DBC Weeks 5-9

Publishing this post marks the end of Phase 0, the remote part-time (part-time, ha!) portion of the Dev Bootcamp 19-week program. I spent my last weekend of freedom drinking in the sunshine and soaking up smiles from my kids before a very demanding 9-weeks of coding kicks off.

You can read my thoughts about Weeks 1-4 here. Weeks 5 and 6 of Phase 0 were focused on Ruby. Week 5 was when I realized that I can’t treat the course like a to-do list, checking challenges off and feeling satisfied by the minimum effort. I should be working quickly and efficiently to complete the challenges, but then it’s my responsibility to use up my remaining time in the week (nights and weekends) to pursue personal challenges that will solidify my understanding. Otherwise I’m going to need to repeat.


A few of the people I worked with remotely have repeated weeks for various personal reasons. Talking these individuals about their repeat experience helped me realize it’s not the worst thing that can happen (i.e. it does not mean I failed), and it was good for me to come to terms with that. I still wanted to be completely done by Christmas though so I can have that two weeks off before the job hunt begins at the beginning of 2016.

Week 7 was really rough for me. The material switched from Ruby to Javascript, which I feel is something akin of an English-speaker switching from learning Spanish to studying Chinese. Everything I wrote returned “undefined” and a lack of office hours in the middle of the day meant I didn’t have anyone to turn to as I tried to understand what was wrong with my code.

(Side note: Lack of office hours in the middle of the day is my biggest frustration with the program so far. My understanding is that it’s a common problem for these coding bootcamps, because they’re padding their staff with employees who work a different 9-5 position and supplement their income with coding teaching and support roles. This is why it’s important to ask each coding bootcamp program you interview for if their teaching staff is employed full-time with the program. You don’t want to pay all that money for a teacher who isn’t able to give you 100% because of their other job. I’ve left feedback about the lack of midday office hours for Phase 0 at pretty much very opportunity. DBC reads that feedback they already know my frustrations and I’m confident they will address the issue for future cohorts.)

I started down this path because I was tired of working from home all day without any other adults around, and this period was when I hit the two-month mark of doing just that. I’m really looking forward to being onsite and interaction with people face-to-face on a regular basis.

Week 8 was better, a chance to work at SQL and be reminded that I am not, in fact, an incompetent idiot. Though a pairing challenge where I spent 3.5 hours contributing very little in terms of technical knowledge while my intelligent classmate soldiered through the work was a bit of a blow to my ego and confidence (the sort of frustration/doubt that can only be treated by indulging in beer/chicken wings/cookies at the cafe next to my house). I wrote a somewhat desperate email to an alum of the DBC program, asking if the way I feel and my troubles with Javascript are an indication that I should be delaying my start date in the program, but her response assured me that what I’m feeling is normal right now and that I should expect the first week of DBC onsite to be very difficult, but things got better for her after that.

Week 9 was a treat and just the amount and type of workload I needed to feel excited and capable in the program again. Most of my time was spent building up my resume site to a passable state and I’m pleased as punch with the results. I have business cards printed up already so I can start handing them out at networking events!

As I finish typing up this post I’m zooming past the southern parts of San Francisco to the last stop on the Caltrain route. It’s my first day of school and I’m nervous in all the ways someone feels anxious on the first day of something. The time-commitment required by the program going to be hard for all of my relationships – my kids, my marriage, my family/friends. I feel confident that this is the best thing for all of us in the long run. (I’m finishing up this post on the train back to Redwood City, after nearly 12-hours of listening and ice-breaking and coding. It was a fantastic first day and I’m looking forward to many more to come!)

One thought on “DBC Weeks 5-9

  1. Welcome to the last three years of my life! Only one and half semesters left! I’m barely surviving this semester. Between work, school, clinical, and family I feel like I’m drowning half the time.

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