This week marks my sixth week of being a software engineering student at Flatiron School. It’s been quite a journey, and while I’ve had many challenges and many a long, frustrating night spent questioning my capability to become a great programmer, it has been an amazing experience.
I came into Flatiron School with zero coding experience besides for the brief amount of time I spent learning the very basics through free online lessons and coding apps that supplemented the pre-work I completed as preparation for attending an intensive coding bootcamp.
My first week at Flatiron School felt comparable to being thrown into the deep end of a pool before I’d even learned how to stay afloat in the shallows. I knew coding bootcamp was going to be hard work, but I was not quite prepared for how intense it actually was. There were no introductory lectures where we learned basic terms or the difference between data types or how to access information stored in an array. We dove head first into learning how to code in Ruby — the syntax of the language, how to set up a class, how to build out a one-to-many and many-to-many relationship.
While I definitely questioned my own sanity and intellect a lot during those first two weeks, upon looking back, I realize that there is no way I could have had such a solid grasp on the material and concepts in so short a time if it weren’t for the structure, guidance, and experience that Flatiron School provided me with. Six weeks later, I can build a basic working app with full CRUD function and read Ruby documentation and implement the logic in my own code. Most importantly, going through this experience has taught me how to think like a programmer — to take a problem, analyze it, break it down into smaller steps, really think through the logic, and then write out the code to work out a solution to the problem. This is a skill that is applicable in every situation in the real world.
Flatiron School has also provided me with a support system and social network of classmates, coaches, alumni, and instructors. This has been an invaluable part of the whole experience, and something that I would have definitely missed out on had I just attempted to learn to code on my own. I have learned so much from talking through my logic, walking people through my code, and collaborating with others. Perhaps most importantly of all, I have learned the value of asking questions, putting in the work, asking for help when needed, seeking new perspectives and opinions, and giving your brain and body a break every so often.