This is blog post number 4 about my journey to becoming a software engineer.

I am into week three of my first module called Rails Web Development. So far the material has been very easy for me. I guess that makes sense since I am already a fairly experienced developer. The concept of programming is not new to me given the fact that I focused my university studies around web development. BLOC’s apprenticeship is meant to be feasible even for people with no coding experience whatsoever. The challenge for any online bootcamp is finding a common denominator that allows every participant to still learn from their experience. I find that BLOC does a good job here. They do teach you programming from scratch but I must say they take huge strides. Completing this program as a rookie must be very demanding – and it should be! Programming is not an easy skill, and fooling people into thinking it is easy to work as a software engineer would be outright dishonest.

Now comes the part where I have to give BLOC kudos; or I should say my mentor. We agreed that it was a good idea for me to push through the foundational basics as quickly as possible, in order to spend a lot of time on projects. BLOC projects have clear requirements, but they can also be adjusted to a student’s ideas and skill level. It is even possible to lay the backend foundation of a web application during the Rails portion, to connect it with the front-end in the next module called Frontend Web Development. Adopting this approach, I feel that I still get plenty of value out of my apprenticeship, even though I am a more advanced student that most of the other participants. I have the feeling that my mentor is also looking forward to this more advanced form of mentorship.

Picture of Amazon Echo

I am wrapping this post up with an exciting news announcement that BLOC made this morning. One of the projects I spoke about earlier can now consist of the building of a new skill for Amazon’s Alexa. Alexa is a voice recognition device for personal use at home. For instance, once can ask Alexa about current news, or the weather forecast. Coding a new skill for Alexa means that one creates a new ability for Alexa. This means that I get to work with one of the most interesting API’s that exist today. How cool is that? Now here comes the best part – anyone who completes the Alexa project will receive a free Echo from Amazon, and will be able to submit their resume to earn a chance at interviewing for Amazon’s Alexa team. Isn’t that something?

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