365 Days of code: Week 4

laser
A laser beam used for welding.

The value of intensity

The one thing that separates the expert craftsperson from an average one is the intensity of practice. What’s the difference between a professional crooner and a bathroom singer? One of them has, over the years, continuously tried to improve their skill in an intense manner. So much that the craft stops becoming merely enjoyable, but becomes a moderately hard challenge instead. Throwing oneself into the uncharted and uncomfortable territory of the extreme end of one’s intellectual capacity. Pushing through this limit and making a dent at the surface of one’s knowledge, day after day after day.

Why coding bootcamps are a rage nowadays

There’s a huge gap between skills required in industry and what is taught as part of college education. Sure college is about learning the fundamentals so that you pick up whatever tech stack you work on. But the industry has advanced so much that it takes years for a developer to pick up real professional skills. Some of the underrated things that most software engineers are not good at, right out of college include git, advanced UNIX, vim, functional programming, multi-threading, design patterns, and full stack frameworks.

This is where coding bootcamps came in to fill the gap. While I won’t recommend a bootcamp in place of a college education, it is a very good complement to it. It’s a good use of a gap year between graduation and first job. It’s also suitable from someone really interested and trying to transition into a tech career, not necessary as an engineer. An increasing number of boot camp alumni combine their prior non-tech experience with bootcamp training to get into semi-technical roles like business analyst.

Advantages

  • Opportunity to learn intensely, in an immersive distraction-free environment. Basically, you eat, sleep, code and repeat.
  • Mentorship from industry experts.
  • Peer learning from like-minded team members and social bonding.
  • Real world, industry-relevant skills.
  • Helps build a project portfolio, online presence, and GitHub profile.
  • Guidance on landing your new job and soft skills.

Disadvantages

  • A full-time commitment is required. Don’t bother with part-time programs unless its free like freeCodeCamp.
  • Based on one’s current residence, relocation may be required.

Conclusion

So while they are not without their shortcomings, like lack of focus on low-level fundamentals like OS and compiler theory, I think they have their place as a bridge between traditional college education and the changing needs of the industry.

For a recent college graduate who is unable to land a job and wishes to become a developer, boot camps are a good option to dedicate few months towards an intense apprenticeship to become a sound software craftsman.

Prologue

I’m considering participating in a boot camp to fill the glaring holes in my knowledge. I’m not particularly fluent in data structures, algorithms, and concurrency. And all these are the most challenging as well as in-demand skills right now. So I was thinking about putting to use a 6-month sabbatical before returning to the industry.

Good thing is I found one that requires me to pay tuition only after I land a job. The food and rent is cheaper compared to my city and the location is known for a small but strongly knit tech community. Only drawback is that I hate moving with all my stuff, but that’s a trade off I will decide on after I get selected.

Code

So this week’s code will be my finished assessment that I solved as part of the selection process at the boot camp.

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