On March 24th I graduated the Flatiron Full Stack Dev bootcamp. It was a wild ride being the bootcamp and I am so excited to be done and starting my new career. I wanted to give my thoughts on the Flatiron bootcamp, and the Skilled mock technical interview.
What probably most people are wondering is was the bootcamp worth it? In short, I would say yes. I had no coding knowledge or experience going in so I would have had no idea where to start teaching myself. I liked how the lessons built on each other and how you could see how the information could be used in different languages other than the ones they teach. In retrospect, I wish I would have done the in person or more structured bootcamp. I wasn't able to due to my schedule at the time, but having watched the lectures from previous cohorts, the information was presented in a more digestible way. If you do the self-paced course like I did, pick a previous cohort and watch all the videos as you go. I really liked Laura's and Eri's cohort the best. I watched a lot of self-paced students really struggle through and if it wasn't for my determination, I don't know how I would have every completed the course. It is tough to stay motivated when you feel like you are all by yourself. The study groups are also really helpful. Most of the time it is just people asking about questions on their final project, but I learned a lot from that even when I wasn't familiar with the concept. I would record the study group and when I came across the topics in the course, I would go back and watch that section of the study group again. Dustin, who is the self-paced cohort lead, was so helpful and would often live code and talk about a particular subject and it was so great to watch. I was always so nervous for the final assessments for each section, but I always passed on my first go. I feel really great about that accomplishment.
Here is my constructive criticism on the bootcamp. Some of the lessons are really hard to understand. Some of the labs have absolutely no instructions and have really weird tests with no good feedback. For example, a few times because I named a class something different, my tests wouldn't pass but it wouldn't say that it couldn’t find the class but would give a different weird error. The React section, which was my favorite, is very outdated. The recently started adding additional content on hooks, but unless you know to seek it out, you will be going into technical interviews with very outdated information. Luckily I was watching Laura's cohort videos and she teaches hooks. She also gave a lot of good resources for me to use to also teach myself about them. I used hooks in my final project and am obsessed with hooks now.
Speaking of hooks and React, after graduation you get a token to have a mock technical interview through Skilled. I decided to take the React assessment. I passed with flying colors and it was a great interview. Hyung Kim was my assessor and was so nice and put me at ease immediately. The question section asked mostly about broad topics about React. Questions like: What is JSX? What are hooks and how do you use them? How do you store state? Explain class versus functional components. Is there a better way to store state and what library would you recommend using? What is
useEffect and what is the dependency array it takes in? What if you leave that array empty?
For the live coding I had to make a counter button that increased and decreased. I then had to put a limit on it so it couldn't go below 0 or passed ten. For the next section, I had to call an API and display information from the API. The only hooks I used for both of these were
useEffect. I of course made a few tiny mistakes but was able to quickly fix them without a lot of hints. Overall I am really proud of myself for being able to live code in front of other people and be able to answer all of their questions.
Here is the feedback I got about my technical interview: "Dorthy was a great candidate to talk too! She was very professional and nice during the entire interview process. We started the interview with brief introductions of each other where we discussed experience and future endeavors. We first started the interview process by discussing high level conceptual questions in which she did a great job answering on! She was able to answer each and everyone of those questions clearly. Next, we moved onto a code challenge in which involved multiple rounds of questions. She did a very good job of walking me through the challenge question as well. Well on her way to be a successful engineer!"
With all of this said, I am really happy I took this leap of faith into a new career. It has been a humbling and rewarding process. It wasn't an easy journey by any means but I worked really hard. The thing that has also been so great is how supportive other engineers have been. Every single person I have interacted with has been so helpful and kind. There are no secrets, everyone wants to help each other and that is so refreshing. That was something I never really liked about puppet fabrication were all the trade secrets that people didn't want to tell you. I always shared any information I knew with other people. Even places I worked at for years wouldn't tell me some of the materials and techniques. Even one boss would take the labels off of some of the materials and would do work after hours to keep his trade secrets to himself. I think that is part of the reason the industry is suffering so much. It is such a breath of fresh air to be in a new environment that is so nurturing. I am now looking for jobs and hoping to land something soon.