{ The Rithm Blog. }

Problem Solving Strategies: Use Tools Strategically

The ecosystem around programming is filled with tools intended to make writing code easier. And indeed, developing a workflow that makes sense to you is essential to becoming a productive programmer and problem-solver.

Using the right tool for the job can help illuminate blocks when you're solving a problem, and suggest ways to a solution. But if you use the wrong tool, or don't know how to use the many tools available, your work can come grinding to a halt. This brings us to one of our most important strategies: using tools strategically.

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February 02, 2017

Problem Solving Strategies: Solve a Simpler Problem

We've talked about how to initially approach a problem by understanding what it's asking and exploring concrete examples. We've also discussed developing a plan to solve the problem, by breaking it down into smaller and more manageable pieces.

But planning is sometimes easier said than done. After you've broken a problem down, you may find that one of the components is quite difficult. For particularly challenging problems, you may not even know how to break down the problem at all. In these situations, it may help to turn to our next problem solving strategy: solve a simpler problem.

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January 19, 2017

Your Roadmap to Learning JavaScript

In this day and age, everyone is trying to learn how to code. Between a 27% increase in job outlook (through 2024) and everything becoming automated, having programming know-how has never been more valuable. From a professional standpoint, you increase your value by knowing how to program, as companies are realizing the benefits of having their employees know how to manipulate basic code. From a personal standpoint, you gain the ability to make side projects become a reality.

While there are plenty of benefits to learning how to code, we’ve noticed there isn’t a clear roadmap for getting there. The majority of what’s out there only covers the basics or requires payment.

Below we list what we believe to be the best bang-for-buck resources available.

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January 05, 2017

Student Interview: Greg

Our first cohort is finishing up their projects at Rithm before they move on our program’s third stage: Outco. We’ve seen first-hand the work, time, and effort these guys have put into absorbing everything that’s been thrown at them. From learning theory to working on real-world projects, we’re extremely proud of everything they’ve accomplished thus far.

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December 19, 2016

What A Small Class Size Meant to Me

As it turns out, not everyone who starts a boot camp will finish. Last year, I graduated from a six-month immersive program. My cohort began at eighteen students and dropped to eleven. By the last week, only five of us consistently showed up to class. That kind of attrition is unusual, but those unique circumstances really highlighted how much of an impact class size can have on student experience.

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December 19, 2016

How to Prepare for the Rithm Technical Interview

One of the most common questions we get from prospective students is, “how do I prepare for the technical interview?” In this post, we’ll outline what we look for and what you need know in order to be successful. But first, let’s make sure you understand how the interview works.

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December 08, 2016

Problem Solving Strategies: Break It Down

Once you have a clear understanding of the problem at hand and have convinced yourself of what the result should be in a few specific cases, it's time to think about a more general approach. Very often looking at specific examples is enough to generate a roadmap for a solution. But if you find yourself still struggling to come up with a solution, here's a strategy that can help.

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December 05, 2016

Problem Solving Strategies: Explore Concrete Examples

In How To Solve It, mathematician George Polya breaks the problem-solving process down into four pieces: understanding the problem, making a plan, executing the plan, and reflecting on the solution. We've already talked about understanding the problem, but the next parts of this process could benefit from a little unpacking.

Whether you're building a new feature for an application with millions of users, or in the middle of a whiteboard interview, it's essential that you have a plan before you start coding. But planning often requires forethought and insight that comes from experience. Because of this, beginners often feel trapped in a sort of catch-22: they need experience in order to formulate plans effectively, but they need to plan effectively in order to solve problems and gain experience!

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November 28, 2016

Problem Solving Strategies: Understand the Problem

One of the biggest challenges for the aspiring web developer has little to do with the details of programming. As an engineer, you'll be tasked with understanding and solving problems on a regular basis; regardless of the specific technologies you use, then, strong problem-solving ability is critical.

And while your problem-solving skills will certainly develop naturally as you write code, it's worth being a bit more intentional, and think about problem-solving strategies in general. In this series, we'll take a look at some common problem-solving strategies, and adapt them to the life of a web developer. (Note: many of these strategies are adapted from George Polya, whose book How To Solve It is a great resource for anyone who wants to become a better problem solver.)

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November 21, 2016

Why Do You Want To Code?

You’ve heard that we are currently in the midst of a coding “revolution.” You’ve seen the job market prediction for the next twenty years. You’re looking to grow yourself to develop a more valuable skill set.

And that has brought you here.

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November 15, 2016

Essential Tools for Web Development

Every developer's workflow is slightly different. And because people can have such strong opinions about the best text editor, web browser, and tooling, finding the workflow that works for you isn't always easy.

However, once you've found the tools that are right for you, and know how to use those tools successfully, the rate at which you can program can increase tremendously. And after working with a number of students, we've got our own opinions about tools a beginning developer should absolutely have. In this post, we'd like to offer up the technologies that we think are the most helpful, as well as instructions on how to install those tools (or access them, in the even that they're already installed). Please note: the installation process assumes that you are using a Mac with OSX.

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October 21, 2016

Five Reasons to Learn JavaScript

Over the past few years, JavaScript has exploded in popularity. According to StackOverflow's 2016 developer survey, JavaScript is the most popular technology for full-stack, front-end, and back-end developers, and isn't showing any signs of losing momentum. So how did we get here, and what does it mean for someone who wants to learn to code? In this article, we'll trace back some of the history, project a little bit into the future, and offer up some reasons why, if you're interested in programming, you should give JavaScript a shot.

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September 29, 2016

Free Course Prep

We've been talking to a number of potential students over the past few weeks, and have had some great conversations with students from a variety of backgrounds. As we've been having these conversations, though, a challenge has emerged. With so many resources available for people who want to learn on their own, and with the emergence of short courses like First Step Coding aimed at people who are on the fence about a career change into web development, people are coming to us from different backgrounds and with varying levels of experience. So how can we try to level that playing field, and assess who would be a good fit for our program as objectively as possible?

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September 20, 2016

Building Better Job Support

One of the nice things about working at a coding school compared to a more traditional educational environment is that we don't need to grapple with some of the headier philosophical questions surrounding the purpose of education. For us, the purpose is clear: get students job-ready in 17 weeks.

With that clarity of purpose also comes a straightforward metric to measure our own success: are students getting jobs? If students leave our program and can find and retain jobs as developers, that's a pretty clear signal that we're on the right track.

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September 14, 2016

Why Another Bootcamp?

Hi! Welcome to the Rithm blog. We're a team of passionate educators and developers who have decided to open a web development school in San Francisco.

To the casual observer, this may seem like a strange choice. After all, there are already plenty of options for the aspiring web developer. Do some quick research and you'll find all kinds of programs: 12-week programs, 24-week programs, 36-week programs, and more; full-time programs and part-time programs; online programs and in-person programs. The list goes on, and is particularly long in the Bay Area. So why throw our collective hats in the ring?

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September 06, 2016

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