Becoming a Developer at age 30.

 

Week 4 – Iron Yard(Nashville)

It is Thursday morning, and near the end of week 4 at The Iron Yard, a 12 week – immersive coding Bootcamp.

This post is going to be long, so fill free to CMD + F and skip to parts that are most interesting to you. Here are my Table-of-contents:

Week 4 – Iron Yard(Nashville)

Life Before  The Iron Yard

Why I Made The Decision

How I Pursued This Decision

 

Alright, so back to what I was saying… it’s week 4 of Iron Yard(Nashville). Below I will cover the challenges that I have faced for this week, and what we are be taught.

What We Were Taught:

Week 4, Ryan Tablada introduced Object Oriented programming, Models, review DOM, addEventListener, fetch, and View. That also included intro to using constructors and render function.

Challenges:

For those who are reading this and feeling like you could not learn this stuff. Or it’s too far out of your reach. OR what did he just say??

I COMPLETELY understand & I can relate! In the lab, we have an ongoing joke… where I am saying “WHAT??! UHH?! WHAT JUST HAPPEN?!!?!” really dramatically… learning to make light of issues or challenges really helps make the difficult process of learning less of a stress. You literally have to become like a kid again…  when you were learning how to talk, you sound silly, no one understood you, but you kept working at it until you connected with someone. BE OKAY with making mistakes. I welcome mistakes, but it is because I know I am about to learn something NEW! That’s why I’m here.

ASK QUESTIONS EARLY AND OFTEN. The longer you wait to ask a question the further behind you will be. The majority of people that are behind in class are behind because they didn’t ask more questions early and often. You really learn about yourself when going through this Bootcamp. If you have pride, this place will break you down… haha… I say that from experience… I didn’t realize it or see it coming until it happened… I am glad it happen early on… And without my core community to reach out to for emotional support, I wouldn’t have gotten over it so quickly. I was able to move forward… otherwise, that would have been a huge stumbling block for myself.

After that, I started writing down the list of “Issues” that I got stuck on or needed to come back to at a later time…  whether it’s related to coding or not.  I then started a list of what I call “Resolves” and I check them off, write them down as I learn.

“My goal isn’t to NOT make mistakes, but to not make the SAME mistakes TWICE”

Life Before The Iron Yard

My previous job was as a forklift operator… I will talk more about that later. I just mention it briefly to paint a picture of what my life was like before the Iron Yard.

I drove 5 mins from my house to my work. I loved that. I came home for lunch every day and spent it with my wife & 2yr old son. I am an independent artist as well. My amazing wife supports me through everything. In 2010, we got married and started ministry together at a small church plant in M’boro, TN. I am still serving in ministry as a volunteer worship director/admin on Saturday nights. Sunday nights, I help with a youth praise team as their director and drum box player. This was my life for the past three years. My son was born in the middle of my first EP “Won’t Stop Running” released 2015, and I was able to record his heartbeat and place it in one of my songs called “Let Your Favor Fall”. This year(2016), I released my first single called “Aurora Borealis”. Inspired by my son’s birth, I wanted to capture that moment of feeling bliss and in awe of God’s creation. And the realization that I’m a DAD! Becoming a Dad changes everything. I absolutely LOVE it! I and my wife have never been closer because of him. He really made me feel like we were now a family.

Why I Made The Decision

My wife and I want to have a second child. My income as a forklift operator, although great at the time, now… was not enough for us to continue to grow our family. I WAS able to buy our first house off that income, so I am really grateful to have had that job. I love our comfy house. Another factor is that my student loans, while currently in deferment, were coming to the end of that period, and needed to be taken care of. Our savings consisted of our tax return money we received once our son was born.

How I Pursued This Decision

January of this year(2016), I felt in my spirit that their needed to be a change. I had been working at my current job for 3 years now. As a hobby, I had been working with my own artist website to help promote my events and realized that the website templates could only offer me so much. I wanted to be more creative in designing and developing my own page. Then, I saw an advertisement about codecademy.com. It was FREE. Free to try out coding in HTML and CSS. I dabbled in it for a month and set it down. Well, then the guy from work, come to find out, was also a painter, but didn’t know how to promote himself. I sat down with him to help him get up a basic site so he could promote it. He said, “man, you really know what you’re talking about… have you ever looked at doing this for a living?” I initially laughed at his remark, but later googled the possibility. I found a company in Franklin, TN called “Caddis” that had posted a job offer on indeed.com. I clicked the link that said “We are hiring”, and just told them that I read one of their employee’s story. I told them that I could relate to desiring a career change. Michael emailed me back. I found him on LinkedIn and sent him a message asking if he would be willing to get coffee sometimes to ask him questions. He said sure! I couldn’t believe it! Our first meeting was at the frothy monkey, and he was wearing his companies “Caddis” shirt. The guy looked legit. He asked me to write code down that imitated a sketch file that he made, and I told him I wasn’t ready but just wanted to know more. I wanted to be immersed in coding and be around people who were already doing it. I knew that I am a visual learner and that I would soak it all up quicker. During our meeting, he mentioned a coding Bootcamp that one of his employees went through called “Iron Yard”. He said that I would still need to be trained afterwards, but it would be a great start for anyone wanting to get into the tech industry. He also mentioned that He was hosting a meetup called “Lunch and Learn” where developers come together and listen to a talk given by a developer in the industry. That idea terrified me at first. I actually ignored the idea. But the more Michael and I talked over emails, the more I realized that this is want  I want to do. So I went all in. My parents heard that I was looking into it, and decided to buy me a MacBook pro. I broke down and cried. They didn’t see that of course… ha… but I cried later… it was a very defining moment in my decision making process. The support of my parents gave me the confidence to continue. I honestly had put the idea on hold for a couple weeks because of my lack of confidence. But once that happened, I decided to go to the next “Lunch and Learn” meetup. I met a lot of great people there. Some developers, some just interested, like me, and wanting to know more.  I continued for a couple months just learning to code on codecademy.com and going to the meetups, until one day I hit a wall in my learning. I was worried that I was exhausting my resource with Michael, and in June I decided to pursue the Iron Yard(Nashville). I contacted the Nashville branch, and Bethany was legendary in helping me move along in the process. I originally pursued the summer Front-End Developers course. She set me up with an interview with the instructor Ryan. We talked for a long time. It was Friday before the class started. Bethany asked if I would be willing to start in September. I took her advice and spent the next three months in Team Treehouse and Code School learning as much as I could.

It’s now 6:10 am…. so I’m going to get off here to get ready for class…

to be continued…

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