One year ago, I made a major life change to leave a job I was happy with, and at a company that I loved.  That decision led me to pursue an education in full-stack software and web development, which I did at Prime Digital Academy in Minneapolis. The program was intense and moved quickly, but I found it both rewarding and worth the commitment.

Then, three weeks ago, I started a five-week long contract with Traust Consulting to learn the Oracle APEX platform. The first couple days were filled with relevant history of both Oracle and APEX, and by the next day I was already building a basic application under another developer’s instruction.

That instructor is Andrew Schultz, an APEX specialist employed by Traust. Andrew and I have been working together closely to build small projects as a part of a curriculum that he has written. Each day, we share a two-hour video chat where he walks me through a brief story that contains a set of objectives, and helps me to find solutions within APEX to complete the objectives that our imaginary client desires.

The stories and objectives from Andrew’s lesson plans have revolved around realistic, thoughtful, and thorough examples. Some begin with the creation of an application, and some start with an application that’s already in development, but needs repair or completion. Many of them involve character Norbert Crogan’s vain attempts to open a VHS rental store in an era of streaming video. These scenarios put me in scenarios that I feel accurately represent those that a developer might find in the future in real-world work.

That being said, the early applications we’ve built together are still basic and small, but each focuses on replicating front- and back-end tasks that are useful within the world of APEX.  By the end of the second week, my understanding of the platform allowed me to build functional applications, which include a database, RESTful forms and tables, and client-side styling, within an hour or two  Outside of APEX, writing the same code from scratch would have taken me considerably longer, maybe up to 20 hours.

One of the things that has continued to impress me is the power and flexibility built in to APEX.  Because of the intelligence that it comes with built in, it is able to predict what components a developer is looking for in an application from the given tables in a database. The client-side Theme Roller provides intuitive basic styling that can be customized to fit a project’s needs, and deep diving into complex problems allows developers to integrate custom images, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery and SQL into its low-code environment to make your application look, feel and behave in near limitless ways.

Finally, learning all that I have within the context of the team at Traust has been a truly wonderful experience. Even while working remotely, I have been encouraged to stay in frequent contact with my lead, my supervisor, and the entire team that makes up the company. They have been friendly, welcoming and supportive since the very beginning, genuine and honest throughout, and I truly look forward to the work that we’ll do together.

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