Extra Time/Extension Ideas

How to Spend Your Time Between Mod 0 and Mod 1

Congrats on completing your Mod 0 requirements! Before we dive into other ways to spend your time, take a moment to celebrate your success thus far!

Depending on when you finished Mod 0, you might find yourself with a few weeks to even a few months until you begin the full program. So, how should you spend your time?

Preparing for the Realities of Turing

While it may be tempting to want to focus exclusively on honing your technical skills, you’ll have the best chance of success early in the program you focus on all of the “non-technical” skills that are necessary to be successful: time management, utilizing resources, and building community.

Loop in Your Support System

Turing is an incredibly rigorous program that will consume much of your time and energy over the coming months. It is crucial to have a strong support system to help get you through the tough times and to be there with you to celebrate your wins! Here are a few recommendations before you start:

  • Set REALISTIC expectations with your friends, family, Close Circle, etc.
    • As mentioned in Mod 0, most students at Turing estimate they spend an average of 60-70 hours per week on Turing-related responsibilities, including working during portions of the weekend. It is better to be upfront with your close circle about your realistic workload so they aren’t giving you a hard time about missing social activities. Is it a bummer that you will likely have to miss out on some fun things over next few months? Absolutely. But changing your career and life trajectory requires making some sacrifices!
  • Make introductions with your mentor
    • Part of your Mod 1 Prework was crafting an intro message to your mentor - now is the time to send that message and start laying the groundwork for your relationship as you start Turing! Remember, your mentor can offer much more than just technical help - they are your first contact in the development world and can give great insight into what success at Turing (and in the industry) looks like! You will likely be assigned a mentor shortly after your Mod 1 Orientation.

Start to Practice Your HOW

It’s one thing to make a plan for how you will attack the numerous challenges of Turing, it’s an entirely different experience to implement that plan. Rather than leave it to chance, use some of your time now to practice your HOW, such as:

  • HOW will you preview lesson material?
    • Does your learning style require you to make flash cards on the technical vocabulary? Or does your learning style involve creating visual representations of the content you are seeing for the first time? Take time to look at some of the lessons in the first week of Mod 1 and hone in on what feels most comfortable for YOU!
  • HOW will you know it’s time to ask for help?
    • Start utilizing a timer to keep track of how long you are struggling on something! If you are struggling on something for more than 30 minutes without making any tangible progress (such as new error messages, new output, etc.) then that should be a heads up that it is time to utilize your other resources to help you!
    • If you don’t have a timer set up to track your struggles, you will fall trap to one of the most common issues at Turing: spending WAY too much time on a problem that you could likely solve by reaching out!
    • As a reminder: ASKING FOR HELP !== ADMITTING DEFEAT! You’ll have plenty of challenges and setbacks at Turing, not every problem should be a 30+ min struggle!
  • HOW will you ask for help when you need it?
    • Asking technical questions can be really challenging - it starts by being able to articulate WHAT you are trying to do. This guide can be really helpful for when you find yourself stuck and need to ask a question to your cohortmates, peers, mentors, etc.
  • How will you manage your time?
    • Practice building your calendar for each week and use time at the end of the week to do the following:
      • Reflect on what strategies, approaches, etc. worked well for managing your calendar and your time
      • Build your calendar for the following week and make adjustments based on your reflections

Recharge

Do the things you need to start Turing feeling fresh. Maybe that’s taking time to be outside, maybe that’s reading your favorite book again, maybe it’s binging the newest docudrama on Netflix. But since your time will become your most valuable commodity once you begin the program, use some of your time now to rejuvenate and recharge!

Finalize Workspace

The remote lessons from Mod 0 hopefully gave you some good practice of what remote instruction might look and feel like at Turing. We will often shift the learning context anywhere from whole group instruction, to smaller breakout groups, and even some individual work. You’ll need a workspace that allows you to find success in each of these settings. A few key reminders before you start the program:

  • Acquire an external monitor
    • We have heard from students that having an external monitor in addition to your normal laptop screen allows for much easier organization and helps to create a more efficient workflow (as opposed to cycling between different windows nonstop). We highlighted some affordable recommendations in Mod 0, so please make arrangements to get your own prior to starting Mod 1. Remember, you will also need a USB-C to HDMI cable which can usually be purchased for less than $15. If you are unable to acquire an external monitor prior to Mod 1 due to financial burdens, please reach out to Eric Weissman (@ericweissman on Slack) and we can discuss other options.
  • Ensure you have a notetaking strategy
    • In Mod 0 you learned about many stratgies for taking notes on technical content. We recommend using a paper + pen approach to allow for easier diagramming, jotting down connections to past content, and writing down questions.
    • Some students have found success transposing their written notes to electronic formats to allow for easier searching, indexing, etc. A few programs that students have recommended for digital notekeeping are Notion, Evernote, Bear and even Google Docs. We recommend taking some time to familiarize yourself with a notetaking program by transposing some of your Mod 0 notes prior to starting Mod 1!

