Starting at Fullstack Academy

My Path to Coding

From Social Work to Coding

I’m finally starting a coding bootcamp — Fullstack Academy. It’s a big change for me. My dad is a programmer, and I was always interested in it, but I never really delved into it until a couple years ago. I always had a passion for social work and helping people, and I’ve spent my adult life thus far pursuing that path. I’ve worked as a family therapist, a substance abuse counselor, a mental health assessor, and an undergrad/masters social work instructor. But I always felt that something was missing. I recently finished all of the course work for a PhD in social work program, hoping that I would feel more fulfilled in the world of academia. But in the doctoral program, I realized that the things I was enjoying most in the program were figuring out the statistical analyses on our statistics software and arguing the logic of concepts and theories with other students and my professors — things more applicable to programming than social work.

I started dabbling in coding classes, through Khan Academy, Girl Develop It, and CodeAcademy on the side, and I really enjoyed it. I got a sense of accomplishment from solving problems, figuring out how things work, and seeing the fruits of my labor. It was exciting and interesting and... well… fun! And there was/is so much room for growth — it was easy to see that no matter how far you get in the field of web development, you can always learn and create new things.

It wasn’t easy making the switch — it took a lot of time and soul-searching. But at the end of the day, when I thought about my future, I simply saw myself appreciating work in programming more. I can still help others and participate in social good without it being my entire career (or I could possibly use tech to achieve social goals)! Either way, I appreciated what I was able to learn and gain through social work, but I’m excited to have my day to day career be more logically -focused challenges, which I can see the effects of each day. I know learning to code can be a difficult path, but as a social worker, I know intense work. And I’m ready for it.

Why Fullstack?

I was looking at many different bootcamps and narrowed my search to a few that seemed rigorous, had good reviews, and had good reputations within the tech community. I spoke to past Fullstack students who felt confident and competent in their work post-graduation, whereas others I spoke to who went to other bootcamps often described their programs in less inspiring ways, such as making them feel comfortable in not knowing much.

One past Fullstack student I spoke to said that he felt more prepared for the work he’s doing now after having attended Fullstack than some of his colleagues with their masters’ in CS feel. Ultimately these reviews, in addition to: the great outcomes documented by the program, the emphasis on pair programming, the live remote option (so I could stay with my husband in Cincinnati without losing the quality of live instruction), the attention being spread across the full stack, the focus on JavaScript across that stack, the strength of the portfolio Fullstack helps students develop, and the further along starting/ending points (see next sentence) made my decision to go with Fullstack. Many other programs seemed to start at a true beginner’s level and then take its students to an intermediate level; whereas Fullstack seemed to start at a more intermediate level and then push its students to a more advanced level by the end of the program — so you have to do some extra work at the beginning to qualify for the program, but you end up further along.

Next Up…

I’ve now passed Fullstack’s foundations, and am preparing to begin the live portion of the course. So far it has been rather challenging and sometimes intimidating, but each time I’ve been able to figure out another concept, it’s also been that much more exhilarating. So now I’m looking forward to starting the live portion and preparing myself to keep diving deeper!