Cracking the code: What is Makers Academy?

Advertorial feature

If someone had told me that a week and a half into my intensive web development course I would find myself coding a ‘Fizz buzz’ programme at great speed in front of a room of people, whilst singing along to Haim to earn ‘entertainment points’, I would have thought them confused - not only about what Makers Academy would be like, but also how quickly I would learn whilst there. Turns out they would have been very accurate.

I have accidentally ended up in the coding world. The plan was to become an entrepreneur, not a programmer. I did not want to be the person that stayed in, behind the computer all day. I wanted to be the one coming up with the ideas, speaking to people, giving pitches to investors. However, after beginning to explore the dynamic world of tech startups, I came to realise that the image in my head of what it means to be ‘the tech person’ was terribly out of date.

Coding is the new, cool thing to do. It is the currency to have in the entrepreneurial world. Companies such as Makers Academy and Codecademy, startups themselves, are doing an excellent job of creating strong brands in the coding field and making tech fashionable. With reports claiming that there are in the region of 700,000 unfilled jobs in the tech sector, this is the field where opportunities are rife.

The work for Makers Academy started before we even entered the building. Every Maker is sent some preparatory material to work through. Luckily for me, I was not approaching it from the position of a complete novice, being that I have just taken part in the Code First: Girls coding programme, run by Entrepreneur First. Still, I knew that this did not mean that Makers Academy would be easy. From reading other blogs by current cohort members, I was fully aware that coding full-time, five days a week, was in a completely different league to turning up to a short evening class twice a week.

Over the first two weeks, we have already covered a wealth of material. We were first introduced to the Command Line, a means of interacting with your computer and its programs, before looking at ‘git’, a method of storing different versions of your code and being able to jump to different ones depending on your needs. The main language we are learning is called Ruby, where emphasis has been placed on code that is natural to read and easy to write.

Friday is test day. They start as one hour in length, as did last week’s, but we’re told to expect weekend long tests by weeks three or four. You have the chance of earning a unique colourful sticker if you complete it correctly, the point of the test is not for you to compete against each other of for the teachers to have a more formal measure of how you’re progressing. There are no marks. Nothing is noted down.

Rather they are there purely for your benefit. I forgot that momentarily after the first test. I was disappointed in myself that I couldn’t complete it at that others had gotten far further. Then I realised that I was going down exactly the path that the team at Makers had told us not to, and a path which many of us wrongly take in our day-to-day lives. Instead of moping about, I proceeded to work through the test again, proving to myself that I did have the capability of doing it, but that the environment of the test had gotten the better of me. Doing this exercise meant that when our tutor gave us another chance to earn the badge, I was able to take advantage of the opportunity.

Steadily working through the preparatory material before coming here gave me a little flavour of what it would be like spending my days coding. I was struck by the sheer amount of patience that is required if you want to excel in this field. It became important to not only prepare myself technically for the beginning of the course, but mentally as well. In fact, from day one, there has been a push by the Makers Academy team that we focus on the mental and the emotional, as how we feel inside and react to that is a big factor in how successful we will be over the duration of the course. An example of this is the way we deal with failure. You must never ever personalize failure. You are never ever a failure. If you fail at something, it wasn’t you, but rather your approach, and so next time you attempt your task, focus on changing your approach and you’ll get there eventually. We’re given advice such as this multiple times a day, and I’m steadily building up a bank of guidance that’ll be immensely valuable not only for getting through this course, but for the rest of my life.

I don’t know what state I’ll be in in a week from now, six weeks from now, or when I’m facing the final hurdle, but I like to think I’m going to have fun the whole way. This blog will chart my journey to becoming a Maker – the technical, the practical, the emotional, and the social. In the process, I hope to get across why anyone trying to develop technical skills for themselves at whichever stage in life is making a very smart move.

Right, must go now - it’s time for my second test!

Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey fans rejoice, series five returns later this month
TV
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

English Teacher

£100 - £115 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Randstad Education are curren...

Early Years Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Early Years supply teachers neede...

KS2 Teacher required from October

£90 - £120 per annum: Randstad Education Hull: Key Stage 2 Supply Teacher requ...

Maths Teacher

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education require a ...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor