Code Academy Week 8 and Chicago Startup Weekend

In week 8 we learned how to build search functions, implement basic UI’s, and leverage gems for other features like pagination.

The Code Academy UI instructor put together this awesome resource for beginners, which is totally linkworthy learn.shayhowe.com. I definitely need to review this in more depth.

This week I also participated in my very first startup weekend. Not surprisingly, I was the only Booth student dumb enough to participate in a 52 hour intensive startup workshop the weekend before finals.

The first day was a rapid fire idea pitching session. I went up and pitched the bucket list app that I’m making for code academy. Sixty six ideas were pitched in total. There were quite a few pretty good ones, so I was pleasantly surprised when mine was one of the fourteen ideas selected (#humblebrag). I wrangled together an awesome 5 man team, comprising of: devs, designers, and business foilks, and we got to work.

I signed up for startup weekend with the express purpose to participate as a dev rather than a business guy to practice what I’ve learned. After 8 weeks of code academy, I actually went in feeling pretty confident that I could talk the talk. So wrong. I was incredibly humbled watching true devs and designers work. After listening to a few minutes of technical jargon I realized that I’ve just barely scratched the surface of software development. I usually write down terms I dont know so that I can look them up later, but I actually had to give up trying because I was just writing constantly and not working.

I didn’t understand before why people would want to do apprenticeships after code academy, since these people likely had talents better suited for other roles. But now I do. There is so much more to learn after CA just to be considered competent in the tech world.

Anyways, I didn’t get to do as much coding as I would have liked because I just didn’t know enough to be useful within a 52 hour time span, so I ended up doing more biz dev and product management stuff. Still, I had an awesome weekend. I networked with a ton of really smart, startupy people. I ideated and formed friendships with 4 super cool guys, and we ended up building a pretty slick prototype that I aspire to one day build myself (not in 52 hours though).

Here are some screenshots of our prototype, codenamed “Blist”.

We ended up getting a 4th place honorable mention at Startup Weekend. I generally dislike losing but after walking away with so many positive memories – gotta say I was quite pleased with the entire experience.

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