It’s the end of my first day at Software Craftsmanship Guild’s Java bootcamp and I am excited and drained.
December was preparation month: long days of working my two jobs, managing parenting responsibilities, planning art lessons, getting ready for Christmas, and doing homework–lots of homework–to get ready for bootcamp.
The last few days before I left were much better because I had wrapped up all loose ends, put away the Christmas tree, and packed. I quit the job I love. Sunday, I drove to Akron to move into my apartment for the next three months. I got there a little early so the leasing office wasn’t quite open. This was a hard time for me. As I waited, I realized this was a crucial moment that held a lot of power. I could turn around now and lose nothing except my tuition deposit. Or I could walk into a new opportunity that would cost me the next 12 weeks of time away from my current life but pay off big time when it’s over. So I walked in.
And soon I was knocking on the door of my new apartment for the next 12 weeks. One of my roommates answered. She is a student at the University of Akron, as are about 70% of the residents there. She seemed nice, but the first thing I saw as I walked in was a beer bong lying on the kitchen counter and the empty liquor bottles lined up on top of the kitchen cabinets. So apparently I got the party group.
In the 24 hours since I decided to go for it, loneliness has been my biggest enemy. I thought it would be self-doubt. But it’s missing my family that is hardest.
My first day in class helped a lot with the loneliness. Meeting the other cohorts was great. I am the only girl in the Java cohort, and I’m definitely the oldest, but I figured on that. Everyone was really, really nice. And helpful. The first day was pretty light. We did some things none of us had before, but we moved slowly. Eric Ward was super-patient and stopped to help whenever any of us had problems. I wasn’t the only one who had issues, and for that I was thankful.
Many people have a preconceived idea that programming is something that only certain types of people are good at. Or that only certain types of people would enjoy it. It’s assumed that coders are young, single, men, introverted, and nerdy. They guzzle coffee and work into the deep hours of the night. They lack social skills. While all these may be true in some cases, I’m finding that programmers come in all flavors. They tend to be extremely accepting and supportive. They want others to succeed. And many people who thought they wouldn’t or couldn’t have a knack for coding have found, to their surprise, that they can learn this. Some might need more time or guidance. But they can do it.
I have always been attracted to this profession. Yet, for a long time, I believed I wasn’t the right “type.” I thought I was too artsy and creative. But I’m finding that this is right for me. And a surprising number of the other apprentices have creative backgrounds similar to mine.Today I met future coders who are engineers, journalists, teachers, restaurant-workers, biomedical researchers. Although I didn’t meet him, I heard that one of the previous apprentices was a rabbi. I know that Dev Bootcamp had a guy who was a chimney sweep.