Experiencing the Netcentric Academy 2015

With the Netcentric Academy you get new skills, new teammates and 100% new challenges. You finish the program by completing a full Adobe Marketing Cloud project. This is how I experienced it.

We got an in-depth training of agile work processes, front end and backend development classes and a comprehensive introduction about working with AMC products. With a new topic every day it was tough to keep up and process all of the information we got exposed to every day. But thanks to our great teachers no one was left behind and I consider myself lucky to have been part of this exceptional training. We learned a lot thanks to a well-organised agenda which couldn't have been accomplished without the effort of our dean of the academy, Alexander. I will try to sum-up the experience briefly in the following lines.

Learning the coding basics

Welcoming Netcentric's new talent

The first two weeks were the soft part: just refreshing our knowledge about HTML and CSS together with a very interesting introduction to Accessibility and Responsive Web Design. The classes were relatively easy to follow, but we couldn't celebrate too soon: The third week we started with the advanced front-end development, from basic Javascript to Advanced libraries like Backbone and the Marionette framework. Erik was responsible for stunning us with the advanced Javascript modules. For me in particular, coming from a web design background, the absence of visual references in the browser was a real shock. I'm curious how the backenders did - I wish them good luck.

To help our understanding we practiced each topic with some well prepared exercises, which helped to let everything we learned sink in to our minds. Some were more fun than others, like learning advanced CSS selectors through a game. For learning and understanding CSS selectors the flukeout github project is worth spending your time on. After the CSS refresher Fabian guided us deep into SASS, the popular CSS preprocessor.
During our accessibility lesson we had to improve an example HTML template with the use of specific attributes such as ARIA. These techniques are crucial to ensure accessibility to a web application to all audiences. A certain level of accessibility is also legally required in some countries (for example in the UK and Germany).
The most difficult part was the JavaScript module, but with the patience and help of our teachers we implemented a 100% customisable slider, making it possible to reuse it for multiple different projects.

The best work is teamwork.

Getting to know the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM)

The icing on the cake was the time to dive deep into AEM, putting aside the coding and relaxing a little more with all the tools that are part of the Marketing Cloud. Personally, I have to remark the App development and e-mail marketing class. We learned how to develop the basic structure of a mobile App with the powerful Phonegap. I hope to be involved with that in the future, it was really interesting. In this part, we also learned how to manage the different modules of AEM, create and edit them, manage the assets, etc.

Chatting about AEM, Netcentric and working with web technologies

Working on our own AEM projects

After all of this training, we had three more weeks to develop a marketing web page with AEM from zero, putting into practise all we learned during the Academy. On the first day of our new project we were a little anxious and it was difficult to know where to start, but thanks to our tutors we could get the basic structure of our projects done very soon. We calmed down when we got the first component running well on our screens. The rest was hardly a piece of cake but it was much easier, mostly because we helped each other all the time. Not only in our team, but also with the rest of the groups (We were four groups of about six people each).

Finally, the official presentation of the projects arrived. It was a bit more exciting than expected when we found out that we would present our projects in front of one of Netcentric's clients who visited Barcelona that day. But finally everything went well and we showed the audience what we can achieve in just three weeks: Four fresh and original projects using the Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Getting into the real world

To sum up, the suffering was really worth it. Although it was too much information to process, we realised about the power of these languages and tools and I am sure that day after day we will become more familiar with them. But the best of all is the privilege to meet all these awesome people, the family that will help each other day to day in order to complete our routine task in the company.

Time flies and now we are already working alongside the other Netcentric team members on client projects. It has been a great and intense experience so far, putting into practice everything we learned during the Academy. For now, we are looking forward to Christmas and can't wait to continue our learning experience in the next year!