Adam Patterson knew he wanted to make a career change, and turned to Metis, a 12-week Ruby on Rails bootcamp in Boston (and New York), to learn the skills to make the switch. In this Student Spotlight, Adam shares his experience, including what made the instructors effective, how he got support from classmates, and the value of an in-person bootcamp.
What were you up to before deciding to go to Metis?
Before joining Metis I was working in a business development role at an education company. I had a very small amount of programming experience, but enough to know that this was a career change I needed to make. After three years of frustration over not being able to change or improve systems I relied heavily upon, I decided to gain the technical skills to be a true problem solver in today's world.
Did you apply to other bootcamps? Why did you ultimately decide on Metis?
I did not apply to any other bootcamps. I did look into other programs, however already being located in the Boston area limited my reasonable choices. I primarily chose Metis because it was being taught by thoughtbot developers and it was exciting to be part of something new.
Which instructors/mentors were especially helpful to you? Did you feel like the teaching methods worked with your learning style?
Both of my instructors were especially helpful. One of the best parts of the experience was that my classmates and I each built a strong relationship with each instructor, allowing us to learn from both of them in a special way. We even had a third instructor join the group toward the end, and he quickly became just as important to us as our main instructors. It's a real testament to the teaching style and approachability of the people at thoughtbot. The instructors did a terrific job of adjusting to our content delivery suggestions on the fly. With over a dozen students at different levels and with unique learning styles, it is difficult to make it work for everyone; I felt as though they did as good of a job as could be expected.
Can you talk about a time when you got stuck in the class and how you pushed through?
Just one time? During the beginning stage of Fail Forward (my final project), I was having a lot of trouble implementing the LinkedIn API and Oauth gem. This was especially problematic because I wanted to get that sorted out before moving on to the rest of my app. I was fortunate enough to have a classmate who used a similar method for his user authentication, and he helped guide me through the implementation. The environment created by the instructors was one of collaboration, and this was an outstanding example of how supportive the group was of one another.
Tell us about your final project- what technologies did you use, how long did it take, what does it do?
My final project was called Fail Forward. It is a place for professionals to share stories of failure, receive feedback from peers in their industry, accumulate knowledge, and become better through failing. I was inspired by a social experiment from high school and the programming mantra of "fail fast, fail often". I used the LinkedIn API and Oauth gem for user login in order to link it to each user's LinkedIn profile. Users could then post their failures within their industry, update their posts with new knowledge, comment on other user's fails, and follow specific fails to find out when they are updated. It is mainly Ruby on Rails, with some JQuery, CSS, and HTML. It took me about 2.5 weeks to get the app where it is today.
Would you have been able to learn to code and get a job without Metis?
I think almost anyone could learn to code without a bootcamp. The value of a bootcamp is, of course, learning the essential skills to be job-ready in a much shorter period of time, learning best practices (very important in Ruby), and receiving immediate hiring support. Again, learning from thoughtbot devs was one of the best parts about Metis; I may not have had much prior coding experience, but I have learned only good coding habits and did not have any bad ones to break.