2 weeks from today, I begin Phase 0 of DBC.

4 weeks after that, my baby is due to be born.

2 weeks after that, I leave my job.

1 week after that, I move my family out of our apartment.

3 days after that, I get on a plane to San Francisco to begin Phase 1 of DBC.

The time between now and when I get on that plane is still 2 1/2 months away, but the closer it gets, the faster everything will be moving. The pressure is definitely building.

This past week has been an exciting one, but it’s also made me a little bit more critical of my situation. Here’s what’s happened:

Preparing by Programming
I really focused all of my energy on jQuery this week. I’ve never played with it before, but going through the tutorials and documentation that I found was very eye opening. I can see why this would be used over vanilla JavaScript any day, especially when it comes to website building. Speaking of JavaScript, I’m making myself like it more, if for no other reason than I was told to. My cousin-in-law gave me some great advice:

JavaScript is inherently unlikeable, but it's the cool kid in college who knows all the recruiters and can get you 10 interviews next week. It's also one of the places with the most open recs around here, so if you can see past the evil syntax, it's a really good opportunity. - Laura Otermat

I have a work friend who builds websites on the side. He showed me his personal site which includes a lot of cool animations for showing off different sites and templates he’s built. Using his site as an example, I went through lesson after lesson until I understood exactly what was happening with his animations. Granted, his are a lot more complicated than anything I could actually build at this time, but I at least understand what he created and how he animated the images. Man, understanding a concept is a great feeling.

Of course, in order to really appreciate JQuery, I had to review some of my work with HTML and CSS. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, most of my experience with programming has been with website building, but adding JQuery into the mix brings a whole new set of rules and possibilities, so I wanted to make sure I fully understood the DIVs and SPANs and other HTML tags that I would be modifying. I fully recommend reviewing what you already know before venturing into new territory. This comes back to my post, Order of Operations, which focused on what order you should learn new languages. I still firmly believe that HTML/CSS should be first, then JavaScript, then JQuery. This is strictly in regards to website building, though. When it comes to application building, you’ve got to make room for Ruby early on.

I’m only going to spend a bit more time on JQuery, because there’s a lot more to prepare for in just 2 short weeks. I’ve realized that there’s no way to get through everything I’d like to, but if I can get a decent understanding of the major parts before Phase 0 begins, I can focus my energy on the smaller parts at the same time as completing my assigned work. Call it extracurricular.

This week, I’m diving into a bit of review on Ruby by re-reading Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby. I really enjoyed this the first time through, especially because the eccentric humor kept me interested and the unique descriptions of all the syntax made sure I won’t soon forget it. I also appreciated Chris Pine’s Learn to Program, definitely a great way to get started. I’m also hoping to crack open Practial Object Oriented Design in Ruby, or POODR, which is the book to have for understanding Ruby. Several folks have suggested I read it before DBC begins, since there won’t be time later.

At the same time, I’ll hopefully be diving into some Rails app building. I need to start reading Hartl’s Ruby on Rails Tutorial, but as mentioned before, I really learn better by doing than by reading, and if you’ve been keeping count, that’s 3 books I’m promising myself to read in the next 2 weeks.

Preparing in Other Ways
First off, I’m typing this on my brand new Mac! It’s pretty sweet. This is my first new computer in more than 10 years, although I did get a used Mac in 2010 that I’ve been using until now. I spent the first few days getting it ready for DBC, namely setting up my developer environment. I was originally going to use instructions I found on Rails Bridge, but decided to follow instructions by Mike Busch, one of DBC’s instructors in Chicago. Check out his guide. RBENV is definitely more confusing than RVM, but understanding will come in time. I think. I hope.

I’ve also managed to track down 11 other boots that will be starting with me! I was so excited to see people in my group posting on the Facebook page that I immediately friended them and posted for others to join us. We’re all men, so that’s a little disappointing for the “Diversity in Programming” thing that we’re striving for, but at least these guys are from all over the world. We’ve got Japan, Korea, Ireland, and Curacao so far, not to mention US. Our group is expected to grow in the next 2 weeks, but the thought of making a life altering decision like joining DBC only 2 weeks before starting would scare the crap out of me.

Speaking of the time, I’m going to provide a smidge of fearless feedback to DBC right now: I would love to get more communication from you guys. The last time I heard from anyone was when I was accepted into the program. I keep thinking that I’ll get an invitation to join a FB group or some kind of welcome package or introduction, but nothing yet. The website says to expect contact the Friday before we start, but that doesn’t feel like enough time to get to know my team. Thankfully, we found each other through other means. /soapbox.

I’m sick. Again. This seems to happen a lot more frequently lately. It could be all the hands I shake at work every day of people who are visiting from all over the world. I wash my hands frequently, but that’s not always enough. It could also be my 2 year old who plays with other kids at the playground and brings their diseases home to me while never getting sick himself. It might just be allergies. It could also be my lack of sleep. Or all 4. Who knows.

On a very personal note, holy crap I’m scared. I’ve been reading a lot about impostor syndrome, and while I’m not a hypochondriac, I’m worried that this is the biggest obstacle to my success. I’m doing everything I can to prepare for this program, and I feel like I’m really starting to grasp some of the concepts, but what if it’s not enough? What if everyone else picks it up a lot faster, and I take too long, or can’t get it at all? It’s not just my life that’s being upended, it’s my entire family. As I said at the beginning of this post, the pressure is building.

But screw all that noise. Suck it up, push forward, do the f***ing work, and find success. I might not be a developer yet, but I’m sure as hell going to be.