Sur-Fian-Do

I took up surfing around 4-years ago, which means I’m a novice to the sport. At the time I was living in NYC and day-trading full-time, I was stressed and not really happy with my situation. Since then I’ve taken 5 surf trips to Costa Rica and 2 to Nicaragua. Yes, I’m addicted and can’t imagine my life without surfing. Similar to learning how to code, learning how to surf is tremendously challenging and discouraging at first. You’re perpetually losing the war but manage to sneak in a winning battle every now and then. And every little battle you win is oh so sweet.

One experience from my trip really strikes a nerve. I was surfing this rock-bottom left point break. Epic day! Water temp had to be close to 90F. The surface resembled glass, kinda like a Van Gogh painting. I could see tropical fish swimming around my legs, swore I saw Nemo chilling chewing on some kelp. The color of the water was dark-teal but every time a wave would crash it would change to a light baby-blue. It seemed more like the Caribbean than Nicaragua. I was surfing in Gatorade and it was so fucking gnarly.

The swell was coming in hard and even though the waves were mooshy, they were still overhead and pretty powerful. Did I mention the whole sea bed is covered with rocks and poisonous urchins? As a surfer you have no choice but to accept certain risks: sharks, urchins, drowning, and worst of all ear-sunburn(horrible!). I made a classic rookie mistake that day. I didn’t paddle hard enough for the first wave of the set, so the wave dragged me right to the breaking zone without me actually getting on it. This meant that by the time I turned around to paddle back to the lineup there were another 5+ overhead monsters ready to punish me. Remember that rock bottom I mentioned, well it gets pretty shallow as the waves push you closer to shore and you really don’t want to make friends with the spiky urchins.

That day I was riding a board that I could barely duck-dive, so getting myself and the board underneath each wave just physically wore me out. After the first few tries I decided to ditch my board and duck-dive underneath the sets without it. I was relying on the leash to keep my board tethered, poor decision. I dived underneath the following wave but it was so powerful it ripped my leash and dragged my board to the rocky shore. So now I’m a floating duck in the impact zone. I can’t paddle to shore because of the rocks and I can’t paddle out to the boat that brought us there because the push-pull of the crashing waves is too strong. The boat can’t just come get me, the waves would toss it like a rag doll. My fellow surfers can’t just paddle up and help, nor would I want them taking such a risk. It took me a few seconds to evaluate all of this and realize how alone and accountable I was.

I’m exhausted and gasping for air after every duck-dive. I don’t have the energy to swim out of the impact zone so all I can really do is sit there, take it, and wait for a lull. I remind myself how important it is to stay calm and patient. I have enough experience in the water to not panic, even though my body is sensing very imminent danger. I take a long super deep inhalation, slow deep-exhalation, and inhale before my next duck-dive. Even though my mind starts having unpleasant thoughts, I trust my myself, I believe that as long as I stay calm and act in a way I know to be safe I’ll be ok. Yes it feels as though I can’t hold my breath for the next duck-dive. My body might give-in to the thirst for oxygen, open-up, and start inhaling buckets of saltwater. But that’s bull-shit, my adrenaline is so high there has to be plenty survival reserve in the tank.

The ocean calmed down and I was able to slowly tread to a safe place for the boat to come scoop me up. I borrowed that board I just lost, so I felt compelled to go find it. After we spotted the board, the boat dude dropped me off near shore in a safe sandy area. Surprisingly the board was in ok shape, just one missing fin (out of 3). To be honest I wasn’t sure if I should paddle back. My flight was scheduled for the next morning and this was my last day to surf the best waves of my life. I also didn’t want to leave on such a bad note. Of course I was tremendously grateful to be alive but at no point did I ever even for a sec question whether I was going to surf again. Surfing is my love, my joy, my passion! If anything, my control of the situation proved how much of a surfer I am. So you’re damn right I paddled back out. I thanked the ocean for taking it easy on me, put the situation behind me, and had the time of my life.

Deja Vu

Intermission week. My family is in town. I just completed my last week of module-1. Even though I was far more prepared for the final assessment I was still a bit anxious. How hilariously upsetting would it be if I couldn’t pass the final assessment after just repeating module-1, and after having passed it the first time! Fortunately my worries were quelled, I’m moving ahead.

