Kyle Dorman decided to get into programming full-time, so he attended Fullstack Academy and is now working as an Engineering Generalist at Gilt. Read below for his application experience and how he stuck to his goals even when he got stuck!
What were you up to before deciding to go to Fullstack?
Before deciding to go to Fullstack I was working as an Application Support intern for a clean tech company called EnerNOC in Boston. While working for EnerNOC, I started writing a lot of SQL queries and VBA scripts and eventually wrote some SQL scripts and really enjoyed the analytical reasoning it took to write a good query or script. At that point I decided this 'coding thing' was pretty fun and wanted to get into it full time.
Did you apply to other schools? Why did you ultimately choose Fullstack?
I applied to four bootcamps in NYC, Flatiron Academy, General Assembly, App Academy and Fullstack Academy. Flatiron I never heard back from after I applied. After my first Interview with General Assembly, I felt that they would take just about anyone who was interested in signing up for the class. Which concerned me, so I stopped pursuing that bootcamp. I completed coding challenges for both App Academy and Fullstack and was accepted to both. App Academy seemed ideal because they don't ask for any money upfront where as Fullstack does. But when I had my final interview, my interviewer didn't seem to have a great coding background himself and that concerned me. After I was accepted to Fullstack I actually came down from Boston to visit the school. At that point the school was still under construction and Nimit and David (the instructors) were a little afraid it would turn me off to the school. Totally not he case. I sat down with Nimit and he explained to me that the goal of the program was not to make me a good Ruby on Rails developer but a great developer who could write great, reliable code using whatever languages and tools were right for the job. At the time I didn't understand what this really meant but it felt right to me. (In retrospect, I believe that's what all bootcamps should be striving for)
Can you talk about a time when you got stuck in the class and how you pushed through?
Everyday I got stuck. Something in my code or my mental model of the web was always out of whack and every day I had to adjust to new information and new ways of working. But thats just the reality of the profession I was desperately trying to enter.
The biggest thing that I got stuck with was self doubt. Bootcamps are great because they are a safe place to learn. Everyone is new to programing and you feel totally comfortable asking stupid questions all day long. But they also shield you from knowing what the real excepts of junior developers. As I progressed through the 12 weeks, I was constantly asking myself how I would compare to people with real CS degrees. Over the course of 12 weeks, I was able to push through my self doubt with the positive encouragement of my instructors and the strong bonds I formed with some of the other students in the program. The instructors acted both as honest mentors, who would let you know when you needed to pick up the pace, and your biggest super fans, who was always ready to chime in with a supportive comment. The other students also had no idea how they would stack up against 'real' programers. For me, discussing our progress and where we thought we needed to be after 12 weeks was a great way to remind us how fast we were learning help me feel confident that I wasn't traveling through this crazy life adventure alone.
What are you working on now? Do you have a job as a developer? What does it entail?