My Coding Bootcamp experience: Week 1 — Javascript and things

So I have plans to talk about this in a different blog entry that’s been sitting in my drafts for a while but anyway! So back in April I’ve been debating about what I should do with this time I had on my hands. I had just gotten rejected after an onsite at a software engineering position and I definitely knew that I didn’t want to go back to working in a lab. On top of that because I lacked the skills needed to break into the industry, I kept getting a lot of “thanks but no thanks” emails when I would apply to entry level software engineering positions. I began looking at coding bootcamps and after much debate I decided to go with General Assembly’s Software Engineering Immersive! I went with GA for a variety of reasons, which I will talk about in the entry that I have in my drafts.

So it’s been a while since I’ve sat in a classroom like setting and also I’m a horrible student, I usually just like to sit in class, nod and smile and stuff like that. I’m always super scared of participating and speaking in front of my class, ironically when I’m presenting a panel at a convention I’m not. But anyway we had orientation with our sister cohort which is the UXDI (user experience design) cohort where they pretty much told us “Hey this is going to be hard but don’t worry you got this! and to also embrace the growth mindset.” And they also told us that in unit 3 we’re gonna be doing a collab project with them, which is super cool~ and based on my research when I was researching bootcamps GA is the only one where the corhorts get to work with their sister cohort whether it be SEI or UXDI.

Anyway, so once the first day of class came along I was running on extreme lack of sleep. So for reference, its been a year now since I’ve actually had to get up early to go to work or anything like that. In between then and now I’ve just been working my remote job and it was super flexible compared to when I was working in the food industry. Since covid is still a thing, the NYC campus wasn’t open still, so we would be doing our class over zoom and on slack.

So once we got started we did the usual thing, ice breakers to get to know everyone (kinda). It was cool to see that a lot of people had a lot of different backgrounds. A lot of people came from the restaurant industry, there were a couple of people who worked in ops, some were even actors, and some even had a data analytics background. Even our IA’s and TA’s had extremely unique backgrounds too! So with the mish-mosh of everything I definitely felt like I was in place.

Our cohort is named the bees and in honor of that I have “Bumble” my bee squishable hanging out at my desk while I’m doing work. I have slack on my second screen and normally VSCode and iTerm2 and git.

Anyhoo, so they told us at the end of each Unit we would have a project to apply what we’ve learned. If you know anything about me, I have the creativity of a tree stump when it comes to coming up with projects to do, which can also explain my lack of projects in my portfolio.

The first few days were pretty much review of what we learned during our prework. So we went over the command line, git, and basic javascript. Everything was going at an extremely fast paced because it was pretty much review.

Prior to taking this course, I already had a background in Python, but the unfortunate thing when you’re self taught or go through a pretty much self-paced course my basics/foundation was not so good. My IL (instructional lead) when it came to doing the lab exercises especially the ones where it involves looping through arrays and functions he broke it down step by step for us to understand it even more! So after that I definitely feel a lot more confident in those questions. We had that Friday off because 4th of July.

Every night we have homework as well to help us reinforce what we’ve learned during the day. When you’re sitting in front of your computer from 9–5 taking in a large amount of information at a super-fast paced you’ll be burned out by the time homework comes along. When I was in college one of my closest friends who was also my roommate in college was a CS major. On most nights our junior year my homework wasn’t that bad even though I was taking orgo, my friend would be up late at night trying to solve a lot of the problems that would take her a good few days or so. When my old college buddies and I had our last video chat before class started she warned me “Now you’re gonna know how I felt in college with homework”.

To be quite frank, she was right. I’m already kinda staying up late doing my homework and I know the one for this weekend I’m kinda struggling on it. In a lot of ways, its humbling.

For the homework at the end of the week to help us apply everything we’ve learned we had to create a high/low card game where the player would interact with the console and guess if our card would be high or low. I’ve discovered how useful pseudocode was while working on that otherwise I would’ve sat there confused while trying to build it out.

Building the high/low card game was definitely challenging when I first started it. One of the things that gave me trouble while I was learning Python (nested loops) we had to apply into the first part of our code to help shuffle our deck. It took be a bit to figure it out but then once I learned how the nested loops worked, I finally understood how it works! Which made me incredibly happy because that caused me a problem a couple of months ago. Building that game, helped me think outside of the box and a little bit more like a programmer, and I’ve been using “Bumble” as my rubber duck when I’m having trouble with my code. After completing the high/low game, it gave me a baseline to help me build my own project applying what I’ve learned, I’m making a js version of cho-han, (Even or Odd), a Japanese dice game.

So that’s pretty much how my first week of coding bootcamp went. It went by pretty quickly, and it wasn’t bad! But wait till you see my thoughts on week 2, it was extremely humbling and I struggled a lot with homework, and also it was very comforting to know that even though a lot of people were picking things up pretty quickly, they were always willing to help and that I wasn’t alone in being completely clueless.*sweats*

This is part 1 of a (hopefully) 12 part blog series documenting my coding bootcamp journey.

Food Scientist turned Front End Developer. I talk about coding things. I also like lifting heavy objects and anime.