Being an Intern at nearly 30 years old

Determining to take the internship

When I was originally contacted about being an intern, I did what I normally would do and did some research about ‘being an intern at 30’. I found a couple articles, one in particular https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-i-took-an-internship-at-age-30, ultimately helped make my decision.

A couple of things stood out to me from that article. 1. This person was a career changer and having an internship was the best way to get a sneak peak into the industry but for me my internship was an opportunity to learn more and become a contributing member of the engineering team. 2. This person also worked an unpaid internship – Mine was paid so I said well I’m already one up from this person so why not?

Starting the Internship

I must admit, I felt a bit silly for joining an organization as an intern. I thought the title was beneath me although nothing else, except for the Web Developer job I had just got laid off from, justified me to a better title. Nevertheless, I went in with an attitude of gratitude – I decided to soak up all the knowledge and learn all of the things! A little seize the opportunity if you would.

Once I was introduced to my teammates and the days grew on I realized they really thought I had just graduated from college recently. I still remember the looks on their faces when I told them I graduated back in 2011. It made me wonder, why do we make assumptions based on titles?

Take Aways

We have to stop assuming things about people when we don’t know their situation or what they are attempting to accomplish.

Try something different – Yes, my family thought I was crazy for being an intern at nearly 30 but I saw it as opportunity for growth.

Which leads me to the final take away – Don’t worry about what others think. Focus on your motive for why you want to move forward with something not what others are thinking about.
When all else fails, be bold, be great, be awesome and be fearless no matter how uncomfortable you feel!

Finding Time to Code

Juggling a full time job, possibly school, family and friends is tough as it is but when you add in trying to learn to code – It may seems unrealistic to find the time. Here’s some helpful tips so you continue to learn to code throughout the day and maintain a healthy work/life balance.

  1. Code before work – I know, who wants to wake up that early? However, if you are truly passionate about changing careers into a developer then this may be a good option for you. I recommend gradually waking up a earlier until you fall into a routine. You can get in a good 30mins-1hr coding done in the morning so that when you are actually at work you can focus.
  2. Utilize your lunch break/Work breaks – Even if you only have 30 mins, you can practice if/else statements, algorithms, or read a blog about coding to keep exercising that muscle. I recommend knowing exactly what you wan to focus on before lunch so you can be prepared.
  3. Evenings – This is another tough one for some because after a full days work you just want to relax however, spending about an hour firing up Team Treehouse/CodeCademy/FreeCodeCamp or whatever resource you use for learning will be helpful to keep your mind fixed on coding.
  4. Weekends – This is a great time to really buckle down on your learning! Spend a few hours during the weekend building a website or application or learning a new language. It’s important to note that you may want to get the bulk of your coding done during this time because you have larger chunks of time to finish solving majority of your coding problems 😉

Try out some of these techniques and let me know which works best for you!

Check out the Vid on YouTube:

It’s Graduation Day!

Well, I made it! 14 weeks of learning 3 full stacks.

It’s graduation day at the Dojo today. Today started like any normal day. I got to the Dojo at 8am, started looking at job descriptions and tried to my reset my Indeed password. I’ve had an account with them before – I figured that out yesterday when I accessed it on my phone and was surprisingly able to save jobs I was interested in. Apparently their system was having issues because it gave me an error every time I tried to change my password…I ended up using my phone to go through the process of changing my password, which surprisingly didn’t have any issues. I applied for a job I saved and looked through some others.

Afterwards, I looked at the post bootcamp section of the platform – it became available to the graduating cohort today. The first thing was algorithms so I got out pencil, paper and my console and got to work – printing an array of values, printing the reverse of the array of values, finding the average/max/min of the array of values. The most complicated one for me? Inserting a value at an index. Why? Because if there’s a value there you have to make sure you don’t lose it. I struggled with this one for awhile before looking at the video explaining the process –  Add a zero at the end of the array (makes sense because you know you’re going to only add one value), starting at the end of the array – copy the values to the end of the array, then add the value at the index…Makes perfectly good sense now. I was trying all other things such as adding an if check to determine if the index of the current array matched the index of the value given by the user, then set the current value to a temp variable, replace the current value with the value given by user, then push the temp variable (which holds the original value) problem with this is that you can only push to the end of the array which may not always be the case. Not only that, but it just doesn’t work in the console – it results in an error and no output is given.

