by Kara Luton

What I’ve Learned Two Years Post-Bootcamp

My Iron Yard cohort

It’s been two entire years since I left behind my career of being a music publicist — one I worked towards all of college and miraculously landed a coveted spot in — to start a three-month-long frontend engineering program at The Iron Yard. I had no idea about anything within the tech industry, and I barely knew what a div was. The past two years have been some of the most trying times in my life, but I’m so glad I started this journey.

To give you some background on why I decided to transition to the tech world read my article ‘From Music Publicist to Web Developer’. I was stressed out. I spent most of my days emailing hundreds of journalists hoping they would say yes to an interview or a story about one of my clients. I wanted something new. Something where I would be pushed every single day and would always be learning. Well, working as a developer is exactly that. Here are some things I’ve learned since graduating from my bootcamp.

You’re always going to be learning

Not a day goes by when I don’t learn something new as a web developer. This is one of my absolute favorite things about this job but it can also be overwhelming. Whenever imposter syndrome is taking over for me I like to sit back and think about how far I’ve come.

As I said earlier, I started my bootcamp knowing nothing about web development. All I knew was what I had learned on Codecademy. It still amazes me what I can do now that I didn’t have any clue about two years ago. I can’t wait to look back and see what else I can do in two more years.

Always ask questions

When I worked as a publicist, I felt that asking questions was a sign of weakness. It meant I didn’t know how to do my job so I steered away from it.

But in order to get better at coding, you have to ask questions. It’s something I’ve had to get used to. Sometimes I still feel hesitant to ask a senior developer about an issue I’m having with my code. Never be afraid to ask.

Make sure you’ve done your research before you do reach out, though. Have you thoroughly Googled the issue you’re having? Have you run the debugger to see if you’re missing a step? Do all you can before you ask. Explain what you’ve done to your senior developer so they don’t have to walk through the same steps. Gordon Zhu has a great article on this as well.

There are a million different ways to do one thing

My office recently had a lunch and learn where we made an automated gauge with Vanilla JavaScript. As we all were going around explaining our solutions I realized that every single person went about the problem in a different way. I love seeing how my coworkers and I go about the same problem. I learn something new from each person’s perspective.

Take feedback in stride

Being a developer means you’re always going to have code reviews. It doesn’t matter how senior you are, it will always be something that happens. Learn to take the feedback from your code reviews in stride.

Writing code is something that is so personal. You’re building something from scratch and you’re proud of it. Don’t get offended when you receive feedback on a review. The person reviewing your code isn’t trying to be malicious. They’re trying to make you a better developer. I’ve seen some developers get so heated about their code reviews and it’s only hurting themselves. Code reviews are another opportunity to learn and grow.

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Kara Luton (@karaluton) | Twitter
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