Presentations are all over and I’ve officially completed the course at Makers Academy! It’s been both a long and short 12 weeks and there have been plenty of ups and downs. Today, more so than ever.
I started the day off pretty late since I’d been working on the app till just before Makers closed last night. My partner and I thought we were in a pretty good place with our app and that most of the feature related work had been completed. Unsurprisingly, and indeed, as always, a few issues cropped up when we pushed to Heroku. That meant that we ended up making bug fixes right up until the deadline, only breaking for a few rehearsal presentations.
Gem of the day: Although the ideal would have been to have memorised my presentation or at least the outline of it in time for the rehearsals, I would say straight out that having a script definitely helped me get things clearer in my mind. If you rehearse the same presentation 5 different times in 5 different ways, it isn’t really a rehearsal. You’re just practising “winging it” and that is not the same as a proper rehearsal! Also, having a script/outline doesn’t mean you have to read from it during the presentation. Think of it as a safety net or a guide to help you on your way.
Anyway, the main bug fix we had to do was with the websockets protocol and the fact that we were using the websockets gem for local development and Pusher in the production environment (i.e. on Heroku). It seems like each returned a different format of objects, so that whilst we needed to parse the string returned from the websockets gem into JSON, we didn’t have to do the same with the object returned from Pusher. Thanks to Enrique, who spotted the error, that got fixed fairly quickly.
The graduation event itself was not as hyped/formal as I thought it would be and the audience was mostly made up of prospective students and a couple of hiring partners/recruiters. The presentations themselves went really well and I felt that the other guys in my cohort really delivered when they presented what the apps they had been working on the last two weeks. There was a classifieds site, invoice app, and a to-do list/data visualisation app. All of them looked really good and were presented solidly. Nice to see after all the effort that everyone has put in!
My partner and I presented last, and overall, I thought that the presentation went well. There were a few points where I felt that we could have related the features of the site more strongly with the technologies we used, but the proof was really in the pudding and the site delivered in terms of dynamic and visual updates.
We finished off with some questions, and then Alex presented each of us with a book from Makers Academy, which is sort of a graduation tradition now; Makers tries to give each graduate a book which will help them in their developer career.
It was mostly just mingling, drinking, eating and saying goodbye after that. I definitely wish there was time for a debrief day to go through the things we encountered during the final project (and the course) that we need to get cleared up, but c’est la vie. There’s always going to be something you don’t understand, whether you know it or not.
There were also a couple of scholarships given out at the end. One of them was for the best blog and I won that, thanks in no small part to the lack of competition! I think I was the only one from my cohort to write a blog of my Makers Academy journey! There was also a random draw scholarship and I was gutted not to have won that since the odds were in my favour – lots of entries made etc. It was one of those things that you kind of saw coming. You know that feeling when you think something bad is going to happen and then it does? Well, I guess that’s randomness and luck for you. I would not make a good gambler.
It’s kind of silly to be feeling down about all of that since it really is all a numbers game in the end, but missing out on that latter scholarship really took the wind out of my sails on what should have been a really satisfying day. I guess the experience has reminded me that arbitrariness is never a good thing and random draws for scholarships or prizes or anything really, aren’t great marketing tools. Note to self.
Ok, enough doom and gloom. Over the last 12 weeks, I’ve developed and co-developed a number of apps which I couldn’t have/wouldn’t have known to dream about. That in itself is pretty amazing.
Where to from here? You tell me. Do you want me to continue blogging so that you can see how things turn out post-Makers Academy? What would it be helpful for me to blog about? Is there anything I’ve missed.
Let me know using the contact form and/or by filling in this poll.