My Codeup Experience: Mario M.

My Codeup Experience: Mario M.

Every now and again, we will be posting blogs written by our students. These blogs will be ranging from their experience in the program, why they are doing the program, and what they hope to do afterward. We want our students to express themselves and be heard, letting people know what it the program is like from a primary source and give people insight as to why someone would want to put themselves through a high stress, immersive programming bootcamp.

Our first student blog is from Mario M.:

When one thinks of boot camp, the first thing that comes to mind is shaved heads, tons of work packed into every second of the day, quick meals, and dark circles under the eyes from a lack of sleep. Now, I’ve been through Marine Corps boot camp, and while there’s been no shaving of heads here at Codeup (yet!), the rest has held true so far, at least for me.

Just like actual boot camp, this has been no walk in the park. As a noob web developer, my first week at Codeup can only be equated to a non-swimmer being thrown into the deep end of the pool with no water wings or foam noodle to hold on to, who upon flailing and splashing his way to the edge of the pool discovers that his trunks have fallen off and sunk to the bottom of the pool. Talk about immersion!

The lessons have come fast and furious, each building upon the other. I have to admit: I have fallen behind at times. Learning how to navigate a Mac at the same time as learning how to code has not been fun! “How do I switch applications?” “I created a file but now I can’t find it!” “Command L or Command TAB?” “This is taking me forever to type everything out longhand! How is everyone finishing so damn quickly!!? Oh, you mean I can just hit the up arrow?” “What does full stack mean? This is not IHOP! I am hungry though! Pancakes sound good right about now??” Note to self: keep your internal dialogue to yourself, Mario.

Moving on to the coursework. So far, we’ve been learning PHP and working with command lines. Even with the pre-work that we were assigned before class started, I was and still am at times completely lost. Thankfully, the instructors and TA’s have a lot of patience in explaining the concepts. Little by little, the knowledge is beginning to sink in. Some days are better than others, but I can slowly see the progression.

I think I am just a bit hard on myself, being a perfectionist and all. Normally, I am a quick learner, which is why I’ve gotten even more frustrated with my lack of progression. As someone who is still unfamiliar with coding terminology, even asking a question can be a chore. I imagined hearing this quote from the movie “I, Robot” as an instructor’s response to me trying to verbalize my question: “I’m sorry, my responses are limited. You must ask the right questions.”

To expand on that in a more serious manner, the instructors won’t just GIVE you the solution. They will lead you in the right direction, but you have to put in the work by reading the PHP manual, reviewing the previous modules, or using my friend Google. That being said, class time is devoted to reviewing the previous modules, which gives us all a chance to look over our work and discover any mistakes we made. The cohorts also try to help each other out when they can. As the class progresses, I hope that I am more capable to offer help than I am at this point.

Looking at the big picture, I have learned a lot in a short amount of time. We all have. The instructors keep harping on the fact that we know more in one week than some web devs learned in their first year. Hard to imagine, yes, but it’s not just something said to raise our spirits. Other seasoned web devs have said the same thing to us, as well.

There seems to be quite a buzz around Codeup, which is very encouraging. We’ve already had several guest speakers, among them city councilman Diego Bernal, and each of them seemed genuinely enthusiastic about Codeup. More people in the Geekdom community seem to want to get involved and see that we succeed. Everyone is very positive and excited, and the fact that this is taking place of San Antonio bodes well for the community going forward.

So next up for us is HTML and CSS. I hope I pick it up quicker than I did PHP. I may not see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but I know it will be rapidly approaching!

Mario M. is a Web Dev noob, former Marine, certified personal trainer, Arsenal FC fan, long-suffering New York Knicks fan, lover of all things hard rock and heavy metal, and an avid reader. He considers Codeup a reboot of his life, but in choosing an actor to portray him, Ben Affleck would not be on that list.

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