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Home / Learning to code, week 1: An adjustment in course
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This summer, Sarah is getting outside of her comfort zone by taking Dev/Iowa, a nine-week course in web development fundamentals. We'll be blogging along the way, highlighting the local tech community, and probably asking for help.
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Week one brought HTML, CSS and a program in transition.
Dev/Iowa, the nine-week bootcamp I've joined in search of a better understanding of all things web, faced a change when program coordinator Zach Sanderson announced he was stepping down on the second day of class.
Here's the official statement from Hayley Yearian, associate director of economic development with UI Partners (the parent department of Dev/Iowa at the University of Iowa):
Zach prepared an intense Summer Series which includes a 9 week class option or the choice of taking 1 week classes a la carte. We are excited about the program and the opportunities for Dev/Iowa students and partners this summer. We wish Zach well with his future endeavors and thank him for all of his hard work within the Dev/Iowa and UI Partners programs.
There aren't many more details to share, and Sanderson has asked to remain out of the spotlight as he moves on. Two of five students have left the class and UI Partners cut the cost of the course in light of the announcement.
While the summer bootcamp is still moving forward with lead instructor Steve Davis, the change definitely made me reconsider my motivations for joining the program.
A balance of skills
When I blogged last week about joining the class, many people asked if (or assumed that) I was planning a career change.
My current operating theory, though, is that a basic understanding of web development and computer science can only enhance the skills I already have. That as technology continues to advance, it will be a vital part of any career and every industry.
The state of Iowa also took a step in this direction this week, when a committee recommended that all high school students take some computer science before graduation (though there are several more steps before this change could be approved by the legislature).
On the flip side, the best technologists I know also have good people skills. They might not be the biggest socializers, but the stereotype of a coder hacking away alone in a dark room doesn't hold true either.
Davis certainly demonstrated this balance of technical understanding and human empathy while teaching through transition this week.
Back to basics
Week one focused on HTML and CSS, aka the parts of web development I was already somewhat familiar with.
Since I didn't have a clear summer project in mind, I worked on the ultimate, standard beginner project: a personal web page.
I spent about 15 hours making something that would take me about 90 minutes using technology I'm more familiar with, like WordPress. There was lots of trial and error: tinkering with floats and clears, layouts and colors, applying a solution to one section and watching it break another. That's where learning happens, I guess?
Everything we've made so far, has been built using only a text editor and a web browser. Davis has stressed an understanding of the fundamentals, and I suspect someday I'll be grateful for this understanding. But, I also can't wait to dig into some more powerful tools.