iron Pints every friday

Xcode is a program written by Apple which provides developers (or people writing applications in code) an easy and all-inclusive tool which guides and enables the handling of complex code and compiling of iOS applications.

Swift

The Iron Yard Orlando

Being completely new to programming and diving head first into a programming language in general is like jumping into a pool without hands or feet. In order to breath you have to gradually figure out how to keep your head above the water but sometimes... you just feel like giving up because you naturally sink and you just don't know enough to be able to keep yourself afloat. This is why The Iron Yard strongly encourages the Growth vs Fixed Mindset; to show you that you can learn anything...depending on your mindset. I'll provide a link to that here. 

In any case, Swift is a unique programming language specifically used to program iOS applications. You can try an introduction to Swift here and see what you think yourself.


The Storyboard

Ping Pong - this is serious.

In Xcode this is the place where the actual layout of the app is built. The code then creates the functionality of the layout. You could liken the Storyboard to a car's design, and the code to the engine and all the different pieces that make it operate. The Storyboard is a challenge in it of itself, but it's nothing compared to the actual programming portion.


Logic

I'd say this has been the trickiest part of the two weeks so far. I know two weeks is a short amount of time, but when you want something really bad it's hard to not want it immediately; in fact, studies have shown that people would prefer taking a lesser sum of money right now as opposed to taking a greater sum of money a month from now. This is why we must realize that great things take time.

The problem is that teaching a computer to do what you want it to do certainly does not come naturally. It is similar to learning a language for the first time, complete with syntax, vocabulary, and being able to communicate in such a way that the computer knows precisely what you are talking about. Unlike people, who might be able to understand your broken Spanish or French, the computer will return an error and tell you it doesn't understand if you so much as miss a period, bracket, exclamation mark, etc.


Ideation

Enjoying a lunch break

What I mean by ideation is that we are really only given half of the homework assignment. The other half, we have to research or come up with on our own. For instance, "How can I get the "equals" sign on the calculator I just built to combine the first part of the equation with the second part of the equation and then get it to display on the screen?" I personally like this part the most. It's why people consider programming to be creative work. There are so many possibilities, so much that can be done that hasn't been done before, so much... magic left to be created and shared with the people who need it.


UI UX Design

First day basic programming skills

The user experience of the application plays a big part in how you design and construct your code. Although applications can work well enough without it, you must consider the user's experience when actually using your application. Have you ever been in an app and the keyboard suddenly disappeared when you didn't want it to disappear? Or how about you needed to type numbers but the keyboard was a layout of letters? This is all part of the UI UX Design and it is a vital part of making the user happy. Some of these changes can be as simple as checking a little box; others could be several lines of code. Again, I'm only two weeks in so I have only a brief grasp of how deep the wormhole can go.



I built a calculator and it works 95% of the time


Stay tuned for the next post where I'll talk about: 
  • The Iron Yard program
  • How it's designed to accelerate learning, and
  • The coding bootcamp experience