Experienced Product Manager: Codementor Sure Beats Paying $10k+ for a Bootcamp
What does Snapvite do and Why did you want to Build it?
As an avid tennis player, I’m always working to improve my game, and a big part of that is hitting with the best players possible. I’d generally invite friends in a specific order of priority, which I’d end up spending a lot of time on. So I built Snapvite to automate that process and help get responses back in a timely manner.
Snapvite is an iOS app that sends fleeting invitations via SMS that expire after 30 minutes. Once an invitee replies “out” or their 30m runs out, the scheduling robot will invite the next person on the list until you fill your activity.
Along the way I found that this mechanism could apply to many scenarios:
- Finding the best tennis match
- Extra tickets to the game
- Dinner reservations
- Golf tee times
- Maybe even to get a date?!
How has Codementor played a role in Snapvite’s Development?
I came to Codementor with a simple prototype that I put together using Omnigraffle (wireframing tool) paired with InVision (prototyping tool that allows you to create clickable hotspots). This made it really easy to discuss my project with potential mentors and get an initial feel for the approach and how much work lay ahead.
Codementor basically helped bridge the gap of not having a technical co-founder to work alongside. Since I had zero experience with actual app development, I leveraged Codementor’s service heavily early on to get my project off the ground when I was learning the basics of iOS development and Xcode. I would schedule meetings with one of my mentors, Bridger Maxwelland Ramzi Benna, ~3x/week, in which I learned anything from a basic walkthrough of the Xcode interface, the fundamentals of iOS development—all the way to how to build custom table views, implement Parse backend SDK, and integrate the Twilio SMS API.
I used my off days to hack on my own and break things. I think “breaking things” was the key to my learning and easily gave us plenty of things to work on each session.
Can You Give an Example of How Your Sessions Would Go?
Since I was starting with no prior experience in iOS development and Objective-C, my mentors basically guided me through the entire development process. We would pair program through sharing my computer screen, which was a comforting factor knowing that all of our work/code resided locally on my computer (and my git repository of course).
At the end of each session we would discuss “homework” assignments for me to work on by myself. Then I’d report back in the next session and we’d pick up wherever I left off.
I ended up relying on Codementor consistently throughout my project, which took ~3 months, and I believe my Snapvite app is evidence of the quality instruction I received. It was approved for the App Store on first submission and in only 4 days!
What Were the Most Valuable Things You’ve Learned from Using Codementor?
I’ve learned that development is hard and there’s no way I would have been able to develop my first app alone as a coding beginner. I also got really good at prioritizing and managing scope creep now that I understood the amount of work that goes into each little feature request.
Is There Anything You’d Like to Add?
I really like the value prop Codementor offers for someone like me who wants to build something, but may not know how yet.
I’ve been telling everyone using Codementor sure beats paying $10k+ for a bootcamp with only the hope that you’ll leave with the necessary skills to build what you want. Codementor is the most direct way for entrepreneur types to get something built and learn at the same time.
I do plan on using Codementor much more once I figure out the next features I want to build. If you happen to care about reading more of my ramblings, I’ve been blogging about my journey @ www.donniewang.com