Why Code School Should Be At The End Of Your Journey, Not The Beginning

The other day I wanted to write a post about how hard it is out there for Code School graduates who started  and finished programs such as Dev Bootcamp without having any previous experience with learning to code on their own first. Fortunately, my friend Khara wrote a beautfiul post on her soon-to-be public blog Pregnant and Programming, so I’m publishing it here.

I first met Khara during my Dev Bootcamp cohort and was immediately drawn to her lively personality and rapping videos. Unfortunately, Khara had to drop out of the cohort because Dev Bootcamp was not able to teach her effectively as a beginner. We stayed in touch, and Khara has made some incredible progress in the past few months, both with learning to code and, more importantly, becoming a much more confident learner. I have no doubt Khara will be able to make her upcoming Dev Bootcamp experience starting on January 28th a huge success.

So without further adiue, here is the guest blog post by Khara:

KharaCara In The House

I just had a Come-to-Jesus conversation with your Dad about being an adult and doing what’s best for me.  When I’m tired right before the final stretch, I get negative and distracted.  It’s the time I need the most support and encouragement from my loved ones, although I don’t make it easy for them to love me.

Also, I am being asked for advice by prospective code school students who want to learn more about my experience at DevBootCamp.  They are curious about me since I was accepted and attended DBC’s summer cohort for four weeks as a complete n00b, only to defer to this upcoming cohort so I could better prepare myself for what lies ahead after Jan 28th.  If you’re curious, you can read and view more about it on kharacara.tumblr.com and www.youtube.com/kharacara.

I keep hearing myself say to them that DBC promotes one message about their school, when the reality is you attend DBC to create methods everyday and the goal is simply to get through each milestone they throw at you so you can become a Junior Developer.

Although I am grateful this is my second time around attending DBC, I definitely do not recommend attending their code school unless you are truly ready.  Truly ready meaning you have done your research on previous students’ experiences, reading all the tutorials that the DevBootCamp staff recommends, looking through DBC’s pre-work (https://gist.github.com/kmandreza) , writing code that passes specs, knowing who you are in and out as a learner because God knows no one caters to the weakest link esp at DBC, and being 100% comfortable with feeling wrong and never really knowing what you are doing.

Despite what DBC promotes about their school being for anyone who has the desire to be a software engineer, that is completely false.  In reality, you should get to a point where you don’t even need to go to a code school and once you realize how NOT employable you are THEN consider going to code school, but keep building more rails apps, no matter how crappy. You’re going to be dishing out a lot of money for tuition and because of that, in my opinion, you have to already be in the novice software engineering trenches for a while (6 months-1 year) on your own at first.  THEN applying to code school should be something to consider.

It’s not about going to school so you can become a developer… it’s about loving the process of developing code first then using a code school to help you get to a point where you’re employable.  All that work to get to that point requires so much discipline in addition to being patient with yourself in the process.  Damn, growing up!

So here I am, at my final stretch…  Just as I am halfway through my pregnancy, I am halfway through this journey of learning to code before attending DBC.  Inevitably this metaphoric programming baby is going to be born, whether I like it or not, but am I going to be the mom that parties and drinks during my gestation or the mom that eats a Vitamin E, DHA, and Folic Acid rich diet with a disciplined exercise practice?

Which mom am I going to be?

Extra Fun

Make sure to check out my personal favorite rapping videos by Khara!

If you’d like to learn more about how to make the most out of a bootcamp experience, read more in my book:  How To… Learn To Code. Get Your Dream Job. Change Your Life.

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