In my last post, I had described a new challenge in terms of career and life. Programming turned out to be an exciting new chapter, complete with its difficult moments and excitement!
How did I find this adventure, you may ask? I desperately needed a change from my last career – I wanted to be able to use my creativity and have fun working! Technology is everywhere these days, and programming is in most industries. Friends and family who are programmers seem to enjoy it and definitely have fun while creating something!
I had come across notices for this full day workshop at MaRS building, sponsored by Lighthouse Labs, a Saturday back in February called HTML500. Unfortunately, there were limited spaces available at the event. As the name suggests, it caps the workshop attendees at 500 people, determined only by lottery. I really wanted to go and did not want to miss my chance. A week or two before the event, there was a contest. I entered every single day of that contest, and finally, on the last day, I secured my spot! Not only did I learn the basics to programming and create my first HTML/CSS resume website from this workshop, I formed some great friendships, with whom I still stay in touch!
From then, it piqued my interest to learn online (CodeAcademy), in person (Free Code Camp), and at workshops/events. Once I got a feel for how coding is for me, and discovering that I like it, I decided to just go for it. After comparing the top bootcamps that I can attend in person, I signed up for Lighthouse Labs’ full-stack full-time web development program this past summer.
My hardest week was the fourth week, our midterm project. We had to start and complete a project in only five days (including weekend), and show everyone present at Lighthouse Labs the following Monday. This included planning and delegation. The time was tight, while our resources were limited (limited mentor support on weekends). But we managed to get through it. Our final project was much better. This time, we had 7 weeks of lessons and assignments, were able to choose our projects, and already had the experience of planning and presenting to an audience. My team decided to do a mobile and web accessible Farmers Market app. It connects the users to the markets and farmers, so farmers can keep produce and markets updated, while users can check for markets and produce close to them, or information on their favourite farmers. We decided to do our app in Ruby on Rails, with React components, since we only spent a week per language and wanted to know more. The challenge with this was that not all mentors knew Ruby on Rails and were able to help us. We got to source out which mentors could. It also allowed us to self learn from reading documents, which turned out to be handy at work.
By the end of this, my cohort, some other cohorts, and the Lighthouse Labs staff are friends like family – we have endured 8 weeks of hard work together and come so far. We still catch up at events like demo days to see what new grads have constructed.
After bootcamp, I was lucky to be able to attend a few conferences (Elevate Toronto, FITC, Free Code Camp), technology meet-ups, and picked to speak at one conference, the BiFrost Conference, as a recent bootcamp grad and why employers should hire us. I have met and spoken to many inspiring people who have made their mark in programming.
Now, I proudly call myself a programmer. Three months ago, I got a job offer from a start up called Evermight. I’m grateful that I have the chance to continue to learn on the job. I have been able to explore different CSS frameworks, design (including Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator), WordPress and PHP, and mobile development (like React Native, XCode, Android Simulator, Expo). Everyone here works hard and that is an encouraging environment to be in.
The learning never stops – during the winter break, I have been practicing algorithms on FreeCodeCamp and learning React Native with Expo. I am excited to announce that I got accepted as one of the 12 students of Cohort 3 in Bridge School, a part time intermediate course offered by Rangle, selected from 127 applicants!
With that, I would like to end with a quote by Steve Jobs:
“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.“