Grasp The Unknown and Ride It To The Future

What’s a programming boot camp really like? (That’s my hook to bring in the searches and the ad revenue.) The best way to answer this question is in the negative, by describing what it’s not. As someone who’s in their second week in one, I’m uniquely qualified to answer this. In addition, I have experience in many other forms of education and career fields, so I’ve got a lot to compare it to.

Three months of bootcamp is not going to teach you everything. The world of technology or even any single branch of it is far beyond your puny human brain’s ability to learn. Even the leading experts on some small web service that copies your Instagram posts over to Twitter has days when the service does something that it’s creator doesn’t understand. So get ready to accept the idea that even if you do become a professional software developer, you still aren’t going to be able to make your mother’s television stream Spotify audio while controlling the next track from her smartphone like the guy at the store promised she would be able to. That is actually a current problem of mine and if anyone has a suggestion, I’m listening.

Instead, what the learning experience should be consists of two things. The first is getting comfortable not knowing what’s going on. And the second is getting comfortable figuring out how to change that. Most people spend most of their time doing things they know how to do. I’ve been running a plumbing company for the last few years, and if we showed up at someone’s house and tell them, “I’ve never seen a water heater like this before!,” they’re going to be concerned. Software is different. Software is always changing. Someone is always adding pieces to make things better or faster or easier. And you have to learn those new things.

If regular people, let’s say a mechanic, worked like I do, they’d start the day with a new car they’ve never seen. They would know so little about it, that when they googled questions, the things they found would be other obviously ignorant people asking questions that made it clear they had no idea what’s going on. “I injected the key into the fuel tank and spun the wheel three times, but the engine doesn’t seem to be starting.” But you’re going to learn a lot.

Only through discomfort can you grow. Humans can get used to anything. Being in a world of unknowns is hard at first. But you spend enough time there, and you get used to it. You grow comfortable with grabbing hold of the unknown and holding on until you figure it out. And then one day, you’re web service starts reliably changing your ‘grams to tweets and you know, you’ve made it.

Nah, it’s gonna break tomorrow when you show it to the investors.