Learning with Re:Coded

Why capstone projects matter in every bootcamp

Working as a web developer is about so much more than just the actual coding. That’s why the final Capstone project is so essential to our bootcamp. We spoke with a team who recently finished theirs - on the importance of code reviews, agile workflow and why the first week was the most difficult.

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min read //

September 9, 2021

Lars Højholt

Director of Communications

Why capstone projects matter in every bootcamp
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Elif kicks off our group call. "Seeing my friends now in this call is amazing. We worked so close together. It was fun and challenging at the same time. We spent the first week working on our ideas, choosing colors for the website and agreeing on styling and design."

Elif is 26 years old and from Istanbul and one of five members of a Capstone Project Team, who recently graduated from our Frontend Bootcamp.

Her point on the process of that first week is recognized by her fellow team mates. The first week of a project is indeed important and often takes longer than expected as the team settles into their roles and hash out the central components and the who-does-what. 31 year old Bahaa from Aleppo, Syria picks up the conversation.

"In the beginning, we needed to understand how we think and who is most interested in which parts. That took about a week and it felt a bit long, but it was helpful to have that first period and after that it was smooth sailing."

Going through the bootcamp you will learn how to code. But working as a web developer is so much more than just coding and it’s never a one-(wo)man job. Teamwork, communications, problem solving, time management are all essential skills when you start working in a team to build a website or anything for that matter.

That’s why the final 6 weeks of our bootcamp are dedicated to a Capstone project. This is where our students will put all of their hard-earned skills to work and for many this might be the first time ever building and collaborating on a full website. For those who come to our bootcamp without any coding experience, the Capstone project might even be the first and only thing they can put on their CV and portfolio making it that much more important.

We asked Bahaa, Elif and Halit to share their experiences in working as a team on a project like this for the first time.

Online was a blessing

"In coding, we assume that we all write good code. However, no one is the best. Everyone makes mistakes and we learn from each other in code reviews. But that’s when we’re there to help each other,« says Elif in our call via Zoom that in such a short time has become an essential part of everyone’s Covid-19 survival kit.

None of them seem to complain about working online, though. On the contrary. They were all initially sceptical about how an online bootcamp would run, but in this call they all seem to agree it has made the bootcamp much easier to complete. Elif lays it out.

"To be honest, it was a blessing not to travel back and forth. It was so easy just to meet online and so often I remember going for dinner and getting back to the screen and seeing everyone still working."

"Totally agree." That’s Halit chiming in. At 23 years old, Halit is the youngest in the interview. As half Turkish, half Egyptian he came to Istanbul from Cairo just 4 years ago.

"The 4 hours spent on commute I could use to study and code and the same for the project."

Bahaa agrees. "If any of us had a problem, we could just text each other and jump on a call straight away to solve it. It was great like this and that was the same during the bootcamp."

Work process was intense

Working their way through the project the team incorporated agile methods into their planning sessions. That’s something they had picked up in training and in a workshop with Carmen Vermeer, an Amsterdam based Business Intelligence Analyst who is one of the many volunteer mentors at Re:Coded. Halit explains how they applied the teachings from that session.

"First, we used agile methods. We met each week to do sprint planning outlining tasks and functionality. We divided tasks and worked on the page during the week and in the end we would merge the code and send it to the coding instructor for code review."

The scope of the project was to create a space for women to share their experiences, struggles and inspirations. The site also includes men as they are hoping to educate them on the problems currently faced by women in order to include them in the solution.

The idea itself struck a chord with them all, but it was the challenges throughout the project that really got them fired up, says Elif.

"One of the things we achieved was that we tried so many things we hadn't tried before. I had to use the Wordpress API connection and everyone tried new and different tasks."

Halit worked on Google/Facebook authentication for the first time while Bahaa got excited with the code reviews and the teamwork itself.

"We had worked on multiple projects before throughout the bootcamp, so it felt natural to work on a bigger project like this. Re:Coded had instructed us to add certain functionalities and the project kind of summarized everything we had worked on previously. The code reviews were great, though. The incredible detail available in every code review helped us improve a lot. I think we thought we knew how to do teamwork but teamwork in web development is very different and it was beautiful."

Next step already in the works Coding is a never ending pursuit, the three Re:Coded Graduates are already working on their next projects. Halit, who has started working as a teaching assistant at Re:Coded, is already planning to build a full stack project on e-commerce and Elif has her sights set on building a health app.

"I started working on a React Native app which will calculate steps and check your heartbeat. I don’t want to stop with React JS, so I want to learn React Native as well for this project. I really enjoy it."

Bahaa, in the meantime is working on landing pages.

"I’ve done three since we graduated. I’m specifically working on responsiveness on a webpage, and my passion is conversion rate optimization," he says of his focus on UX and User Design with the Capstone Project as the current milestone.

I am very proud of that project. I’m putting it on my portfolio, CV and everything.
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Authors biography

Lars Højholt

Director of Communications

Lars Højholt is Re:Coded’s Director of Communications and has been with Re:Coded since February 2020. He has previously worked as a journalist and project manager for the Danish national newspaper, Information, leading major editorial projects and grants, and later joined a public sector consultancy as a communications specialist before moving to Istanbul.

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