August 15, 2005

What a Difference a Week Makes

This past week was another week-long group project. The last time we were split into groups, we had the then daunting task of adding a few extra fields to the Create screen of our basic CRUD application. The excercise was a thoroughly challenging one, and involved adding pieces of functionality to already existing classes in the reference implementation. It was challenging enough that most of the groups (mine included) barely got the project done by deadline. Little did we know that this week's project would be twice the difficulty with the same time restrictions.

Our assignment this time around was to implement the Retrieve and Update functionalities (betcha can't guess what our next project will be...). This time, however, we didn't have the nice classes to add to, we had to create our own classes in almost every level of the architecture. Super tough. The good news is, after many, many hours of work and some gruesome battles with bogons, my partner, Ramy, and I were much more comfortable with The Company's architecture. Since we're going to be expected to extend it on a daily basis, it's good that we've been thrown into it in a training situation rather than having to mess up a real-world application that our employer relies on for its daily revenues. Our crashing through the layers came at the expense of the consultants' personal time though, because they also had to stay up here with us far later each day than they probably should have. The end result is hopefully worth it, because I think we all understand a great deal more about what goes on in the system.

This week, we're going to be learning about Enterprise Java Beans. That should be an interesting task for my part, because I have zero experience with them. I guess that's pretty much been the story about every aspect of the training for me so far, so nothing different there. Of the new things I've learned, the award for most awesome thing easily goes to taglibs and Expression Language in JSPs. I love the concept of code that reads like plain-English and accomplishes a lot in a small snippet.

Oh, and one side note about group projects. In college they seemed to be little more than excercises in futility, because you would invariably get teamed up with people who either wouldn't do any work at all, or wouldn't even show up for group meetings. In training, it's been the exact opposite. I've already had two incredibly awesome teammates that have worked very hard and that I have also learned a lot from. If this is what it's like at The Company, then I'm going to have an awesome time working there for sure.

Well, anyway, just two more weeks and we'll finally be able to head to The Company every morning instead of The Consulting Firm. That's right folks, we'll actually get a work phone number and email address, woot, woot! It's going to be really strange when we return, having been employed for almost two months and still being "the noobs." It's okay though, I can't imagine how much harder it would have been to have just been planted on a project without all of this training. Hopefully, we'll be prepared enough to step right in and contribute when we get back.

Forrest Humphrey

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