My Experience as a Junior at Codesmith

Over a month ago, I was accepted into Codesmith’s Full-time Immersive Software Engineering program. Before my acceptance, I had researched many different tech accelerators, taken their free online prep courses, and attended different workshops. I even went so far as to meet with alumni from multiple boot camps, including Codesmith to ask them what they felt were each program's pros and cons.

Ultimately I decided to attend CS Prep, Codesmith's two-week program designed to improve your JavaScript knowledge and prepare you for their technical interview. I figured it would give me a taste of the Codesmith experience and help me decide if their immersive program was for me.

The prep program exceeded my expectations. I learned so much in such a short amount of time. Every day we dove into the core concepts of JavaScript from recursion to closure and even complex algorithms.

I made new friends with whom I spent the next two and a half months studying for our technical interviews together. It was a truly rewarding experience that not only shaped my opinion about Codesmith, but helped me kill their technical interview.

It is hard to believe that today I am almost finished with the full-time immersive junior portion. It’s truly been a wild ride. I've met so many incredible people and pushed myself further than I ever thought was possible.

Having been accepted into Codesmith during the peak of COVID-19, I was worried the remote experience wouldn’t be the same. It can be difficult to create a collaborative and warm environment via zoom.

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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.

Each morning we start with standups. We meet as a team to stretch and chat a bit before getting to the good stuff. Then we jump right into hack hour, where we spend time trying to solve algorithms that will prepare us for future job interviews.

During the week we have many different lectures. There is a lot of studying, and the program isn't for the faint of heart. To be clear, though, there is some downtime. Once a week, we have a game night and a family dinner. We also are assigned to mentors in the senior cohort who are there to provide support and answer questions.

A big part of the journey so far has been battling imposter syndrome. Every day I wonder how I will retain everything. I'm always worried that I won't understand enough of the lecture and that I won't be able to put it to practical use.

Each Monday, we have an assessment. I often think that there is no way I'll answer any of the questions, but then I realized I had retained a lot more than I thought I did. The good thing is that even if I fail, the assessment Codesmith makes sure to pair you with a fellow for a private tutoring session (which is just another chance to review everything from the previous week).

I am very eager to enter the project phase (senior portion), where I'll get a chance to work on a reinforcement project as well as a production project (arguably the most important thing I'll create here). The goal of the production project is to have a solid piece of technology I can talk about with potential employers.

We will also spend time working on our resumes, attending mock interviews, and will even have a networking day (a chance to speak with engineers from a wide range of industries).

My Codesmith experience so far has been pretty incredible. It's exciting to think about how much I've learned and how much more knowledge I will obtain before I complete the program.

This is an accelerated path to become a software engineer, and it is not easy, but it is rewarding. I'm so glad I decided to attend the program, and I know I will take this experience with me wherever I may go.

Blog written by Chelsea H., Codesmith NY Cohort 22

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