Learning Mendix in the Academy as non-IT person
My name is Myrthe and I work at Mansystems as QA Trainer/Consultant since the first of June. I started my job with the Mansystems Academy, which was in my case an eight-week training. My fellow students were some colleagues and Mendix developers from clients. During these eight weeks, I acquired the rapid app developer certificate and learned to build an application using the Mendix platform. Building an application in Mendix is not part of my job description as QA Trainer/Consultant (a.k.a. application tester), but it is useful to understand the model behind the applications I ‘m going to test. In this blog I will share my experience of learning Mendix in the Mansystems Academy as a non-IT person.
As I have studied molecular life sciences, I did not have any background knowledge of software development, so everything I learned in these eight weeks was new to me. I never heard of microflows, iterations and loops, so I was a bit lost in the first couple of days (ok, the first couple of weeks 😉). However, I decided to take it step by step. I entered the Academy open minded to see what I could learn and how far I would come.
The first three days I followed the rapid app developer training and received my certificate after completing the exam, of which I was very proud as a non-IT person. The second week we started the first sprint of developing our own application. To make it comparable to a real situation, an associate of the Academy played the customer role and she explained the requirements for the application. We started making user stories and the domain model. To be honest, I was already a bit lost while making the domain model, and especially when I started building pages and microflows. I did not have the ‘IT’ way of thinking yet and there are so many options on how to build something. What is the best way? As I did not know yet the consequences of the choices I made in the domain model, I just started building the pages and microflows. This resulted in changing most of my domain model later on and correcting all the errors that came along with those changes (that was so much fun, NOT! But next time I will have a better understanding of how to set up my domain model!). It took me some time and some explanation from colleagues who were very helpful, but eventually I got the hang of it. I started making (and understanding) my own microflows, adding X-Paths (adding constraints to the data that is retrieved from the database) to pages and using Google to find answers to my questions. To my own surprise I quickly started enjoying making my own application, as you can put your creativity into it.
After sprint one I already had a quite well functioning application of which I was very proud. After that, two more sprints followed with some more difficult tasks, like showing graphs in your application and implementing a chat function. In each sprint, there were some workshops as well. We learned about user experience, front end styling and how to apply this in our application. Additionally, we learned about the tools application performance management (APM) and automated test suite (ATS). This was all very interesting and gave us a basic understanding of developing a proper application.
Overall, I learned a lot from the Academy. I now have a good basic understanding of developing in Mendix. I enjoyed my first couple of weeks in the Academy and I am excited to start my ‘actual’ job as QA Trainer/Consultant!