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Hacker School, Week 1

2013 June 25
by Richard Harrington

tl;dr a lot of studying and meeting new people, not much coding — yet

So the first week was all about meeting people, studying, and pairing with other people on their projects. There are 70 of us in there, in a space that would be ideal at 50 or 60. So it’s a little crowded at times, although usually it doesn’t bother me.

It was, in fact, so fun talking to other folks about their lives and what they wanted to do at Hacker School, and having long conversations about programming over lunch, that I didn’t end up writing any code the first week.

Before the batch began, there was a lot of talk on the forums about pretty esoteric computer science topics, like type system theory. Since I’m a self-taught programmer, that is definitely my weak spot, so I got kind of excited about all the online classes I could go through with my fellow Hacker Schoolers, and all the books I could read that I never would have read on my own. When I got there, I started going over the last two chapters of The Little Schemer, line by line, with one of my fellow Hacker Schoolers, and I joined a reading group for a graduate-level book called Types and Programming Languages, by Benjamin Pierce. I also made my way through the first couple chapters of Programming Clojure, by Stuart Halloway and Aaron Bedra, because my stated goal for the summer was to learn Clojure. I’d done a few tutorials a few months ago in a half-assed way and I knew some Scheme, but I was mostly starting from scratch.

Hacker School is Monday through Thursday, but I ended up coming in on Friday (and in fact, I’m come in every Friday since then for the last three weeks), and at about 4pm, I got kind of freaked out that I hadn’t written any code, and I started writing a basic HTML page with some JavaScript behavior, just to be doing something. (The final version is now at http://turtleherder.com/monkeys.)

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