Recurse Center, or how to bring out the best programmer in yourself

It’s already been a month since my batch at the Recurse Center ended.
Let me try to explain why I’m sitting here right now, typing markdown syntax about this amazing experience.

Everything started on September 2015, I was checking Twitter trying to find some cool stuff…I was probably expecting a random brand new JS library to feed my JavaScript fatique but no! I read something about a place called Recurse Center mentioned in a @maryrosecook tweet. It caught my attention and right away started to learn more about it.

I was impressed about it all, so I decided to apply and see if it was a real place…here we are, almost four months after and I can tell that it totally was real.

Probably the most productive 3 months in my life, not only in the professional or technical way but also personal growth.

They described it as “a free, self-directed, educational retreat for people who want to get better at programming“.
To me it was like seeing into the future, an ideal place to learn, share and work, where everyone respects each other and which, from the very first moment, feels like home.

The total freedom and unstructured system allows people to create their own strategies and build things together or by themselves: study groups, improvised or carefully structured workshops, pair programming …

Some things I really love about RC are the social rules and the importance of ethics. It should be normal in our society to care about racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia but unfortunately there is still a lack of this.

My highlights

  • I made a Pixel Art drawing app which compiles your creation into CSS code and more :)
    • It was a full-stack project where I used and explored cutting-edge tech such as:
      • Front-end: React + Redux + Immutable.js
      • Back-end: NodeJS + Express + Isomorphic app
    • It is deployed and running.
    • It got over 100 GitHub stars in less than a month!!.
Pixel art to CSS
  • I created two multiplayer games: prototypePacman and Snake multiplayer
    • prototypePacman: A multiplayer game based on Pacman and built from scratch, where the players can choose between ghost or Pacman roles.
    • Snake multiplayer: Really enjoyed working together with @Daniel Isaac Weinstein on a collaborative version of the classic Snake game.
    • Both of them are built with a different logic, prototypePacman’s game logic is in the front-end side while the whole Snake’s logic is in the back-end.
    • They have different back-end architectures:
      • prototypePacman: Python - Twisted
      • Snake multiplayer: Rubi - Sinatra
    • prototypePacman was used by @Sai Hei for machine learning purposes in one of his projects.
prototypePacman
C64 effects

What did I explore?

  • 3 different languages applied on the back-end side: Python, Ruby and JavaScript
  • React, Redux and advanced JavaScript. I’m very grateful to @Allie Jones
  • 3D math, collisions thanks to @Andrew Desharnais
  • Learning more about design with @Christine Cha and her awesome projects.
  • Basics of the Go language

In closing…

Just to say that I had a great time, meeting and sharing the space with such amazing people, really enjoyed the workshops, Monday talks, pairing and every single lunch/walk/coffee chatting.

I was always impressed by the projects presented every Thursday night hearing about melody generators, games, neural networks, Arduino crafts, tests, small languages, browser extensions, microservices,…some of my favorites are:

Thanks everyone!

Winter 2015
Contents
  1. 1. My highlights
  2. 2. What did I explore?
  3. 3. In closing…