It’s official: we’re half-way through the Ladders course! Time flies when you’re having fun, ey?  I’m not sure how everyone feels about this, but I’m getting a vibe of excitement combined with terror. Mostly because we’re continuously learning and everyone wants to make a fantastic project; something that displays the time and effort us and the mentors have put in.

Thursday kicked off with the Introduction to Project Briefs session led by Jennifer Barrett, the founder and managing director of TICE. This covered the important questions like “what do you want to do for your project and why?”, “what do you want to gain from the rest of the course?” and “how is your project going to be beneficial for your future goals?”. We’re lucky to have such a varied cohort ranging from students, people who want to improve their skills, those wanting to use this as a springboard for business ventures and complete newbies who are curious to learn something different. It’s useful to get different perspectives from the group, especially if you’re stuck on a problem or need motivation, and it was really interesting to see what people have come up with for project ideas. We were given a project template to fill out, which helped us organise our thought process, set out what we want to do for our projects and chat to our mentors about how we might achieve this. Jenny also stressed the importance of project management, how to plan but also how to DO! Project research for the group might involve reading up on what other people have done, gaining inspiration from this and thinking of something unique that might fill the gaps that industry hasn’t yet.

The session finished with enterprise mentor Lee Casey having a chat to us about the enterprise support available through the course. The sessions aren’t just for people who want to set up a business right now; they will be useful for anyone who wants some insight into the business sector. Knowledge is power after all. Personally the idea of being my own boss is particularly tempting, just so I can sit in a Pikachu onesie spooning jarfuls of Nutella into my gob, in between very important business Skype calls, whilst underlings make me tea. I’ve probably deluded myself as to what running a business entails… So hopefully I can find out the truth at the enterprise sessions in April!

On Saturday Phil ran a guidance session at Campus North to help us kick-start our projects and solve any issues we’ve had with our code. Sometimes code doesn’t do the thing you want it to do, which often leads to you staring blankly at the screen wondering “What am I doing with my life?”, only for you to realise you’ve missed out a character or forgotten to save the folder before refreshing preview page. Some programming languages are very forgiving, such as HTML and CSS, whereas others are so picky with how you write it that every attempt makes you want to bash your head repeatedly on the keyboard. Saturday’s session helped refresh what we’ve already learnt so far and add a few more tricks to our repertoire. I’m definitely looking forward to the following weeks to see how people’s projects are progressing.