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Lambda School: My first 2 weeks.

On September 3, a 54 yr old black man (me) started Lambda School. Going "back to school" is tricky enough at this age, but Lambda School is a Commitment with a big, hard, capital C.

Quick biography: I've been on and off over the last 15 years trying to self teach web dev, yet I never felt successful. I started with (the buzzword of the day back then) the LAMP Stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP). Back in about 2014-15, I just kinda stopped MEAN Stack (MongoDB, Express, Angular, NodeJS) self-instruction when this new thing called React interrupted and started getting traction. It seemed that the things I was learning were aging by the day, and I didn't feel as if I was accomplishing anything. To be fair, that time frame was pretty much the height of the "JavaScript Fatigue" days. It seemed that new, high-hope frameworks and tools were being released on an hourly basis.

Even with all that going on, it was clear that I needed more formal training in order to get over the hump to be, and feel, some success and progress. All these years later, I finally have the opportunity and time to get into something.

Long story short (too late), I had seen talk of "Lambda School" pop up occasionally. On Reddit, the CEO would regularly jump into toe-to-toe conversations with haters, politely explaining truths to given misconceptions.

I've decided to do a few blogposts during my learning, because I've watched LS get ridden pretty hard on Reddit and elsewhere. I figured I may as well share a student's perspective to try and even out the tables a bit.

Right off the top, I need to set the perception right: Anyone that lumps Lambda School in with the huge stack of 12 week "Boot Camp" schools needs to do the slightest bit of reading.

From what I've seen, Boot Camps tend to be laser focused on exactly the one thing... web dev, iOS, Android, Ruby on Rails, etc. 12ish 40-50 hour weeks and you come out with knowledge in the project, but also tens of thousands of dollars less in your pocket. This is then capped with varying degree of placement help. These were the yellow-flags that kept me from diving in to one. Well, Lambda School isn't "class"... it's school. 9 months of 40 hr weeks, followed up with continuing ed and placement assistance until you're hired. It is essentially the same amount of in-class time that you'd put into a 2 year or 4 semester degree. My September 3 session doesn't officially end until June 26, 2020.

About a week before school started, I received the calendar for the Web Developer track. To my surprise, almost shock, this is a "Web Dev Class" that spends a week on Java, Node and Python. 1 week each on Algorithms and Data Structures, separately? doing the math, a 40 hr week is similar time spent in a traditional 1 semester class.

Suddenly I was looking forward to it.

Having self taught off and on for too many years, there were aspects of web development that I felt were "very familiar" to me. I could build a web page with a fair design and connect it to a back end; I'd even built a couple of personal projects with a back end. Therefore, I was afraid that the first few weeks (HTML, CSS, JS) would bore me to tears and I'd have a hard time mentally making it over that hump to the new, good stuff.

Thus far, that isn't the case. The pace in "lecture" is good. Combined with daily projects and an end-week "Sprint" (let's just call it what it is: a unit test) there so far is nary a dull moment. Though I have, and will keep to myself, opinions about the instruction, the pace and true content has kept my interest. And this doesn't even begin to mention the little HTML/CSS add-ons I learned that round-out the knowledge I already had.

Today, Week 3 starts in our first JavaScript exposure at a level that some would consider more advanced. In my previous experience, most videos or classes don't address JS arrays, objects, or functions, until well after the beginning lessons. Lambda is able to start here in earnest because of the Precourse Full Stack Web Development course that is required for all participants. We all had to take, or test out of, the Precourse before the real class started.

Upcoming Week 4 is a Build Week where we take the base 3 weeks of knowledge and turn it into a team-built project, across the different courses that Lambda has: Web Dev (my track), iOS, Data Science, UX. I'm still a little hazy on the details of it, but teaching group dynamics are a true taste of the real world and will only serve to strengthen the student.

As said, I'm only 2 weeks into this, the 24th Web Dev session, but I can see where this is headed and I'm looking forward to it.

Will update soon.

Call me a shill, I'll call you a hater . . . both of which are baseless labels. I'm a Lambda School student in cohort Web24. If you believe, evidence free, that someone paid me in some way to make this post, I'll choose to believe, evidence free, that you like to kick small dogs and take candy from babies.

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