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Final Blog as a Student @ Flatiron School

Moose Davis
Hi there! My name is Moose Davis and I have decided to change careers and attend Flatiron School to learn Software Engineering. This is my journey.
・6 min read

. . . Where do I begin?

WOW, it has been 5 months of trying my best to learn how to code at Flatiron School.

And, if you're reading this, this blog is a reflection on my journey over those long and also short months. So as a disclaimer, I apologize for the sporadic thought process. lol

The languages / frameworks that this experience has exposed me to and have learned from are:

Ruby
Ruby on Rails
Sinatra
SQLite3
HTML5
CSS
JavaScript
React.js
Redux.js

And I HONESTLY think this is so insane at how I just did all that.
During the First Mile, it took me 3 days to just figure out the difference between an IRB, Terminal (CLI), and the Text Editor were. I didn't know where the code is supposed to go, and where you're supposed to run the tests. How to run the tests, how to read the errors, or even how to communicate what I was trying to explain to AAQ on every lab I came to. It was actually quite scary and so daunting to take this plunge into this immersive process, but...like...LOOK AT THAT LIST OF STUFF I LEARNED!!! I am literally looking at the URL in the browser bar and I KNOW WHAT dev.to/new MEANS! LIKE HOW AWESOME IS THAT?! I can open the inspector window in this browser and actually read and understand what HTML is comprising this very same page I'm typing in now. If I can boil this down and compare it to anything, I just did 2 DCI summer seasons back to back (IFYK,YK). I'm utterly speechless rn.

Here is how the months were divided up when using these languages.

Month 1: 
Ruby

Month 2:
Ruby + Sinatra + SQL + HTML + CSS 

Month 3:
Ruby + Ruby on Rails + SQL + HTML + CSS 

Month 4:
JavaScript + Ruby + Ruby on Rails + SQL + HTML + CSS 

Month 5:
React + Redux + JavaScript + Ruby + Ruby on Rails + SQL + HTML + CSS 
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During the first 2 week, also known as FIRST MILE, that was the most intense form of learning I've ever experienced, and let me tell you I've experienced some fast paced learning on the regular in other situations, but this one is QWIK! 🏎💨

But once you get to week 3, there are a lot of things that began to open up like getting 1-on-1's with your cohort leader to practice or discuss anything coding you need help with or are curious about. I started to feel the flow, and wasn't as overwhelmed. The lessons seemed much less daunting because I knew now what to expect.

There were also some phrases that rang so so true in my mind starting in Module 2, that I honestly couldn't believe because all of my previous learning experiences had been based on stackable concepts over time that you're just supposed to memorize and know when asked. Here are some of those phrases, so if you are reading this still, please keep in mind if you too are thinking about going into a coding bootcamp.

"You're not supposed to memorize and know everything all the time.  It's literally impossible." 

"It is okay to Google something you don't understand."

"It is okay to YouTube something you don't understand."

"Talk OUT LOUD when you code.  TALK. OUT. LOUD."

"Imposter Syndrome is a very real thing that you might experience, but when the doubt starts, let one of us know and we will help you.

"You could spend the rest of your career learning how to ActiveRecord alone and still not know everything." 

"Use your cohort members and us (cohort leader/educational coach) as resources through this process, you can do this!" 

And my personal favorite: "It is okay to ask for help.  Do not feel like you have to do this alone.  We are here to help you."
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Once I arrived to Module 3 I was feeling pretty decent about where I was. I had learned Ruby for 8 weeks and about to go for 4 more and learn the ever so powerful RUBY ON RAILS! And mind you, if you ever read my first blog -- I was in the middle of my own grieving process from losing my job. COVID was the reason, sucked, but luckily I used the help of my educational coach who also was a fantastic resource for gaining another perspective and working through that emotional situation. The kindness and compassion of the Flatiron team is so special, and I can't thank them enough.

Great, so Module 1-3 was all backend oriented concepts, and with some frontend only by use of views that are used starting in Module 2 with Sinatra. Thank you MVC -- Model, Views, Controllers!

If you're reading this, LEARN YOUR CRUD AND RESTful ROUTES!! I KNOW I SAID THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO MEMORIZE EVERYTHING BUT THESE ARE THREE CONCEPTS YOU WANT TO MEMORIZE! => MVC, CRUD, and RESTful Routes. YOU NEED TO MEMORIZE THESE!!

Now, Module 4 + Module 5 are a BEAST all on their own. I will say it was for sure challenging, and I'm oh so so so close to understanding some key concepts and I have Nancy to thank for that. She's such an awesome educator and a compassionate individual. Coming from the backend curriculum where everything is just straight up logic with a dash of creativity, JavaScript is a different creature. It's "simple" but also SO COMPLICATED at the same time. But one thing I managed to do was to keep learning, keep growing, and keep trying. Eventually it will click, but all I do when I get those thoughts of doubt is to tell myself "Look how far you've come in such a small amount of time. You should be proud of yourself. You can do this..."

The list of things that are covered in Module 4 + 5 are so long just like the backend with one less month to do it. Such as:

Functions
Anonymous Functions
Arrow Functions
Event Listeners
Callback Functions
Invoking Functions
DOM
Children/Parent Relationships
props
fetch()
.then()
.catch()
state
spread operators
slice()
Lifecycle Events
Actions
Reducers
Dispatch
Components
Containers
react-thunk
Middleware
mapDispatchToProps
mapStateToProps
{ connect }
IMPORT
EXPORT

I could go on for DAYS!

-- Cue my inner drag queen --

"YOU.👏 CAN.👏 DO.👏 THIS.👏 MARY!💅"

And guess what . . .

I did it.

Granted at this point in time, I've submitted my final Capstone project, and still have to pass my assessment, BUT IF THE LAST 5 MONTHS HAVE SHOWN ME ANYTHING IS THAT I WILL SUCCEED. I WILL MAKE SURE I PASS. I AM SO CLOSE, AND I WANT TO KEEP LEARNING AND KEEP GROWING.

extremely deep and long inhale

even longer exhale

I know right now I have a very long way to go in continuing to learn and keeping my mind sharp and open to these ever evolving concepts of technology, code, and capabilities that will be expanded on in the future. There's a lot for me to still do of course, but I'm so excited for the next steps and process of finding a job using these new skills and growing professionally.

The members in our cohort that stuck with this process the whole way through, I'm so proud of you. I'm so happy to know you, I'm so happy of the countless hours and karma points we have exchanged via Slack. Was refreshing to hear all of your thoughts during your own learning processes and also thank you for not thinking I'm being weird in lectures by asking so many questions. I don't know why, but that's how I've always learned and love to engage by turning the learning environment into a conversation.

Not to mention our awesome educational coach -- Dr. Gretchen Stamp, and Cohort Leader -- Nancy Noyes! Both of you were so instrumental, (ha, get it because I'm a musician too?), in helping me grow and stay mentally sane throughout the last 5 months. THERE'S A REASON IT'S CALLED A BOOTCAMP RIGHT?!

I honestly don't have much to say other than how grateful I am for having been through this journey and taking the plunge into a completely new career in a subject that I knew ZERO information about. The only technology based things I knew were all in sound equipment and composition software. Now that I've learned this, IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC MIND YOU?! I feel like I can do anything (within reason of course, lol).

After further reflection on this process, and to circle back to the first blog I wrote for Flatiron, "Why did you choose to become a software engineer?". And in that blog, at the end, I mentioned using a phrase as a means to enjoy the journey, and that statement will always be true for me, and this experience at Flatiron is proof of that. So happy I made this decision.

"Trust the process"

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