Coding enthusiasts from across Cornwall joined us at the dBs Summer School last month for a 2 week boot camp designed to improve and enhance their skills and employability.
The group was made up of an array of people from all walks of life, including students, post-graduates, and hobbyists looking to get in to the industry. With such a great variety of experience, it was the perfect opportunity for them to teach and learn from each other.
Spey-casting a fishing line is a skilful technique requiring years of practice to achieve a ‘champion’s range’, much like a golfer’s drive. How would you measure it in order to improve?
This was the task presented to the programmers by Jon Jagger (professional software coach and creator of Cyber-Dojo), who was acting as the hypothetical ‘product owner’ wanting a wearable device that could measure the quality of his casting and build that information into a visual form to see results over a period of time.
Using a Raspberry Pi, an accelerometer and a variety of other gadgets, the teams were put to work, developing ideas in CyberDojo and learning the fundamentals of Agile methodologies and Test Driven Development (TDD).
Then the pressure was on! The Sprints (iterations of development usually lasting 2 weeks) were compressed into 3 days, and with the course being only a couple of weeks long, there was limited time to get the product to a completed state.
The group accepted the challenge willingly, and with a few of our expert developers from Bluefruit Software and some other local businesses on hand to help, they successfully completed the project within 2 weeks!
It was a positive experience for everyone; not only were the group involved in a simulation of a ‘real-world’ project, they were also given training in the business and commercial aspects of coding, as well as the project management side.
The skills they developed and built upon throughout the course will no doubt assist their career progression, and hopefully be the step they needed to get their foot in the door of the software development industry.
“Getting back in to coding was difficult to start with, and I found myself struggling with some of the tasks at the beginning of the course. I haven’t been in computing for a while, but after the first couple of days it started coming back to me, and towards the end I found that I’d not only refreshed my old skills but was building on them with new knowledge.
It has been a pleasure to work with the people here. We’re all so different and come from a variety of backgrounds, but we’ve all really bonded.”
– James (Degree in Computer Science; hasn’t worked in IT for several years)
“I came to the Summer School because I’m really interested in getting a job as a web developer, and I knew this would help me improve my skills and make me more appealing to potential employers.
It was challenging in the beginning, but once I’d got into it, it became good fun and I saw the challenges as exciting rather than stressful.
Getting experience like this is so important for personal development, and it looks great on a CV too!”
– Natalia (Foundation degree in Web Technology from Truro College)
“I have been learning from home using TDD, which helped a lot on the course and I was able to share my experiences with others. It was also great learning how to use Agile methodologies and why they are so useful, as I know a lot of employers look for that sort of experience.
I had a fantastic time and it was a good opportunity to experience a realistic ‘8 hour coding day’ for 2 weeks. Because I’ve only ever done it as a hobby, I really wanted to find out if I’d enjoy doing it all day, every day, as a full time job. I can say so far, I’ve been loving it!”
– Lucy (Coding hobbyist)
“The students spent two weeks working as a team to build working end-to-end software for an almost-real on-site product owner (me!). They learned a huge amount and deserve great credit for their effort and determination.
The hands-on, practical format of the Summer-School was a vital aspect of its success; there was nothing remotely resembling a PowerPoint presentation, and instead there was learning by doing, mixed with a few structured practice sessions.
I thoroughly enjoyed helping out and look forward to next year.”
– Jon Jagger (Software coach and consultant: jaggersoft.com)
dBs Code is an exciting new extension of dBs Music, the UK’s leading provider of Music Production training.
Set in beautiful Cornwall, dBs Code offer an Extended Diploma in Software & App Design, ‘Little Geeks’ day courses and clubs for school children, as well as yearly Summer Schools for anyone wanting to enhance their coding skills and experience.
If you’d like to find out more, head to their website:
Meet us at Agile on the Beach 2014!
Thu 4th & Fri 5th September; Falmouth, Cornwall
Agile on the Beach is a 2 day conference all about Agile technology and business strategies. With 40+ speakers, discussions, presentations, a beach party and more, we really can’t wait!