2019 has been, by far, the most transformative year of my life...
😥 I started 2019 by falling head-first into a dead-end job that I would spend the next 9 months in. I started 2019 scared and uncertain. I had been trying to teach myself to code for the last half of 2018, with moderate success. Around the end of 2018, I was depressed and unemployed and dealing with a chronic illness that was stressful to manage.
👎🏻 In the beginning of 2019, I lost my health insurance and desperately needed a job. I found that job (you know, the dead-end one I mentioned earlier), was able to get back on my insurance, and then hit the ground running working full-time. Between working full-time and managing a chronic illness that requires a lot of rest, I no longer had time to pursue coding. Or so I thought.
🌸 Sometime in the Spring , I started to really really miss coding. It had become a significant part of who I am, and I couldn't just walk away from that. I had still been dabbling in my free time, but hadn't had the time to really focus on learning anything new. It was also around this same time that it became abundantly clear to me that my job was going nowhere fast, and the company I was working for was losing money. Regardless of the financials, there was no room for upward mobility where I was, and it wasn't remotely related to my career interests.
👩🏼💻 So I started getting involved in the community again, via Twitter, and I went back to the freeCodeCamp courses I had started with last year. I looked up tutorials on YouTube and courses on Udemy. I found out about things like Egghead.io and other smaller/independent hubs for coding education. But the same thing kept happening that had happened to me before. I would keep hitting this wall of "OK, now what?" or "Cool, but how do these things integrate?". There's this difficulty with being self taught which is that you can't know what you don't know, and if you don't know what you don't know it's hard to find out what you should be learning.
👩🏼💼 I knew this was what I wanted to do professionally, but I didn't know enough and didn't know how to get there. I talked to a few friends who were already professional developers, a few of whom make hiring decisions, and they all had the same thing to say...
"Go to a bootcamp or get a CS degree...otherwise, I'm throwing out your resume." 😱😰😭
🎉 Enter, Flatiron School 🎉
👩🏼💻 I applied to Flatiron School's part-time remote program in mid-July. I was given the option of starting in August, but had to get through a 70-hour prep course and wanted to give myself enough time to prepare. My start date was set for September 9th, and I was off and running. In fact, I've loved my time with Flatiron School so much that I quit my job at the end of November, and switched to full-time pace at the beginning of this month!
Since starting Flatiron School I have learned:
- SQL (specifically utilizing SQLite)
- Sinatra (a Ruby framework)
Rails (currently learning!)
And I still have ~3 months of learning left!
All in all, in 2019, I have studied:
- CSS Animations
I have built:
- This 'TeaLI' Ruby gem (interactive CLI that utilizes web-scraping and Ruby to allow you to browse the Adagio Teas online catalogue)
- "How Have You Bean?" (a Sinatra MVC/CRUD app with password encryption that allows you to keep track of coffees you have tried. Currently not deployed, sorry not sorry)
- Lots of other little things you can see on my CodePen
☕️ I also started a local code meetup group called Code Cafe NJ to bring together local coders/programmers/developers in a supportive environment where we can drink coffee, study, co-work, and generally just get together to hang out. We recently had our most successful meetup yet, and I'm looking forward to having so many more in the new year.
✓ And finally, I reached over 3K followers on Twitter, over 900 followers on Dev.to, and over 3K post views. This community is one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and it's a fact I'll reiterate over and over again. Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything you do to support not just me, but each other. The way this community lifts each other up and encourages and supports each other is truly incredible.
And, in addition to all of that, I have also:
- had a half dozen blood transfusions to treat an extremely rare and incurable bone marrow defect
- experienced roughly 50 migraine headaches
- had my gall-bladder removed and narrowly dodged a cancer diagnosis
- traveled to Philadelphia, Atlanta, Orlando, and New York State.
- attended two conferences (Adulting.dev and Women Who Code Connect NYC)
- started code streaming on Twitch (only twice so far, but more to come)
So, like I said, 2019 has been the most transformative year of my life...so far. I can not wait to see what 2020 has in store...
-Emily / @thecodepixi