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IsaacCodes2021
IsaacCodes2021

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An overview of my experience attending a coding bootcamp

In the following text I will cover what I accomplished, The challenges I was able to overcome and the ones I am still working on achieving. And what I would have done differently.

At this point in my experience I am 80% through my coding bootcamp and most of the instructional material has been given to us.

The What and Why

Firstly the program I decided on was a full-stack web development course where JavaScript, React, ruby, and Ruby on Rails are taught. I personally chose this route over something like mobile development is is that this tech stack would be something that is very common in the job market (React is one of the most commonly used frameworks/libraries), and I felt learning these technologies would be good foundations for my future endeavors in learning other languages.

What did I Gain?

I was able to do a LOT of coding over the past two and a half months. I was able to rediscover my love for building and creating thing, a feeling that I had forgotten since I stopped taking pictures as the covid-19 quarantine began. I can confidently say that I can build a website from front to back, start to finish, which is a huge win for me.

More than that in my opinion I would say I expanded my problem solving skills and my ability to google things which ended up being the most useful skills overall because, what good is knowing how to code if you don't know how to solve problems you might run into with either a concise google search or an understanding of console readouts?

Among learning a few coding languages and a few frameworks i was able to met some pretty cool folks in my coding bootcamps cohort. I think it's rather beautiful seeing people from all different backgrounds and different places in the us all together in the same place trying to accomplish the same thing. I think I got really lucky because I got a really interactive, understanding, witty, and all around good people.

I think however the most valuable thing I have got so far from this coding bootcamp was seeing my own ability to learn at a fast pace and be successful enough to get this far. As a kid I was always told that I was a "slow learner" or I was given special privileges because it took me longer to do tests and homework than the other kids. But coming out of this I was able to keep up with everyone around me for the most part and learn quite a bit and I still get emotional when I think about all of this. It was a huge win for me to realize that when I really want to do something and It is something I deeply desire, I can achieve my goals, I am not 'slow'.

What did I loose?

Coding bootcamps are not easy, and if you are reading this and thinking about attending one and you have watched a bunch of youtube videos and read a bunch of blogs let me remind you again, this is not for the faint of heart, It will challenge you so be prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to be the most successful you can be. Among those sacrifices for me were financial stability, a social life, fitness, and the unplanned one being my mental health. Now it's not as bad as it sounds, what I mean by 'unexpectedly sacrificing my mental health' sort of encompasses all of the things I had to give up. For me one of the most important parts of my routine is exercise, more for my mental state than any physical gains. There came a point in my bootcamp journey when I had to choose between going to the gym/or talking to friends and working on course material in order to keep up with the pace of the bootcamp. And this to me was a no brainer: of course I am going to do the coursework, but as I made this same decision every day for 3 weeks in the middle of the bootcamp I started becoming mentally sluggish and then that mental sluggishness turned into a lack of motivation, which led to other non-optimal mental function. Things eventually got to a point where I was becoming very sensitive to random things which would trigger anxiety and then prevent me from absorbing the course material.
I remember having a conversation an saying "I haven't left my house or got out from in-front of my computer in almost 3 weeks but I feel like i haven't been very successful despite me spending all this time in my 'learning environment'." And the person on the other end asked "Well shouldn't you have learned more if you haven't left your home?" and that stuck with me. If forced me to do some self-work and figure out what I can do to help myself without taking away too much time from my coding bootcamp which boiled down to me stepping away from the screen and going outside on my lunch breaks everyday. This ended up being enough to slowly mend my mind back into a state where I was able to learn more effectively.

Conclusion

I ultimately grew and learned a lot throughout my experience at a coding bootcamp. Not only did I grow in the scope of my coding skills, but I also was able improve my problem solving skills, overcome some insecurities I had about myself that had been present in academic environments. If you asked me 4 years ago today where I think I would be, I would definitely have not said on my way to graduating a coding bootcamp, I probably would have said something like living in Colorado working at a dispensary(i still wouldn't mind doing this)

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