I know, it’s been months since the last time I’ve written here. But, I was at a period of getting caught up with real life, and life outside the internet has always been a priority, not just for me, but also for everyone also. Household matters, deaths in the family, and being stuck trying to find my path towards my web dev/software engineering goals.

… and unfortunately months later, I’m still in that same situation. But, I’ve had some side projects and other side tasks that I took for me to get myself back to where I should be.

This month of November, I decided to make a big leap by applying for an immersive coding bootcamp for next year.

Why a coding bootcamp?

Self-paced courses are a good thing, but sometimes, the drive and the motivation and the dedication to the course can make it difficult because of life, you know? I love doing self-paced courses, but lately, I have been losing my drive and focus. After going through so many courses and learning platforms, I decided to give myself a more disciplined challenge by enrolling in an immersive coding bootcamp.

There are other reasons why coding bootcamps are an effective way of entering the technology field by becoming a web/software developer, a data analyst, and anything related. You can get a supportive community who can back you up with everything you need to succeed, and most of all, an organized job placement program. I’m aiming more towards the job placement programs, so I can have a supportive community and mentors to guide me with preparation in getting a job in tech.

The struggles of bootcamps

Since late October till today, I have learned some things about bootcamps. Enrolling in bootcamps is pretty much like enrolling in a 4-year college/university. What I mean by this is that, while there are hundreds to thousands of applicants in these bootcamps, very few will be selected to get in.

Here are some of the following that I’ve noticed about bootcamps:

  • Bootcamp preps – these are free courses on the most basic aspects of web development, software engineering, data science, etc. If you are new to the field, you are required to take and finish these courses before you begin your bootcamp prep. Somewhere in the middle, you’ll be prompted to see if you are qualified enough to apply for the program while you’re still working on your prep. If you are an experienced coder in some way, some have a prep challenge for you to complete to show your proficiency.
  • Bootcamps are like colleges/universities – Not only this applies to the bootcamp admissions process, but this also applies to finances. Most bootcamps would cost you some $20K-$30K for the entire program, which is similar or slightly cheaper than entering a 4-year college/university. Most bootcamps also require you to pay a deposit out of your pocket, or start paying monthly fees that may even be costly to your personal budget. There are a few bootcamps that offer you ISA (income sharing agreements), in which you don’t pay anything upfront until you get a job. And then, a percentage of your job’s salary will be your payment to the bootcamp.
  • Not all bootcamps are for eclective lifestyles – Most bootcamps today are onsite, meaning you must have full commitment to the program. That would mean that you may have to quit your current job or sacrifice a regular pasttime just to keep focus on the program. There are some bootcamps that are online-based, and there are some bootcamps that allow you to study self-paced. However, flexible schedules or not, you still have to consider the previous item.

Status with enrolling in bootcamps?

There are already a few bootcamps that I’m considering enrolling in, however, that also depends on how my current situation is going to be. For example, if I end up getting a full-time job soon, I may go for bootcamps that offer part-time or self-paced cohorts, preferably on an online platform. Most existing bootcamps right now require the aspiring student to have full commitment to the program, and most of these existing bootcamps also require you to attend in-person in their campuses.

At the moment, I am still stuck with my current part-time job for the last 4 years now. I definitely need to move on forward, but it has been very difficult and I seem to be losing my confidence in making that happen. The imposter syndrome that’s existing inside of me had been skyrocketing.

On Twitter, I was referred to a new support circle program called Career Karma, with a panel of experts and people like me who need support and guidance to reach our goals by finding the perfect bootcamp program for us and anything similar. The peer support group is still new, but I’ve reached a good number of people who are going through the same process as I am and those who are already in bootcamp programs.

In the beginning, I was aiming for Lambda School, as their platform fits my current situation. The only thing with their program is that attendance is very crucial, and I have thought about changing my current (part-time) work schedule, but I would have to wait until next year in order to do that.

When I mentioned it to the counselors at Career Karma, I got two more suggestions that may fit my current situation: Flatiron School and Thinkful. They were suggested based on my schedule, and I can do the option of doing the program self-paced. After comparing the two, I got a little intimidated with Thinkful’s expectations, even though this and Flatiron almost have a similar process.

