Goodbye, August

I wrote hardly any code yesterday at Makers Academy, though I was distracted for good reason: the August cohort were graduating! From 9am in the morning, there was a mixture of excitement and anxiety in the air, as the graduands put finishing touches to their projects and presentations. Although there had been a few run-throughs of each presentation, I tried throughout the week to avoid watching them so that I could enjoy the novelty at the main event.

From 4pm, the room was packed with many unfamiliar faces and the atmosphere was buzzing. After a short introduction from the team, the presentations got underway, and there was such a range of ideas to enjoy. The first presentation was of a gem called bookable. A gem is a library of code that you can download into an application to give it extra functionality, and their gem enabled you to add booking functionality to your service, whether that was for tennis courts, or conference rooms. Other ideas included ‘Raggedy‘, an online peer-to-peer marketplace for second-hand clothing, and an impressive English Football Premier League database app, complete with live data during matches.  Another group presented their Hen Party App, which has excellent potential across a wide range of other event types. The biggest group consisted of five Makers who showed us their SetForget.it application, where you can leave your event planning, including collecting payment, up to the site, whilst you focus on other things, such as preparing your speech or lesson plan. One group had a wellbeing-focused app, creating a digital version of the wheel of life, whilst one Maker had produced a clever cash-flow projection tool.

I was particularly excited to see the ideas in order for me to get a sense of where I would be after six more weeks of the course. In fact, I was so impressed with the quality of what the August group had created in as little as 10-14 days, that I started to doubt seeing myself producing anything as good. However, as we have been told many times whilst here, a key component in being successful as a developer is to have the confidence that you can do it, otherwise you will stand in your own way. I have to believe that I can produce projects as well as these Makers have done, or I won’t ever get there.

Amidst all  of the excitement was a tinge of sadness at the realisation that from Monday morning, all of our friends from the August group will no longer be with us. Instead, we’ll have to get used to a whole new, larger group, as the November cohort starts next week. Yesterday evening, many of them turned up to the event, and already we were sharing jokes and games of ping pong. Nobody can replace August as our older Maker siblings, but it will also be fun making new friends and attempting to teach the November cohort a few things we’ve learnt along the way, reflecting on how far our group have progressed in only six weeks.

That’s enough from me. I really need to go and get started on my weekend test. The challenge is to write a simple Twitter application that allows users to post messages to a public stream. I’ve got to incorporate sign-up, log-in, log-out functionalities, as well as employ DataMapper and Posgres in order to save the data. In many ways this is very similar to the bookmark manager I’ve been working on all week, but I know better than to think that this will therefore be in any way straightforward to complete.

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