The long road I took from Texas to South Carolina is quite a trek (about 1,000 miles). There is a portion of that road that goes through a windy, curvey valley. I hit it at the absolute worst time – sunset during a rain storm. I hate driving in the rain and I hate driving at night. Every muscle in my body clenched.
And then I hit the tunnel.
The tunnel was basically a hole in the side of a gigantic mountain. You can’t see far ahead because the tunnel curves the entire time. You might think that being out of the rain would feel like a reprieve, but it didn’t. I could feel the mass of rock above pressing in all around me. I had no idea what was coming around the bend but I couldn’t slow down because there was a massive amount of traffic behind me. So I pressed on.
Being a student at The Iron Yard is like driving through that tunnel.
Ten weeks ago there were a lot of unknowns. What were my classmates going to be like? Would I like my roommate? Would I be able to find gluten free groceries? And the ultimate questions: Was I going to make it? The only thing I knew for sure was I was going to be surrounded by talented & accomplished people. In part, that’s why I chose The Iron Yard. I learn best by surrounding myself with people I can learn from.
With the last day of class just around the corner, I feel like I can see the way ahead becoming a little lighter. Can’t see the end yet, but I can feel it coming. I can sense changes in my own way of thinking, particularly in terms of design. When I dream about future possibilities I’m starting to see some details a little clearer. I still have a lot of questions and tons more to do, like cleaning up old projects and getting a resume ready. But I want to be careful not to overlook what I’ve accomplished so far. Feeling the pride of a job well done so that I can fuel the road ahead, put my head phones back on and hunker down.
Which brings me to the task at hand: my final project.
I am fortunate to have an awesome partner working with me and we are making some good progress, but we have a lot to do still. The plan is to present our final projects at Grok, a yearly web industry conference that takes place here in Greenville. That kind of ramps up the expectations for me a bit, especially since it’s just around the corner.
I don’t want to say too much about the concept for our final project at this point since we are still fleshing it out, but here’s some of the logistics we are tackling:
- Implementing Ember.js as our framework
- Using Firebase for our data/server needs
- Mobile First design process
- Integration with a couple of API’s including Google Maps & Instagram
So far, here’s what we’ve completed:
- User testing/feedback from a prototype
- Basic structure coded using Ember
- Integration of Firebase
- Google maps & Instagram API integrated (still perfecting what we call)
- Style guide
- Implementation of our mobile first strategy in initial coding
I have seen a lot of value come from having the style guide hammered down first. It’s made building each page feel pretty easy. I’m also really liking the Mobile First approach (at first it felt a little uncomfortable – like building a house by starting with the roof). It’s not for every project, but makes a lot of sense for the goals we have for this project. More to share on that later.
For now, I’m gotta keep plugging away to make our deadline.
Onward. Towards the light.