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Dev Academy - Week 1

Let me set the scene. It’s the second day at Enspiral Dev Academy, and I’m lounging in the ‘Ctrl’ space. It’s 8pm, and I’ve been here since 8.45am. I’ll try to give you an introduction to what life has been like at EDA so far.

the view from the alt room

Dev Academy is the first ever coding bootcamp in New Zealand, and this is the first time the program has been run. Based off of San Francisco’s Dev Bootcamp program, Dev Academy tries to take people at all programming skill levels, and help them learn as much as possible about webdev in 9 weeks. It’s an ambitious undertaking, but I think the graduates might speak for themselves. We’ll see.

So far in the last two days we’ve covered a myriad of material ranging from search algorithms and recursion to a “deep dive” session about sexism and inequality. EDA has a focus on a well rounded education, and is devoting a good amount of time to what they call Engineering Empathy. That’s a stream that focuses on the emotional intelligence side of things. If you’re interested in that (and you should be), I would suggest checking out Karim Bishay’s intro video on the subject.

I’ve been programming for around 4 years now, maybe 1.5 seriously, and I’m one of the more experienced members of the cohort. Most of my fellow boots (meaning cohort members, a term borrowed from Dev Bootcamp) hadn’t even touched programming before the introductory phase.

It’s astounding how quickly everyone is picking up the material. Dev Academy has a huge emphasis on pair programming and TDD, and the benefits show. We’re rapidly plowing through the material that a first year computer science course covers, and nobody is missing a beat.

The hours might seem like insanity (yesterday was 11 hours for me, today almost 12), and I thought so too before I arrived. I swore that I wouldn’t be doing anything more than a 10 hour day, but the time flies when you’re hard at work solving interesting problems with interesting people. There’s no obligation to stay past 8 or 9 hours, but the people here are passionate about their learning, and the course material is interesting enough that both nights I’ve looked up only to find it dark and past 7 without noticing.

It’s not all been frantic coding though. We’re taking part in bi-weekly yoga sessions, run by Alanna from Enspiral. I definitely enjoyed our first session today, it’s a really good way to take a break and let your mind and body relax.

So far anyway, Dev Academy has met and surpassed my expectations. The space is amazing, the people inspiring and the staff supportive and experienced. All I can say is that I can’t wait for day 3.

More to come…