Contract signed! — my summary of the code school application processes

So I’m going to Code Fellows in Seattle. When I started this applying to developer bootcamp fiasco over a month ago, I never thought I’d be saying this. I also never thought I’d be doing a bootcamp for both iOS and rails. 

I got the $1000 deposit loaned and signed my contract today. I have to drive 16 hours to seattle on saturday. 

Those of you following and keep up on my blog might have noticed I applied to app academy again and got further than I did the first time over a month ago. As a nice little hint, at this point in time if you want to reapply, just put a different email address on the application. I filled all my information on the second application out truthfully. I felt underrepresented the first time around. Did a lot of coding challenges in between getting denied at first and going through it again. If you decide to try and go through the application process again like I did, please, be honest with yourself. Wait a little while, work hard, improve your skills, and then apply. Give yourself time to forget their coding challenges. If you got through the coding challenges by simply remembering them, practicing them, and replicating them in order to get to the interview process, you might be setting yourself up for failure during their program. Either way, I’m sure they do an excellent job of weeding out people in the actual interview process. I only reapplied because dbc decided I was good enough, maybe app academy would this time.

In the end, between yesterday and today, I realized, even if I did get accepted into app academy, code fellows just all around seemed like a better deal to me. I don’t have to start paying till after the program. 1/3 the deposit(which was proving difficult to come up with on such short notice), I’ll be learning ios and rails in that time. they guarantee a job, cheaper than both AA and DBC, and I’ll be done with all that before AA or DBC even start. 

So in summary, I’m going to seattle, I’m gonna be sleeping in my car if/until I find a floor/couch to sleep on. 

I’ll continue progress updates. through the duration of the program. Wish me luck, being away from my daughter who is about to start walking any week now and my wife are going to be my struggling points. No one wants to watch their baby grow up on skype. 

I don’t even know if I’ve mentioned my situation. The company I was working at laid me off 4 months after my daughter, Rylee, was born. My wife, daughter, and I moved down to California into my dad’s bedroom, he now sleeps on the living room couch. We’ve been struggling to live on unemployment while I study and look for work. Now this happened. We will continue to struggle. But I’m confident that by the new year I will have a job making a decent salary and that will be able to get my family out of our rut. 

God has helped us through everything so far, and I know he will get us through any other struggles we have a long the way. At this point in time. The most money I’ve ever made in my life was $12/hr. 

Thanks for listening, If you think someone who is on a similar path as mine might be interested in reading my blog, tell them about it. I hope to be an inspiration to some. Also, please ask me any questions, I’m always happy to help. 

 

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coding school updates

I applied to app academy(again) on sunday and have landed an interview! Pretty excited to see if I get accepted or not. I also had my interview with Code Fellows in Seattle today, they let me in and want me to do their iOS course and then directly after those 2 months jump right into the second half of the rails class. So it is clear to me that my passion and drive is clear to these schools.

Right now I’m just trying to get $1000 for the deposit on either Dev Bootcamp or Code Fellows and just waiting to see how the App Academy interview(s) go. If I get into App Academy I’ll have to figure out how to come up with $3000 for the deposit. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be going to Code Fellows. Their class starts next monday, that gives me about 5 days to get the deposit, and drive about 16 hours. 

So really I’m just trying to get the deposit money together and I’ll be in an iOS > rails > start up developer path starting monday! It’s all in God’s hands now, If he wants me to go to school then I’ll get the money together somehow… very quickly.

Wish me luck on it all. I’m glad to be on this learning path!

The Rails 4 Way

I just bought the Rails 4 way beta on leanpubs. The book is in beta and said to be about 75% complete.  I’m going to work through this book in a non chronological order that suits my prior knowledge of Rails itself.

At this point in time my knowledge of Rails is limited. I’m aware of how to create a rails application. I’m know that generating a scaffold will create a model, a controller with all the CRUD you can ask for, and a view. Scaffolds also create your schema and test folders. I have almost no knowledge of testing. I know about the word assert. I know about devise(the user authentication gem). This is the extent of my rails knowledge. I’ve read Learn Agile Web Development with Rails and built rewster.herokuapp.com

With my previous knowledge I’ve went over the chapters and decided to read them in an order than I can work off of best. I’m going to read then in this order because for a couple reasons. The first being that simply brushing up on testing is important to me, testing, then I’d like a refresher in HAML, SASS, and CoffeeScript, followed by perusing the chapters about security, sessions and authorization, and the basics of the Rails architecture.

