Monday, July 23, 2007

[self setValue:@"Grasshopper" forKey:@"skillLevel"];

Today is my first day back at work since my visit to the Big Nerd Ranch. I really don't want to be here. I'd much rather be applying the things that I learned last week, and building my understanding of the things I failed to grasp. I'm feeling a tingling that's telling me that this is the direction for my future career path. Whether it is actual coding, consulting, or training (or some combination) I can't say for certain yet; but there is definitely something here.

Mark did a great job with Objective-C, and of course Aaron did a fantastic job with Cocoa. To over-inflate my importance and self image, I noticed some parallels between Aaron and myself. What Aaron is to the Cocoa world, I am to the I-DEAS world. We both used to work for the company that made the product; NeXT for him, SDRC for me. We both performed training for said product, although he is obviously still doing it, where it is an increasingly distant past for me. And within certain circles, we both have a high level of name recognition. However, he's been a rockstar a lot longer than I have, and has probably been in the training biz since before I entered college. And he made his own training company. And he wrote a book. So yeah, his circle is bigger than mine.

I enjoyed the class so much that I really want to get back into training. Hopefully within a year or two I'll understand the subject matter well enough to do so.

In the meantime, I'm working on my first program. It will be a mileage tracker for cars, with my own twist on the way it presents information and the kinds of information it keeps track of. My hope is to have it completed this year. I have a lot to learn yet.

I did get a good start on it, though. I was pretty frustrated the first few days of class, because I didn't feel like the concepts were sinking in. All the way through probably Tuesday, I kept saying to myself "I don't know enough to get started yet, I don't know enough to get started yet..." Tuesday evening, I looked at the remaining chapters for the week, and realized that they weren't going to help with the core functionality of my program. Useful, but fluffy stuff like Undo and printing. Not much point in worrying about those if I can't even enter information into the program. So I decided that I apparently did have enough knowledge to get started, and committed myself to having a working example by the end of Wednesday. Got an early start that morning, and worked on it between lessons over the course of the day. I managed to piggyback somewhat off an example in the book, and had to ask for help from Aaron a couple times, but by the end of the day, I did indeed create a functional prototype. So at that moment I convinced myself that I will be able to "do" this eventually. Made the rest of the week less stressful.

I'll start posting code snippets as I go. My mind keeps rethinking objects and methods, so I'm constantly changing my mind about how to approach things. And as my day of coding yesterday revealed, I just don't fully understand this stuff yet (net result of the day: zilch). Or I do, but I'm encountering Xcode quirks. It's always the quirks that hinder learning the most. Might be a combination. But that's where the code snippets and a hopefully willing and helpful reading audience comes in to play.

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