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Showing posts from May, 2014

Test It Real Good

Test-driven development blows but, fortunately, that is not all.

The above tweet from a week ago was my first, extremely honest, impression of test-driven development (TDD). Clearly, I wasn't too thrilled with it.

I was briefly exposed to TDD when I began exploring the wonderful world of Ruby on Rails (RoR) a few months ago but, seeming like an extremely tedious endeavor, I decided to just glaze right over it and get into the "good stuff" with RoR. Knowing that we would eventually be diving head first into TDD in our class, I have been absolutely dreading the inevitable since I first got accepted into The Iron Yard Academy.

And right off the bat, it didn't disappoint (didn't disappoint my expectations, at least). It was exactly as tedious as I had thought it would be but, believe it or not, I actually intend to argue strongly in it's favor today. First, I've got to explain why it's obnoxious to me - I'll use an anecdote.

When I was a kid, I had accumu…

Five Years and Counting

This picture makes me very happy. It's my wife, Jennifer, and I on our wedding day - absolutely ecstatic about the journey that we had begun just a couple of hours earlier. And I'm excited to say that it was taken exactly five years ago today. Yep, today is our five year wedding anniversary!
To be honest, I can't remember our wedding day as vividly as I'd like to. Of course it was a very special, very meaningful day, but I mostly remember it in snapshots. I remember riding on the little shuttle bus that took the wedding party up to the chapel. I remember when the chapel doors opened and I saw Jennifer in her dress for the first time. I remember walking out of the chapel with a big, goofy grin on my face. After this, the next several hours are kind of a blur. I know that we had a good time at the reception, celebrating with our friends and family. I know that there was lots of food and dancing. But I apologetically admit that I don't remember a single conversation …

Welcome to the Web

As I've mentioned before, I'm not entirely new to development. I've been developing desktop applications for the past several years. Although I'd had a small amount of exposure to web development before, I'd never done anything in-depth enough to be familiar with the foundational complexities of developing fully-functional web applications. Now that I'm three weeks into a high-intensity academy for training in front-end web development, I thought I'd share my impressions so far of how it compares to desktop development.
IT'S VERY DIFFERENT!Obviously, there's a little more to it than that but it's really just been a huge eye-opener every day to be introduced to more and more tools that are used to develop an application. In my experience with desktop applications, you generally stick to a small handful of technologies on any given project. 

For example, to create a fully-functional desktop application, you need nothing more than, say, C#. If you de…

The Future of Education

It's always very interesting to me to see the directions that people go after college. I know several people who have degrees in Graphic Design and are now database administrators and administrative assistants. Others I know have degrees in Finance and are now Worship Pastors. An Art History major who's a full-time nanny, an Interior Design major who's a Campus Manager for a church, the list goes on an on.

This pattern could be indicative of many things. Perhaps the job market at the time didn't present any opportunities for the chosen field when graduation came. Maybe after 4 years of studying towards a degree in a particular topic, there was a realization that it really wasn't that enjoyable. However, I'm convinced that it correlates to the state of the education system. Not that it's necessarily broken, and certainly not that it's useless, but that it's due for some thoughtful reconsideration.

According to a study done by Jaison Abel and Richard Di…

A Day in the Life

Now that I've moved back to Greenville from Pittsburgh, many people have been asking me "what brought you down here", "what are you doing now?", etc. To which I answer "I'm doing a three month development bootcamp for front end engineering at The Iron Yard..."
<insert blank, confused stares here>
Often, a further series of questions continues from there: Bootcamp? It's something for the military?What kind of engineering is that?What's an iron yard?Or my personal favorite - "oh...ok?"
So, I thought I'd do a post to take anyone who's interested through what all of that translates to.
This is where I arrive to in the morning. This is the NEXT Innovation Center - the building where The Iron Yard is located (correct, it's a company, not some sort of metal/sod hybrid - but more on them in a second). NEXT is a very neat space in Greenville geared towards housing tech-minded, innovative, and entrepreneurial companies in the …

Where I'm At, Where I'm Going

So, I've just finished my first week in the Academy at The Iron Yard, beginning a very intensive 3 month course for front end web engineering.

In the past two weeks, I've moved with my wife from Pittsburgh, PA to Greenville, SC, declared squatters rights in my parents' house (a place I haven't lived for more than a college summer stint in over 10 years), and committed to a substantial investment of my time and money, where I'm learning large amounts of new information every day. With that being said, it seemed like a good time to consider how I got to this point, and in what direction I'm going to be heading - a time for reflection.

My background is probably a little bit different than most people who enter the Academy. Touted for their tremendous ability to turn non-programmers into full-fledged developers of mobile and web applications in just 3 months, it makes sense that most people accepted into the academy have no professional development experience.
However…