I’ll be applying all of this into my own application sometime during or directly after reading about the rails architecture. From there, In my spare time I will continue reading the more foreign(to me) chapters of this book that aren’t immediately necessary to understand in order to get up and running. I’m definitely not counting them as unimportant. I just don’t want to clog my brain or waste my time with things that I won’t be implementing at that time. When I need to implement them I will be reading about them very carefully.

If you’re new to Rails I would suggest reading chapters 1-10 first then following my guide in the order I’ve selected.

Danny’s Rails 4 way reading guide – 27, 22-24, 15, 13-14, 1-10||, 12, 20, 17, 26, 11, 18-19, 25, 16

Hack Reactor Interview #2

Hi guys,

2 days ago I had my first interview with hack reactor and dev bootcamp. That night I got an email from dev bootcamp telling me I got accepted. This took me by surprise. So I need to pay a 1000 deposit within the week and come up with 11000 sometime around feb ’14(60 days before next class starts). This is barely doable, I’m getting the 1000 together but still working hard on my other schools.

The learning involved in preparing for these schools has helped me nail down basics to a degree far better than code school, codecademy and books have given me. I had my second interview today with Shawn Drost. The interview was set up in a way similar to as if it were the first 30 minutes of the first day. He was working with me to see if I understood exactly WHAT each function was doing, what it was or was not returning. WHY it was doing it. At the end of it he asked me to just work on coderbyte problems. He said I have the syntax down, I just need to work my understanding, break everything down into little steps and really understand what the computer is doing when you tell it what to do.

I have one thing to say about hack reactor. They LOVE teaching. Money aside, I want to go to this school do to the fact that it is a school that loves teaching, not just making money. I’ve got an interview with Code Fellows in Seattle. If I can get into their gold program and completely skip the first half, then I absolutely will(4 wks/ $5000/ guarantee of job). I’m going to brush up on all my rails knowledge in prep for that interview. After that interview I will be working on coderbyte problems for the next week and I’ll set up another interview. 

A lot has gone on this week and a lot will continue to go on next week. I’ll keep you guys up to date. 

Adios.

Interviews!

Today was great, I love talking to like minded tech people. My wife is a make up artist and my baby is 9 months old. So I hear a lot about lip gloss, lip stick, lip tar, lip stain, kabuki brush, and contouring as well as lots of dadadadada’s and oooooo’s. These are all very interesting and I love hearing them all, but talking to someone about programming and problem solving is a bit more engaging :D. 

My first interview was at 10:45 with Hack Reactor. It was with a HR alumni who is now in a continuation/TA type program. He set up a collabedit.com session and had me solve 3 very basic problems with javascript. We spoke a bit about programming and different technology things after the interview. We spoke for about 50 minutes, I’d say the interview part was only about 20 minutes though. He said the next step would be to have me complete a project(which Marcus Phillips already challenged me with 2 weeks before). I informed him I’ve solved that twice now, the first time I cheated after getting stuck for to long and found the answer online(its no longer online after I informed marcus I cheated). A week later after forgetting everything I “learned” while cheating, I solved it again and gained a lot more knowledge out of it. I’m rambling…. So we decided to skip the project and move onto scheduling my next interview. “We have a slot available tomorrow”, no can do, gotta go to Reno with the family, “day after that?”, absolutely! I’ll be reviewing that project I built and some js syntax tonight and tomorrow night and then I’ll provide a new post.

Dev bootcamp was great to, I spoke with Karim and he was easy to talk to. He had me solve a puzzle, this was not a programming puzzle, this was just to see how I solve problems. I tried to talk out loud as much as possible and was afraid to lean on his guidance. This may or may not have been a good thing. He wasn’t going to tell me what to do or how to solve it after all. I didn’t solve it, we moved onto code samples. I did fine on the code samples. After finishing up I concluding he was multitasking. This lead to him be a little distracted during our interview. He was a very cool and polite person, though I do have a history with customer service and found the distraction to be a bit impolite. He finished up by asking if I had any further questions and informed me I would be contacted within 12 hours. 12 seems like a weird number and now I’m assuming he said 24, but I’m pretty sure I heard 12 😀

 

All in all, I enjoyed the interview, tomorrow is a day off(mostly, I’m still going to review my project code for the HR interview). I’ll update you all after my interview on thursday. 

Happy Coding!

