What did you like the least about the class?
Honestly, this has been one of the valuable classes I’ve taken as a CS major here at UT. I truly enjoyed every project and looked forward to class every day (until it went online of course). Downing truly seems to care about his students and teaching them about how to become better developers without sabatoging their GPAs. If I had to pick one thing that I enjoyed the least, it would probably be the papers. They were usually not very interesting and I don’t think I picked up much from them once they became more technical. I did enjoy the easy weekly grade though, they really helped me to focus more on learning rather than worrying about test scores.
What did you like the most about the class?
I really enjoyed all of the projects. They are challenging enough to feel worthwhile yet follow the concepts we learned in class closely enough to not become frustrating. They required long days and late nights of coding, but I never felt like anything was unfair or that I wasn’t adequately prepared to take them on. I also really enjoyed working with a different partner every time, it allowed me to make new friends and adapt to other peoples work styles.
What’s the most significant thing you learned?
All the developer tools we were required to use. It was cool taking a class that I felt actually prepared me for a career in this field by exposing me to tools I might actually use one day.
How many hours a week did you spend coding/debugging/testing for this class?
Over the 5 projects, which each took 12–20 hours total, I spent 6–10 hours a week working on them.
How many hours a week did you spend reading/studying for this class?
1 hour max. I made sure to review notes before every class in order to take the quizzes, and to go through the hackerrank exercises before the tests. I found that this review was plenty to perform well.
How many lines of code do you think you wrote?
What required tool did you not know and now find very useful?
GitLab issues. I used to kinda just code until things worked with no plan on how to tackle bugs and implement features. At first I thought issues were a waste of time but eventaully I started to embrace them as a way to stay more organized and can see myself using them in other programming classes as well.
How did you feel about the two-stage quizzes and tests?
I liked them a lot. More so for the exams, the second chance acted as a bit of a safety net for when I messed something up the first time. For the quizzes it was similar, except that sometimes it felt like a waste of time. It was nice to get some points back, but spending a full 4 minutes on retaking a quiz with a group took a good portion of time out of what is already a short lecture period, and things felt more rushed towards the end of class.
How did you feel about the cold calling, in the end?
Cold calling was sometimes stressful, but mostly beneficial as it helped slow class down a little more so I could really absorb trickier concepts. That being said, sometimes I was terrified about being called on for things that were harder and where I didn’t have a clue about what the answer was. Luckily we didn't have to get the questions right, and as a result of cold calling I think I really understood things during lecture instead of having to teach them to myself later.