In the middle of a global pandemic.
While millions are being placed on unemployment.
To attend a coding bootcamp?
I realize how crazy that may sound. Why would any sane person quit their comfortable, reliable job while masses of people are being laid off every day? From an outside perspective it doesn’t make much sense. To me, this feels like one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
For the past six years I have been a teacher. Teaching can be an incredibly rewarding and exhausting profession. Teachers do not receive enough credit for everything they have to do both inside and outside of the classroom. To be honest, I had been considering a change of profession for quite some time but I could never figure out what I wanted to pursue after education. Do I go back to school? Start over in an entry-level position somewhere? Nothing sounded like a good fit. I wondered if I was meant to stay in my teaching position and just “suck it up”.
Then COVID hit.
Seeing a global society faced with the reality of their own mortality gave me a new perspective: Life is fleeting and can be gone in an instant. I couldn’t wait around any longer for some “ideal” job opportunity to fall into my lap. I had to go out and find it. And I had no idea where to start.
But one day that all changed.
It was literally two weeks before I would have to put in my notice at my school and I was scrolling through TikTok (like so many others during Quarantine) and I saw a woman’s video about how she graduated from high school and instead of going to college she enrolled in a coding bootcamp. She completed the program and was hired as a junior developer at the age of 19! I didn’t even know those types of things existed but I was curious.
I have always been interested in technology and the idea of software development but it always seemed like an unattainable field for me for some reason. I don’t know if it was the way that developers are portrayed in television and movies or just the fact that I knew nothing about programming, but it was just an industry I felt I could never pursue. But after learning that coding bootcamps existed I decided to do some research and I found a TON. How I had never heard of them before I didn’t know because they seemed to be everywhere and there were even local ones here in Columbus, Ohio.
Over the course of the following days, I narrowed my list down to three that I wanted to apply to and went for it. I was accepted into two pretty quickly but my top choice, Tech Elevator, had a waiting list and my time at my job was up. I had to make a decision: quit my job without knowing for sure if I got into Tech Elevator or enroll in my second or third choice. So I quit my job and I waited. Thankfully, Tech Elevator got back to me and offered me a spot in their 14-week full-stack Java program. I guess taking risks does pay of sometimes!
I just completed my first week of the program and I am loving it so far! It’s challenging, engaging, mind-numbing (at times) and fun. Because of the pandemic the program is completely virtual but Tech Elevator has done an amazing job at transitioning the program to a virtual platform. This week we learned about data types, variables, expressions, conditionals, arrays, loops and Command Line programs. Each day we have individual exercises to complete and we also had our first pair-programming exercise.
I'm trying my hardest not to think about the possibility of this program coming to an end and me not having a job. All I can do is put everything into this program and hope it pays off in the end. I am expecting the content to become even more difficult from here but I am excited for the challenges to come!