Makers Academy – Airport & Boris – Week 3

With week 3 over I can definitely say that I have gained a lot from the immersion in ruby that is Makers Academy. If I was to give a Makers Academy Review right now I would say that there is nothing better than Makers Academy that I have come across that really pushes you and provides the teaching in coding that you just can’t get at home on the computer. I would not know the best practices or have the willpower to sit down and learn all this alone.

I spent the week pair programming with another Maker on a Boris Bikes model. This was very interesting and often audibly funny. Who knew code could be funny!

Every Friday there is a test on what we have learnt in the week, this Friday it was to create a model system for an airport. I didn’t believe I was doing very well until this test. I thought my knowledge would be lacking when it came down to it and when I actually approached a problem I would have trouble. I was genuinely surprised to discover that 95% of making the model came to me very easily, the difficulties lay in areas which I had not yet encountered.

I am learning a lot and that test proves it. Bring on Week 4 and Battleship!

Makers Academy – Week 2

Week 2 largely consisted of working through Ruby exercises and doing various challenges to exercise our abstract minds and get us thinking like coders. One challenge, the FizzBuzz kata was very interesting. It was tough for someone who has just started programming to figure out all the possible ways to make the code achieve what we wanted it to. Makers Academy makes sure that all it’s graduates are ingrained with the principles of TDD (Test Driven Development) this is basically writing down what each element of the code is meant to achieve on a very deep level so that you can be sure that when you edit things in future that all the other elements remain correct. It is important for laying the foundations for code so that a team or even a different team can come back to the code and edit it with ease, rather than having to figure out for themselves what every element of the code does.

Week 2 being over, I must say things are looking up. I am aware and feel like I know more so much more than I did last week and I am looking forward to learning more next week.

Makers Academy – Day 9 – Tri Programming

In contrast to last week and my assessment of that week, I am beginning to get a sense that I can really achieve at Makers Academy. We are actually doing challenges and building things to simple specifications. It is really challenging and interesting. I as a pair (or a tri) with two of the other “Makers” have attempted a Roman Numerals challenge which spits out roman numerals when you enter a series of numbers up until 4999. It is interesting to work through the problem with the others and use all of our knowledge to successfully complete the challenge. It is amazing what conclusions a collective comes to that perhaps an individual wouldn’t have. I am really starting to enjoy the challenge of learning to code and to adapt to thinking like a coder. I really feel like Tri-ing now! (oh dear!)

Drawing the Battle lines – Investment Sins

Cardinal sins of investing:

Not beating the market

When investing for your future, you have two options. Active or Passive management. Active management (a fund manager making decisions on your investments) is supported by Wall Street firms, banks, insurance companies who – you guessed it – charge the fees and therefore have a vested interest in charging you for their “expertise”. Lots of large financial institutions charge up to 3% of the whole value of your investment per annum just for selling you that “expertise” and paying the expert’s bonuses. And you know what? Active management (most of the time) does not beat a computer!

Passive management is backed up by scientific research by university academics and private research houses. It is a proven method of gaining returns that track the market and saving oneself from the silly facts of behavioural investment. Passive investment is usually performed by a computer tracking a set market, such as the FTSE 100 (the top 100 companies in the UK). Indeed investing passively can increase gains by as much as 2.1% over active management and charges you a lot less for the privilege. That is something the big banks won’t tell you!

Don’t put up with financial advisors and large investment companies charging you massive fees for “experts” managing your money. At best it isn’t good value and at worst it is a systematic scam with a smile. Don’t commit an investment sin. Save for your future not theirs.

More sins to follow.

It was a bloody question mark?!

The most frustrating thing about learning to code and probably coding in general are the stupid errors! The missing question marks or commas instead of full stops hidden away in the code. It is the most frustrating thing I have yet found in my 6 days here at Makers Academy. Staring for hours at the screen trying to work out the really complicated issue with the code that is causing everything to break every time but no it is the bloody question mark!

Ok so I had a little bit of a rant. :) This can be quite frustrating sometimes. However it turns out I got what I wanted this week. Straight away we went in to programming actual things that do things over and above printing text to the console. It would be fantastic if it wasn’t for the bloody question mark!