To sum it up in one word: challenging. I started knowing nothing about Python, and so far I have developed 12 small programs in a month and a half. I haven’t cried yet which is a good sign and in terms of stress, it’s definitely a step down from the bootcamp. However I’m struggling with how complexed the tasks are becoming and I feel I’ve missed out on learning some of the basics because of how we’re taught.
There are no lectures, no teachers and no how-to’s. It’s peer to peer learning in it’s most primal form. We’re plonked in a room of computers, given a terminal and instructions on what they want us to achieve – and we have to figure out how to do it. There are a lot of people here with previous experience. Some have dropped out of computer science or engineering degrees, some were working as programmers full-time. Those people are doing really well with the work. The rest of us, with no programming experience, are having a hard time.
There’s generally a good vibe between the cohort. Most everyone is friendly and excited to be here. On Friday’s they all leave early to go for a beer (or 5) at Brauhaus. There is a noticeable spirit of community between us and we keep in touch even after hours. It’s really nice to be at a college where everyone is like me – slightly nerdy and offbeat.
I’m coming in at 8 and leaving at 4 every day which is pretty civilized.
I’ve developed the following programs so far:
- A text-based hangman game (3 iterations, each more complexed)
- A program that prints out different-sized shapes based on user input
- A text-based version of the Mastermind board game
- A program to do stuff using recursion (very specific – I know)
- A program to process words in different ways (very specific again)
- A text-based simulation of a robot (3 iterations and I’m currently busy on the third)
The robot simulation is the most difficult so far and to be honest, I’m losing hope. We have to enable the program to replay commands entered by the user, allow for a ‘silent’ version of this replay, enable a command to replay the commands backwards and enable a command to replay the commands backwards and silently. I’m stuck on Step 6 where we have to enable the program to play back user-specified range. I’m not wording this very well. My apologies if it’s confusing. Just know: what they’re asking us to do is hard!
Would I recommend the program to you?
I’ve been asked by several friends if I’d recommend doing the 2-year program. I think WeThinkCode_ is an incredible opportunity and I think the skills you may learn here are unparalleled. They don’t discriminate when it comes to accepting students into the course – you can even apply if you don’t have a matric certificate. WTC Students are sought-after by the industry and have great employment opportunities after the program. If you like creative problem solving and can cope in a stressful, fast-paced environment I would encourage you to apply. Go to the bootcamp and see if it’s for you. Decide from there.
Knowing what I know now, would I apply again?
Yes. A 2 year bursary is an amazing opportunity and I am being pushed to grow every day. While dealing with the challenges of learning to program has been quite painful, I feel it will be well worth it once my two years are up. I’ve learnt so much already. I would absolutely apply again, but this time around, I would try not to let the stress get to me as much.
I’m excited to see how much I’ll know in the next 2 months and, dear reader, will continue to update you.