My New Normal

Whoa. That happened fast.

20 short weeks ago, I was code illiterate. I couldn’t write an if-else statement. I thought string manipulation was how people played Cat’s Cradle. I didn’t know “Hello World” was a programmer thing, let alone how to print it to the console. My creative life consisted entirely of music, and that was cool with me.

Then I heard about Dev Bootcamp, and something stirred inside me. Here was an opportunity to change my career path by changing myself into a more complete person. A chance to unleash my full potential, solve problems creatively, learn new things every day, and then enter a world where I could get paid to keep chasing those goals. I fell in love with the concept almost instantly.

And then it turned out that the coding itself was really fun. I tackled tutorials, wrote little toy programs, read docs, reread docs, cursed at docs, and hacked my way through dozens of coding challenges. Finally I had found something that made me lose track of hours in chunks, for the first time since I’d picked up a guitar.

That was just Phase 0.

In Chicago, I grappled with algorithms and made database queries and build basic apps and learned how to test and optimize and sprint and scrum and stay object oriented. The first week felt like a year of growth. And before I knew it, we were presenting final projects and celebrating our success over tacos and karaoke. It all happened so fast.

But somewhere in there, I stopped waiting to be taught and started seeking knowledge. I stopped hiding what I didn’t know and started asking people to help me learn more. I stopped judging myself by my ability to monopolize all the best work and started appreciating how cooperation makes everyone stronger. I stopped waiting to feel ready to act and started acting.

And now I’m sitting here, with a backlog of blog topics and three unfinished rap recaps, and a best friend at home who’s ready for me to pick up the guitar again, and a family that needs me to find a job and figure out where and how we’ll be living for the next year, and a bunch of mundane stuff that needs to get done every day. Normal, real life stuff.

But now I have this cool new superpower, too, and it’s not just about code. I can learn anything. And I know how to.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be filling in the blog blanks and telling the rest of my Dev Bootcamp story, so everyone coming in behind me can build on it and make their time at DBC even better. I’ll be re-acclimating to a life without formalized 90-hour workweeks. I’ll be rebuilding the calluses on my fingers as I work to keep my musical muscles sharp for winter recording season.

And I’ll be spending a lot of time coding. Because guitar is great, but it’s cool to have another instrument to pick up when I want to lose track of time.

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3 comments

  1. That’s awesome to hear brother!! So glad it went well for you down there, and you came out as happy in the end as you were excited in the beginning. Never doubted ya for a second!

    1. Awesome to hear that you’re on the other end of the DBC journey but are staying just as excited about the learning process. I’ve been reading your blog for the last few days, and just want to say, thank you very much for sharing your journey. As someone who wants to plan a similar transition to being a full-time software developer, you’ve been very inspirational to me (and I imagine to plenty of others) with this snapshot of the whole process. Can’t wait to read more good news from you moving forward.

      1. Thanks for reading! I have a new perspective now that I’ve become a junior instructor at DBC, and it only reinforces what I had guessed about the teachers’ dedication to each student’s success. I hope to post more about what I’ve learned in the coming months. Stay tuned!

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