Displaying results for "programming"
For the past week and a half, I’ve been working with an awesome Bloc cohort, guided by the awesome (sorry for the dearth of descriptive adjectives, here) Hani Sharabash. I read about Bloc for the first time from a post on Jared Tame’s Posterous that appeared on Hacker News, and I’m glad that I ventured to read it.
As it has turned out for me, Bloc has been much more than learning to program right.
Bloc is a promise: a promise to yourself and a promise made to you.
The promise to yourself is that you are committing to 8 weeks of self-empowerment, of realizing a dream, while learning to see through a project from beginning to end. And when I say beginning, I mean the very beginning. Some people in Bloc start off thinking of “programming” as still being the schedule of shows in the TV Guide (ok, perhaps a slight exaggeration).
The promise made to you is this: while you are at Bloc, you will learn to program. And you will do so in a context that is relevant to you. Each Bloc member must come up with a passion project at the beginning of the course, a “one idea” that keeps you up at night, whose current lack of existence drives you so mad that you want nothing but to make it exist from pure volition alone. And Bloc gives you a firm push toward making that happen. Not a slight push where you stumble a few steps forward - we’re talking a push where you’re on a razor scooter at the top of Lombard St and once you get going, you better stay on your feet or you’re eating shit in grand fashion on a precipitously sloped San Francisco road.
I am beyond grateful for the people at Bloc. Immediately upon my acceptance to the program, I was being talked to on Twitter by fellow classmates, emailed by instructors who weren’t even leading my cohort, and contacted by people who weren’t a part of the course but were interested in learning about the kind of success that Bloc offered.
And that’s the real value of Bloc: realizing, from the get-go, that you’re part of a community. If you’re having a rough time understanding something, you have your instructors and your classmates at your side. You have 1 on 1s with your mentor when you need them the most so you can trudge through a sticky spot in understanding. You have an obscene array of resources at your disposal: books, documentation, posts from classmates, and online quizzes & exercises, aggregated and curated by your Bloc instructor, reaffirming all of the techniques you’re working through daily. Bloc reminds its students about the people behind programming. Because at the end of day, when you’re staring at your computer screen and wondering why you’re working so hard, you’re reminded that you’re doing this to share something awesome with others, too. You want to create and empower people with your creations in the same way that programming is slowly but surely empowering you to do awesome things, too. Bloc offers you context, a holistic understanding of building a web application.
It’s a Bloc Party, y’all. And the people at the party are some of the best I’ve met.
I just enrolled in an online class that is slated to be the largest ever at udacity.com. It’s technically programming 101, using Python to teach all enrollees about the world of programming. With the course’s material, one should expect to be able to program their own search engine using Python by the end of the course (pretty f*ckin cool). It’s free for anyone interested.
The course is taught by a former Stanford professor and Google fellow who even gets Sergey Brin (the co-founder of Google for those techies who’ve been residing beneath rocks) to vouch on his behalf. I’m looking forward to the course, in part because I want to see how it works, but also because I’ve been looking for an excuse to pickup useful amounts of Python and this seems like the perfect opportunity.
My only qualm with the course is that both professors look and sound like they’re villains from a Bond film…although I imagine they have much more benevolent intentions given they’re looking to educate the masses instead of hurting them.