My Lambda Labs Experience, A New Challenge to Overcome

A new perspective

To start off I would like to explain my connection with Lambda School, an online coding bootcamp. I decided to enroll in Lambda School last year April when I felt like I have exhausted all my options within the finance world after various failures trying to attain the prestigious title of CFA amidst the start of the pandemic. I had always had a knack for technology and my cousin, who found success through Lambda School, recommended that I try it out a coding bootcamp. My first attempt at this was through Flatiron’s pre-course work for their online bootcamp. I immediately became enthralled with the notion of becoming a software developer, however, Flatiron was not a good fit for me. So, it dawned on me that I give Lambda School an attempt, as I already know someone who previously did well because of it. It was an instant fit and my journey to becoming a Full Stack Web Developer began.

Now, 1 year later I am close to endorsement and currently working with a team of Full Stack Developers working on a product for a stakeholder. A huge undertaking after struggling with basic JavaScript back in unit 1. Now onto the real subject at hand and that is finally working on a product with deadlines that need to be met. Going into labs I knew I was about to take on a complete different beast compared to what I have done in my previous units, especially since I was going back to coding in JavaScript after 2 months of learning computer science and solving algorithms in Python. My team was tasked with working on an existing code base and building upon that. The app entrusted to us is called Merchant Marketplace and looks to create an environment for buyers and sellers who are looking to sell and buy product. Immediately what comes to mind when thinking about the core concept of the app are competitors like Etsy. What we’re looking to do is cultivate an environment where businesses can have an online store front and sell locally through this application. While there are many others that attempt the same thing, we are looking to create a better experience and set a new standard.

One my main fears going into Labs, as mentioned previously, was how rusty my JavaScript and knowledge on Front End and Back End frameworks were. This was, also, propagated by the fact I now I had to make sure I was hitting deadlines and not holding my team back, as my contribution would directly influence that of others. However, I quickly learned that I actually retained a lot more than I lead myself to believe; sure there were some hiccups here or there but that wasn’t anything that couldn’t be solved by looking up some documentation here or there. In regards to my worries on hitting deadlines, I had to buckle down and make sure I was working outside of the time I was allotted. This was usually after classes and free time outside from work during the weekends. By doing this I gave myself ample time to work on features and ensure that I was not delaying any one on my my team.

Merchant Marketplace
Merchant Marketplace

Labs is definitely an important part of my learning experience in Lambda School as it gave me a semblance of real work experience before I enter the job market. This will allow me to speak on experience rather than hypotheticals and gives me a major edge above other entry level Full Stack candidates. I believe that this will be a determining factor when interviewers are making their decisions when they inevitably hire me!

Laying out a foundation

As a team we were working out user stories and planning documentation straight out the gate. Once we got a good look at the code base there was one huge glaring issue with the web application, there was no trace of buyer profile in the Back End code. The entire web application was built upon just a seller profile. How was anyone supposed to buy anything from the sellers?? This meant that all of authentication on the Back End was just looking at the seller profile. This presents plethora of problems that needed to be addressed as we all know any changes to the Back End can and will almost always create bugs on the Front End. As a team we split up tasks on what to do with the application. I took it upon myself to start building out routes for the buyer profile as it’ll be crucial to building out the pages while others made sure that they were tackling other features that needed to be worked on.

Going about creating routes for the buyer profile were pretty straight forward. I had to make sure I updated the migrations with a buyer_profile table, this is going to be used to store our buyer information. We made sure to include all relevant fields. Once this was done I can go ahead and create the necessary HTTP methods needed for the routes to work. (Our GET, POST, PUT, DELETE requests; all which are fundamental to operating a successful web application).

By ensuring that I could get the code up and running in a timely manner, it ensured that as a team we were able to tackle the issue head on and that we can deliver a successful product. Creating a Pull Request and merging the code into the repo(with approval from my teammates of course in lieu of finding any bugs and issues that may arise) laid out the foundation for a buyer profile for any team that further develops this app in the future. Although it seems simple and easy to get out of the way, every little contribution adds to the bigger picture.

Reflection and The Future of Merchant Marketplace

Working on Merchant Marketplace for almost 2 months has presented many wins and lessons learned through the experience of working on a remote team. We were able to update the design of the application, create a search feature, implement categories and buyer profile in the Back End. While we were very ambitious on what we wanted to do with Merchant Marketplace, many of us wish there were more time for us to work on it; as we all believed in the vision of Merchant Marketplace. Currently there are so many other things that need to be worked on and improved upon but our impact on that app will be apparent when future Labs teams develop it further. However, considering the time and effort that we put into this project, I am very proud of our current contributions.

Looking back at my Labs experience, I was able to develop a lot of skills that will absolutely help me when I land my developer role, albeit it behavioral or technical. My overall knowledge on Front End and Back End frameworks has increased exponentially, with of course plenty of room for more. As for the future Labs team that will eventually work on Merchant Marketplace, make sure you guys fully flesh out the buyer profile, a lot of work has gone into making an amazing experience for the seller with a lot of room for improvement for buyers. Make sure you guys tackle authentication for both profiles as it’s going to be a major issue once it’s presented. Through the effort of everyone who works on it, I expect Merchant Marketplace to be an absolute banger when I come to check it out in the future.