Looking Back On What Lead Me to Start Coding Bootcamp

Jumping hunting is very draining, especially during isolation. I graduated with a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from CU Boulder back in May of 2020. Crazy to think that was nearly a year ago. Immediately after graduating, I started applying to everything I could on linkedIn with no luck. For months and months I applied, and never even reached an interview.

After biding my time working on my resume, emailing contacts in the industry, and messing around with game development in Unity, I decided that maybe I should try something else.

I did have some prior experience with web development in college, though my degree in ECE was by no means focused on full-stack development. I did know I enjoyed frontend work from the small projects I worked on at college, I had never really considered a career in it. You see, college wasn’t the kindest to me. I never performed great in my degree field, I took time off, and at 25 I finally graduated with a large resentment towards the program. I don’t want this blog post to turn into how the system failed me, because that isn’t true. I just want to show where my head was at going into the start of my full-stack engineering journey.

Come May 2020, as you can imagine it was tough to find a job. I don’t think it would be too difficult to figure out why. Given the difficulty to find work in the Electrical Engineering field, and with my only companion for months while isolating at home was my cat Mozzy, I thought “You know what industry would be easy to find remote work in? Software Development!” So I reached out to a friend of mine I knew was going through a coding bootcamp called “Flatiron School” and asked him if he would recommend it. He talked with me for about an hour, and then followed up on my with all the information he could give me. I have to a lot to thank him about in regards to my journey. I was sold! I filled out an application and blew through the PreWork and got ready for my start date in December.

My companion through isolation

So that was that, I used my knowledge from College to get through the pre work pretty quickly. I was even asked to help out some other students who were struggling with the intro work, and walked into the program with some confidence.

Now when the first day started I was blown away. The Denver Flatiron School uses a form of learning called Humanism learning. It gives students the freedom to create their own lesson plan and decide what they wanna learn. The way this materializes is aspects like no determined schedule, no densely structured curriculums, no ‘professors’ or ‘head instructors’, no tests or homework or anything like that. It is a style of teaching that allows the students to explore what they want to learn, and allows them the freedom to teach themselves concepts and go past the bare minimum of a class curriculum. With this style you, as a student, are no longer learning to pass, but learning to learn. If there is a topic you want to explore, just ask for a lesson on it in the morning.

As you can expect from my statements about college above, I loved this shit! I was so excited to ditch the grades, the elitism, and the competition that Universities put on their students. I talked extensive about this with some of the instructors in the program of the excitement I had with this teaching style. And it makes sense in full-stack development. There are a thousands ways and a thousands languages to do something, so why limit someone to “you have to do it this way and if you don’t do it this way you do not pass. Even though this other way is actually my more concise, the 80 year old who taught this class 5 years ago said we have to do it this way so you have to do it this way.” Maybe a little harsh, but that was my experience from College.

Final thoughts:

I don’t want this article to come off as “Fuck college, fuck the system, just go to a coding bootcamp!” because that isn’t always true. I mean I probably wouldn’t even be in the bootcamp in the first place if I didn’t have a little coding experience from College. I just want to say that the system didn’t work for me, but it might work for you though, and it has worked for so many others. However, my experience with coding bootcamp has opened my eyes to learning, finding things out on my own, and just being excited to learn.