** I have done some swift, iOS development in the past so the content is not new to me **
Today is the last day of week 2 at Lambda School. I am doing the part time version of the curriculum so 2 weeks is equal to 1 week of the full time course.
My first impressions of the course are “Wow I am so glad I am not coming into this as a new programmer” To give you some background on me, I have done some iOS development off and on for about 2 years. Never built anything for the app store but I created some smaller apps with Paul Hudson from Hacking with Swift. I would highly recommend you look at his books if you are interested in learning about swift. I got through 14 of his small projects I ran out of steam to do the rest of the projects (which is why I enrolled in Lambda to have some outside accountability and people to reach out for help). Self learning takes a lot of self discipline which I have some days and not so much on others.
Back to Lambda. The way they do their classes is that they have these things called sprints. Each sprint takes 2 weeks in the part time course and 1 in the full time course. There are 4 sprints in each module and depending on which track the number of modules varies. iOS development has 4 iOS specific modules, 1 larger computer science, lambda labs and career support.
I finished my first spring today and let me tell you these two weeks were spent learning sprint fundamentals. It was a review of stuff I had done in the past but had I come at this as a brand new student it would’ve been alot of information in two weeks. The topics were approached in 3 different ways:
- Pre recorded lectures
- Written text
- Classroom style demos and coding follow alongs with a live instructor
If you are looking at going into Lambda let me give you some advice
Make time to go over the material before class. DO NOT wait until class time to go over the content, it will not work!
Go over the content at least once, if you prefer videos watch the videos, if you need to read then read but don’t let the class time be your first time reviewing the material. Classes are only 2 hours long, and although it might seem like a long time, it’s not. There is tons of information coming at you that if you didn’t review the material before you are going to get lost and left behind.
You should code along with the instructor, don’t just watch him code, do it yourself too. Repetition helps enforce skills. I find it useful to code along in class then try the exercises again after class.
In class you will go over things that will help with the homework projects and the sprint challenge at the end of the module (more on this in a while). I cannot stress the importance of practice in this environment. Coding is all about repetition, the more times you do something the more second nature that it will become. Do not think you have something down because you understood what is happening. The CHALLENGE comes in implementing what you are learning.
After the class you get the next day to work on your project. I highly recommend you find a group of other students and you work together on the projects. They might know things you don’t and vice versa, plus you don’t feel alone and this is huge when learning to code. Take advantage of the Team Leaders they went through the curriculum not that long ago and they know what you are going through.
At the end of the 2 weeks on your final day you do what is called a sprint challenge. This is a project that takes everything you learned in the previous two weeks and combines it in one. You have 3 hours to finish it.
This first project is not hard, you do get step by step instructions on what to do. However if I didn’t have any swift experience other than the past two weeks I would’ve struggled. We did get taught what we needed but it’s different following instructions after learning it from the instructor vs trying to know what to do and when. This is what I would’ve done if it was my first encounter with Swift
- Each set of lessons had some small problems, I would try to re-do them again by myself without watching the videos, if I couldn’t do it I would rewatch the videos and attempt the problems again.
- Instructor and Team Leaders offer question and answer times. I would keep track of the areas that I struggled with and ask for help on these. If I didn’t have questions I would still attend these sessions because maybe my classmates had questions that might make things clearer.
- I can’t stress this enough but repetition is important. Most of the time coding problems are solved by logic and the code is just how to put that code together. The more problems you solve the better and quicker you are going to get.
That was my past two weeks, I have to say that I had a great time and I got to meet some great students. I can’t wait to do this again starting Monday and to meet some more of my classmates.
I will keep blogging about my process and what I go through.