I always thought I knew the meaning of community, and I thought I knew the meaning of learning. I’m a veteran, I understand what it means to serve my community, but does that mean I know how to build one that is inclusive? I’m a teacher, but does that necessarily mean that I know what it means to teach and to learn?
Codesmith was a rude awakening but in the best way. Before Codesmith, I was going through the motions in my professional life and I didn’t have a plan to change, and I didn’t realize how much I had to grow to become the best version of myself. But, once I attended my first online event at Codesmith, I was hooked.
At workshops, I witnessed a wide range of skills, a diverse group of people, and found an inclusive community. Everyone was friendly and supportive, and I knew I could ask questions without fear of being ridiculed. Soon, I was pushing myself to unmute my microphone and actively participate, thinking critically about the problems on the screen. White boarding was new to me, and the Hard Parts workshop series became a thing I was looking forward to throughout the week. I started craving challenges, I started to enjoy hard work.
Then, I signed up for CS Prep. I was scared; this was my first step into the lecture series, and I was afraid that all my classmates would be rocket scientists and machine learning geniuses. While some of them were geniuses in their own right, no one ever stopped me and said, “Eric, you don’t know what you are doing.”
Instead, that voice came from my own head. The ugly monster of imposter syndrome, which can be a real pain in the rear. Yet, I have found that there are ways to defeat that monster.
OVERCOMING IMPOSTER SYNDROME
You should create some strategies to win against that beast, by leaning on your community and making real friendships. You offer help first, even if you aren’t sure you know how to help. You listen before you speak.
These might seem like common sense approaches, but at the time I felt I was just spinning my wheels at my job. When you are in a place that doesn’t stimulate you intellectually, it is very easy to forget the best practices of learning. The best practices of growth. But Codesmith, more than anything, helped me remember how to grow.
A byproduct of growth is growing pains. I remember being stuck on fizz buzz and filtering through an array. I remember how impossible it seemed to be able to render things on a page. But growth requires you to step outside of your comfort zone, to chart unknown territories and even to lead others into these new places.
I learned that I was capable, and knew that the community at Codesmith wouldn’t lead me astray. Codesmith equips you with the tools and tells you, “Make something. Do something.” Still, you can spend a whole day with analysis paralysis, not sure what to make and what to do.
In cases like these, a famous military quote by George S. Patton rings true: “ A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.” There are going to be pitfalls and mistakes. Make them! Don’t be afraid to ask for help—that’s the path we all take when we learn, and we should trust the process. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and no one expects you to do what they haven’t done before.
TAKING THE PLUNGE
So, are you still on the fence? That’s okay. I was, too. It’s easy to be skeptical, and it’s hard to believe you can do things.
But if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you inspire others to do so as well? Invest in yourself and move forward. I was once in your shoes, as others were in my shoes before me. Although every step will be difficult, this program has results as long as you commit to the process of hard learning. You will be amazed at how far you can go. All you need to do is start, to build upon what you think you can do.
In the end, you are going to be more than just some bootcamp graduate. You are going to be more than a career transitioner. You are going to be the best version of yourself—all you have to do is try.
Blog written by Eric S, Codesmith PTRI Cohort 3.
Hear from another Part-Time Remote Immersive resident about how she balances her full-time job with the software engineering education in this blog post by Kailee.