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What’s it like to learn at a coding bootcamp in Barcelona?

coding bootcamp in barcelona

There’s a certain satisfaction about cycling to work every morning… especially in Barcelona. The air is crisp during winter but braces you for the day, and the sun is always shining. I should mention that by “work”, I actually mean my coding bootcamp. I joined to Ubiqum Code Academy programs in September and after 4 months learning to code here, it really feels like I’m already working as a developer rather than being a student.

Dropping my bicing off, I grab my bag and make my way towards the revolving doors of WeWork, passing the chatting smokers lingering in the entrance. I can see the elevator doors slowly closing, so I dash past the front desk singing “holaaa” and lurch into the elevator to find two rapidly talking Italians and a fellow colleague on a segway. Now to wait till summer till I get to the seventh floor, hopefully I’m not late for my morning stand-up meeting.

code academy

I’ve always loved the feeling of using a key card to enter anywhere; the resounding beep and click of a door opening is like entering the Doors of Durin. The welcoming smell of coffee fills my nose as I turn left to go to the work space and boot up my laptop. The space is filled with energy as my colleagues chat around me. I check my Trello board is up-to-date, look at what I did yesterday, look at what I’m going to do today and prep in my head what I’m going to say in the stand-up meeting. We do this every morning as a standard practice because the coding bootcamp combines Agile methodology with the curriculum in order to simulate a real working environment of a developerI run to the kitchen for an injection of caffeine and run back just in time to see my mentors, Vasil, Raül and Lluis, standing around my table.

code academy

Looking around at my team, I get a sense of determination and perseverance. Our backgrounds are all so different that it’s hard to imagine that we’ve come so far as programmers. My group was made up of an engineer, a city planner, a production line worker, and a fine art restorer, not what you would call “typical coders”. We all started with no coding knowledge, and 4 months later we’ve already built a website using HTML/ CSS and our own mobile web application using JavaScript. Now that we’ve started module 5, the resounding feeling of bafflement has returned in full force and wrapping my head around Java and the back-end is…

“So how’s it going, everyone? What did you do yesterday?”, says Vasil, smiling with a cheerful glint in his eye. I always wonder how that man seems to be so jolly all the time… maybe it’s the beard.

We go round one by one and interjections of user access configuration, security issues, error messages, and coding anecdotes float around in Spanish and English, until finally, it’s my turn.

“So… uh yesterday I created the login and logout methods in the front-end using JavaScript Fetch API and the back-end to manage the authentication and authorisation processes. I also added password encryption for added security and only enabled URL access for authenticated users. Then I did the HTML to display my login/logout buttons. And umm the plan for today is to add the current user information to the JSON games object when a player is logged in to display player information and from there I guess I will keep going…”

“Yesterday you were having some problems with compilation errors, did you manage to fix them?” asked Raül when, in fact, “problems” actually meant “wrestling”.

“Uuuuh yeah, so I fixed the error following the example on Stack Overflow like you suggested and it removed the bug but it doesn’t solve the problem of encrypting the password, because when I looked at the back-end the password was still displaying. If anyone were to hack the database, the password would still be there… But it did get rid of the error message, and I managed to encode the password in the end so…” Thumbs up, smile enthusiastically.

It’s daunting in the beginning to be so open with your colleagues about your progress, but it’s liberating and reassuring knowing we’re all in this together.

“Sí, Stack Overflow is a great portal to find the answers you need, so good job, and if you need to review it later just let me know.” Replies Raül.

“¡Vale, entonces vamos a subir porque tenemos hambre!” declares Lluis happily in anticipation of the free Monday breakfast, courtesy of WeWork.

All of us file out the door and go up the stairs to the eighth floor. I feel sorry for everyone else in the building who has to contend with all the hungry Ubiqum students waiting patiently to devour the tiny sandwiches provided. First come, first serve, as they say.

I go onto the terrace with my mini salmon and cream cheese bagel and contemplate how much my life has changed during this coding bootcamp, whilst staring out at all the high rise buildings through the stripy, glass walls. Conscious of the time and how much work I have to do, I head back downstairs, grabbing another coffee on the way and go to my desk. Cracking my knuckles and plugging in my headphones I settle in for the day. Being a coder is pretty fun…when your code works like you want it to that is!

TO BE CONTINUED…

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