Sunday 20 March 2016

A little more balance perhaps

I think I've managed to find a little more balance over the weekend - yesterday I didn't actually do much coding at all, although I did do a little work to set up a webserver on my PC so that I can view and share my work between devices, particularly in order to see whether my designs have been responsive enough to cope with mobile devices.  No coding today either, just lots of blogging to catch up with the posting I didn't do last week - check out Beyond the Basket for more insight into the crazy world of the trainee Software Developer.

Yes - officially I am a 'trainee software developer', in conversation with someone at the folk club someone asked what do I do in the civil service, and I could say straight off "I'm a trainee software developer".  Eek - it's really real - little parts of me still can't quite believe it, even though my body is aching from all the extra time spent in front of a keyboard, and my brain reeling from two extra days in the week having to get up early.

Dunno if I'm going to suddenly have a realisation that things are harder than I expected, or whether my OU studies have just prepared me really well for the journey I'm on now.  Up to now I feel confident in my coding and my knowledge - yes sometimes I have those moments in 'practice' where I expect too much of myself, but in reality those moments are things that nobody else on the course would be expected to know at this stage, knowing how to put the different pieces of technology together and get them to talk to each other.  We've really been given just an introduction to most of the stuff that we'll be using in the 'real world', so I think most of the pressure I'm feeling is from within to be honest.

Looking forward to a couple of weeks 'revision' time, chance to do a bit of OU assignment, and take a bit of downtime too.  As well as no doubt cramming lots of coding work in.

Monday 14 March 2016

Trying to balance - the tightrope of study-study-life

Tightrope walker
It's a tightrope....

Having a few of those moments where I'm feeling out of whack lately, new working pattern and my body don't entirely agree with one another just yet.

I'm loving the training, and I'm loving the chance to put into practice the skills I've learned in my OU journey, but with that comes a balance to be found which I've not yet quite managed.

So far the days pretty much look thus:

  • Study OU on the train on the way to the office.
  • Spend all morning training
  • Spend lunchtime playing with the stuff we just studied or the 'play code' I've worked on the night before
  • Spend all afternoon training
  • Study OU on the train on the way home (nah who am I kidding, listen to an audiobook because the train is too busy to sit down)
  • Get home, eat, wash up
  • Upstairs in the study to 'play' with the things I've learned during the day.
  • 9pm TV time with hubby
  • 11pm bed.
And so on for 5 days in the week - the weekend looks pretty similar with lots of 'playing'.  Somewhere in the mix of all that I fit in church etc.

I'd like to find a balance between the desire to 'play' with code, and the need to study and complete assignment work etc for the OU.  Oh and somewhere in all that I would like to breathe and wash my hair!!

I expected that it was going to be a tricky balance to achieve, and I suspect that I may only master it after another couple of months when the OU exam has been and gone (eek where do I fit in revising for that?)

Monday 7 March 2016

Thank you Open University!

Had a real booster of a day today - training was intense as ever,  but some of the concepts covered called once again on the knowledge I've gained from the OU courses.  We covered core programming concepts such as loops and conditional statements, and installed software and moved files etc from the Terminal.

Given how nervous I've been around the 'people skills', it was nice to feel like I had learned something besides the theory from my study years.  And at the end of the day (at home) I managed to solve a complex issue that had been bugging me in some of my 'play code', and which was a step or two further on from where we're currently studying in the 'day job'.

So thank you OU for managing to plant all these seeds of programming in my brain, somewhere there is a magic beanstalk beginning to germinate!

More days like today please!!

Sunday 6 March 2016

Survive - and thrive?

Well - I survived the week intact after my momentary lapse of confidence in my 'people skills'.  I've come to the conclusion that I just need to practice my interactions, and be as proactive in meetings as I can be.  I guess it will come with time and practice.

Feeling really good about the coding side of things, I've practiced a fair bit over the weekend, and am working out ideas for some simple projects just to get myself into the hang of practical coding rather than reading about the theory again.

I've started with just a very simple web page, on which I am practicing skills of structure and layout to see how a page should look.

I also have a more complex idea in my head which I might work on as I go along.....a very simple (in look not programming skills) program to generate word search puzzles for my little boy to complete.   Need to think about the steps involved and get some idea of the structure.

It's exciting to be looking forward to 'work' again tomorrow - I use inverted commas only because it's so much fun - we do work very hard, the days are very structured and long (as are the 5 day weeks - crikey!!).  But it feels like something challenging and exciting and well, exactly what I wanted it to be!

The Greater Washing Basket looks a tad chaotic, not quite worked out how to structure my weekends to cope with the stuff I haven't done on a Thursday or Friday yet.  I'll keep you posted on 'developments' either here or on Page 2.

Thursday 3 March 2016

Realisations of a developing developer

Well, yesterday was day 5 of training, and it's led to lots of different ways of thinking about stuff.

I'm feeling like the biggest challenge for me is not going to be the coding itself, but the confidence part, the confidence to speak up in daily 'stand up meetings', the confidence to know when to speak and when to stop speaking, and the confidence not to replay every single conversation over and over and analyse what I said and what I thought people thought about it...

(slept badly last night as I was analysing in my head what to talk about in this morning's meeting) - so I need to get it out there in the meeting and talk about it.  It's something I'm determined to work on, and I'm starting to feel that it's much more important than I realised!

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Finally Beyond the Basket!

Well, finally - Page 2 has a purpose - head over there to check it out!  I've put a link below to take you there.

It's amazing to finally be on the journey I've been waiting so long for.  I think we all still have unanswered questions, but feeling loads better about the stuff that I have had answers to - it's unlikely that I will have to cancel my exam, for example.

Today is our first day where we've actually coded anything, I think we all left work on a buzz tonight as a result.  Finish time is not as scarily late as we were led to believe it would be, which means that we got home at a sustainable time, boding well for actually having a life outside of training.

The training facilities are not the greatest, with 13 people crammed around a conference table on laptops - but we're civil servants, we can deal with a lot, and I think are willing to overlook a bit of physical discomfort for something which is such a massively worthwhile career move.

My OU assignment was completed well within my self-imposed deadline, I've allowed myself a few days off the studies whilst I take in the beginnings of new learning. After that it's back to the proverbial grindstone, with another assignment due in a couple of months there's not really much let-up time.

Beyond the Basket