Finding My Confidence at Codesmith

My brother is a mechanical engineer. Outside of his profession, he is an inventor. I have watched him with utter fascination as he drew up ideas and made prototypes for solutions to everyday problems that I did not even notice existed. These products are the missing components that make life easier. One day he asked me to join him in a call with a software engineer that would help write the code for one of his remote controls. I was so captivated by the way the program was so thoughtfully written to communicate with hardware that I wanted to dive into researching further about this language of machines.

I started my journey through interactive learning web platforms such as Codecademy and FreeCodeCamp. After two weeks of studying alone, I enrolled in a prep course offered by a bootcamp I was interested in. I hoped to interact with others on the same journey and prepare myself for it. At first, I was drawn by their claims of being the best. However, all the boasting created a competitive environment where individuals felt the need to continuously measure themselves against others to be the most outstanding and accomplished. I felt closed off to learning because the environment did not provide me with space to make mistakes when collaborating with others. Though I completed their prep course, they lost me as a student in failing to create a nurturance culture. From here, I continued my search for a learning environment where I felt I could belong.

I was directed to check out Codesmith after a Technical Mentor from the prep course told me that Will Sentance inspired him to make more thought-provoking and insightful slides. The more he passionately told me about how Will impacted him and helped him better his technical communication, the more eager I was to find out for myself. I eventually became so intrigued by my research of Codesmith that I joined the community through the CSX Slack channel and dove into the CSX challenges.

As an introvert, there is nothing more anxiety-inducing than participating in a community that consisted, at this point, of strangers. I was hoping to hide in the sea of members, to never actually reach out when I hit a block for fear of not being responded to or neglected. One day, I arrived at a point in the CSX challenges where I could not find a solution to a problem I was stuck on for hours, and not one StackOverflow or YouTube video helped answer it.

I finally found the courage to be publicly vulnerable, reach out to the community, and ask others for help. To my surprise, within the time frame of 15 minutes, I had a couple of responses from very helpful individuals. It warmed my spirit to finally be received by a community and have benefited from the kindness of others. I developed a new process. I did as many challenges on my own as I could, and once I hit an insurmountable block, I reached out for a nudge in the right direction.

Before attending a live Hard Parts lecture, I built up my confidence and technical communication by watching all the lectures recorded and posted onto Codesmith's Youtube channel. I also watched and took detailed notes of Will Sentance's Frontend Masters course. These resources were so engaging that I could pause the video after the question and answer it. When I attended my first Hard Parts lecture, I was eager and ready to be called on. I remember I even volunteered at the very beginning to walk everyone through the first few lines of code.

The wonderful people who attended weekly lectures and pair-programmed with me through CSX and CSbin became my mates in Javascript for Beginners and CS Prep. By this time, I started to get the gist of the Codemith community and culture. We are all here to support each other. Modeling empathetic engineering is a critical value at Codesmith. Throughout these programs, I felt encouraged to engage in lectures, step up to the challenge, help others, learn through teaching, and maintain a positive attitude.

RELATED: COLLABORATIVE LEARNING AT CODESMITH

It’s ideation week for the production project, which means I’m finally a senior in the program! It took a lot to get here, but I’ve grown so much as a person. There were many beautiful and even challenging learning moments that carried me through to this point. I have had to continually practice self-compassion and remind myself to celebrate all the small victories.

Along the way, I have met the most inspiring, inviting, kind humans in the world. I absolutely love my cohort (shoutout to 22!!!). In lieu of in-person gatherings, we participated in fun events, including a virtual relay race and a talent show. I’m grateful for all the times we pair-programmed through units, recognized each other at family dinners, encouraged one another through the most trying times where patience was running thin, and collaborated on unique projects.

The relationships I’ve built through the community at Codesmith are how I’ve made it this far. Now, every morning I wake up at 5 am PST and look forward to my day attending the NY immersive. The beautiful faces of people in my cohort continually challenge me, hold me accountable, and support me.

A nurturance culture develops healthy relationships, encourages people to pursue accountability without shame, and invites people to participate in the community. I believe I’ve found it at Codesmith. I can not wait to see how I will continue to grow on this journey.

Blog written by Ai Mi B., Codesmith NY Cohort 22

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