After looking through the first section of algorithms, which amounted to 18 algorithms, I switched gears and took a look at the job search section. The platform provided me great tips on the search booleans recruiters use to find applicants, what information should be on a resume and how to go about looking for the jobs you want to find. The whole video was an 1 1/2 hours long but after 40 mins it was practically time to start our ‘graduation’ so I decided to finish later on.

The graduation

I’ve been to enough graduations to know the graduation song and you better believe our instructor had it playing at the start of the ‘ceremony’ in a jokingly manner. I put ceremony in quotes because it was just the graduates and some people from other cohorts that stuck around. A few graduates presented projects – some from the MEAN stack others in Rails. The lead instructor said a few kind words and we had pizza and brownies! Afterwards we took these great group photos:

Slack for iOS Upload

And a goofy one for the road:Slack for iOS Upload-1

There is one grad not pictured here – he headed back to Seattle the morning of. The guy in the back facing his computer in the yellow was retaking his belt exam in hopes a perfect score. The guy in the red is not in the graduating cohort but his cohort is pretty nonexistent – There’s only four of them total so we adopted him into our group – He fits in perfectly.

In Conclusion:

All in all, I’d say we had a really good group and I am fully glad I decided to pursue this journey. The journey is not fully over because the next step is to get job ready! Next Tuesday, most of us will return and begin the next chapter – finishing projects, working on algorithms and figuring out how to start a career in this industry. I’m excited and pretty nervous! I’ve no doubt that we’re all capable of finding a fulfilling career of our dreams.

My Decision to Attend a Bootcamp

I’ve been saying for a couple years now that if I just quit my job and work diligently, I would be able to get a job as a Developer. Well, I never had to guts to quit until January 2016.

My journey to attend a bootcamp starts in January 2016 when I got rejected from yet another Entry Level Developer job. I was fed up and believed that I had the experience to get the job considering I went to college and studied some coding (in PHP, MySQL, HTML/CSS) and have been focused on Web Development for a year and half but nonetheless, I was looked over.

At the end of January 2016, I fasted with my church (The Daniel Fast) and focused my fast on finding the direction for my career because the job I was at just wasn’t cutting it for me (there was no creativity being a Data Analyst and my job was tedious and redundant). I was looking on Course Report one day and a bootcamp called Coding Dojo appeared on my screen (it was listed on the site, it stood out to me so I clicked on their website). I believe it was only God that lead me to the site because to this day, I have no idea how or why I was even on coursereport.com.

I liked what I saw on the site, individuals expressing how excited they were about code and how confident they’d become in learning to code and this spoke to me. I applied after a couple days of lingering around their site; I scheduled an interview the very next day with little time to prepare for the coding portion. During the interview, I showed my reservations about my confidence in code and was encouraged by the interviewer to talk it out and surprisingly I was able to come up with conclusions to find the answers in the code. On Monday, I received in an e-mail congratulating me on being accepted into the bootcamp.

WOW! I thought, I have to quit my job now, there’s no turning back. From the time I signed up to the interview, I started putting more of my Faith in God and watching Him work in my life, I mean, I couldn’t forget that He’s the one that brought me this far. I began applying for loans through my banks, through the loan companies provided on their site and received a ‘No’ from every one of them. It was disappointing to say the least but I kept praying for answers. By Friday (5 days after being accepting into the bootcamp), I ran out of places to apply and sent an e-mail to the Dojo explaining to them I was unable to afford the bootcamp. I was answered back with another suggested loan company earnest.com – I applied that day, they needed more information from me by that evening so I responded immediately. From reading their reviews, the process took most 7 -10 business days so I kept checking in with customer service a couple times and finally on the 10th day when my hope was wavering, I received confirmation that my loan had been approved.

I notified the Dojo after the acceptance of the loan terms and began getting excited to learn with like-minded individuals who just want to code!

I am nervous, excited and scared – I’m quitting my job, using my savings (Thanks Dad for teaching me how to save at an early age :] ) and starting a new journey with what I hope to be some awesome people.