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Diving in and Doing the Work: How I Prepared to Make a Coding Career Change

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Diving in and Doing the Work: How I Prepared to Make a Coding Career Change

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This post was written by Jessica Jones, a graduate of our part-time Web Development courses. This summer, she'll be joining us as part of our Full-Time Front-End Web Development bootcamp. Her original post can be found on her Medium page here.


Last week, I completed HackerYou’s Intro to Web Development and Advanced Web Development courses. Let me tell you — if I went into the course with a hunger to learn and grow as a developer — I came out of it with a voracity that I didn’t even know existed. The idea of becoming a web developer has always been in my back pocket. Something I dreamed about and kept in a safe place while I pursued an orchestral music career or worked full-time as a Marketing & Communications professional. I spent a lot of my free time learning on my own, completing every free online front-end development course I could find (with the help of Bento.io), and then moving on to one of the paid ones (Treehouse). I gained so much through this method of self-directed learning, but I wanted more. Doing it on my own was so valuable, because I determined that if I was having trouble with a concept I was capable of sussing it out for myself, but I got to a point where I wanted some IRL mentors in the developer community who were keen to share their knowledge and experience. That’s why I decided to attend a few Ladies Learning Code workshops and HackerYou’s part-time web development courses. The teachers and mentors at both of these organizations were exactly what I was looking for and it became clear to me that a combination of autodidacticism and mentorship is exactly what I need to become a better developer. Diving into 10 Weeks of Code My experience at HackerYou was so profound that I will be taking the plunge and joining their Full-Time Front-End Web Development Immersive this summer. There are 10 weeks between now and the start of the course so I am challenging myself to build 10 projects — one project a week. Each week, I will outline what I learned on this blog in order to review and share my coding adventures with the world. Do a Lot of Work For a lot of people (myself included) studying something new and sharing your growing pains with others can be a very scary experience. It’s never easy to put yourself out there when the entire process involves a lot of trial and error, failure and success, and perhaps the hardest part of all: not living up to your own expectations along the way. A dear friend of mine posted this Ira Glass quote on Facebook yesterday and it came so close to describing how I feel about the disparity between my current work and my ambitions that I thought I would share: “What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me — is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” - Ira Glass on Storytelling In short, no matter what you are learning, do a lot of work and share it with your community! There is so much opportunity for you and your peers to grow when you practice courage throughout the entire learning process. I promise — everyone will be better for it.


Our next bootcamp begins June 29th. Learn more about our full-time class here.