Surviving the Reactor: Retrospective

Shawshank Redemption: If you have not seen it, SEE IT

It is weird how time has flown by in the five months since I have finished Hack Reactor. This time last year my life was essentially a mess that I had no idea how to fix. Having gone to Hong Kong and failed to start a company, I wasn’t exactly going anywhere in life. Deciding to join Remote Prep was a spur of the moment decision brought about by the lack of stable income. Now I am at a job I love and with the skills to be employable for the foreseeable future. Going through Hack Reactor and some interviews also allowed me to see what I am not. I am not the world’s greatest programmer, I don’t particularly enjoy algorithms, and I don’t understand why so many companies get off on making their interview process insanely difficult. I’m a programmer who is more interested in someone’s thought process and what they have built as opposed to spouting out memorized time complexity on a white board. If you are having doubts about being a programmer, know that there is somewhere that will be a good fit.

The biggest takeaway from Hack Reactor is learning how to learn. That’s crazy to think about considering I did not finish a majority of the projects assigned in the first six weeks. Hack Reactor was already hard, but having to throw my hands up in frustration, sprint after sprint was very draining. I got through it, though, and if you get into Hack Reactor, you can too. It is very easy to lose sight of the goal when you are immersed in the program, but take it a day at a time.

What would I do differently

I would certainly recommend trying to learn at least the basics of Node and Angular. Pretty much anything by Anthony Alicea is worth it, and you can frequently find Udemy coupons online. I also know a few people who have gone through Free Code Camp and learned a lot. In short, don’t do what I did and make it in right at the cut off date.

Learning how to code is one of the best decisions I have made because it opens up so many possibilities. I expect to grow this article, as different questions arise, but feel free to ping me on Twitter. Most importantly, You Can Do It!