Last month (September 2018) I started the Microverse Fast Track Program. It’s an intense software engineering training utilizing what is known as remote pair programming. The goal of the program is to get its students ready for entry-level remote or relocation-based jobs in software development. Pair programming is not an entirely new concept, but I consider it a revolutionary learning method. Sans an instructor but with a partner to learn with.
Prior to joining the program, I had been trying to learn web development for more than 3 years. I had purchased a number of courses on Udemy (and signed up on a lot of free courses there and on Youtube). My cloud drive is stacked with lots of programming books. Despite the myriad of materials, I still considered my learning to be insufficient. Sure I was able to learn technologies such as NodeJS, D3 and React, but I don’t consider myself any closer to building anything useful with them (except a blog CMS app I consider as one of my shining achievements — repo here| live demo here).
I probably have 4 to 5 Day 1’s in my #100DaysOfCode/#301DaysOfCode tweets (often times I restarted at Day20ish). I was pretty inconsistent that the first time I learned HTML it took me four months just to finish Jon Duckett’s book — HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites. There were times the topics were so tough that I couldn’t move forward for three days or so to the next one. I didn’t realize my problem wasn’t that I was learning things that were out of my league. Nor that I was running in circles with different topics. My problem was that I was learning alone. Yes, I could get some help from the Stackoverflow community and what have you online. However, I still consider that as learning by myself.
Remote pair coding is a great way to learn teamwork, from a distance (image c/o Unsplash)
I guess pair coding is the glue that binds the fast-track program’s curriculum. Around it revolves our daily activities. So I must say a thing or two about it. Pair coding helps a coder in several ways. Here are my list of benefits I, so far, experienced from it:
After finishing a project or solving a difficult algorithm problem (image c/o Unsplash)
It’s just our first month (5th week to be exact), yet I already feel we’ve accomplished so much. We’ve finished 8 projects so far (in the HTML/CSS sections), 9 including our collaborative project when we were applicants in the program. We have also solved at least 10 algorithmic challenges. The list of goodies I know will increase as we go through the program. And by its end, not only will I have become a legit (probably an awesome) software engineer, I also know I will have gained a friend and an awesome colleague.
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