I’ve been attending Lambda School for just under nine weeks now and I believe it is one of the most amazing programs that I have ever been a part of. It removes the expense of college while also adding infinitely more value to the overall experience of becoming a software engineer.
Let’s go through a day in the life of a Lambda School student and I’ll break it down for you, in detail. If you’d like, you can watch the video version of this article on youtube, here or in the video featured above.
Since Lambda School is a West Coast institution, I’m on their time instead of Central Time. This means that instead of school starting at 8:00 AM and ending at 5:00 PM, I start school at 10:00 AM and end at 7:00 PM. I typically try to wake up at 9:00 AM; however, I’m hoping to change that to between 4:00–5:00 AM because I believe that’s a better schedule to have, plus Casey Neistat does it and explains it here so I figured I’d give it a shot!
From 10:00–11:00 AM it’s pre-lecture time at Lambda School where we look at the training kit to see what’s in store for today and we watch a few pre-recorded videos going over the basics of what we will be learning today. These videos are meant to set the foundation for the day’s lessons before we go into the live lecture with our instructor. An example of the training kit can be found below.
You’ll notice that it outlines what we are learning, a short description, and objectives that will be covered between the pre-lecture videos and the live lecture with your instructor. Also, take note of the tabs at the top where it says prepare, learn, projects, and review. Prepare is summed up to the pre-lecture videos, learn is defined as the live lecture or previous lecture recordings which are available to all students, projects which is your daily test to show that you understand the daily content, and review, which explains the concepts learned today in more depth.
During the lecture, we usually have about 180 people in the class at the same time. We, the students, are all muted while the instructor shares his screen with us and demonstrates how to use the things we are learning about today. We cover a set number of objectives every day and answer questions from students via Slido (a question/polling service) every hour.
Between 1:00–2:00 PM, we go to lunch. It’s later than you’d probably expect because it’s a West Coast (California) based school so it’s 2 hours behind my time (Central Time). I usually eat something at home and then head to my office downtown for the second part of the day.
According to Lambda School, when lunch comes around you should be exhausted from learning so much from the four hours or so lecture session in the morning. I find that to be a great way to set up your school. Breaking down the day in half so that the first part of the day is a ton of learning which leaves you feeling mentally “full” of knowledge is a great way to run things. After lunch, we switch from learning to proving or practicing what we’ve learned in the first part of the day with the daily project.
The Daily Project
Every day of Lambda School, except Friday, we have an afternoon project that tests us on the things we’ve learned throughout the morning lecture. Most of the time, the projects are done via Github; however, sometimes we do projects on either CodePen or CodeSandbox too.
The daily project lasts from 2:00–6:00 PM and during that time we are supposed to get as much done as possible toward our MVP (Minimum Valued Project). If we don’t finish our project by 6:00 PM, we are expected to finish it by the next day.
Some projects are simple and straight forward, while others are very difficult and take most of the class most of the night to complete. I don’t usually have a lot of issues finishing my projects on time; however, some nights I do take a long time to finish them. Last Thursday, when the video above was filmed, I finished my project close to midnight.
This happens every day at 5:45 for me. We are sent to an Airtable link to fill out the retrospective for the day. I think having a daily retrospective is very important for the future Lambda School cohorts to improve the system. Unfortunately, Lambda has made the poor decision of trusting Airtable for their medium in this situation which is terrible. Airtable is incredibly slow for the amount of work that it has to do. It should be a lightning fast service but it’s slow which is unacceptable.
I think this is one of the best things that Lambda School does. It shows that they want to grow as an institution as much as they can.
The standup is a meeting that occurs every day at Lambda School (except Friday) where students meet with their Project Managers to talk about and discuss how each students respective day went.
Lucky for me, I have a very good group of people in my “PM group”. We are all very close and enjoy coding in our spare time. We are all pretty smart people who are able to work through problems alone and together which is very educational also.
Having a meeting to talk about what went well and what could have gone better every day is kind of nice. It’s great for team debugging and talking about certain aspects of code with the rest of the group.
Wrapping It Up
Overall, a day at Lambda School is pretty packed with a lot of learning, doing, and honestly a lot of fun too. While you’re learning so much information in a very small amount of time, you’re also able to have a lot of fun if coding is what you’re truly passionate about.
I decided to start a YouTube channel around my journey through Lambda School because I knew I’d enjoy coding so much that I’d want to share it with other people. I make most of my videos about Lambda School topics such as my weekly review going through the program and my opinions for others who are interested in the program. One such video is titled “Is Lambda School Actually Worth It?”, which can be found below.
If you’re interested in Lambda School or code bootcamps/schools at all, I’d suggest checking out the channel. I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.