puts Hello World

Just wanted to do a quick recap of the first day (yesterday). First of all, “yesterday” definitely feels more like “last week.” I usually skip to the part where people are talking about job hunting towards the end of their webdev bootcamp/cohort/squadron/etc. experience, so I’m not sure if this is common or not. And it probably has more to do with what we went over today than it does what we covered yesterday.

Yesterday was a little grueling. My coding muscles are being shocked into response this week already. I’ve spent the last few weeks focused on making sure I would have funding to come and a place to stay once I moved here to Houston from Baton Rouge. After a great talk about the importance of blogging (Meta!) and setting the paths for ourselves before someone else does it for us, we jumped straight in to Ruby. And I won’t lie, to begin with I was a little lost.

Luckily my neighbors and JB, our rock-star first week instructor, were willing to jump in when I had questions. But it had been so long since I’d even opened the terminal in my computer that I had to start at, “OK, so it’s cd ruby, then mkdir, right? I just closed my terminal, how do I run the code I’m putting in Atom again?” I didn’t really have time to jump on the prework I got last week and I think it showed day one for sure.

Although I’ve done some online coding classes, it was always hit or miss trying to complete projects without feeling like I just kind of in a void out by myself. There are always online coaching options and forums, but nothing beats having the ability to  raise your hand and say, “Wait, why did you do that?” or even just, “Help!” Which is 100% why I chose to do the Iron Yard over those online-only classes and honestly why I chose them over some other boot camps.

Maybe it’s because we’re in the South? Maybe it’s just a group of really awesome people all found each other, but I left that first day feeling a little lost and lot encouraged. I came in this morning and ironed out what I had done wrong on the homework from yesterday and then jumped right into another three hours of intermittently getting it and being lost in the weeds. Tonight I’m going back through some of the prewor, as well as hitting up Try Ruby as a great intro JB recommended before finishing up the last bit of my homework for tonight. I think it will help to see a little bit of Ruby from the high dive before I leap back in.


Maybe I’ve Found What I’m Looking For?

Long before they were tormenting teenagers and conspiracy theorists with the gift of free music, U2 provided a substantial portion of the soundtrack for my high school existence. “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” was one of my favorites by far. I really identified with that ongoing pursuit for what you know must be “out there.”

I loved this song so much I even convinced a high school girlfriend that it should be “our song,” which in hindsight was one of the more ridiculous choices of an adolescence riddled with ridiculous choices. I mean, what young lady wants her boyfriend to suggest he’s still looking around for who may finally the ONE? Was it me dooming this relationship or recognizing it was already doomed?


I sense you pulling away! This is not the kind of blog where I navel-gaze and ruminate on my teen years and the requisite angst that comes with that time. This is the kind of blog where I tell you that I may have finally found (a) thing I’ve been looking for.

Monday was my first day at the Houston site for The Iron Yard. Soon I will learn more than I ever knew existed about Ruby/Rails, and I will still barely scratch the surface. But for now I’m just looking forward to twelve weeks of pain and torture with the promise of gaining actual real-world marketable skills at the end.

I put in my notice at my old job last Monday and worked through Friday. I stored/threw away/donated/left most of my life in Baton Rouge, grabbed some clothes and books and whatever would fit in my car and drove straight to Houston yesterday night. I rolled into Houston around 2AM Sunday night/Monday morning and 7 1/2 hours later I was seated in a converted garage/warehouse listening to John welcome us to a new life of web development.

And I feel totally great about it. This is how I know I might have found something I’ve been looking for. I want to be challenged, I want to engage and jump into something wholeheartedly. I also have to say I’d really like to be rewarded for meeting those challenges, even if it’s just knowing I came out and conquered something instead of being scared and only doing what I already know I can do.

And trust me, yesterday was a bit of a challenge. I haven’t touched anything Ruby or even Terminal related in weeks trying to prep for the move, and it showed. Not that I had done anything but putz around with it anyway. I’ll try to alternate between the pragmatic and the personal on this blog, so I’ll have a lot more to say on this theme later, but I wanted to start by saying I’m really feeling inspired this evening.

I want to write this down now for when I’m hating life and searching for that one line in a thousand with “puts” spelled “putts” or something equally mundane/maddening. I also wan to remind myself that these next few weeks are part of my whole life. I don’t intend to stop writing when the class is through, so this is just the beginning of a lifelong process of reflection, learning, and honing a craft.