How coding bootcamp changed me

As cliche as it sounds, I’ve noticed a lot of changes in my views and opinions after completing a 16 week bootcamp for web development. Bootcamp has taught me to think in a way that I never knew before. It taught me a different approach to analyzing problems and finding solutions. Here is how coding has been spilling to my life offscreen:

I’m not as afraid to make mistakes/fail

Bootcamp gave me the confidence to make mistakes. Trial and error have never been so emphasized until now. If something didn’t work but the code seemed correct, I tried everything I could think of. Switch the cases, change the syntax, rearrange the order of the offending lines….Sometimes, it works. If not, there is no shame in Googling and checking out StackOverflow for ideas. There is also no shame in checking out how someone else did it on GitHub to figure out where you went wrong.

The more I code, the more I realize how many holes I have in fundamentals yet I’m still able to continue learning and filling in those holes. With coding especially, you don’t always understand why something works or doesn’t work. You’re just happy that it did what you wanted it to. That is one of the biggest things I had to learn to let go of. Being able to understand every detail was crucial to my understanding of anything until I started coding.

A lot of times, one of the hardest parts for me about developing an app is not understanding enough of what I’m doing to verbalize it. I understand how the code works and I can rebuild it but I don’t have the vocabulary to explain it to someone else yet. Actually, what I just said is not so true anymore. When I write Readme files, it forces me to comprehend everything completely and explain it so that a non-programmer could understand. As a result, I can shamelessly say that I love writing Readmes. Now that I’ve pulled out old stuff to fix up, I’m able to better verbalize challenges and solutions I’ve encountered in my projects.

I persist more at a problem

I can look at a problem from different perspectives more effectively and come up with more solutions. I don’t give up as easily, and when something doesn’t work, I’m much more proficient in figuring out why and how to fix the issue. There is more method to my madness than just frustration. I’m not as afraid to ask questions before. I’m not as afraid to admit that I don’t know something as before.

I’m a lot more independent than before.

Saying that I’ve never used Google to look up stuff before is a lie. I did Google stuff but I didn’t always know how the utilize the knowledge that I just gained. Or how to interpret it for that matter. Thanks to bootcamp, I now know how to read documentation on technologies I’m unfamiliar with. I also know how to self-teach. Self-teaching is not the same as teaching others. Realizing this as a former teacher was a humbling and eye-opening experience.

I have more energy at the end of the day

Coding requires a different kind of brain power than social interaction. It’s quite the opposite actually. When I used to teach, I would go home and lock myself in my room to decompress after my day is done. Teaching is an extremely extroverted job and you’re “on” the entire day, which can be pretty draining. Just because the students have left doesn’t mean you won’t get surprise visits from parents, administrators or other teachers. On the weekends, I barely had any energy left to be social. In fact, I was perfectly fine being holed up in my room the entire duration of it without talking to a single person. As a result, I expected to be sick of computers and be just as mentally exhausted at the end of each bootcamp day.

I was wrong. It actually made me even more sociable. The decreased social contact and increased time staring at the screen caused my energy to be built up and I had no outlet for it. I had much more energy over the weekend to spend time with friends and family. Now I understand how people do happy hours and stuff (like taking care of yourself) during the work week. As a teacher, I was happy just to finish my work and leave before 6pm.

More career-focused

The only negative part of how bootcamp changed me? I’m becoming much more career-focused much to the chagrin of my boyfriend and family. I took a huge risk and spent so much time and money to make a career-change. I’m one step closer after learning enough to be a junior web dev! However, now I’m going full speed into job hunting and I realized that I haven’t been spending as much time with my friends and family like I used to. Part of it is simply because I have been without income for almost an entire year and this period of unemployment is unnerving! Now that I’m interviewing, I feel a little better. Still, I can’t stand drifting so far away from friends and family in so little time. I’ve essentially become a hermit these past 4 months and counting.

Writing and coding are inversely-related skills

Oh. And the more the I code, the worse my writing gets. Thank goodness for those Readme files keeping my writing well-oiled!

TIL As each day passes, I grow more and more confident of my skills. Fixing up a project is way less intimidating than before. I’m able to find bugs much quicker than before. I’m always learning and improving!!

DANG. Gotta get that work-life balance back on track ASAP!