Getting a mid or senior level software engineering role is not easy. Doing it in 12 weeks instead of 4 years might sound crazy. But this is exactly what I decided to do at the beginning of 2020.
While there is no shortage of options out there for fullstack engineering programs, it was important for me to pick one that not only pushed people out of their comfort zones technically but also had a significant impact in the developer community. As soon as I heard about Codesmith and visited one of the info sessions, I know deep down in my heart, there was no other place I would rather be a part of.
Without hesitation, I attended numerous free workshops led by the most talented instructors in the industry. I stayed and participated in the late night soirees which allowed me to network and get to know the current residents in the program. In a short period of time I became an active member of this beautiful community, which is second to none. Little did I knew back in January, that two months later, communication, collaboration, and having a sense of community will become even more important than ever before. And oh boy, did I make the right choice.
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak all workshops and Onsite Full-Time Immersive programs moved to an online setting. As heartbreaking as it sounded at first, I knew it was also the time of increased need to belong to a place and new chapters of our lives were being written by mother reality, thus I chose to stick with my plan and go for it, regardless of circumstances. In anticipation of spending countless hours facing struggles together during the program, I knew it was going to be important to establish a strong community before starting the program.
I imagined that a remote environment would make it more challenging, so I reached out to my future cohort mates and organized virtual meetups a few times a week for everyone to come together in order to start breaking the ice. As a result we were able to be there for each other during these unprecedented times, get to know each other, go through some of the pre-work or work on algorithms depending on the “weather”. Thankfully, there were a few other people in my cohort with the same idea who initiated Happy Hours and other meetups, so by the time we officially started the program, we were known to be the “chattiest cohort”. It was rewarding to see people being so comfortable with each other because a bumpy road lay ahead.
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Remember that goal of getting a mid to senior-level software engineering role? Well, Codesmith is giving you the opportunity to do just that, but in order to survive and succeed, you must come in with stamina made of steel, with a growth mindset as well as live and breathe Codesmith for the duration of the program and probably long after.
The program takes you through every aspect of the development process from JS fundamentals, developer tools and workflows (Code editors, CLIs, version control with Git, Github and Webpack) to modern front-end (ReactJS, Redux, Jest) and back-end (API, NodeJS, Express, SQL vs. NoSQL, MySQL, MongoDB, security, and authentication) technologies. Most of the units last two days, and you work through each with a new partner.
Sometimes it feels like we are being pushed to enter the void, but this is the time to reflect on the way we normally think and speak to ourselves and others. It’s also the time to realize that you are surrounded by smart, driven individuals who prioritize helping others, push each other to consider multiple perspectives to solve problems, motivate you to do your best, while reminding you not to be too hard on yourself and to take care of your body and mind.
During the project phase, you learn how to cultivate a sense of compassion even further by planning, organizing, and managing work in a team environment. By the end of your Junior Part of the journey, all those big words mentioned above will make sense. You don’t need to master all of those concepts, but you do need to understand what they mean, how they work and fit together to serve today’s applications.
The intensity and vigor of the curriculum can open a plethora of emotions even without the added stress of uncertainty outside. Naturally, “Imposter Syndrome” will show up in its true nature, and here is my take on it. When you immerse yourself in the program, you can find yourself doubting your intellect, your ability to learn, your ability to contribute as much during the pair-programming challenges. You start comparing yourself to others even though everyone knows it’s a major faux pas. Everyone struggles with one thing or the other, and these are valid emotions, but you shouldn't let them thrive, because they can encompass you and that will just take away from the time you could actually be studying or having fun with your cohort mates.
Some lucky people are born with an inherent capacity to learn faster, and this is something you just have to live with. Don’t forget, you are not competing against anyone but yourself. My mentor once told me something super valuable that I want to share with you: “as long as you are learning one new thing every day and/or with each new project, you are better than you were yesterday, and that’s what counts.”
Also, IQ score is not the most important attribute for your professional life, things such as work ethic, perseverance, empathy, discipline, sincerity, and respect will take you a lot further. Intelligence will come if you stimulate your brain by doing things that breed intelligence and grow your capacity to learn. At the end of the day, when “What if I fail at this” enters your thoughts, redirect it to “What if I succeed?”. Finally, in a Codesmith fashion, tell yourself to “Trust the Process”, to which I would add, “Don’t Question the Process.”
You’re not taking an easy path. You’re taking a fascinating, challenging, and exciting path to the highly fulfilling career of software engineering. Therefore, Per Aspera Ad Astra, my friends.
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I hope this review helps anyone considering taking this tremendous learning opportunity offered by Codesmith to become a great developer everyone will be excited to work with.
Blog written by Victoria B., Codesmith NY Cohort 19
Codesmith’s Onsite Full-Time Software Engineering Immersive programs have been conducted remotely since March 2020. In “How to Survive a Software Engineering Immersive During a Pandemic” blog, one of our recent grads Clara shares her experience of being in one of the first cohorts that transitioned to fully remote learning, how she and her cohort mates successfully adapted to the change and what their day-to-day remote learning experience looked like.
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.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Codesmith took our highly rated Software Engineering Immersive...
Codesmith’s Full-Time Software Engineering Immersive programs prepare residents to break into the...