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I’m Doing a Coding Boot Camp! Here’s Why

I’ve enrolled in a coding boot camp here in San Diego called LEARN Academy. I’ll be giving you the inside scoop on what a boot camp is really like via a series of posts on this blog and on my Instagram. – starting with how I came to be participating in one. Before I tell you why I finally decided to take the plunge, I need you to understand what’s been holding me back up to this point.

My chief concerns had to do with – you guessed it – money. First off, these programs are expensive. Like, $10-16K expensive. For a lot of people, myself included, that’s a significant investment. Yes, you’re investing in your future. Yes, you have the potential to earn that and more quickly with a well-paying developer job – but it’s still a serious financial commitment in the moment that needs to be considered irrespective of what may or may not happen in the future.

Now, there are several different types of coding boot camps out there: exclusively online, hybrid programs that combine online education with limited time (usually nights and weekends) in a classroom, and fully in-person programs like LEARN. For many people, those first two options are excellent. They fit well into the life of a person with a typical 9-5 job. Unfortunately, despite my success with self-guided online programs like Codecademy and tutorials like those on Udemy and YouTube, I have found that I don’t do well in structured teacher-led online courses. It just doesn’t gel with my particular learning style. If a boot camp was going to be effective for me personally, it would have to be in a classroom.

So naturally, I had some logistical concerns. What most people do when they participate in a boot camp like LEARN (which is a very rigorous program that takes place Monday through Friday, 9-5) is either work nights and weekends, or not at all. Most students take out a loan for tuition and living expenses. At this point in my life, I have less than zero interest in taking on student loan debt. I also had to consider what would happen after the program, how long I could survive until I found a full-time job. Oh, and let’s not forget about health insurance. Thanks to a chronic health condition (minor, but the kind of thing you can’t afford to stay on top of without insurance), I can’t be without it.

As you’ve probably figured out, I am not a risk-taker. I value security and stability in my life, arguably to a fault. Having a full-time job with benefits is a big part of that, and at the end of the day, I just wasn’t brave enough to let it go and trust that I’d be okay. So why consider a coding boot camp at all? I want to make this very clear: I don’t think anyone needs to attend a boot camp or have any kind of formal education to learn to code. There are enough free resources available that anyone, anywhere, with any learning style, can learn any coding language(s) they want. I’m not being paid to lure anyone into attending a coding boot camp. I feel like the decision to attend LEARN Academy is the best decision for me personally based on my learning style and my professional goals, because honestly, I feel like I need a boost. I’m doing just fine on my own, but fine isn’t good enough anymore. I want to learn more quickly than I can on my own. I want access to resources like a structured curriculum that has been developed, tested, and determined effective by professionals. I also want the sense of community that comes from struggling toward a shared goal.

If you’re expecting the inspiring tale of me overcoming my fear of being broke, jobless, and drowning in debt to follow my passion, this is the part where you’ll be disappointed. This is actually the inspiring tale of my boss being a complete, well, boss, and giving me his blessing to do this boot camp and keep my job – on the condition that I don’t let anything slip, of course. It’s also the tale of my LEARN instructors being amazing, understanding, generous human beings who are willing to allow me to step out of class to take work calls and accommodate the incredible juggling act I’m preparing to take on. Special shoutout to LEARN CEO and co-founder Chelsea Kaufman, for instigating and helping to orchestrate this entire bold plan. I am ridiculously grateful to everyone involved for their faith in and support of me, and I’m determined not to let any of them down. So grab your popcorn, folks, and settle in. It’s going to be a wild ride and you’ve got the best seat in the house.

</ XOXO >

[Photo credit: Adi Goldstein via Unsplash]


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