Slight Detour

rr switchInto every life, every journey comes a few detours. All you can do is prepare for everything you can imagine, all the while realizing that the bumps you do come across will be something you could not have anticipated. Luckily, I learned that one a long time ago, so there was no major meltdown when the director of my bootcamp called to tell me the program had been pushed back 4 months. Disappointment and increased anxiety, sure, but that was about the extent of it. It is certainly a far from ideal situation, but the school offered a seat in their mobile (iOS) dev cohort, gratis, so that’s what I’ll be doing for the next 12 weeks. On the positive side, mobile dev was on my long term to-learn list, I wasn’t doing anything else during the time, and if I’m careful and frugal, I can still take the RoR/back-end course in February. Whether or not I’ll be able to take the RoR course is dependent on several factors, many of which I just have to wait and see how it turns out. Because the tech hiring process can take so long, I’m trying to be cautious with savings, and give myself 4+ months after the end of the course to find work.  If everything works out (hopes, not expectations), I’ll come out the other side with more education and experience than I’d have if it had all gone as originally planned. It’s a different community to get to know, lots to learn, and widens the vista. Here’s to new things!

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Bootcamp as Career Change Catalyst

You know how when you really start thinking a lot about a particular subject, you start seeing articles/posts/stuff about it everywhere? Well, I’ve been self-studying for a career change to web development for a while now, and struggling to get from “doing what I can at night, on my own” to “ready to hire”. Being an Adult Person with House + Family means I need to do everything possible to set myself up for success. From hours of research and study, and picking the minds of those already established, that means (at the very least):

  • rounding out my education and experience
  • building a portfolio
  • practice working with a team
  • practice getting direction and assignments from an external source
  • practice interviewing and completing coding practicals
  • networking and branding (don’t look at me like that – you know it’s important)
  • local meetups and events
  • contributing to OSS
  • support with the job-getting process.

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This is THE time

For most, spring is the time of rebirth and renewal, cleaning and fresh starts. For those of us in the sub-tropical south, fall is OUR time.

After the liquid heat of summer (aka, Season of the Hurricanes and Mosquitos), it’s beautiful outside, the bands start migrating this way, and energy levels skyrocket. It becomes our time for Big Things – especially for me, especially this year.

In the fall, I will be resigning from my current job/career and participating in a 12 week back-end/RoR bootcamp. Self-study will continue, as I ramp up to a shiny new career and a shiny new year. I will try my dutiful best to keep up on the blog, covering the bootcamp experience, prepping for a new career, tips, workarounds, and all that other stuff that’s really helpful when you don’t even know what question(s) to ask.

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Welp, all of the various tutorials, lessons, exercises and whatnot have resulted in my Mac responding with a bit of a conniption fit. Granted, it is a bit elderly for strenuous activity, but the main problem seems to be versions, libraries, dependencies, et al. that are giving me constant errors when I try to install or run anything new. I don’t want to spend more days trying to resolve all the issues (should be getting a new Mac in a few months), so for now I’m going to be using exclusively for my Ruby and/or RoR studying. They’ve recently gone “Pro”, and most of the lag/refresh issues seem to be resolved. I’ll miss my fancy highlighting and shortcuts in the CLI, and everything in Sublime, but at least I’ll be able to get real work done.

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Progress Report – In the beginning…

Below is my current list of tutorials (online, book & website), resources, skills and other input that I need to shove in my brain. As time goes on, this list may expand or contract, and I’ll update as I progress.


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All signs point to Ruby

Research can be my downfall. It’s not uncommon for me to fall into an internet ruby-logoblackhole looking up, well, anything. Trying to decide how to start my web dev journey may have been the deepest I’ve ever dived into that hole. After a few months of researching what technologies were used to build my favorite/essential websites and applications, the prevalence of use on the web, the educational resources available, strong community, learning curve, and a multitude of other factors, I finally settled on starting with Ruby. It ranked highest in my list. I had a goal, and a will, and…well, the way was a little harder.

Ruby and Ruby on Rails have so many resources available, it was a challenge to narrow down my self-lesson plan. In addition to pure Ruby/Rails education, I needed refresher (and some starter) courses in CSS, HTML, Javascript, and more. The college courses I’d taken to date helped lay a solid foundation, but there was a world of difference between a classroom class and an online tutorial. The teacher/student/peer interactions were dearly missed, and staying on task during more challenging lessons took considerably more discipline when there was no accountability such as assignment due dates. Continue reading

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The journey thus far…

Sailfish Drive B&W

When you approach the idea of creating change in your life, you can go about it a few different ways: stuff that you want, goals to accomplish and check off a list, or the ideal shape to your life.  Thinking about change in the context of the shape of your life is an all-in exercise. When I went down that mental path, there were a few things that I decided were essential: a career that would allow me plenty of time with family and friends; the ability to eventually be location independent, and work remotely, so I could travel with family; a career that kept my mind challenged, with plenty of opportunity for professional growth; and a field that could keep me passionately engaged. Boiling this all down, looking at my lifelong interests, obsessions and innate talents, I decided to head down the road to CS.

So, why now? Because of the increased accessibility of non-traditional learning opportunities for those of us that can’t do the standard college -> internship -> career path.

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