Learning/Dev Journal: Feb 13/17

This last week I’ve been juggling my two courses, making videos for YouTube, and trying to find a new job, while continue to work on getting better at testing and learning about design patterns. I also had a job interview last week at a wicked company too so I’ll be sharing how that went.

How goes the job hunt?

I guess I’ll start with job interview, because it, along with what I did because of it, is the biggest news this week (we’ll get to the learning journal stuff in a bit).

The company I interviewed at is called Vehikl. They make web applications in a PHP framework I’ve talked about here in the past, Laravel.

One of the things I’m most excited about is being at a company with focus and drive. Over the last year and a half I’ve juggled a lot of disciplines; JS development, PHP, static web pages, WordPress, OpenCart, job estimates, database design, and Laravel among all sorts of other tasks and responsibilities.

This has been great for learning how to pivot, multitask and read up on documentation quickly. I’ve become pretty good at a lot of different things.

The problem though, is the most focus I’ve had is working on a couple of larger projects in Laravel that demanded enough attention I didn’t have much choice but to focus on Laravel.

I still had to hop back to WordPress back to Laravel, to OpenCart and back to Laravel again. Because of this I feel more like a generalist than a specialist in any area. On top of that I haven’t had the opportunity to really learn and develop my ability to write extensible, testable, and maintainable code.

The perks at Vehikl are cool but what I’m truly hungry for is to work at a place that values self-development among the team, a place that wants their people to be the best at what they do, because I want to be the best at what I do.

So long story short I really want to work here. The first interview went great as far as I can tell, and they are giving me a test project to build so they can gauge where I’m at. After that, I suppose if they like what they see, I’ll be called in for a technical interview and we go from there.

Because I want this job so bad, I decided it was best to reduce my work load at home, which meant I dropped out of Databases 1.

I feel like at this point I’m already prioritizing the job hunt more than school anyway, and now that I feel I may have a shot at Vehikl, I want to really focus on landing that job. In my Databases course, I had just hit a point where I was learning new things, and although I could probably still pass the course while completing Vehikls test, I don’t feel like I’ll really be learning the material well enough to retain it.

As you guys know, retaining what I learn in each course is far more important to me than the actual degree. So for this reason I’m now only taking Web Programming 1.

The web course is ridiculously easy for me. There’s no reason to drop it at all. I’ve only been spending a few hours a week on it, and I have a prefect grade for the time being.

Alright, so what are you learning?

In school so far this term I haven’t been learning too much. The web programming course hasn’t exposed me to anything I didn’t already know – although reviewing history is always fun for me 🙂 Databases has been surprising me the whole way – this past week included.

In the databases course I’ve been learning about the proper terminology for things I already knew at the DBMS (Database Management System) level.

The past week we learned about relational algebra and operations such as joins and unions. Honestly in my own work I haven’t made use of joins or unions too much, so when I know I need to, I always have to do some google-fu and look into the differences between inner join, outer join, left join etc.

So it was more than worth my while to dig into the mechanics of these operations, and be challenged to explain them in the discussion forum.

On top of this, I’ve been sticking to my goal of becoming a better tester this year, so I’ve been going back to old projects and figuring out how to write tests for them.

One thing I find with Laravel is it’s not so straightforward to set up multiple databases for different environments i.e development vs testing vs production.

In Express for Node, setting up multiple databases in Mongo is pretty straight forward, and spinning up new ones and tearing them down isn’t complicated.

I figured out a similar setup in Laravel that works for my purposes, and I’ll make sure to write a post or maybe even a video on that.

What else is there?

I had a cold most of last week so I didn’t end up making episode 2 for the Intro to Web Development series.

However I did end up recording myself doing an assignment for Web Programming. The requirements had nothing to do with writing code or anything, so it’s not possible for a student to use my video to cheat. But I thought it might be neat for some people to watch.

While I write this, the video is still uploading, but you’ll be able to see it here:

That’s it for this week!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter or Facebook to get notified of new updates to this blog.




2 thoughts on “Learning/Dev Journal: Feb 13/17”

  1. Hey Dan! I am a fellow CS student at UoPeople and canuck. I came across your blog via a reddit thread. I would love to pick your brain a bit. Any slack channels I should be on?

    1. Hey glad to see another Canadian on board! There’s a lot of great Slack groups to join, depending on what your interests are. The most popular one for UoPeople students is this one: https://uopeople.slack.com/

      I’m not an admin over there, so you’ll have to give a shout in the Yammer group for an invite.


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