The Iron Yard from a student’s view

So I am now ending my third week at the The Iron Yard in St. Petersburg, FL and decided I should take a full look back at this point. I will probably do this again in another three weeks and continue until the class is over.

So ok if you don’t know The Iron Yard is a bootcamp style education setting that helps get their students the knowledge they need to get into the world of web development. They have other classes that you can learn about on their website, http://theironyard.com/, I will only be speaking of my own experience in the Front End Engineering course.

So here is some back story on me and why I made this choice… In October of 2014 I moved to Florida with my husband and our pets after my husband was offered a position down here, previously we were living in Michigan where we were both born and raised. After a few months of applying for jobs as a project coordinator I was having no luck getting interviews. I finally scored two interviews and after sitting in each one I walked away saying to myself “I do not want to do this job, it will not make me happy”. Being as supportive as he is my husband offered me the opprtunity to find something I really wanted to do and to follow that dream. He was the one that discovered Iron Yard and told me to look into it and he would be supportive if I decided to take this opportunity. As you now know I did decide to take the opportunity.

Now here I am three weeks into my course and I have learned so much. I have learned the basics of HTML & CSS, both I had never really done before. I have started learning bits and pieces of Javascript and jQuery (I would say I have learned a lot but since I still struggle to even start coding in that area when I need to I cannot say that just yet). I have also learned much more about myself.

As a student in this course you are put through a fast paced three hour lecture in the morning and then the afternoon you are free to use the lab hours to work on your homework. The space they have made for us is beautiful and open so we usually spread out and begin to work. Now I did mention this is fast paced right? I love a fast pace learning environment because I am usually better at learning in a trial by fire kind of position. As a fellow classmate explained to me yesterday…this is a trial by fire, while Godzilla is attacking the building and you are naked so you can’t leave kind of feeling.

Once you start to struggle, as I currently am, you do not have the luxury of slowing down to really gain knowledge and strength in that one area before you move on. You continually have to go back to try to figure out the areas you are struggling in and learn more each day. Now please don’t take that as a complaint because it is not, I knew what I signed up for when I did….ok well kinda you never really know until you are in something but I had an idea.

So after three weeks of class how am I feeling now? I am stressed, I am exhausted, I have had moments where I just want to quit because it is hard for me at times. Would I do it again? Hmmm, I guess we will have to wait to see how I feel at the end, I don’t think right now is the best time since I have been struggling so much. Do I like the program so far? You know what for all of the struggles I can say for the most part yes. I have met great people and the campus director and the teachers are passionate about what they do so that is inspiring in itself.

What do I hope to get out of this? Well in the end I want a job (hell I need a job)…no wait I don’t want a job… I want a career. But I know now that I want a position that will push me to learn (maybe not in such a stressful way as this class). I like the challenge of coding even while I am not fully understanding it at this time. I want a career that leaves me feeling fulfilled and challenged, something that I can grow into and love. I want the confidence that I can gain everyday in my personal and professional life.

So there is my view so far… as I said before I will do another summary update at the end of week six.