How to Survive a Software Engineering Immersive During a Pandemic

It was the middle of ideation week when Codesmith made the announcement that we’d be going remote due to the Coronavirus. The city of Los Angeles was issued a quarantine order and we were halfway through the program working through our production projects. I remember hearing about other countries going on lockdown and knew that it would only be a matter of time until we were too, but it still took me by surprise to hear that our in-person program would turn remote.

Though many of us were saddened by the announcement, it was the correct measure to take given the situation. Each of us were now trying to figure out what would happen next. Will we be able to work productively remote? Will we have the necessary resources to do so? How are we going to finish our projects? Many of us were wondering how we were going to transition, what this meant for our cohort, and how it would affect each of us. Fast forward one month and now we’ve all graduated. Although self-isolating during a bootcamp came with many challenges I made the most out of it and I’ll share my personal experience on how I successfully survived the program during COVID-19.

RELATED: HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN REMOTE LEARNING AT CODESMITH

PRODUCTION PROJECT

One of the main concerns I had was how this situation would affect our production projects. We would be working in teams for 3 weeks and I worried that going remote would negatively influence group communication and teamwork. On top of our meetings being conducted over Zoom calls, we would be developing full blown production grade projects through virtual collaboration.

As a result, we had standups several times throughout the day and checked in with each other constantly. Our first standup of the day would consist of what our tasks would be and any challenges we might face. We then scheduled another meeting during the afternoon to follow up with each other and voice any complications. We made sure that we were in ongoing communication and aware of each other’s tasks. When we ran into any roadblocks we pair-programmed until we resolved the issue. Although working together remotely wasn’t our preferred choice, we learned how to collaborate and communicate effectively through video calls and as a result, our cohort was able to fully complete our products and launch successfully.

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REMOTE CULTURE

Codesmith is known for having a huge sense of community. You’re bound to create meaningful relationships when you’re with the same people for 12 hours a day. The quarantine order made me wonder how the camaraderie would be impacted. Although virtual interactions aren’t the same as in person, all the residents and staff members made it work.

We had dedicated video calls during lunch and dinner for everyone to join, happy hours, extra standups, and special events such as talent shows and group movie viewings. We were still able to see everyone’s faces and chat with each other about code, quarantine life, and Tiger King. If anything, the sense of community grew stronger and the relationships we’ve built continued to flourish.

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A few of us actually rented a house to use as a workspace and self isolate together. Personally, I believe this was the best decision since I grew extremely close with each of my cohort mates that joined the house. Not only did we become lifelong friends, but seeing and working with each other was motivating and inspiring. They became my drive to wake up and complete my hack hours and be productive throughout the rest of the program.

RELATED: REMOTE LEARNING AT CODESMITH - ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

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Transitioning to remote definitely came with its own challenges but seeing my cohort push through proves how devoted we are to become successful engineers. All of us developed amazing production grade projects while simultaneously fostering an inclusive and supportive sense of community.

Graduating today definitely feels bittersweet. Along with my cohort, we said our goodbyes to some incredible instructors and fellows that were an integral part of our growth. I’m super glad to be extending my time with Codesmith as an engineering fellow and am excited to see how much more I’ll learn from working alongside other fellows, instructors, staff, soon to be seniors, and incoming juniors.

Blog written by Clara Kim, Codesmith LA Cohort 34

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