Can I do this?
I just finished my fourth week in the software engineering program at Flatiron School online immersive Seattle campus. I am very happy I made the decision to join Flatiron and take on the daunting challenge of becoming a software developer.
How did I get here?
I graduated in June 2020 at the University of Washington with a BS in Earth and Space Science (physics focus) with a minor in physics. During my time there, I was able to take some courses that focused on coding. These classes opened my eyes to the world of coding. During my spring quarter at the University of Washington (beginning of the spread of Covid-19), I got the realization that my chances of getting a job during this time, especially with my degree, would be slim to none. People are being furloughed left and right, why would they hire someone right out of college with no real job experience? I looked back at the courses I took during my college career and noticed a common denominator. My favorite courses had coding components intertwined into the material. Nothing felt better than having perfectly working code that enforces my knowledge of the material. I realized this was a feeling that I wanted to chase and expand upon.
The summer after graduation (June 2020), I started researching coding bootcamps. I learned about Flatiron through Course Report (https://www.coursereport.com/best-coding-bootcamps) which rated Flatiron the best coding bootcamp of 2019–2020. I found the answer to one question, which program I would do if I decided that a coding bootcamp is right for me. This led to the next question I had to ask myself, is this really something I wanted to do. Flatiron offers a coding bootcamp prep course that I worked on throughout the summer. I noticed that I would work all hours on the lessons and labs provided because I enjoyed the problem-solving process of getting my code to work and the satisfaction that comes with it.
Second guessing myself
I applied to Flatiron’s software engineering program and got accepted! This led to my next mental dilemma, can I succeed in this program, and further down the line, can I succeed in this field as a career? So many more questions came up and made me constantly second guess myself. Is the tuition worth it? Will I be able to find a job especially in this job climate? Will I still enjoy doing this in 5 years? In 10 years? Luckily, my family fully supported my decision and gave me the confidence to go through with the program. Additionally, my sister made some excellent points.
“Chandler, you enjoy coding and you already have put so much work into the pre-work. It shows that you are dedicated to coding, and that you have fun doing it. These are two important reasons to do the bootcamp. You will earn valuable and sought-after technical skills that are needed to be a part of the tech community. The world always needs more people that can code. Also, what else are you going to do, we are in the middle of a pandemic and you are unemployed”.
My experience in the bootcamp so far
Week one of the program was overwhelming to say the least. I felt like I was in way over my head, and the program being fast paced did not help either. Over these four weeks, these feeling have faded as I have gotten more comfortable with the material and my community. I have learned so much in these first four weeks and it is crazy to think how much progress I have made in such little time. The days are long, and the material is dense, but I still look forward every day to learning more.
This program has been a rollercoaster full of ups and downs. Sometimes I can pick up the material quickly and understand why and how the material works. Sometimes I am stuck trying to understand what is going on and feel like I am falling behind. Throughout getting more practice and being able to work with my cohort and instructors, those negative feelings go away. I quickly learned a valuable lesson. It is okay to struggle if I keep pushing to learn. I need to keep my confidence up or I will constantly struggle and then all my second guesses will come true. I need to remember there is a reason why I signed up for this program! There is a reason why I believed I could succeed in this field! I just need to keep remembering that. I will struggle and get frustrated, that is just a part of coding. I need to use the frustration as a learning point. The frustration fuels my curiosity and drive to find the right answer and understand why my original ideas were not working. My confidence in myself has been steadily increasing throughout my time in the program.
Going back to my original question, Can I do this? After four weeks of being in the program, I know I made the right choice in joining Flatiron’s coding bootcamp. Even though the coding bootcamp is challenging and time consuming, I am very proud of how much I have accomplished thus far and cannot wait to see how much more progress I will make. My doubts in my abilities have gone away. I know I can and will succeed throughout the bootcamp and in my future career as a software developer.