However, with both Flatiron and Lambda, I’m at a disadvantage:

  • I began their bootcamp prep programs, which are primarily Javascript. I’ve done quite a lot of Javascript courses in the past but I still can’t seem to figure out and understand some of its concepts. I also don’t know how I can apply what I learned to build side projects with, unlike with HTML, CSS, WordPress, and (some) PHP along with WordPress. I haven’t finished with both of them.
  • I applied for Flatiron School. I eventually had a non-technical interview as I was aiming for their self-paced option. Although they offer scholarships and also have the option to apply for a loan to pay for the program, we were also required to pay a $500 deposit to secure our position in the program from out of our pocket, which is clearly I do not have. My application to their program was on hold until I’m able to pay that $500. With the financial situation that I have right now, as well as having a part-time job that doesn’t pay a lot, there’s still no way I’m able to save $500 on that deposit alone. I have so many bills to pay and a college loan that’s probably going to take me forever to pay down…
  • I decided to go back to applying for Lambda School. I like that they have an ISA (income sharing agreement) that they have, in which I don’t have to pay tuition in the beginning until I get a job with a salary of $50K+. All I had was to have my work schedule change. Unfortunately, I was not accepted into the program and basically just told me “good luck” to my future journey. In all honesty, that was very discouraging for my part.

So, in short, I’m still stuck at where I am, with no bootcamp and basically lost. For the time being, I’m still keeping check with the Career Karma support group, watch some of their webinars, in hopes of bringing back my confidence once again.

Imposter syndrome skyrocketed & solutions

I’m starting to think that I won’t get back into my dream career again without any solid education behind me. I’ve come from a non-computer science field and I’ve taken several courses and built projects but I feel that it’s not enough, according to industry standards. On the day I got that rejection email from Lambda School, I felt completely in the dumps, not being motivated to do anything from this point. I felt as if not being accepted into a bootcamp already defined me as a failure.

I’ve gone through cases of imposter syndrome before, but somehow, this one hit me the most. In the past, I’ve hesitated in applying for bootcamp programs, mainly because of the costs. I’ve stuck with Udemy and other platforms to get me going. However, I don’t have any guidance of some sort when it comes to job placements and I haven’t found any support circles that would help me out with the job placement part of the process. So, I thought that the only solution that I’d be able to accomplish this is to apply for a bootcamp.

Two bootcamps I’ve applied for, one I can’t afford and the other I was rejected, really brought me down the dumps. There were other non-coding/bootcamp factors that contributed to my imposter syndrome skyrocketing, but that day really pulled me down the hole and I found myself trapped.

But, going back to the CK peer groups, one fellow suggested that I should go to FreeCodeCamp. I’ve done FreeCodeCamp before years ago but never really got through it. I haven’t even earned my first certification because I got stuck with one in which I would have to build my next project (portfolio site) but don’t have the content ready to be published. However, this fellow advised that the curriculum is now completely different than what it used to be, and it now has a lot of fields to choose from including the newest flexbox and CSS grids, CSS variables, frameworks like React, learning more about APIs, etc. I decided to get back into FCC again and start all over again.

Somehow, getting back to FCC made me feel like I can get back on my feet again. FCC also has their own community through their forums, so I really look forward to joining in and meeting new people. Maybe if there are any local meetups, I can join along and attend some meetings too.

Also, another bootcamp program, AppAcademy, has launched AppAcademy Open, in which they made their entire in-person immersive program open source. Anyone who wants to be in the program but can’t afford the costs are now able to take the courses in a self-paced manner online.

The catch is, of course, you won’t have a mentor to guide you, and that you would have to rely on your peers for help and support. Another catch is that you won’t have a job placement program to guide you through the job search and application process. You’re pretty much on your own.

So, right now, I’m going back to the following again: Treehouse (with my library card), FCC, AppAcademy Open, and a number of Udemy courses that’s still sitting under the My Courses section of my profile. And of course, there’s Progate.

It’s been awhile

I’m waiting for the following:

  • WP 5.0 with Gutenberg
  • Having some time to learn how to build themes using a new framework I purchased months ago: Oxygen.
  • Finally, build my portfolio on my new main domain.

I’m also going to add a few more tutorials to make on the list, mainly on the CSS side. And of course, continue on with my WordPress tutorials as well, but as mentioned, I’m waiting for WP 5.0 to come out.

I haven’t been diligent in reporting/tweeting about my current status for the #100DaysOfCode challenge. I’ll eventually going to update once I finish this blog post.