How to Be Successful in Module One (from the Repeater)

In February, I started a program at Turing School of Software and Design to become a software developer. After experiencing the professional world for a few years, I was desperately ready for a change. I stumbled onto Turing through fate (and through a panel geared towards women interested in learning to code), and the rest is history. Or is it? While in module 1, I realized that I was not ready to move onto module 2 like the rest of my classmates. I could give you a million excuses as to why I was not ready, but the reality is that this is extremely hard stuff and not everyone is going to understand it all the first time. So I decided to repeat module 1, and from that experience, I created a few tips for repeating or incoming students on how to be successful at Turing: 1. Understand your Environment Turing is chock-full of students looking for something different. Most people don't attend Turing when things are going awesome in their lives. This school is a path to new, life-changing careers. Remember that not everyone came from the same place you did, but the motivations for change are very similar. 2. Don’t Disregard the Experience of Others Because you do not know everyone’s background, you do not know their experiences. To the eye, someone could seem to be less experienced or less worldly, but never discredit where that person has been. I have met so many people that I assume come from a certain background and upon further conversation, they are not who I thought at first (they are always better) . There are people of all ages and socio-economic statuses, and you cannot tell that from looking at them. Embrace the group interactions that are forced upon you. It...
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Make Database Performance Great Again

I built a Rails app that took 300 seconds to load. No, that’s not a misprint. I didn’t forget to include the ‘milli’ prefix, and I’m well aware an app that slow will never be more than a dumpster fire of sadness — no matter how interesting or visually appealing the data it renders is. So, how did I get there? And more important than that, how did I refactor my code to bring database performance back to a satisfactory state? Before we dig in, let’s take a step back. On the job, you’re likely to encounter database performance issues due to the average web app being so database reliant. When this happens, where do you start? Resist the urge to immediately start rooting out N+1 queries, and instead use a service that measures app performance one call at a time. The small time investment required up front will almost assuredly save you time and headaches in the long run versus the guess and check approach. Bullet, Skylight, and New Relic are all good options for Rails apps. I used New Relic and quickly confirmed the problem I suspected — an index page was calling nearly the entire database over 200 times when only a single query was necessary. So, we’ve found the bottleneck, now what? In my app, the ‘count_tweets’ method queries a database of 10,000 tweets, groups them by user location, and groups them once more according to a hashtag ID. Prior to the refactor you see in the screenshot, the return value from ‘count_tweets’ was called by four other methods in the class and the database was queried each time. A table in the index view called these four methods for each of the 50 states plus DC — 204 database queries in all! Gross. Let’s eliminate this absurd traffic jam. Wanting to...
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How to Solve Communication Gaps Between Developers & Customer Support

In a prior life, before entering the world of software development, I worked for WeddingWire.com on the Customer Success Team. I had many responsibilities related to WeddingWire’s paying advertisers, one of which was reporting site bugs and/or client product feedback to the development team. From that experience, I know that there can be significant gaps in the communication between a development team and a service team at tech companies. Though easier said than done, I believe development teams and developers themselves should make a greater effort to proactively minimize those gaps, and I want to present an example scenario in which WeddingWire’s development team could have helped me perform my job more effectively. Have you seen the skit where a developer is asked to “draw seven red lines, all of them strictly perpendicular, some with green ink and some with transparent ink”? (If not, check it out ). The point is though, it can be really challenging for developers to work with folks who don’t develop. Be it a product manager, customer service rep, or even company leadership, sometimes people simply don’t know what they’re asking for. Still, I find that sketch particularly humorous because, having been on the other side of the equation, I know it only paints half the picture. Here’s the thing guys and gals: it ain’t rainbows and sunshine working with developers either. As a Customer Success Manager at WeddingWire, the hardest part of my job was handling angry or upset clients. You’d be amazed what sets people off, like not being able to add custom music to a slideshow tool (hello, copyright infringement!), or a competitor showing up above them in search results (the competitor is paying five times what you’re paying to get that placement, so...). These complaints can be handled fairly easily, but...
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The Bottom Five Percent

