I decided to apply to a coding bootcamp. In 2021. During Covid. “Are you crazy?” you might ask. Well, maybe I am, but I’m also a risk taker.
In 2020, I came to the realization that I needed to take an inventory of my life. No longer was I the college sophomore taking morning classes and working in retail part time while living rent free. I was what my family describes as a “big girl with big bills." Not only was I trying (and failing miserably) to juggle taking two online classes a semester while meeting the demands of working a full-time job—a job that went from 36 hours a week to 72, thanks to Covid—but I had some serious debt. $100,000 of debt, to be exact. Shoutout to younger me who felt the need to get two bachelor’s degrees and a sports car (cue internal screaming).
Surrounded by death and despair, I truly felt like my life depended on leaving my career as a respiratory therapist. I was sad, miserable, depressed and anxious.
Things weren’t looking up for me, and I decided to make a drastic change.
As cliché as this might sound, working in Covid ICUs really made me realize how fragile life is. I needed to live my best life, and I needed to start ASAP.
Although I was never a fan of sitting in a classroom, I figured that attending DigitalCrafts' hybrid program would benefit me. I wanted to have a sense of community, and knew that being a part of the Atlanta Tech Village would give me just that. I decided to get up and venture out of my apartment to the ATV so that I could mingle with other students. Besides, sitting in my apartment attempting to earn the title of “self-taught developer” was not going well. As a very social person, trying to learn to code at home made me lose focus, and the lack of structure made for a tough time.
After gaining acceptance to DigitalCrafts, I began the prework and managed to make a pretty neat About Me page. I have virtually no programming experience, yet I was amazed at what I created. I was amazed at what I could do once I stopped doubting myself.
Word of advice: if you are considering doing a bootcamp, do as much of the prework as you can. I’ll admit that I ran out of time and did not finish all of it. Thus, my first week at DigitalCrafts was a bit overwhelming. I honestly questioned whether I should be there because I felt as if I was out of place. I’m accustomed to wearing scrubs and being in the hospital at the bedside, not sitting at a desk in business casual clothes looking at three screens!
However, I can’t ignore the wonderful feeling that you get when your code actually works. It’s a high like no other. The feeling of actually understanding what a program is doing is incredible. My curiosity always gets the best of me, and as a result, I spend a substantial amount of time doing research. I have to know, “What will happen if I do this?” Naturally, I’m a very inquisitive person. I love learning, and I love creating, and I'm beginning to believe that maybe I do belong in the tech space.
While I’m still very new to the world of programming, I have high hopes for myself. I’m learning so much that I never touched on when teaching myself to code. Between my strong desire to change my life and a great support system comprised of my bootcamp cohort, family and an amazing mentor, I cannot lose.
This post is written by Layton Avery, a student in our full-stack web development program. A version of this post originally appeared on Medlum.