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hello world!

dave_epps profile image Dave Epps ・4 min read

So, if you've done your research, you may have noticed that I have a fairly extensive list of experience when it comes to technology and computers. This, of course, depends on where you've looked - and for that matter - depends on how you got HERE. This is, most likely, the first time you've heard of me and you just happened to stumble upon this post.

My name is Dave, and I'm currently (struggling) in one of those intensive, immersive coding boot camps you may have also heard about, depending on how you got here. That's actually a given, as well as the fact that tech today is the same AND so much different than it ever was 20+ years ago. The machines are blazing fast and give you countless methods of how to lose complete focus on what you may have been working on (insert that link you just found, here). The code is robust and easier to understand than any of its rusty, dusty predecessors. To give you a bit of insight, my first programming language was called (MCS-48) Assembly and, by definition, it is still as close to actual machine language as you can get. I learned it because I didn't have an Atari 2600 like most of my friends - I had a Magnavox Odyssey² - and I thank my parents profusely for this diverse choice. While I know it couldn't have been any less expensive, they may have figured if I wanted to play Atari, I could just go next door. But I digress..

Enter coding, and Hello World! I have now made machines do my bidding and "utter" that phrase in at least 12 programming languages, libraries, and frameworks. Eight of them are from the original set, and should therefore be considered native? The rest, of a list that is rapidly growing, have come at such a pace that even my smart-a##-20-something self would pass out in the attempt to adopt the semantics and syntaxes thereof! According to the course description, we've now been coding an average of seventy hours per week in order to obtain the ultimate in web development knowledge which is comprised of HTML/CSS/JavaScript obligatory refreshers, all the way up through Python/Django ODM and a few others to round out the course. We've learned the MERN stack, which according to trend reports is what is being sought after in the workplace - so much the better. There has been loss of RESTful sleep and other CRUD that I don't even want to talk about, mainly because I know there has been plenty that fell back out along the way. And outside of coding and the boot camp collective, I have no life!

I did, however, ask for this - in fact, I'm paying for it. The value that I get out of it is more up to my own initiative and effort than ever, as well. You see, I've done this before - back after I took a "little break", before I started any formal, collegiate pursuits. I thought that chasing after the degree in Computer Science or Information Technology, whatever they want to call it, was what I should be doing. I tried it three times, over the course of ten years. I don't want to talk about the outcome - suffice it to say that I've learned more in class now, during the last 10 weeks, than I ever learned in the classroom back in the day. No mistaking, I have learned most of what I do, when it comes to computers, through curiosity, research and trial and error. I've never been afraid to pick up a large book, as long as I knew it had the answer to some problem I was working through, before I hit the back cover. But for some reason, I thought walking into the halls of University would get me everything else I needed.

I'm not going through this boot camp in order to change careers. The fact that it is not only a time investment but a monetary investment is the factor that makes me accountable to this endeavor. I have spent the last ten years realizing that I can only go so far in customer service and technical support, and the contracts that I've picked up as of late show no promise for my next ten years. This program gives me a blueprint, and a discipline that I seemed to have let go of somewhere. I am literally learning to learn again, because there was a time when I accepted the fact that I would always be learning, especially when it came to what I did with computers. So, college would have had me back at least twice to update skills, and at what cost. And this degree? I've never actually held a position where it hasn't ended up being more important to show an employer my skills and not just a piece of paper that says what I've learned. I believe that's where the job market stands today in tech, and I'm out to finally land myself in the career that I originally chose.

I'm a geek, a(n ethical) hacker, a sometime guru who never really fell in with the "rat race". I have proof that I can learn anything new that gets thrown at me, and quickly. I have proof that I can make an appropriate decision in the most efficient manner regarding all cost factors...now, not then. I owe this to my boot camp! So, it's kind of like coming around full circle, since my first days with Assembly. And fitting. This experience has helped me in gaining the proper momentum that will be required to use the rest of what I've learned to connect with a network of peers and new associates, to market myself where product has yet to meet demand, and to keep me rolling on a path that sees me at home after a productive workday, happy for what I have or have yet to accomplish, looking forward to the next challenge - and not fearing what lies ahead.

~D

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