Apprenticeship : Workspace Essentials to Round Out the Learning Process

Before joining Revelry as an apprentice engineer, I’d dabbled lightly in all areas of software development – strategy, design, front end, back end, even project management. I was extremely excited to begin learning ES6, React, Backbone, and more Rails. Since joining, I have been working in applications small and large. From writing rails migrations in SQL for a massive database to building out a React driven Twitter-like tag search, my apprenticeship has given me amazing opportunities to learn the ins and outs of engineering. Following up from my previous post, Apprenticeship: Tools for Staying Grounded, I’d like to highlight the workspace essentials, processes, and resources that have been most useful in my learning process as an apprentice engineer.

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Getting Set Up: Workspace Essentials

Who likes a cluttered workspace? Not I. When setting up my desktop, I use Divvy to organize different programs on the same screen, like my Notes and the Spotify app. When not listening to my curated playlists, I use Noisli for background noise. It allows me to pick and layer different ambient sounds to my liking, helping to boost my focus and productivity. As for organization within the browser, I keep my communication and collaboration tabs pinned (Heroku, Github, Kanban, Trello, Slack). I also find it important to keep my development tabs separate from my research and learning tabs.

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Getting Started : The Docs

Start with the basics. When jumping on a new or old project, the first thing I want to know is ‘What languages does this app use?’ Once known, my journey begins. I head on over to the official language docs to get acquainted, if unfamiliar (or if I need a refresher!). The Rails guides are a particularly fantastic example of well written docs, as its language is clear and its structure is easy to navigate through. When learning languages with recommended web standards (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), the Mozilla Developer Network provides excellent documentation and guidance.

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Getting Support : Community

In software development, online community support is everything. That fact was immediately fascinating to me when I began learning how to code. Support has been indispensable to my process and is as easily accessible as Chase Banks are in NYC. Stack Overflow is one of the best support communities available for all things engineering related. It provides a platform for developers to ask each other for assistance on specific engineering solutions, or for language specific explanations, and pretty much anything programming related you can think of. At Revelry, we have an engineering support channel available at all times, as well as the option to pair with junior or senior devs. When in a code rut, reach out!

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Getting Great : Make It a Habit

By de-cluttering and refining my development process through workflow organization, I am able to bypass the mundane and leave room for more important aspects of software development… like solving people’s problems. Developing habitual workflows improve productivity exponentially, once you get in a groove. As Charles Duhigg states in the Power of Habit, “there’s nothing you can’t do if you get the habits right.”

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