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Codesmith Resident Day in the Life: Full-Time Remote Immersive

Codesmith’s Full-Time Software Engineering Immersive programs prepare residents to break into the tech industry as software engineers.

Have you ever wondered how residents build their programming skills and grow as software engineers in just over 3 months? Codesmith resident Rebecca takes you through a day in the life during the first half (the Junior portion) of her East Coast Remote Immersive experience. Read on to discover how she balances the rigorous Codesmith curriculum while maintaining routines that prevent burnout.

It’s really hard to believe that only six and a half weeks ago I was signing on for the first day of Codesmith’s East Coast Remote Immersive (ECRI). When I entered the Zoom room for my cohort’s welcome breakfast, I was greeted by our ECRI Seniors, the cohort that had started over a month before me, as well as our instructors. I distinctly remember thinking how out of reach the Senior portion of the program felt. Now, I am in it – at the tail end of ideation week for Open Source Projects.

In between my first day and now, I’ve had many days that look more or less like this:

8:00 a.m. I wake up and start making coffee in the kitchen. My coffee ritual these days has become pretty important as it allows me a few minutes to relax and get energized before sitting down at my computer to review the prior day’s lecture notes or the unit that we’re currently working on. 

9:00 a.m. I sign into the Zoom room for our daily stretches. Since we’re all remote and don’t have to commute to the office, we miss that valuable opportunity to stretch our legs on the way to the Subway. So, we make up for it with a group morning stretch routine before we jump into the previous day’s Hack Hour solution with one of the Codesmith Engineering Fellows. After we review the solution, we start working on the present day’s Hack Hour until around 10:00 a.m.

Rebecca's work from home set-up

Rebecca’s work from home set-up. 

10:00 a.m. Around this time, we usually have a lecture on the day’s topic. The lectures at Codesmith are incredibly engaging and fun, and provide the perfect starting point for jumping into a new engineering concept. I always try to take detailed notes so that I can revisit the topics after the lecture, especially while working on the lecture’s associated unit or skillbuilder.

Units are composed of challenges that relate closely to the engineering concepts that we are learning, such as React and Express. We work on units with our pair programming partners usually from when lectures end in the morning until 12:30 p.m. when we break for lunch. 

12:30 p.m. Lunchtime has been the most important part of my Codesmith routine since I began. Lunch is my mandatory outdoor time - my time to get away from the computer for an hour or so and get outside either for a walk to get lunch or for a quick jog to clear my head and prepare myself for the afternoon. One of my favorite things to do at lunch or at dinner breaks is to take walks.

This time away from the computer is so important to prevent burnout from the quick pace of the program. These little blocks of time to take care of yourself are critical to keeping your pace in the combination marathon/sprint that is the Codesmith program. 

Rebecca's favorite lunchtime walking route.

Rebecca’s favorite walking route during lunchtime. 

1:30 p.m. After lunch, we occasionally have planned time to meet with our senior mentors or even to spend a few minutes doing non-coding activities, like playing games, with our cohort mates. On other days, we dive back into our units, or into a lecture.

Most afternoons post-lunch and until dinner are spent pair programming either with just our partners or with another pair to do code review and help each other along in the unit. Pair programming and technical communication is so key to being able to grow as engineers, and this critically important work happens most intensely during these pair programming units. 

5:30 p.m. Before and after dinner, we usually have Tech Talks given by a senior member of the cohort on an interesting engineering topic such as the Internet of Things or Kubernetes. On Mondays, we have “family dinners” where all of the Junior and Senior residents of the program eat dinner together on Zoom and do shoutouts for other members of the program. 

If we don’t have family dinner, I usually start my dinner with another quick walk outside, followed by making dinner and returning to my desk for the evening part of the day. 

6:30 p.m. After dinner, the day winds to a close with more unit work, collaborative programming sessions, or even an alumni panel talk on what to expect in the hiring process. 

8:00 p.m. When the day comes to a close, I usually spend a little extra time reviewing a unit or the day’s notes before logging off for the night. 

The time between my first day and now feels simultaneously like years and like no time at all. When I think about how I got to the point where I am today in the program – where I am able to tackle the hard, “out of the classroom” learning that we’ve had to achieve this week in our ideation groups – I am truly grateful for all of these long and challenging days.

I am so excited for what’s to come in the Senior portion of the program. Particularly, I am excited to look back at this point and be equally proud of how much I have grown over this short time.

Blog written by Rebecca S., Codesmith East Coast Remote Immersive Cohort 36.