A key component of most coding bootcamps is a capstone project that marks the culmination of everything students have learned. We caught up with Carrie Grossman, Frida Garcia, and Priyanka Farrell, three recent bootcamp graduates from the DigitalCrafts Full Stack Software Development Immersive to learn more about the capstone project, Brewsy, that they built together in just two weeks! Plus, these three grads share insights into what it’s like to learn and collaborate in DigitalCrafts remote classroom, and the types of jobs they’re prepared for today.
What did you build for your capstone project at DigitalCrafts?
Carrie: Our capstone project, Brewsy, acts as a virtual punch card. It’s a digitized platform for coffee lovers and cafes.
Priyanka: Brewsy is like Yelp for coffee shop enthusiasts! Oftentimes, we lose the little punch card or completely forget about a coffee shop we visited and enjoyed. Brewsy allows users to keep track of where they go for coffee and record how many times they have visited. We also implemented a rewards system. Every ten visits, the user receives a reward. When a user presents it to the coffee shop, they will redeem it.
How much time were you given to build this project?
Frida: We had two weeks to work on it, including two weekends.
What are the key features of Brewsy and how would a user interact with it?
Priyanka: Once you register as a user, you can log in to your account. The first thing you will see is the cafes in your area, including their name, address, a link to their homepage, and how many people have visited the location. You can also filter the search to give results based on ZIP code. Each cafe has a review section with mugs replacing stars on a scale of one to five, five being the best. Users can also upload photos to share in real time.
As a cafe owner, you can register, log in, and add updates to your coffee shop page. Owners create updates to inform users of important information, a change in hours, events, or discounts, but they cannot add reviews or photos because we wanted Brewsy to be user-centric. If someone owns a chain of stores, they can register every one of their cafes and manage them. It also allows the owners to see the users who have been customers and how often they visited.
What technologies and programming languages did your group use to build this project?
Since your cohort was remote, how did your group collaborate to build Brewsy?
Carrie: We used Trello, Slack, and Google Docs to communicate to one another. Those platforms helped us easily collaborate and see each other’s ideas. Zoom was also very helpful to meet on video chat without being in the same room. No matter where we were, with Zoom we could share our screen and code together.
Priyanka: Our team worked well together and had a good time! We were diligent about uploading to GitHub regularly.
Do you think this remote project-building experience helped make you better remote employees?
Carrie: I definitely believe so. I had never used Zoom, Slack, or Trello before. I learned to use more tools and be more diligent with communication.
What was your team’s biggest challenge while building this project?
Priyanka: Some challenges we had were technical issues, such as debugging infinite loops through paired programming. The photos on Brewsy’s homepage are our coolest feature and it was the most challenging to code. We store it in the database as a Base64 string, which is very long. Figuring out the infrastructure to store them was an extremely rewarding challenge!
Did the DigitalCrafts instructors help you with this project?
Carrie: Our instructors encouraged us to work on our own as a group, but if we became stuck and couldn't find a solution, they were more than happy to assist us. They were truly supportive.
What was it like to present your project at the DigitalCrafts Demo Day?
Frida: There were over 70 people in the Zoom room, including potential employers and family members! We were nervous because we were the last group to go. Since we pre-recorded our presentation, it wasn't as bad as we had feared. Being remote and not being physically in front of people actually made the presentation easier.
Are you using this capstone project as a talking point in your job interviews?
Priyanka: I have spoken about Brewsy in my interviews as a positive experience. This project demonstrates how well we organized ourselves, and that we communicated regularly and focused on getting clean code with a minimum viable product.
What are your career goals since graduating from DigitalCrafts?
Carrie: I favored the front end more than the back end, so I am looking for junior front end developer positions. I also excelled at debugging, so I am looking into roles where I can use that skill, such as Quality Assurance Tester.
Frida: I'm applying for junior developer jobs, even though I lean toward front end development. I am looking to just get my foot in the door to develop my skills and further my career.
Priyanka: Coming from a teaching background and working through the pandemic, I realized the importance of technology in education. It was one reason I wanted to pursue a career in software development within the edtech sector. Right now, though, I am applying to as many places as I can to gain experience and learn about different fields within the industry.
What has been your biggest challenge in your journey to getting into tech?
Carrie: To be honest, before DigitalCrafts, I had no prior experience with coding and the bootcamp was intense. I doubted myself throughout the course, but my instructor was patient and reassured me. He was supportive, and I learned a lot. I'm looking forward to learning even more working in the field.
Priyanka, do you have any advice for teachers who are considering making a career change into software engineering?
Priyanka: When I was a teacher, I often told my class about growth mindset: You will improve if you put in the time and effort. I put my own words to the test when I attended DigitalCrafts. It was intense, and sometimes frustrating when my code wasn't working and I couldn't find the solution. It was easy to become overwhelmed with emotion, but reminding myself of the growth mindset helped me to persevere. Coming from a teaching background, I applied various ways of learning that I knew to break down information. From visual aids to writing notes, it was my key strategy to get the most out of the bootcamp.
Frida, what is your advice for someone who’s considering enrolling in an upcoming DigitalCrafts cohort?
Frida: Learning on your own can be frustrating. It's nice to have someone there to go through the concepts and explain them. The extra help after class was wonderful. The TA would give us one-on-one time and break it down for me. If I was embarrassed during class, I could receive personal assistance afterward. DigitalCrafts was involved in the learning process from beginning to end. They were a superb choice.
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