Considering a coding bootcamp or already enrolled in one? Here are some things I wish I had considered or read before starting my bootcamp journey.

Students at a coding bootcamp
Students at a coding bootcamp
Students at a coding bootcamp. Courtesy of https://www.piqsels.com/en/search?q=coding&page=3

TLDR

It’s in your best interest to thoroughly vet bootcamps, attend one where you want to work, network during the bootcamp, not graduate in late spring or early summer, plan for a long unemployment, and decide if you’re willing to move.

Where?

I am originally from Spokane, Washington, and I believe there was only one part-time coding bootcamp in my city when I started looking for bootcamps. I chose The Flatiron School’s Brooklyn, New York, campus because they allow low-income students to pay after they get a job. …


There are times in React and Redux when you are trying to update the state and it just doesn’t work. Maybe it has already been working in other cases. You start to question your sanity as you go through […theSpreadOperator], Object.assign(), and any other copying methods you can find on the internet. Unfortunately, the issue isn’t your copying method, it’s your copying type — you likely need a deep copy instead of a shallow copy.

Examples here are specific to React and Redux, but understanding shallow and deep copies is valuable computer science knowledge, and Lodash can be used with any JavaScript project. …


Many React tutorials describe long processes that lead to the successful use of .focus() with React. The .focus() method tells the browser which element is being acted on, similar to .click() or an actual click. At least with React 16.9.0, using .focus() with the React’s virtual DOM isn’t too difficult.

Image for post
Image for post

In this article, we will first discuss the easy way to use .focus() with React and then go into an example.

Note: This example only works for searching elements within the same class.

Why?

The .focus() method can guide users to enhance the user interface and clarify appropriate use, and it is especially useful to mobile users where clicking and navigating can be more difficult. …


How many of you have ever felt personally victimized by your own decision to skim-read documentation?
How many of you have ever felt personally victimized by your own decision to skim-read documentation?

Ruby on Rails is well-documented, but that means there’s a lot to go through. Of course you read all documentation for your languages, but just in case, here are some Ruby on Rails callbacks and relationship options that will cleanup, simplify, and clarify your code.

Callbacks

Technically, a “callback” is just executable code that is passed as an argument to a function. Ruby describes their callbacks as hooks into object life cycles, where a “hook” is a way to execute code before, after, or instead of existing code. Personally, I like the word choice of React — “lifecycle method.” …


MISSION: Start learning PHP and create the best website I could in 24 hours to impress a potential employer, including a database with full CRUD!

OUTCOME: Almost 100% failure.

DETAILS: The internet has many great tutorials for PHP, but configuring PHP and the database took me about 18 hours.

This panda started with PHP + database the same time I did

PROBLEMS:

  1. PHP uses MySQL by default, and the latest MySQL uses a newer authentication method (SHA2) than the newest PHP. The database would not accept anything. What a nightmare!
  2. Unluckily, the same documentation describes how to change databases. Fail.
  3. Help from StackOverflow assumed access to MySQL command line commands, but I didn’t have them. …


Before attending Flatiron’s Software Engineering bootcamp, I taught English abroad. When I started learning to code, I was amazed at how similar it felt to my former job. This is what I learned from studying and teaching human languages.

Consistency > Cramming

Practicing every day for a short amount of time — even 5, 10, or 15 minutes — is better than practicing for many hours only one day a week, according to a neuroscientist friend of mine and this article in Forbes.

Don’t just take their word for it, see the results! The #Add1Challenge asks language learners to spend one hour each day speaking their target language. Many people start with no language knowledge and end up speaking their target language in three short months.


React recommends libraries for transitions, but those didn’t work with the library I was already using. I decided to implement my own transitions for adding and deleting elements — and it was really easy!

ATTENTION: React recommends using their libraries for transitions, like react-transition-group.

the Kimmy Schmidt “fascinating transition”
the Kimmy Schmidt “fascinating transition”
That’s gonna be a… fascinatin’ transition

To implement transitions when elements are added or deleted, follow these three easy steps.

  1. Add className to state — sorry, it must be a component class, not a functional stateless component
  2. setTimeout()
  3. Create the CSS and tie it all together
The simple entrance and exit transitions I made with these steps

Add className to State

I always take very small steps make sure the code keeps working. Inside the file for the component we’re working on, let’s add another line to our state (or create the state, if we haven’t). It will hold our className. We should always use meaningful names. My component creates “choice” elements, so I…


After writing How to Solve Any Code Challenge, I continued to test the strength of those steps by doing more LeetCode problems. Often my solutions would work until the test cases got very large, and then they would throw errors for memory or time. LeetCode is great for pointing out these important factors and directing your attention to weaknesses you might not know your code had! I looked at other solutions, and it became obvious that the best time and space complexity came from code that I didn’t recognize or understand. …


Stories about the intelligence and foresight of tech royalty are easy to find. Microsoft is worth how much?! Google just launched what?! We all had to start somewhere, so let’s take a look at some early projects of the tech greats.

A baby on a computer
A baby on a computer
How we all felt writing our first code

Mark Zuckerberg

Known for: Co-founding Facebook

Mark wasn’t a computer-obsessed kid. “Learning how to program didn’t start off with wanting to learn all of computer science or trying to master this discipline or anything like that. It started off because I wanted to do this one simple thing — I wanted to make something that was fun for myself and my sisters,” he said. That game would be similar to Risk and centered around the Roman Empire. “You played against Julius Caesar. …


“Know algorithms!” When you’re searching for jobs in tech, this is frequent advice. Most articles about algorithms and coding challenges seem to recommend practicing them so much that you‘ll recognize almost anything an interviewer might ask you. Practicing algorithms and explaining the solutions out loud are very important — you want to be able to explain your ideas — but problem solving in software and web development requires more than rote memorization.

Solving Algorithms in “The Hangover”

Computer Science is a science of abstraction.

-Alfred Aho

Being abstract is something profoundly different from being vague… The purpose of abstraction is not to be vague, but to create a new semantic level in which one can be absolutely precise.

About

James Dorr

Full Stack Web Developer, former English as a foreign language teacher and volleyball coach. All views and opinions are my own.

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