It’s been months since I blogged here. But, as you can see with this blog post title, it is what it is. As of the first day of June 2022, I am no longer a student at Flatiron School.
What happened, you may ask? The answer is simple: life and reality happened. Or maybe in a way, I just don’t have any luck with studying/learning and free time. I’m usually pretty good with time management in general, being able to have some spare time to work on the important tasks, like chores and building final projects. but this time, time was not on my side.
In addition to lack of time, there are also a lot of factors that contributed to my mental exhaustion. I love coding, and I love being creative. If I only had more time to study and concentrate on the given modules and labs, I would be on top of my game by now. Even though I withdrew from the cohort, this doesn’t mean I will end my journey to becoming a web developer (or any job related to software development).
Anyone can learn how to code, but the bootcamp approach is not for everyone
I decided to try out Flatiron School’s software development cohort as it was one of the online coding schools being offered by my employer’s career education program, which meant I didn’t have to pay anything. The company pays for our tuition. After years of (trying to) self-learn coding on my own, I felt that my past experiences already prepared me for the cohort’s warning about being a very intense bootcamp. Boy, was I wrong all along.
For many years, I have been trying to get into a bootcamp program, mainly because of the benefits behind them. Not only that you get a solid coding education with guidance from instructors and your fellow peers, but they also have career coaching and job placement programs. The latter was the most attractive part, especially for those who are changing careers. There are so many resources and learning platforms out there, but not all of them have job placement programs and career coaching. I believe that this particular portion is what makes bootcamps expensive in comparison to online learning platforms.
Not all bootcamps are the same, but after my experience of being in one for 2-3 months, being in a bootcamp is definitely a full-time commitment. Because this bootcamp I entered was specifically tailored to my company’s employees, the program should give us some leeway into using whatever time we have available for studying and labs in contrast to our work schedules. The ones who seem to survive so far are the ones who work part-time or flex hours. But, I’m one of the full-time employees, and time management would be a lot more difficult.
Because of this, I had to give up most of the things that make my life enjoyable, such as art, reading, photography, blogging, writing stories, video games, and J-Pop fandom. It’s normal to give up a lot of things, but because of the bootcamp’s workload thus far, I had to give up everything just to keep up. I had to give up some of my “me and nephew” time as well. And in my current job, there are times in which we are required to work an extra day, referred to it as “mandatory overtime.” I work the regular 40 hours a week, and this “mandatory overtime” requires me to work another 10-hr day, making my week 50 hours.
The mandatory overtime period lasted 3 weeks in a row, and not just that, it had to happen during our first phase final project period. The instructors were not available during the weekends. Their lab sessions take place on the days when most of us aren’t available because we’re all at work. Lastly, Flatiron School is based in Eastern Time, and I live under Pacific Time, meaning I also had a time zone disadvantage. All assignments are due on Sundays at 11:59 pm ET, meaning my due date is on Sundays at 8:59 pm PT.
Just imagine yourself with the schedule that I have during the bootcamp period:
Work starts at 7:30 am and ends at 6:00 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Off days are Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. When management calls for mandatory overtime, I have to work on Wednesday for the same 10 hrs as my normal work days.
There are two break periods and one lunch period. Breaks are only 10 minutes, and lunch is 30 minutes. Not much time to read the modules during those 10-minute breaks, and I have to enjoy my lunch during the lunch break.
I get home about twenty minutes, depending on the traffic. Traffic is always horrible around 6 pm. When I get home, I change, and then I eat dinner. Sometimes, my mom would invite me to watch Netflix with her during dinner. It’s hard for me to say no. Then, when I get up, I only spend about an hour and a half with class and the labs because I have to wake up at 4:30 am to get ready for work.
Flatiron School has Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 12–2 pm PT for instructor lectures. Tuesdays and Thursdays are lab sessions for those who need help with their assignments. I only have Wednesdays off and can only attend just one lecture Zoom and have to find some time to watch the recorded lectures if I’m able to. The instructors are not available on the weekends. Suppose I submit something on the instructor forum on a Friday night. In that case, I won’t get my reply from the instructor until Monday.
On top of that, the labs and assignments take hours to do. We had to do a lot of Googling and research to find the solutions to create our code and make them work. We can’t always rely on our classmates to help us all the time, knowing we all have different work schedules too. Next thing you know, you are completely stuck, and if you don’t submit all the assignments and quizzes (plus your blog post for the phase), the program will boot you out.
Because the stresses and distractions were building up, and I was already feeling extreme exhaustion, I decided to withdraw from the program instead. I completely lost motivation, and I am no longer enthusiastic about the upcoming lessons and the assignments. Everything was just bad timing. I was unprepared for the intensity of the tasks required for us to pass a phase.
This may be the end of my bootcamp journey, but my trip to my dream career continues
Udemy, Skillcrush, Codeacademy, Scrimba, freeCodeCamp, etc… there’s so many educational platforms out there! The wealth of educational resources in software development are endless! Each has its perks and cons, but for the most dedicated ones, new features are added from time to time.
For example, I have been a Skillcrush student forever, and I still swear by them even if I go around other platforms. Lately, they recently launched their job placement program known as the Get Hired Track. For the Break Into Tech* students (like myself), it’s an add-on to our program. Otherwise, it comes with the Break Into Tech package for new students.
Along with what I learned from Flatiron School, I can set up my deadlines for completing my projects and finally be able to rebuild my portfolio anytime soon. I’ve got so many ideas for projects that can also make me breathe easy and keep my mental health balanced and relaxed at the same time. I’m glad that one of my classmates built a Discord server for all of us, even those who withdrew from the bootcamp early, so we can still keep in touch with each other if we can no longer keep in touch in Slack. I think now I have found my home and my calling.
That’s it for now. I’m about to head to work, but I’ve got plans brimming for this blog and my blog at DEV in my head. I’ll write about them in a later post.