Turing School of Software & Design offers a seven-month intensive course in web development. Rose Kohn recently made the big move from D.C. to Denver to enroll at Turing. Kohn is now several weeks into the program, and she recently found some time in her very busy schedule to reflect on her impressions of the experience thus far. She discussed with Course Report why she decided Turing was the best fit for her and how their amicable course structure and teaching approach has made this huge life transition easier.
What were you up to before starting at Turing?
After I graduated from college, I moved to South America with the intention of teaching English. After I got my TEFL, I ended up not using my certification, but instead working for an internet startup company. While there for two and a half years, I was reviewing other startups for their business potential. I then became content manager of the site and soon after, project manager.
Unfortunately, the company moved to Uruguay. At the time I feIt like I didn’t have the technical background to continue in the startup realm, even though I really enjoyed working in the industry. So I ended up moving back to D.C.
While at home I built up a pet care company with my family. Between then and now I’ve also lived in Israel where I took courses in photography and graphic design, and travelled through Asia for 6 months where I also got certified to teach yoga.
I wanted to move out west, but I wasn’t sure what to do in terms of a job. A friend ended up suggesting that I check out coding, knowing how I love to travel and pointing out how web development could be location independent. I started some tracks on Codecademy and really enjoyed being able to create through code, even if just by walking through tutorials. The logical part of coding was really appealing to me as well. I thought that if I learned to code, I wouldn’t have to worry as much about finding a job in another city, which was very appealing to me.
Did you spend a lot of time on Codecademy or other sites before you applied to Turing?
Not a ton of time, but I did run through a few of the tracks on Codecademy and I looked at Code School and Jumpstart Labs as well.
Why did you choose Turing? Did you look at other boot camps?
When I started the search I was looking at every possible resource, checking for what might be the best fit for me. I spent an exhausting amount of time looking up all of the bootcamps, trying to examine the benefits of each.
I ended up applying to two: General Assembly and Turing. General Assembly because it was the only bootcamp in D.C. and Turing because I liked their program length and I kept hearing such great things about Jeff (Casimir). The big decision was between staying in D.C. or moving all the way to Denver.
Everything I saw about Turing was consistently positive. I talked to a few of the alumni, all of whom had positive things to say, and everyone kept mentioning what a great teacher Jeff was. I liked the fact that it was a longer program because I was worried about how much I would be able to learn in three months. I didn’t think I would be truly employable so quickly and I thought seven months would give me more depth.
Did you do a technical interview or a cultural fit interview? Did you have to do a coding challenge for Turing?
The Turing application doesn’t have a coding challenge. In terms of challenges, there are several logic problems that you have to complete for one section of the application. When you do your actual interview with one of the teachers here, they review whether or not you’d be a good fit culturally and then do another logic problem with you.
What did the logic puzzle consist of?
It’s an LSAT logic problem. It’s supposed to be an indicator of how well you’ll do in the program, since thinking logically is a large part of coding. You have to think step-by-step and work your way through it.
How many people are in your cohort?
There are currently 26.
Is it diverse in terms of age, and gender? Is everyone coming in at the same technical experience technical level?
For this current cohort, they did something they hadn’t done before. Turing broke people up into two different groups based on how much experience they had.
It’s been nice because it makes the class less intimidating. I feel totally free to ask whatever question without judgment.
In terms of diversity, we currently have six women in the group and 20 guys, and the age range is between 18 and late 30s.
What is the Turing teaching style?
One of our teachers, Jeff, uses a lot of metaphors and stories to discuss concepts before we jump into the code, which is very helpful. He then goes and shows it on the whiteboard or he walks us through it on the computer. It helps to visualize concepts first and then be able to see how it applies to coding.
What have you been learning these first two weeks?
The first module we only concentrate on Ruby basics. We just got our first project a couple days ago called Chisel, where you have to make a renderer that takes a Markdown file and turns it into HTML. So we’re pretty busy with that.
You said you were from D.C. and you moved out there to Denver. How was that? Did Turing help you find a place or did you have a friend there already?
When I got accepted, I tweeted that I had gotten in, and someone who was about to make the move to start Turing from D.C. saw the post and sent a message letting me know I could reach out to him if I had any questions regarding the move or the school. He was super helpful with tips on how to make the jump. In terms of finding a place, they’re happy to help here with info on neighborhoods to check out and the basics, but I just used Craigslist (and some local relatives’ advice) to find an apartment. It wasn’t that hard, and Denver has exceeded my expectations (during the rare moments when I get to check out the city and nearby mountains).
Is there anything unique about the program so far that might have surprised you?
I was nervous about being less experienced than the other people in my cohort before the course started, but the way that they’ve broken it up this time has been great and as a group I think we all feel more confident in this setup. I’m also incredibly surprised by how nice everyone is. No matter which module people are in, they are open to helping you out, even if they have projects of their own to work on.
Are you satisfied with your decision to go to Turing?
Totally, I could not be happier with my decision. Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming (or most of the time), but definitely worth it.
Is there anything specific you would like to do after you graduate from Turing?
I would probably want to work at a company where I could grow and learn from other experienced developers and then see where that takes me. I do like the whole potential freedom aspect of not being permanently bound to one place, but that’s a ways away and all up in the air.
Do you have any advice for people looking for a bootcamp to attend?
I would say don’t feel intimidated about applying and going to one of these schools if you don’t have any experience. Everyone, at least at Turing, is very welcoming and ready to help you, even with all that they have going on. I would also definitely consider one of the longer programs, because I think you get a whole lot more out of it. I can’t imagine being ready to program at a real job after three months. Try to find a school that fits your style of learning.
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