Becoming a Software Engineer
It is August 2021, I’m trying to get my Edtech Finlit startup off the ground. When Covid hit NYC back in Spring 2020 my team and I pivoted our non-profit that had been teaching financial literacy to teens throughout disadvantaged neighborhoods in NYC to an edtech startup. To utilize what we’ve learned over the years to build tech that can be useful for the teens we serve. With many setbacks the launch date gets pushed from summer 2021 to end of year. With all the uncertainty around it and still recovering from car accident in 2019 which caused me to suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury, I decided to make the move of becoming a software engineer through the full-time 12 week immersive software engineer bootcamp at General Assembly. My reasoning behind joining the bootcamp.
It was the Natural Next Step in my Career as an Entrepreneur
I set out to build tech to improve the future outlooks of disadvantaged teens and in order to get deeper in this I needed to learn deeper into how to build these techs, but above all be able to put together a team of engineers and lead them towards creating game changing techs. This was going to be achieved by not only learning the coding aspect but also becoming part of that community, creating lifelong friendships and experience from working as an engineer.
Keep my Brain Functioning at a High Level By Learning Something New
Recovering from a brain injury is not easy but I knew I had to continue to challenge myself. After the car accident I was involved in 2019 I had suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury which I’ve had to continue doing therapy for ever since. In between the doctors visits, scheduling, and balancing the bills I decided to sign up for a 12 week full-time remote immersive software engineering bootcamp with General Assembly. This meant 9am-5pm classes Mon-Fri along with daily homework and coding for 5 hours on top of the class schedules.
Tech Always Sparked an Interest and Joy in my Soul, I felt Like a little Kid Again, Excited to Learn and Build New Things
A big part of me wanted to become a tech entrepreneur with purpose because I wanted to learn new techs and apply it to solve meaningful problems. Being armed with this skillset was something I’ve been looking to add to the toolbelt for awhile.
My Wife And I Want to Start Trying to Have Kids in a Few Years
After going through such a massive trauma having to recover from the car accident I was in, it really starts putting everything into perspective and makes you want to plan things out better. With all this in mind, one of our major goal is to start having kids and in order to do this we needed to become more financially stable, hence I wanted to have a more stable income base as well as add another future proof skillset. This was the final push I needed.
I got started with the program on August 30th and in the span of the next 12 weeks I went from a novice with very little knowledge of coding to learning all sorts of new technologies and using them to build useful, fun and interesting things. Little did I know that this was just the beginning. For the capstone project, we had to teach ourselves a new tech and then build something with it. This was my opportunity to apply both my passions of entrepreneurship and technology, so I taught myself React Native and got to work building out the Edtech app to teach financial literacy. It was all coming full circle for me and with great power came great responsibility and my north star has always been the youth that I’ve always sought to serve. This is why as I progress as a software engineer I will always look to give back using my skillsets, network and time.
Here are a few things I’ve learned along my journey at General Assembly on my road to becoming a software engineer.
Learned to View Problems and Solve Them in a Completely Different Way
Problems just didn’t seem that difficult anymore. This doesn’t mean problems weren’t big enough, it just was that finding a route to the solution just became more feasible by looking at problems in a completely different ways. It was firstly, not getting overwhelmed by them regardless of the size of the error message. Then learning to break the problem down to small pieces and tackling them in parts. Getting good with googling the problem and being open to asking for help.
Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
Learning something new can be scary, but taking a leap of faith in the middle of a pandemic while recovering from a life changing accident is scarier. Going back to seemingly school on a topic completely new to you is definitely uncomfortable but was so worth it. Completing it and enjoying the growth along the way, made this journey one worth taking.
Learning and Growing Through a Bootcamp is a Team Sport
Remote class may feel lonely at first but as time passed my classmate and I become teammates and we guided each other through the journey. Learning in a remote setting posed new challenges but we all rose to the challenge through our passion for tech. It was being able to go through source materials together, having another set of eyes on your code and troubleshooting together that got us through, all while becoming a family.
Having the Confidence and the Willingness to be Able to Learn Anything
After learning many languages and new methods and their syntaxes you start to develop this confidence about the fact that once you find documentation on anything you can learn it. Then you go out and start finding newer techs as well as older techs and you just get to work learning them. This has got to be the most liberating feeling ever, there isn’t anything that you can’t learn if you are willing to put in the work and not cut any corners.
To my support base, my wife, my instructors and fellow classmates thank you.