After graduating from Hack Reactor’s Software Engineering Immersive I decided to accept a position as a Teaching Assistant, staying at Hack Reactor for an additional 12 weeks to mentor future cohorts. Teaching assistants at Hack Reactor are asked to pick some kind of project to work on in their spare time, oftentimes these projects are aimed at helping the campus in one fashion or another. When I accepted the position an idea came to mind immediately. I wanted to help students become more familiar with the everyday tools of writing and debugging code.
Before attending Hack Reactor I worked in live event lighting (mostly theatre) and while studying the craft in college we were always encouraged to learn how to do our work faster by learning to use our tools more efficiently. This applied to both physical work like painting scenery and digital work like drafting ground plans using CAD software. Theatre is often done on a very tight schedule so anyway that you can save a few seconds in your workflow adds up to more time finessing the product. I approached software engineering in a similar fashion. As I learned I slowly incorporated more keyboard shortcuts and when time allowed I would practice using debugging/testing tools. By familiarizing myself with these tools, I could spend more time tackling the task at hand less time futzing with my tools.
During my time as a TA, I created 5 workshops that each focus on a tool that I found essential to my workflow as a student but which were not formally covered in the curriculum. The focus would be on those more hidden tips and tricks that you might not run into or look up because coding boot camps leave little time to explore. The idea was to have a demo that is full of all those tidbits that when you discover them make you say “I wish I had known that it could do that three weeks ago!”.
I called the series ‘The Craft of Code’ and I’m sharing the workshops below in the hope that it might teach people a trick or two that they didn’t know before. If you are currently at a coding boot camp or a recent graduate I encourage you to take a look at the GitHub repos and watch the videos as the content is geared for your background.