In January 2018, I decided to return to software development. The career served me well in the past. Given the demand for developers, I expect that it will serve me for some time to come. Plus, I enjoy coding.
Problem: I had been out of the game for ~10 years and I was rather rusty.
First, I decided to develop my own skills without formal classwork. It did not work and I began to see the advantage of structure.
I had not driven an IDE in close to 10 years. Every coding detail that I knew was 10 years stale. Strategically, I know a lot about software development. Tactically, I know nothing. I had lobotomized myself and needed a structured program to regain my talent.
I have a good method to decide when I am ready for the employment market. It is called the Breadbox test. The test is designed to help ensure a good employment fit.
On arrival – on a first day of work at a new employer – quality businesses often give a two week project to a new employee. These projects are a little smaller than a breadbox. At the end of the two weeks, the project is evaluated and management supplies feedback on what was done well and what could have been done better.
Breadbox trial balloons are no joke. I will not accept a position until I feel that I can deliver on a proper two week project. It means that I have traction. You do not need to ace the project. It just needs to be reasonably complete. You are new after all.
I need the skills to satisfy the breadbox test. Once I have that, I will connect the rest of the dots.
What were my education options? Traditional universities, loosely linked web classes, and boot camps. For me – in the past – traditional programs had not worked well. Loose web classes did not have the structure I desired. The boot camp option seemed to make sense and I started to inquire amongst friends about the providers.
A friend directed me to Flatiron School. He is a senior manager at a financial institution. We spoke over coffee one afternoon and I asked about boot camps. My friend told me that his organization hires from FS. He was pleased with their graduates.
That sparked my interest in Flatiron.
The school has a free prep course to prepare for their formal application. The course is well done and convinced me to continue the process.
In March of 2018, I started the On-line Web Development curriculum at Flatiron School. My goal is to learn the tools, tactics and strategies available to developers and engineers today. The plan is to learn and return to work.
I expect to finish in 4 to 6 months by studying 40+ hours per week. I have never studied that hard in my life. It is, however, time to make things happen.
What have I seen so far? The curriculum at FS is clean and crisp. The structure provided by Flatiron is impressive. Their admission team is spot on. I am teamed with an education coach to help keep me on track. She is excellent.
Questions are resolved fast. I was experiencing a tough technical problem on my Linux machine and posted the difficulty. The tech team brought two people to bear on the issue in short order.
Where will all of this take me? At curriculum end, I expect to pass the breadbox test for entry level development work. Once employed, the rest is up to me.