From a Beginner to an Autonomous Software Engineer

My journey began in August 2019. I didn’t have a technical background, had not taken a single Computer Science class in college, and yet here I was. After much deliberation for over a year, I decided to turn my life around - I wanted to write and create with my own two hands, instead of staring at excel sheets for 40+ hours a week just to maintain the wealth of shareholders.

So a spreadsheet was made. It listed all the coding bootcamps around Los Angeles, along with important specs such as graduate outcomes, curriculum, online reviews, articles, the length of the program, and more. From there, I set my heart on Codesmith, scheduled a call with an academic advisor, then dove into CSX (Codesmith’s online resource of JavaScript fundamental concepts, videos, and coding challenges). And as they say, the rest is history.

JAVASCRIPT FOR BEGINNERS

During my call with an academic advisor, I was recommended to apply for CS Prep. Then, during my CS Prep program acceptance call, I was told that enrolling in JavaScript for Beginners, or JSB, would help me prepare further for CS Prep, and so I excitedly signed up. This was to start in just a few days after the call, taking place on the two Saturdays right before CS Prep.

Come that Saturday, I opened a Zoom video meeting for the very first time. Then I pair-programmed for the very first time, and worked on a coding project for the very first time. Through JSB, I dipped my toes in the Codesmith world, and I only wanted to keep going, eventually learning to swim on my own.

CS PREP

Once again, I was in a Zoom video meeting, but this time with more faces, and more often. CS Prep took place on 3 weekdays in addition to the Saturdays, and I started to get a more real sense of what everyone meant when they raved about the community at Codesmith. Our instructor, Shane, was inclusive, uplifting, and reassuring. We all quickly bonded with one another through the many pair-programming sessions, exchanging encouraging words through our computer screens in the Zoom breakout rooms, and some relationships even continued long after CS Prep had ended.

A handful of us in CS Prep ended up being in the same Immersive Program cohort in LA. We quickly recognized one another on our first day, and continued to strengthen our relationships throughout the coming three months. Through CS Prep, I also made an invaluable, real-life friend who made sure to keep me accountable when I failed my technical interviews. She sent me long texts and spent hours talking with me through video chat to remind me that I was more than capable of success. I was already experiencing the best part about Codesmith - the community - in CS Prep.

IMMERSIVE PROGRAM

November 25 was the day. A whirlwind of three months would pass me by, consisting of twelve new technology units for the first month, four three-day projects, and one month-long project to create a developer tool. Three months divided into a junior portion and a senior portion; divided into three parts - Core Curriculum, projects, and hiring support. Three months consisting of many long days and weeks.

The three months also brought personal, unique, non-metric lessons. I learned how to study, work, and always learn. Throughout my time in high school and college, I was able to mostly coast along and still receive good grades. But Codesmith was different. We pushed ourselves on a daily basis, mentally and also probably physically. I challenged myself in a way I’ve never had before, striving to build life skills that would benefit me in all areas for the rest of my life - the ability to work hard, stay curious, and solve problems on my own. I started this journey thinking that I would just learn how to code, and nothing else. By the end of the three months, I realized that it was so much more. I had learned how to always be hungry to learn more, how to be an empathetic engineer, and how to solve problems on my own by the tried and true method, per our Head of Curriculum: "research, parse, implement."

After graduation, I am now starting a new journey as a Engineering Fellow at Codesmith, and from my experience of everything up to this point, I know that it will bring me more than I could ever expect, in the best way.

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Blog written by Rachel Y., Codesmith LA Cohort 33

Even in the midst of these challenging times, Codesmith grads are continuing to successfully land Software Engineering positions and make difference in the tech world. Check out this blog where our NYC Software Engineering Immersive grad Sophie shares her experience of working as a developer at a company that develops software for first responders.

Take a remote classroom tour at Codesmith with Phillip Troutman, our Chief Academic Officer at Codesmith, to learn more about how you can excel in an online bootcamp and get a job when you graduate.

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