My First Impressions with Flatiron School

A bit more than a month ago, I wrote this post to update my status on attending bootcamp for Software Engineering and Web Development. I started at Flatiron School that same week and I loved it. They have you jump right in but provide ample support in case of shell shock. I especially enjoyed that right away we’re developing exclusively in our own environment so not only are we practicing code but we’re utilizing the command line (or CLI) and various other tools. It wasn’t long before things got challenging but they offer support via slack and live pair programming sessions if you’re really stuck, plus there’s always the network of peers at your level and beyond that are willing to help. Resources are plentiful.

For me, personally, it wasn’t long however before I realized that the job I was working to pay for this bootcamp at the tune of $1,200/month was going to interfere with my ability to learn. I was on my feet 9+ hours per day and that was wearing me thin, but on top of that, there was a factor of OT and the start of the fall semester looming in the future. My ability to code consistently at the level of effort I felt necessary was minimal and the stress piled up. I decided the timing wasn’t right for this bootcamp because frankly, I didn’t want to half-ass it and that was starting to happen after my fourth week in the program. So, not for lack of interest, I have withdrawn from the amazing program at Flatiron School.

The decision was made easier by the discovery of a work benefit that was previously unbeknownst to me: free college tuition.

 

College Ahead!

college lecture
Photo by Dom Fou on Unsplash

While a lot of folks insist a degree is not required to get a job in tech, I don’t think anybody would deny they can be beneficial to have. When I got laid off from Project Management in the outsourcing industry I tried without result to break into tech as a PM and, despite my years of experience on technical and tech-adjacent projects, I was told time and again that candidates with a degree were given preference. So, for me, accomplishing a degree in tech is a matter of principle and addressing obstacles head-on.

I’m incredibly grateful to the leadership at Walmart to allow their employees to pursue the acquisition of in-demand skills and schooling for no cost while they are employed with the company. This is something that the outsourcing companies I’ve worked with never offered and I believe it will have a tremendous effect on the lives of those who choose to engage those benefits. I never would’ve expected my summer job to help invest in my future career.

There was very little barrier to entry, I just had to be a U.S. employee (part-time or full-time) and get accepted to a participating school/program.

As of this week, I am officially participating in the SNHU Computer Science program with a concentration in Software Engineering. Anticipated graduation: 2024.

I feel tremendous relief not only about the tuition assistance but the slower pace. I found I was stressing myself out and bringing my mindset to a low point by trying to rush into tech when the pandemic hit and I was laid off. This decision feels right to me, I can code 4–8 hours a week before work and progress in school after work and on my days off and I like that.

laptop and phone on desk

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article…

You can expect a post from me at a minimum of every two weeks on topics related to my journey and if you have any questions that I’m not answering please don’t hesitate to reach out to me (comments, DMs, tweets, etc.)

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