Coding Bootcamp School

Thinking about going to coding school? I recently finished an intensive 12 week coding program at General Assembly. Here are the things I wish someone had shared with me before I committed:

Interested but not sure? There are tons of free courses online now. We are really lucky to have access to these resources. Start out by doing some HTML & CSS. I found it really gratifying to play around with CSS and see how I can change they way my browser looks. But this isn't really considered coding. Try a javascript course. This is intensive, but you need to make that jump. Wouldn't you feel better putting $10-15k down knowing that you're investing it toward something that you are interested in? Even better...not investing money in something that you can't stand. I had a few classmates that hated it. They stuck it out, kudos to them. But some of them felt that maybe they should've done UI/UX instead. The only way they'll figure that out is to learn more about it.

Coding involves a lot of concentration. You literally can sit there for hours scanning your code wondering why something you wrote doesn't work. But it feels great when you finally you figure out the mistake or bug! Being detail oriented is also important. In javascript, an absent semicolon can prevent your whole code from working! You are also by yourself a lot. Other people are necessary and a great resource, but this isn't a PR job. I like working by myself and honestly don't mind being by myself for hours at a time. But to some this may sound like a nightmare. One thing that I wasn't honest about with myself is that I find huge satisfaction in creating tactile things. Which is why I honestly love print design. But I wanted better opportunities, which led me to programming. I have that part of me that loves solving puzzles, which I gave a greater voice to in this case, but I  trampled the side of my brain that was sending that warning "You are putting your creative desires aside."

Everyday of the program I learned so much. It has never been so apparent to me that I don't know much. The reason why I say this is because this field has so much you can learn about. There are so many languages and processes and procedures. You could work on client databases, debugging, making awesome graphic interfaces...I feel like I just barely dipped my toes into understanding this all. When I finished the program I knew this would be an ongoing educational journey for the rest of my life. I felt silly for not jumping in sooner, and I honestly felt sorry for those who might be left in the dust because they're avoiding learning about something that affects us all and will create infinite opportunities for growth.

Would I recommend someone else to take this program? It depends. If you're self motivated, I would say subscribe to Treehouse, Lynda, Udacity, or any other really great coding online school/tutorials and learn by yourself. Then make some cool projects that will show what you know and that you'll be able to show to future employers. But if you need someone to push you and drive the learning process, then yes the program would probably be good for you.

I feel grateful that I was able to take this program. But I wish I had prepared better. I also wish it hadn't been so intense. It's difficult to compress all the info I learned into 12 weeks. Logically, it would have been better to learn it over 6 months or so.