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Article  |  Development

Epicodus - What are the Students Saying? Part 2

Reading time: ~ 4 minutes

Welcome to round two of interviews with Epicodus students! Today we’ll talk with Hunter Meyer, a developer from Orlando, FL who loves Ruby on Rails.

If you missed the first part of the series, I talked with Braden O’Guinn, check it out!

Corinne@Planet Argon: What interested you in learning to code? How long have you been experimenting?

Hunter: What interested me in learning to code relates to my attraction to solving problems. I remember the first app I built solved a very serious problem: I didn’t have TV and wanted to ‘put something on’ while I ate breakfast. The problem was YouTube, Hulu, etc. forced me to search, find a video, press play and then do it again when the video concluded. I had enough. I decided to build an app that all you have to do is type in a subject (like ‘Funny’) and it’ll immediately begin playing videos. Plus, as soon as one video ends another will begin.

This was about a 6 months ago. Now whenever I encounter a problem, I write a program to solve it.

Are you from Portland? What attracted you to Epicodus specifically? How many months have you spent with Epicodus thus far?

I’m actually from Orlando, Fl. What attracted me to Epicodus would have to be the length of the program. This allowed for a much more expansive curriculum.

Other programs/bootcamps typically run 9-12 weeks. Epicodus is 17! Because of this we’re able to learn more languages, tools (like Git) and really develop good coding habits (like test-driven development). I feel this makes us much more appealing candidates for developer positions because our foothold in the fundamentals is so strong.

At this time, I’ve spent just about 3 months with Epicodus.

What does a typical day at Epicodus look like?

A typical day at Epicodus begins promptly at 9am with our morning ‘Stand-Up’. This is a meeting where everyone in class stands in a circle and can reflect on problems, solutions, things they’ve learned, or share some wisdom with the rest of the class. Typically Stand-Ups last about 15 minutes.

Following Stand-Up the class breaks into pairs of two (pair-programming) and spends the next seven hours and forty-five minutes coding. We usually work on new projects but at times (especially as the apps grow more complex) we will work on projects from a previous day.

We do break for an hour lunch in the middle of the day. For many of us, this is a much needed break. It allows us to reflect on our projects (or not), walk around, socialize and get some fuel for the rest of the day.

At 6pm the class ends and most of the class heads out. I – along with a few other students – like to stay late. Michael (teacher) allows us to stay for whatever reason so long as we lock up as we leave. I often stay till 10:30p working on side-projects, class-projects or tutorials. I want to get the most out of my time here so I don’t hesitate on an opportunity to keep up the momentum.

Out of all the technologies and new languages you’ve been learning, do you find any more fun/more rewarding than others?

Of all the technologies and languages I’ve learned so far I find Ruby on Rails the most fun and rewarding. Rails is a rapid development framework for Ruby. In other words, you could literally launch an app in one day! The fact that my ideas can come to fruition so quickly is incredibly exciting and rewarding.

Ruby is the language of Rails. It’s a beautiful language that is very human-readable due to its clean syntax. Take a ‘loop’ for example, loops are fundamental methods across almost all languages. In Ruby you might see a method for a loop written like this:

5.times do
  #something_you_want_done
end

Even a non programmer can read this. Ruby also cuts out a lot of the syntax prevalent in other languages such as ending lines with semicolons or the necessity to wrap arguments in parentheses. This all boils down to less time spent on syntax, more time spent actually developing.

Are there any projects that you’ve been working on that you are especially proud or excited about?

Of the projects I’ve worked on I’d have to say the one that I am proudest of is KBOOs. KBOO is a local non-profit community radio station. I had the opportunity to work in a team of 6 classmates developing a free, open-source mobile web app for KBOO.

The app features live-streaming of KBOO-fm on your smartphone or tablet. This way you can take KBOO with you wherever you go. Also it allows users to download the audio from previous episodes, view upcoming events and programs, contribute on articles and find volunteer and fundraising opportunities.

KBOO is a great radio station and is a staple to the Portland community. I’m thankful to have been a part of that team.

What are your hopes for the future? Will you be looking for jobs? If so – what areas/technologies are you interested in exploring throughout your career?

My hopes for the future? That’s a long list. I can confidently say upon graduation I will enter the job market. I’m in talks with a cool tech company right now that does something really meaningful, hopefully it works out.

I’m kind of a deer-in-the-headlights right now. There’s so many opportunities around the country for web developers. From bio-tech companies to marketing agencies to financial firms, there’s so much to be interested in it can be hard to choose. My main goal would be to get with a company that actually helps better people’s lives. Like finding ways for the average-Joe to save money, delivering medicine to patients quickly and easily or getting computers into schools, I want to help people.

What are the pros and cons of going to a school such as Epicodus? Would you recommend it for beginning developers?

I believe the pros and cons of going to a school like Epicodus can be summarized as the following:
Pros = 100% coding all day, immersed in new technologies, test-driven development from day 1, using Git, making apps, learning the fundamentals from the start, low-cost, pair-programming, code review, networking with other developers, a passionate and caring teacher, using huge iMacs, the list goes on.
Cons = The class is very intense, 4-months can be a long commitment for some, nearly impossible to have a job at the same time. That’s about it.

I would absolutely recommend Epicodus to anyone interested in programming!

If you want to connect with Hunter: His twitter: @HunnaFresh, Linkedin, and Website.

Look for the conclusion to these interviews in the next few days! Next time I’ll be talking with Mac Eisenberg.

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