How learning to code part-time in an online format is pushing me to make my career change into tech a reality!
"It felt as if online learning was an option Le Wagon had been offering for years. Between slack, zoom campus, Kitt, and the many other tools and resources used, it felt like this was how the bootcamp was designed to be.The instructors and TAs were very accessible and helpful and I didn't have a sense that anything was missing."
I am an American citizen currently living in Madrid. I am working as an English Language Assistant in a primary school while my wife completes her masters degree here. Having previously worked in marketing and sales for a software consulting firm, we decided a few years ago to change gears, travel, and teach English abroad. After two years of this, I came to realize that while I enjoyed living abroad, teaching was not my passion and I needed to find a fulfilling career for myself.
I had gotten to a point where I realized the tools I had wouldn’t be enough to get me to where I wanted to go - landing a job coding. While I had gotten good at researching on my own, I knew there was more value in having instructors and a team around me to discuss and share ideas. My current understanding and comprehension were limited to only my own perspective. Continuing by myself, I would not gain the experience of collaborating with a team, working through a git workflow, and learning coding techniques and practical hacks for the real world. I would not have the practice of relating with others on a given project, and I could already feel myself approaching a ceiling for what I could accomplish on my own.
I decided to join Le Wagon because I had a friend who was attending and was in their 5th or 6th week of the full-time course, at the time. Through talking with him I got the sense that it was the type of inclusive, supportive community that I wanted to be a part of. He expressed that it was one of the best decisions for him, and that gave me the confidence that it would be the right program for me as well.
“So, part-time it was, and I kept my day job. In the end, I think part-time was the best for me. Off days in between sessions allowed me time to process the lecture and practice more on a given topic, should I need it.”
I had originally wanted to join the full-time course, to be honest. But I soon learned that It would not be possible to take the time away from my job teaching English and maintain my visa status. So, part-time it was, and I kept my day job. In the end, I think part-time was the best for me. Off days in between sessions allowed me time to process the lecture and practice more on a given topic, should I need it.
I'm nearly finished with the bootcamp. My team is working on our final project for about 2 weeks before our demo day. For me, the best part of the camp was during the Rails module when I came to the realization that: "I can build things now!" Of course there was, and always will be, much more to learn, but it felt great seeing the culmination of everything we had learned up to that point come together and feel confident enough to plan out and attempt to build my own ideas!
Of course, there are inherent challenges with learning to code and getting used to the tools and frameworks used, but that's the point of attending the bootcamp. The challenge is what makes learning fun. Also, I really felt that at every turn the teachers and TAs were available to help. Whether you were struggling with the immediate content of the lesson or something more "big picture".
“To be honest, It felt as if the online learning was an option Le Wagon had been offering for years. Between slack, zoom campus, Kitt, and the many other tools and resources used, it felt like this was how the bootcamp was designed to be.”
To be honest, It felt as if online learning was an option Le Wagon had been offering for years. Between slack, zoom campus, Kitt, and the many other tools and resources used, it felt like this was how the bootcamp was designed to be. I'm sure there are different benefits to attending in person in a more traditional way, but the instructors and TAs were very accessible and helpful and I didn't have a sense that anything was missing.
Through Le Wagon I've learned that I love to code, solve problems, and build things. I know it's what I want to do day in and day out as a career. I am coding in my free time outside of lessons and I have a project for friends lined up to start after my team finishes with our final project. After the bootcamp ends I plan to hit the ground running and apply for development jobs.
My one piece of advice I’d give anyone thinking about joining the part-time bootcamp during the pandemic is: I know it's cliché, but it's a great opportunity while the world is in a holding pattern to take advantage of your extra time and learn something new. Because of Le Wagon I have great confidence in myself and the abilities I've acquired and I'm really excited to see what new career opportunities have become available.
Also, having a good headset/headphones, a comfortable chair, and a second screen go a long way. If you're committed to the course and learning to code, you might as well give yourself a comfortable work environment. :)