I remembered when I made the decision to resign from my job in Higher Education in early January 2020, and dedicated myself to study full-time in a coding boot camp and shift my career into the tech industry afterwards. Some friends said it was a bold decision, some even said why not do a part time boot camp and still have a full time job? I told myself and others that if I don’t devote my full attention to this, I will never make the change. It was a bold yet non-regretting decision that I made. I quit my job, I went to Flatiron coding boot camp full-time starting January 27, 2020.
Before I even started the boot camp, we were told to complete an intense pre-work chapter along with some coding exercises. To be honest, it was quite difficult at the beginning, I didn’t know what I was doing, but there I was, sitting at the flatiron campus on January 27 with bunch of pre-work questions and ready to devote myself into the learning process. I remembered sitting there and talking with other students from the campus, thinking about how awesome their projects were, and how I would be able to achieve these goals in another few weeks? Yet at the same time the program itself was intense, someone joked about it saying: “ for the next 15 weeks, say goodbye to your friends and families.” It was a bit intimidating at first, but what got me through is the excitement when I am able to build something awesome from the scratch at the end!
In the middle of the boot camp experience, COVID-19 hit in the U.S and we were forced to complete the rest of the program remotely! Yes, it is a standard thing in the tech industry to work from home, and we got to experience it even before entering the tech industry! But man was it tough, I personally struggled a lot with remote learning. Suddenly realizing how much more efforts and dedication and self-motivations I needed to wake up every morning, sit in my room and open my zoom chat and listen to the online lecture. All those in-person supports from coaches and fellow classmates were gone. Nevertheless, I got through it! With the help of a formal schedule and the dedication of my own career goals, I was able to graduate from Flatiron coding boot camp in May 2020, but my coding journey has merely just begun.
After graduation, it was time to put in my efforts and energies into self-learning while job searching during the pandemic. To be honest, it was more difficult than I thought. I know from the beginning that I don’t have a CS degree, and I have to work extra hard to prove myself to the employers about my capabilities. But the pandemic didn’t really help with the fact that a lot of companies were on hiring freeze for awhile, and a lot of people were unemployed, seeking for employment. I decided to focus on myself more, and learn as much as I can about the coding and tech industry. Since graduation, I have been taking the challenge to further in-depth learning about React, as well as expanding my programming language options to Python (flask), as well as learn more about Cloud services such as AWS and Google Firebase. While self-learning, I also tried to maintain the relationship and chat with fellow graduates from Flatiron school. At the same time, I tried to take care of my mental health with exercises and meditation, check-in with friends and families occasionally to make sure everyone is doing okay.
Looking back at 2020, my life might not have seen as flashy as it could be. But nonetheless it was eventful, I learned so much about coding and I have learned something about myself. The coding boot camp not only gave me the coding foundation tech stack, but it also gave me the courage and the ability to learn on my own. Like I always said before, there is always more things to learn in this world, whether it is about the technologies or our life! Happy learning and we shall see what 2021 will bring us!