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React GraphQL Academy
React GraphQL Academy

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The challenge of learning while working: Rafael’s story

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Back in April 2020 after our Remote Bootcamp we had a chat with Rafael, who attended the Advanced React training - the last three days of the Bootcamp. This training was meant to be in-person but because of the coronavirus situation, we had to switch to remote.

Meet Rafael

Rafael is 50 years old and lives in Berlin. He’s a back-end developer with 10 years of experience working in back-end and full-stack development.

In the beginning of his career he was working with PHP, and later he found that he needed a change and wanted to move to another language: JavaScript. He went into the full-stack work with Vanilla JavaScript, jQuery and also Framework.

He has always been learning while working, and thanks to this approach he managed to get better and better jobs in time.

The journey of finding the perfect training

One of the biggest challenges with this progressive learning? Finding the right training for him, and understanding also what could be the best option when there are so many languages and learning options out there.

When you are on your own and there are so many things out there, you never know what to tackle. In order to get more competitive, I needed something more up-to-date like React. But still it was really hard to know where to start from.

Rafael needed to start with the latest JavaScript, TypeScript, and only thinking about Webpack and all those things, made him feel helpless.

He was constantly looking for React Bootcamps:

All of them were so huge, including so many languages and lasting a long time, like 6 months, some of them even full-time. There was no way I could be paying that long training and taking so much time off. I needed to keep working.

Rafael has been joining React meetups, conferences and learning by himself with tutorials as well. But he always felt like that was not enough, he needed some training that gave him full competence and understanding of React, filling his knowledge gaps and putting theory into practice.

I went to a meetup in Berlin and I don’t remember if that was my first contact with you. I was looking for bootcamps and I saw that your React Bootcamp was short, specific and complete.

He was very interested and started following React GraphQL Academy until he got to purchase the advanced part of our Bootcamp training.

What drove my final decision was a combination of the duration of the programme, the advanced training curriculum and the price.

From in-person to remote live training

We asked Rafael about his experience in our remote live training and about his reaction to this change from in-person to remote.

He said that before all this current situation he was always afraid of everything online, because when he’s at home he’s not as disciplined and doesn’t study like in an in-person training. Since this lockdown he somehow had to adapt, and he can now see remote as a really good alternative. Working or studying remotely is a good option because he can organize his time better, and he doesn't have to spend time commuting to another place.

The idea of attending in-person was something that attracted me in the beginning. When things changed and the training switched to remote I was already so excited about the program that I didn’t think about the change. And in fact in the end the remote training went great, Alex was really good at handling the remote audience. I’ve seen him live in the meetup and this time remotely and I can say that it felt the same. The quality didn’t change from in-person to remote, that’s what I’m sure of.

Learning by doing: our training structure

We usually structure our training program to be ⅓ theory and ⅔ practice and we always like hearing feedback from the students in order to improve where necessary. So we asked Rafael if for him this hands-on approach was good, or if he found it to be too challenging.

It was really good, we also had this pair programming in separate rooms on Zoom, and Alex was getting from room to room checking how things were going, helping and challenging us like “do you think this is the right way to do that?” I found this was a great way to learn.

What did you like the most about this training?

This program is continuously updated and also Alex shows different tools, libraries, paths and in the end he recommends one of the different alternatives. You see how to struggle in each path and when you get the recommendation you see why that was recommended, you understand why that is the happy path.

What’s next Rafael?

Rafael told us that after the training he found a job where he had to work with React.

I was supposed to start a new project today, with React, but because of this crisis they called me to say they need to stop this for now.

This coronavirus crisis has been affecting many people and businesses, cancelled lots of projects and paused future plans. But Rafael has an alternative idea in mind, to cover up for this uncertain times:

Maybe this is the time to start some projects on my own, especially now that this knowledge is still fresh. I can also show these side projects and experience in the future job applications.

We find this is a very positive mindset and a motivating approach in a time where external factors and circumstances try to stop us from achieving our goals. And we believe it’s the best way to keep going and building our future.

Well done Rafael, best of luck with your future projects!

Our next training sessions

If you also struggle with finding the best React training option for you, get in touch with us and let’s try to understand together if any of our training is suitable for your experience. Alternatively, you can read this article about how to choose the React training that suits you best.

You can also head directly to our React training page and check out the next training dates, remote or in-person.

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