I Got Laid Off

It was all going well and then I got the surprise that I could have not expected…

My company had to let me go – I was called in the office with my two managers and was told I was being laid off and I wasn’t the only one. I honestly felt crushed especially since I had just signed a new lease to an apartment a few days before, the timing couldn’t have been worse but it was out of my hands.

I knew once I saw the message that read ‘Tiffany, can you speak to me in my office for a second’ that things wouldn’t go well. They weren’t happy about me leaving and would have liked me to stay but their hands were tied. They told me that this had nothing to do with my performance. They even stated they were proud and surprised at me coming in and getting to work so quickly on the code base. I appreciated the kind words and was relieved this had nothing to do with the work I was doing. After thanking them for the opportunity, I gathered my things, spoke with my other co worker and headed out the door one last time.

Once I got home, I decided not to do anything the rest of the day and gather my thoughts to prepare myself for the next stage in my life. That evening, I then decided to update my resume and LinkedIN. Later on that evening I made a call to the apartment complex letting them know I was unable to lease with them since I had just got laid off. I was told I would still have to pay but that didn’t seem right with me so the individual said he would relay this info to the manager. I asked for the manager’s email as well so we could discuss it further. That night I emailed the manager.

The following morning I received a call from the manager that stated that the lease agreement is contingent on my income and since I no longer am employed that they would go ahead and let me out of it. What a relief!

I also was removed from the github repo from work and my part time job as well. Everything seemed so final – Plus, it looks like I haven’t been working in git since I was no longer apart of the repo at work. I told myself that I have to start over and continue to build up my github again with personal projects. I’m still trying to get over the dizziness of being told I no longer have a job.

Nevertheless, I learned a lot from the work I did while I was there and am forever grateful for the people who gave me my first Web Developer position. It’s back to the daily grind of finding a job for me which is going to be a tough one since its around the holidays but I will make it through. I’m also utilizing this time to brush up on my skills in PHP and Laravel.

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:

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.

My Web Developer Story

In the beginning, I had a Macintosh Apple computer when I was elementary school, I played games on it mostly until we got dial up internet. I was enamored by the fact that I could talk to people that were around the globe and utilize the web. Further along in life, while in college, I was trying to figure out what to major in and decided to go along with Business Management based on the fact that since my parents owned their own business that I should at least know how to manage one for the future.

While taking one of my business classes, an intro MIS course, which consisted of learning Microsoft Excel, Access and Powerpoint, I was introduced to the idea that I could major in MIS, at the time I had no idea what it was and I was not really interested in changing my major. About a year later, I was apart the Relay for Life organization at my university where one of our members was in charge of updating the website…I was intrigued and she told me more about what she was majoring in, which was MIS. Her advice was to talk to the head of the department and find out if I was interested. During my visit with the head of the department, I was advised to take a summer course at a local community college to see if the field would be of interest to me. I did so and took my first Visual Basic C++ course; I loved the fact that I could see instant results of what I created. Most of my projects where arithmetic related but it was awesome to see that there was a language I could program on a computer with to make these results appear. I returned the following fall semester ready to change my major to MIS and in doing so was required to take a mix of Computer Science and business courses.

I struggled along in my data structures course, but managed to make it through. I was beginning to wonder if I should throw in the towel; in the end, I liked the industry as a whole enough that I would muddle through it until I figured it out.

In the following semester, I was taking several courses in PHP and MySQL and I thoroughly enjoyed the information presented and doing projects in those courses.

Query from ProjectI believe it had something to do with the fact that I was able to print data from a database onto a webpage. At any rate, I also took a course which introduced me to Microsoft Frontpage which I used to make a web site for my parents business (newly updated at tandtenterprises.net).

As my college days were winding down, I took a course in HTML/CSS which was I found really refreshing because I could open up a blank text document and start writing HTML/CSS that would eventually be available for the world to see.

First HTML/CSS Site

My senior year, I took my final MIS course which consisted of our class learning ASP.Net to build a website for a nonprofit organization that needed a website to showcase the steps a high school student should complete in order to get into college. I enjoyed the entire process: creating themes on poster board and sharing it with the team, helping to create the CSS and finally each of us coded a page for the site; we shared our results with a couple reps from the nonprofit organization. The project was meant to be sort of like a mockup; we started it and other people would continue to build on what was started with.

Plan for AJX Non Profit Site Senior Project

All in all, I enjoyed my journey into web development, after college, I assumed I would just get a job in tech and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, the jobs I did land, had nothing to do with me programming and I figured out that I need more experience than I had in order to be in the career I wanted. In 2014, I decided I would turn things around for myself: I joined meetups geared towards web development, I setup and created my own website and towards the end of the year, I had a couple interviews but sadly received no offer. This year, I decided to give my website a face lift going through the design and development process and after taking breaks from meetups, I decided to start back up again and am thoroughly enjoying it.

I’m currently enhancing my bootstrap skills; I am going through the book called Step By Step Bootstrap to develop using a framework. I plan on using the skills I learn to redo the Kerala Association website (a nonprofit I created a mockup site for).

I’ve also been delving into the design process more and have been going through some Photoshop lessons to challenge myself to take a PSD to HTML.

All in all, things are looking up for me and I hope to join the many in the tech industry as a Web Developer soon!