Portfolio: Will – Gym Machines

The above quote is one of the most attractive things about learning to code for me. After 6 years in the Parachute regiment being “beasted” and testing my mental and physical limits I’m hoping to take a step in a new direction and become one of these lazy people. The challenges you face in “the Reg” definitely teach you a thing or two about yourself. One of the lessons I learned in my brief period as a paratrooper was that although I love physical challenges I crave a creative outlet also.

Everything in the military is done by following proven methods, proven routes, using the pamphlet and listening to those with experience. There’s one way to do things and all you have to do is do it as fast as your exhausted, sweaty body is capable. This breeds uniformity and allows all arms to predict what the other will do so that things run like clockwork.

A 10 mile TAB (Tactical Advance to Battle) is done by putting one foot in front of the other for 10 miles, no creativity required and no laziness/alternative method is tolerated.

My original dreams of bounding through jungles, “cutting my own” like John Rambo didn’t fly with my section commander in depot. Parachute Regiment training produces the most tenacious, highly disciplined, war-machines that have been programmed to operate in perfectly synchronized, coordinated manoeuvres.

As a paratrooper, you do what’s required of you, nothing less. Unfortunately, a serious ankle injury had reduced what I was capable of, so I could no longer do what was required. With everything considered, I decided to leave to pursue other challenges. I had my sights set on the world of IT and in particular cyber as I’d heard guys leaving our unit and starting successful careers in this field. I was lucky enough to have stumbled upon TechVets and a whole world of opportunity opened up from this point onwards.

One particular opportunity that TechVets nudged me in the direction of was an opportunity to train in software development with dt-squad. I had my first video call with Peter and Sush of dt-squad in early December and the enthusiasm and excitement of both men sparked my interest.

Now that I know the extent of their successes I’m in awe of how humble they are and how generous they are with their time and knowledge.

These are the sort of people that TechVets puts you in touch with. Serving personnel or service leavers considering a career in IT but unsure of what area they would like to focus on and would like to try their hand at software development should get in contact with Peter and Sush of dt-squad. You certainly won’t regret it.

Here’s a simple version of my application which demonstrates the basic functionality I was trying to achieve.

 You can see my application running full screen if you prefer by clicking here.

I’ve had forty hours of lessons up to the point of me writing this and I’ve gone from barely understanding basic coding concepts to having a fully functioning web app. I’ve learned more in these few weeks with the two lads than I had in the previous year by myself. This accelerated learning period with dt-squad has been hard work. At times, it has felt like I’m drowning in the tidal waves of information, only being able to gather my thoughts and catch my breath in the intervals between lessons before another two hour tsunami of information crashes me on the rocks. But every time, I came out the other side laughing and joking with the two lads on our next google meet session. With their support and plenty of practice I managed to learn to code and created a real application.

My website is designed to help people increase their fitness by guiding them to specific exercises on specific machines depending on the muscles that they want to work on. In the landing page there is a navigation bar with links to the other pages on the site. One page explains the different muscle groups that you can train and the next page shows the different machines we can use in the gym along with a list of exercises that we can perform on each particular machine. On the home page there is a form that the user can select a muscle group that they wish to know how to train. When they select a muscle the app returns a list of the different pieces of equipment that can be used to train that muscle group and also a list of the exercises that can be performed on that piece of equipment to target the specific muscle group.

Throughout this process, I’ve been introduced to many new ways of solving problems using various technologies. I’ve managed to learn and get some good hands on experience in the following:

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed building this app and learning how software development is used to solve problems for customers and clients. I’m hoping that over the next few months and years I will continue to learn and develop my skill set so that I can solve the problems of clients and help them realize their vision. In time, I hope to be at a level where I’ll be able to help others who are in a similar position as I am right now.

If you’re unsure what direction you should take and you’d  like to know more about my journey to becoming a software developer, please get in touch. If I can help you then I will.