Community Involvement

Turing offers plenty of opportunities to get involved in our community. We strongly recommend adding the Community Calendar to your own so you can see all the awesome community events we have, including:

  • Turing Code Fair - Check out the projects that folks are working on each inning! This event happens every inning during the Friday of Week 5
  • Demo Comp - Watch the winners of the previous inning’s Code Fair present their work to a panel of industry leaders. This event happens every inning during Week 1
  • Week 4 w/ Jeff - Our director, Jeff Casimir, shares his thoughts with the entire community, often bringing in outside guests to take part in a stimulating conversation

Also, we have a number of student-led groups and organizations, known as Student Circles, that are an excellent way to get involved in our community. Typically, we will post about Student Circles in the #announcements channel on Slack!

Opportunities to Build Technical Content Knowledge

As mentioned above, you will have better success in Mod 1 if you have a strong process and workflow. If you find yourself with more time to spare before starting Mod 1, put those foundational skills to the test by using the following technical exercises to see what works and what doesn’t!

DISCLAIMER: YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO ANY ADDITIONAL TECHNICAL PREP TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN MOD 1

Review Mod 0 Technical Content

You will likely spend the first class or two in Mod 1 reviewing many of the concepts we discussed in Mod 0, albeit in much greater detail. It can be a good idea to review the Mod 0 content to prepare, including:

  • Review the Mod 0 lesson plans and your class notes
  • Work through the exercises from the Mod 0 sessions to build muscle memory on some of the foundational skills
  • Review your Mod 1 Prework, potentially building additional examples from some of the exercises
  • Setup a review session with your cohortmates to clarify any material that feels a little fuzzy Disclosure: It is OK and EXPECTED to feel a little shaky on some of the Mod 0 material technical! You will be getting much more practice in Mod 1!

Continue to Build Coding Muscle Memory

  • Practice your typing skills/muscle memory using typing.io and choosing JavaScript/jQuery for Frontend or Ruby on Rails for BE - don’t get too bogged down in what the examples are DOING, it’s really just meant to be a tool to practice using the common keystrokes for programming!
  • Continue to work on your pseudocoding skills and ability to break problems down! One useful tool is Codewars, which has a lot of interesting problems that can solved using any coding language. A few things to note:
    • Codewars difficulty ranking system isn’t super intuitive - a problem with a ranking of 8 kyu is actually the “easiest” and 1 kyu is the “hardest.” We recommend sticking to the 8 kyu range for now - even these problems are REALLY tricky so don’t stress if they are feeling really hard right now!
    • Focus on your process and approach, specifically focusing on writing clear and concise pseudocode. Just the process of breaking a tricky problem down into smaller parts is more valuable than “solving” the problem.
    • If you want to try to convert your pseudocode into actual code, we recommend trying to implement your code using repl.it at first - the Codewars coding environment is sort of finnicky. If you get a working solution in your repl.it, try pasting your code in Codewars to see if the tests pass!
  • Dive into some program-specific extension projects

Preview Mod 1 Curriculum

Take a look at the Mod 1 Calendar and curriculum to preview what is to come! A few things that are worth noting…

  • Do NOT try to get a head start on any projects! These projects will change each inning (6-week cycle) and often require working in teams/groups.
  • Previewing lessons to see what concepts are coming down the pipeline can be very helpful - however, you don’t need to be proficient or understand any of these concepts before starting Mod 1 to be successful!

  • Back-End Curriculum Site
  • Front-End Curriculum Site

Final Thoughts

The purpose of Mod 0 is to prepare you to succeed in your first module at Turing. While the suggestions in this resource are helpful for many students to be best prepared to start their Turing journey, be sure to stay true to what works for you. Remember, as tempting as it may be, try not to compare YOUR journey to anyone else’s. YOU CAN DO IT!