Galvanize Week 1: Python & SQL

Done with our first official week! It was definitely more involved than Week 0 (optional week). We started our first morning with a welcome presentation & orientation, then getting to know the rest of our Cohort #15 group a bit more. There's 23 students (only 4 are girls- I was expecting more, but I've been told this is the typical ratio) that come from a variety of disciplines stemming from engineering or the hard sciences. I'd say about a third of us came to Galvanize SF from outside of California, including two international guys from India and Mexico! Everyone is highly motivated and excited about the program.

I've been pretty apprehensive about Galvanize's placement rates (as I noted in my initial post about choosing Galvanize), but I'm feeling better about job hunting after the Outcomes team spoke to us during the first day's welcome presentation and at a lunch meeting the second day. The Outcomes team is made up of 3 ladies who all seem very engaging and qualified. I remember one woman said her background was in CS- she worked at Pixar, Microsoft, Medium, Dolby, and other places after graduating from Carnegie Mellon, then decided to go into career services. Galvanize has their own "LinkedIn" type of intranet for connecting with other Galvanize members, which has been useful for recruitment in the past (not sure how useful or popular it is yet... I'm a skeptic, I know). Also, once a week, we will be having lunch seminars with the Outcomes team, where they will coach us and give us assignments to help us land the jobs we want. They've already shown us an outline of their topics- next week, we will kick off with learning how companies are structured so that we can build our base understanding of what to expect and what we might want to look for in a job.

As for technical content and structure of Galvanize... man, we are going to have a dense first 8 weeks of the program. We have five 2-hour assessments, one of which we had already on our first day. The syllabus breaks down each week into daily topics and readings. Until we reach our project weeks (Weeks 9-12), our days look like:

9:00 - 9:30 Warm-up Quiz
9:30 - 10:45 Morning Lecture
10:45 - 12:30 Individual Assignment
12:30 - 1:30 Lunch
1:30 - 2:45 Afternoon Lecture
2:45 - 5:45? Paired Afternoon Assignment

However... we ask a fair amount of questions during lecture, so the schedule varies, and so far, there have been a couple days already that I've stayed past 6pm (though one day included a happy hour!). Unlike my last job, where 2pm would be about the time I would take a boredom snack and wonder why the hell the day's passing so slowly, 6pm at Galvanize creeps up on me, which I only realize because my stomach is starting to make hungry noises.

Honestly, I thought this first week would be somewhat boring since its purpose was to get us all on the same level with best programming practices in using Python and SQL. While some material repeated what we learned in the optional Week 0 lessons (understandably), it was still a fun week for me.

I especially enjoy the paired programming, where we are randomly assigned another partner to work with. Galvanize has paired computers set up for us where each student has their own monitor, keyboard, and mouse, but every two computers is hooked up to a single Mac mini. Each pair takes 30 min turns between acting as a "driver" (the person who is actively typing and using the computer) and a "navigator" (the person who is instructing and supporting the driver). The goal is to get more practice collaborating with others and explaining concepts effectively. This week, we learned best practices for efficient Python (competed with each other to create functions with the shortest runtime output from timeit), wrote a program from scratch to play BlackJack, worked on some complex SQL queries, and got started with pandas.

Next week... probability and statistics!

comments powered by Disqus