From Zero to Hero, Kinda. Thanks to Bloc

2 min read

I have a degree in graphic design, but I am a web developer by trade. I didn't wake up one day magically write Javascript/HTML/CSS; I had to teach myself. After learning and practicing that for a while I wanted to learn something more dynamic, more backend-centric. That is when I ran across Ruby on Rails. Simple to learn, yes. Hard to master, incredibly. Until I enrolled in Bloc.

Bloc. Not your typical program.

Bloc is a development program with a unique twist...a mentor. If you look at the Bloc alumni page you will see a quote from me:

“I wouldn’t have been able to do this myself, or through Treehouse. You need that person to explain things.”

I had done every possible tutorial/course I could find on Ruby on Rails including Code School, Treehouse, One Month Rails, Lynda, and man others. I learned a lot from the from them all. I was climbing the metaphorical mountain of Ruby on Rails development, but I couldn't top out and go back down the other side.

Enter the Mentor

I had been following Bloc since it's infancy, but couldn't afford it till the Summer of 2014. I happily enrolled, chose my mentor and began my 18 week trek to enlightenment. When I enrolled in Bloc I made it very clear that I already knew and was extremely comfortable on the front-end and I wanted to focus more on the back-end, server side, database structure and more. I teamed up with Michał, my mentor and we had a great time!

Each Bloc participant meets with their mentor at least once a week, maybe more. I met with Michał twice a week for an hour (sometimes longer!) and discussed the course material, recent computing news, and other general troubleshooting. Michał's job is to be that person that pushes me to the top of the mountain and back over it by challenging me and helping me through the course.

The Curriculum

Bloc's Full Stack curriculum is structured in a way that you build a reddit clone in the first few weeks. This first application you build helps foster a relationship between your mentor and you and builds the foundation you need to continue the program. After you finish the first application, you are presented with a list of 5 more applications you can build, but these applications only give you a vague description of what you should accomplish by building it. It is up to the participant to determine how hard or easy they want each project after the first project to be. Because I wanted to learn more about one specific area, I did not spend a lot of time building interfaces and talking about the front-end. Michał challenged me by having me try my hand at building applications in Sinatra (a bare-bones Ruby driven framework). Sinatra doesn't give you scaffolding or flash message handling; the developer has to build it him/herself. Because of this, I grew a lot and learned a ton alongside my mentor.

If you are struggling to overcome the mountain, or don't have a single ounce of idea how/where to begin programming, I would suggest checking out Bloc. Just a day or two ago Bloc announced a new program that combines their Full Stack program with their Front-end program. This gives the best of both worlds in a fun-filled course. The best part is you work with two mentors! Think about all the knowledge to be gained!

If you are interested in iOS development, Android development, or Interface Design/Development Bloc has you covered also!

Maybe I will see you around the Bloc alumni Facebook page one day!