27 Years Old
Born and raised in South Florida
Majored in International Relations
Worked in retail since I was 17
I had always wanted to be a developer. As a product of the MySpace era, I was alive when you could copy and paste an HTML snippet and BAM - glitter trickling down your page. That was middle school. Senior year in high school, I still had that same sense of curiosity about the tech world, but when I saw the math requirements for a CS major, I made a hard left towards an international relations degree. I was never a mathlete, and I was positive that if I attempted it, I would be setting myself up for failure.
Fast forward nearly 8 years and there I was an assistant manager at a department store. I wasn’t doing anything particularly special, or exciting with my life. I still dreamt of being a developer. Reading all the self-starter success stories kept that dream alive and going. At the end of the day, though, I wasn’t where I wanted to be.
Like most people staring down the task of learning how to code, I had become stuck in an endless loop of YouTube tutorials, and what I like to call ‘yo-yo learning.’ I’d be working, and suddenly something unpleasant would remind me why I hate the industry that I work in. I’d go home, sit in front of my laptop and start scouring the internet for coding tutorials. I’d be on the path to retail liberation for about 3-4 weeks, and then slowly but surely, I’d lose my drive and move onto some other, more pressing, personal interest. I had done this for a few years. I’m sure it was even a new year’s resolution, or two.
Ultimately, I was restless, and that sense of restlessness eventually drove me to do what most would say is out of my character. I joined the Air Force Reserve. If you haven’t caught on by now, I’ve never been the type up for spontaneity. I’ve never been one to take leaps or risks, but I was sick of the life that I was living and needed an escape.
I’ll spare you the details of Air Force basic training/tech school (if any of you are interested message me), but what I got from it was a release from my own personal shackles. Going through it was rough, and for the most part you couldn’t pay me to go through it again, but in all honesty, you can’t have growth without discomfort. I left a brand-new person with a whole new sense of ownership over the direction of my life. When I got back, I gave myself one month (could have been two weeks) to decide.
Continue taking online courses, developing my own personal curriculum, and count on myself to not lose interest or get discouraged (I’d been ‘yo-yo learning’ for the past few years – never getting past beginner status)
Enroll into a local university or community college. It would be a more structured approach but also major financial burden and a commitment that could potentially last a few years.
Enroll into a coding bootcamp. A bootcamp seemed more structured and directed than self-learning, and less of a financial and time commitment than a traditional university or college.
I took that Goldy Locks approach and settled on a bootcamp.
The process of selecting a one wasn’t terribly difficult. Here in the Miami area, there were 3 main bootcamps at the time (this was around 6 months ago, and a few more have spring up since then), all separated by price and tech stack (languages and technologies).
Ruby on Rails / Full Time / 10 weeks / $15,000
Node.js / Full Time / 9 weeks / $11,500
Python/Django / Part Time / 16 weeks / $9,000
Bootcamp C, 4Geeks Academy (highly recommended), seemed an easy choice for me. What originally caught my eye was that they were teaching Python. I already had some familiarity with, it comes with a huge community (think Pycon), and there are tons of applications for it outside of the web (machine learning, game development, robotics). On top of that, it was cheaper and part-time. I didn’t have to completely stop my life to enter the traditional bootcamp bubble.
After making the decision, I sat on it for about a week for absolutely no reason. THE MOMENT I realized my old ways were attempting to sneak back in (no exaggeration), I went to the 4Geeks Academy website and applied for the next cohort which started about a month and a half later. The moment I pressed send, something changed in me. I kept thinking, “This is it, I’m all in.” Even though I hadn’t started yet, from that day forward - this is important: I ATE, SLEPT, AND BREATHED CODE