My name is DJ Greenfield, and I graduated from the Turing School of Software and Design in June of 2015. I only recently found employment working remote at a startup in Washington D.C. Recently, I had my baby shower at my coding school. Say that out loud: Baby shower at a coding school . Two months before, I had received an email allowing me to defer my tuition until I am in a better place financially. To top it off, I've been handed plenty of leads towards employment through the Turing network in the last five months. All of this help comes after nearly ruining my cohort's mountain retreat weekend with an unnecessary (and extremely embarrassing) trip to the hospital, verbally refusing career help from the Turing staff on several occasions, and seven months of my borderline inappropriate mannerisms which are only very very slightly overshadowed by my high-energy, happy attitude. When I can't sleep at night it's because I feel like an ungrateful jerk. This is my Impostor Syndrome. I don't fear being exposed as an empty-minded bad programmer or someone who has slipped through the cracks with no coding prowess to show for it. At the time of my graduation, I was probably the most confident student to leave the dungeons of the Turing School. All of those l33t coding skillz are great, but until I was finally employed (thanks to one of those Turing connections) I felt like a no-good impostor in my community. Earlier in the job hunt, three days before getting rejected by my number one job choice to be exact, I was informed by Turing that I was one of five remaining graduates without a job. I was 20% of the Turing graduate problem. Most of the other slackers had graduated a few weeks...
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Going Through Coding School As A Hispanic

This blog post first appeared on Julian's personal blog on January 27th, 2016, which you can find here . Roughly eight months ago I made the decision to make software development my career. This decision came fairly easy. Since I can remember I’ve had a veryclose relationship with computers growing up. Born and raised in the inner-city of Chicago, my parents were always weary about having me play on the streets without supervision. So as a substitute, they purchased a computer to occupy my time when they were not able to watch me. Tech opened up the world to me when I couldn’t interact with the world just outside my house. Though the choice to go into tech was easy, figuring out which path to take was not. College? Self-teaching? Coding school? It was extremely overwhelming. While researching my options, I realized a question that I constantly asked myself: What are these schools actively doing to help underrepresented groups in the tech industry? A common theme was many of the coding schools I researched made it know that they wanted to help the diversity issue present in tech. Though great in theory, how genuine were they being? Through much research and deliberation I decided on the Turing School of Software & Design in Denver, CO. Let me take you through the whole process, from applying to attending, and how Turing creates an environment that is welcoming to every and any background. Actively Making Contact During my research into coding schools, Saron Yitbarek , founder of the CodeNewbies community had just done a podcast with Jeff Casimir, founder of the Turing School. The interview touched on many subjects, but one that stood out to me was Jeff’s experience in the tech world along with his background in being apart of Teach...
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Lessons Learned from Module One

This post originally appeared on Beth's personal blog on November 23, 2015, which you can find here . Last week I finished Module 1 at Turing. It was challenging and stressful, but overall a lot of fun. I learned so much in six weeks; I did not think it was possible to learn that much in such a short amount of time. I love my cohort, everyone is so excited to learn and help each other out. On Saturday, I met one of the new members of the next cohort. She asked for any advice I had for her to prepare. I told her to cram as much studying in this week as possible, because the more you know beforehand the better. Her question made me reflect more on what advice I would give to other new students, so here it is: Breathe, just breathe. There will be so much thrown at you on a daily basis, there’s nothing you can do to prepare yourself for the onslaught. You will be fine. It will seem like you can’t get the project done in three days, but then you will find yourself finishing the last iteration on Wednesday night. Spend at least two hours a week studying something that’s not homework or project related. I wish I had done this, but instead I focused all my time on projects. Attend some extracurricular activities. Do it! Pairing is not scary or annoying, and it’s so much fun as long as you communicate well. I was scared to start pairing because I was afraid I wouldn’t be as fast as my partner or that I wouldn’t be able to problem solve as well with someone constantly next to me watching me type. First, you need to “define the relationship” (DTR). Tell them what...
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