I learned so much more about Ruby this module, and programming in General. I completed every single challenge and solo project without relying on others. I gained a better grasp of the Ruby Object Model, which will only aid me in learning other programming languages. I even re-built Enigma without one initialize method or instance variable, all class methods, teaching myself a functional way of programming in the process. Building Sales Engine again helped me understand the inner workings of databases, and will surely help me with Active Record in Rails. Last module I barely had time to complete any morning mini-challenges. These are small Ruby challenges, assigned almost every morning for all Turing students to tackle with their Posses. Posses usually consist of 1-person from each module and Posse time is every morning from 8:30-9. This module I was able to complete several! I even had time to start this blog which I been meaning to do forever!

One of my fellow classmates has been meaning to start a blog for the longest time but hesitates because he feels he doesn’t have anything of substance to write about. I had the same dilemma starting out. Why write just for the sake of writing, right? Wrong! Unless you’re a gifted writer or seasoned blogger, you’re best work will come over time it’s likely not going to be your first few posts. You have to get comfortable with consistently writing. As with anything, you need a little time and practice to get good results. You can just practice writing blog posts and never publicly post them, but that’s so unlike a techy person. Mark Zuckerberg admitted how many mistakes Facebook has made to get to where they are, and it’s a very long list. But he also explains how important it is to make those mistakes and learn from them as quickly as possible. The more you expose yourself, whether it be blogging or public speaking or whatever, the faster you’ll be able to find your style of doing things (comfort zone) and what works. And let’s be honest, unless you’re a famous person it’s going to take some time for anyone to catch on to your blog and start following. Having a bunch of blog posts in inventory is also a good idea for SEO purposes, more on that in later posts.

These past 5 posts have been more personal and less educational. My goal was to blog about my experience at Turing so as to help others considering this exciting but very challenging path. Module-1 is arguably the most important module at Turing, especially for inexperienced aspiring developers. Coming into it with no experience is very tough and there’s more to learn than you can imagine. I hope I’ve shed some light on the process. Module-2 is less logically intensive. We’re going to learn web frameworks like Sinatra and Rails. I’m super excited to build web-apps. I just recently completed my first very simple app in Sinatra and launched the bad boy on Heroku, I welcome you to check it out! It’s not much but it’s my first web-baby. In essence, the internet is about sharing knowledge and information. In future posts I would like to get a tad more technical and educate you guys/gals about what I’ve learned. So… less self-reflective rant and more solid information!

Inception

My name is Dmitry! I was born in Ukraine, grew up in the states, played professional basketball in Europe, and have a degree in Finance. I currently live in Denver. I recently moved here from NYC, where I spent a significant chunk of my life. A year ago I couldn’t imagine moving to the mid-west, let alone pursuing a career in web-development. I originally came to Denver to pursue a degree in engineering but shortly after(first-semester) stumbled upon this niche web-dev program. I took some time to investigate and everything I uncovered turned out to be so positive and inline with what I wanted to do with my life.

I’m attending The Turing School of Software. The curriculum is composed of 4-six week modules with 1-week break in between modules, 7-months total. I dare not call it a “code bootcamp” cuz some of the fine folks at Turing wouldn’t appreciate such slander. Did I mention my background in technology is nil? Every week is a challenging adventure full of success, frustration, disappointment, joy, helplessness, and most importantly mind expansion! The instructors are not only great educators but overall good people. As for my fellow students, I couldn’t ask for a more diverse down to earth bunch. I hope to maintain relationships with both after I graduate.

To be honest, this blog is a much needed requirement. I took ownership of this domain at least 4-months ago but never actually customized or posted anything. The days of procrastination are over I tell you! I don’t have a concrete mandate for the content just yet, but I figure I should start out by blogging about the road to becoming a software engineer and my experience at the Turing School. When I first started researching this awesome gem of a program there really wasn’t too much information out there except what the school itself published. Granted, the program has only existed for less than a year. I was still surprised to not find any current student blogs. I hope my experience will be valuable to others who are considering this wonderfully challenging path.