HackerYou Summer Academy - Half Way Point

As we are officially past the half-way point of HackerYou’s Summer Academy, it’s a good point to stop and reflect on the experience so far. First I should say that this has been a great experience so far – I have no second thoughts whatsoever about having chosen to do it. Summer Academy feels very much like the Bachelor of Education experience that I had two years ago. An interesting educational experience, so many things learned and many interesting people met. I guess the big difference is that the job prospects for developers are about a hundred times better than for teachers. »

HackerYou Summer Academy Week 3 – Being Resourceful

Another Summer Academy week zipped by; a week of ruby programming, pair programming, Test Driven Development (TDD), learning, listening, and teaching. Sitting here and reflecting on what happened makes me truly appreciate the unique opportunity that I am getting this summer. One can learn a lot on their own (and I have) but there are things that you just can’t do alone. »

HackerYou Summer Academy Week 2 - Thinking Like a Programer

The second week of HackerYou’s Summer Academy went by in a blur. My comfort level with the material covered is pretty high, so I ended up pushing myself to do something a level or two higher in difficulty. I guess I had so much fun refactoring my code to use more advanced techniques, pair programming, and testing that the week just flew by. »

Learning More Advanced Git and Github Techniques

The first time I used git (almost a year ago), I have to admit that it was bewildering but I have come a long way since. For a while I have been confined to a few commands (git add, git commit, and git push) but we used git so much this past week at HackerYou that I felt comfortable enough to finally learn some more advanced techniques. Having many classmates to work with and so many repos to play with has really accelerated my learning. »

HackerYou Summer Academy Week 1 - It's a Bootcamp

HackerYou started unofficially on July 1st (Canada Day)! My wife and I walked across the bridge from our side (Gatineau) into Ottawa to meet the diverse people in the HackerYou program. The first Summer Academy cohort is rather impressive, we are diverse in almost every way (gender, race, nationality, background, goals etc.) and it seems we’re all determined to come out of this program with a new set of skills and a long list of new friends. »

Learning to Program — Journey to Proficiency

I created my first website in 1998, during the days of Geocities, Tripod and and Angelfire. For more than a decade after that, I learned many marketable skills thanks to the culture of open source and sharing in the hacker community. »

Getting Ready to Teach Code: Red, Green, Refactor

Start typing “everyone should” into Google and Google wil recommend the phrase “everyone should learn to code”. Everyone from Bill Gates to Snoop Dogg are telling people that “every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn to code”. This is probably driven by the skills shortage in technology and the lack of a mainstream effort to get people involved in technology. Schools certainly don’t take computer studies as seriously as Science and Math. »

What makes an exceptional learning experience?

Students spend about 190 days per year in school for at least twelve years. A typical school day is about 7 hours, so in total students spend about 16000 hours in school before they graduate from high school. »

The best laid schemes of mice and men

Eight months ago I started this blog with the intention of writing something at least once every week. I had just finished my Bachelors of Education and had very little to do. The education program at the University of Ottawa was a tremendous learning experience but the job market was depressing (and probably still is for some). New, excited and innovative people were graduating the program with a lot of passion but with very few opportunities here in Canada. »

From Dreamhost deception to the OpenShift cloud

Last week I moved some of the websites that I maintain to dreamhost and I have to say that it was a huge waste of time. I had trialled their servers for a couple of weeks before migrating and everything was fine but the server performance was atrocious as soon as they started charging me for hosting. »