Can’t wait to progress

This last month has been great and not so great when I look back on it. I’ve been just crunching on the basics. I didn’t really improve my rails, or my javascript(kind of). Really I just didn’t learn new things. 

Instead I’ve been nailing down simple string and array manipulation, getting a lot faster at solving problems, and have the common methods stuck in my head, I’ve touched a little on new things like API’s, underscore.js(thanks to JavaScript koans), and I have a free month of CodeSchool thanks to New Relic so I’ve been reviewing classes on there. I’m really just trying to get as fast as possible with beginner problems in order to do well in my Hack Reactor and Dev Bootcamp Interview. In the last week it’s been getting old though. I want to finish rewster.herokuapp.com. This is why I feel like its just been bad.

My mentor has been busy working a lot this last month, and I got a chance to chat with him the other day and update him on what I’ve been doing and he put it this way

    “you seem to be doing a lot of hand-holding type stuff

        books, tutorials, guides

        that’s fine. but that’s not how you learn to write code”

And that’s how I’ve been feeling. As great as this last month was in helping me think logically and help me solve simple basic problems fast, I’m ready for the real challenging stuff with new information constantly being forced through my brain.

If any of you are on a similar learning path with similar “self taught programmer” goals, maybe you’ve heard of Joshua Kemp. He has a very extensive blog about his journey. Also after 9 months averaging 21hrs/wk he got a great job. Awesome success story. Check him out at http://www.joshuakemp.net/.

His blog kind of inspired me to do mine. After revisiting his blog it made me realize I don’t post enough. I’ll try to get my brain on this site more for you all.

Wish me luck on my interviews.

Rubeque string substitution

 

 

 

 

I’ve decided to start sharing how I solve problems occasionally on this blog. I think this will be helpful for potential employers to see how I work.

The following picture is of a Rubeque.com problem

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 1.57.57 PM

So we want to substitute the matched pattern of a string within the main string, for a new string. Lets start with making the pattern and actual regular expression.

pattern = Regexp.new(pattern)

This Regexp will be used in Strings sub method(String#sub) in order to replace the matched contents of a string into the replacement parameters value,

self.sub(pattern,replace)

Well that was easy, the first case passes, but the second one doesn’t. This is because sub only replaces the first matched instance it finds. Instead we’ll use String#gsub, for global sub. This will replace all instances of the matched data.

self.gsub(pattern,replace)

That makes the next test pass, however, we’re having issues with getting the string “??” to work like we want it to as a regular expression. This is because ? is a special character used inside regular expressions(It matches either one or none of the preceding character). http://rubular.com/ is a great way to check and or just reference ruby regular expressions. So we need to escape these characters.  We can do this with Regexp.escape(pattern), this “Escapes any characters that would have special meaning in a regular expression. Returns a new escaped string” (taken from ruby-docs). So instead of .new we will use .escape right? No, if you look closely at that definition, .escape returns a string, we still need pattern to be a regexp. So we will make it work like this:

pattern = Regexp.new(Regexp.escape(pattern))

That’s a lot better, now we only have the last test case to solve. our last test case replaces the matched data with a string that contains special substitution cases. ex: \1, \2, \3. These cases will return the exact Match data returned from the regexp. \1 return the first matched case, \2 return the second, and so on. How do we get this to just return \2. we can’t escape the use Regexp.escape(replace), that will just return silly backslashes all over the place. Instead we have to look closer at String#sub and String#gsub. “The problem is that when using sub (and gsub), without a block, ruby interprets special character sequences in the replacement parameter” this quote was taken from two-bit-fool’s answer on Stack Overflow. So when ruby sees the replacement parameter it just INTERPRETS the \1\2\3 and does some magic. We don’t want that, so lets put the replacement string into a block instead of letting it be a paramter.

self.gsub(pattern) { replace}

Now everything is passing! So this is how I solved that question. However, Lets do some recursion on this and  shorten this up a bit with regexp interpolation. With pattern we could do what we did, or we could just create a regexp and interpolate the string returned from .escape like so

pattern = /#{Regexp.escape(pattern)}/

That’s easy enough to understand, and its short enough that I think it could go on the same line, and we can skip redefining the pattern variable all together. So to sum it all up, my final answer was this:

self.gsub(/#{Regexp.escape(pattern)}/ ) {replace}  

I simplified this a little better, I skipped some steps in my head but thought this would clear up how I solved each assertion.