App Academy - Coding Challenge 2

Omg. It took me at least 40 hours to finish all the exercises and practice problems in this set. Towers of Hanoi (with user input, FML), my arch nemesis returned and wrecked havoc on my confidence. Why does every programing language make it a point to include Hanoi as a practice problem? I just don’t get it. But it was easier to solve in Ruby than in C++, that’s for sure! 

There were some interesting problems in this set that made me rake my brain for high school math (which is long forgotten!). Also, recursion reared it’s ugly head in one of the problems that had me stumped for a bit. I was struggling with the problem for a bit & when I realized I could solve it with recursion, using a SINGLE line of code, this is how I felt:


How conveniently I had forgotten all about recursion and how it came back to bite me! :P

I did put in a lot of work for this coding challenge too. And I learned SO much. My biggest take-away from this though was the usage of pry and debugger to debug my code. I’m not a visual debugger (who is?), I always use well placed “output to terminal statements” to check how each of my variables is faring through my program. And I can write very very buggy code the first time I try to solve a problem (hey, don’t judge me, I’m still learning!). So I really loved pry & debugger because of how easy they made this for me. 

When the time came for the coding challenge though, I was a bit disappointed with myself. I was able to solve only 3 of the 4 problems in the challenge. I had time to solve the final question, but I just couldn’t understand what they were asking me to do. How can I solve a problem that I can’t understand in the first place? (nice segue to “you need to truly understand customer requirements in order to translate them into the exact product they want! Which didn’t really happen in this case!). 

So with a heavy, nay sinking heart, I submitted my answers to 3 of the problems, wrote off my chances of interviewing with app academy and drowned my sorrow in icecream, while watching the red wedding in Game of Thrones. Who can recover from this situation? I DID. Only after an email from App Academy inviting me to interview with them though. Woot.

I interview this Monday & I’m so excited about it. I’m happy to have made it this far & I hope I get the chance to be part of their SF class this summer. More *fingers crossed*. 

App Academy - Coding Challenge 1

This is App Academy’s prep-work for the first coding challenge. I had to take two coding challenges - the first was fairly easy, the second a bit more complicated.

I did a very through job with the prep-work because this would set the foundation for my future Ruby learning. I told myself that my goal should be to jumpstart my Ruby prep, not to make it through this coding challenge. And this approach worked really well for me. In all, I think this was about 10-12 hours of reading & coding.

I loved both the resources from the prep-work:

  • Chris Pine’s Learn to Program - this helped me get started on basic Ruby. While I love reading books, I’ve never succeeded in learning a programing language by reading one. I prefer a more hands-on approach to code, but this book was still perfect because I got to learn by doing several of the examples. Also, it’s super funny. Humor is very much appreciated when you are coding at midnight & your brain is already completely fried from the happenings of the day ;)
  • Ruby Monk - what a great little resource. After reading the book, this tutorial was perfect for more hands-on coding + I learned a lot of new things from here that weren’t part of the book. I especially loved the coding exercises here, which were a good mix of easy & challenging. 

If you’ve programed before (especially in PHP or Python), you can skip right to Ruby Monk. While Chris Pine’s tutorial is great & I highly recommend it, if you are short on time & prefer to learn as you go, Ruby Monk is a better resource. If you have never programed before, read the tutorial first. That’s all for now. I’ll post my take on the example problems in the prep-work in the next few days!

Are you currently preparing to apply to App Academy? Let’s talk!