The Makers Academy Pre-Course and Why It’s Awesome

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Excited for what the future holds, on the 26th of November I began my journey at Makers Academy. Here are my thoughts on the four-week pre-course.

The Learning Experience

I had been self-learning for seventeen months before the pre-course. Which explains how I finished it before 9 AM on the sixth day. Despite the head start, I still learnt many things.

The Command Line

The first thing you learn is how to hold your own in the command line. Makers call it the basics. But for someone who likes living in the terminal (yes I use Vim why do you ask?), I still learnt something:

  1. grep
  2. cat
  3. find
  4. tail
  5. head
  6. |

Since learning these commands, I’ve already used them outside of the pre-course. For example, you created a local repository and installed a package. Now you have the black hole of ./node_modules. The next step would be to go into your text-editor or open Vim to create a .gitignore. Or you could do this on the spot:

echo “node_modules” > .gitignore 
# use >> if you want to append to a file

You need to see the contents of a file? Use cat, or less which helps with longer files. This way you’ll not need to open your text editor or Google how to leave Vim.

The above example is small. But it’s a quicker and better experience than opening Finder or a text-editor to scan a file. Even better used alongside head and tail to view a range of lines.

The .gitignore example is a smaller example. But small time savings throughout the day sum to big efficiency gains. Not to forget, you will use less mental energy, leaving more for the important tasks.

Besides, if you love the craft, you’ll enjoy learning and using these small gains in efficiency.

“You must understand the following: In order to master a field, you must love the subject and feel a profound connection to it. Your interest must transcend the field itself and border on the religious.” — Robert Greene

The commands I listed are helpful, a few even powerful. But I don’t want to turn this article into a mini tutorial of everything I’ve learnt. If you want to learn about them, use man or Google-fu. Or join Makers.

Abstraction and Course Material Quality

I formally learnt abstraction from Clean Code, two weeks before starting Makers. My programming experience made it easy to understand why it’s important. I’ve been using abstraction before reading Clean Code. But since reading Clean Code and the pre-course, I actively look for abstraction opportunities. I.e. it has made me a better developer knowing it’s a best practice and not simply something my intuition led me to.

I’ve completed many online courses. Even Harvard’s CS50 on edX didn’t teach me abstraction. At Makers, you’re familiarised with abstraction in the third week and it’s emphasised in week four.

I’m impressed with this and see it as a testament to their ability to make you a professional developer in 16 weeks. You could say “that’s one thing, Ibrahim!”. But there is quality throughout the pre-course materials.

The pre-course material is well written and easy to read. There was a lot of reading, but it never felt like a drag or that nothing was sinking in. No chapter is long-winded and examples are easy to understand. The focus is on fundamental concepts, rather than memorising Ruby syntax or methods.

The Culture

At the time of writing, the second working week has come to an end and I’ve already made a few friends.

The focus on seeking help from your cohort creates an environment that values kindness. It also creates a culture of giving back by helping others, which brings people together. Besides this, it gets the conversations flowing and is a great way to break the ice before the onsite starts. Especially the pair programming, which is a lot of fun!


I feel very lucky to be a student at Makers. I have a passion for the craft and I’m now certain Makers will give me the tools to hit the ground running towards my goals as a developer. And above all else, that is why Makers exists.

If you found this helpful, follow me on Twitter and Instagram to be notified of future posts, and don’t forget to clap!




Software Engineer working on a large-scale financial product.

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Ibrahim Butt

Ibrahim Butt

Software Engineer working on a large-scale financial product.

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