How I got to Dev Bootcamp

So, this is the first time I have ever posted anything (aside from an Amazon review, haha) on line.  This is a pretty weird feeling but I'm gonna go with it.  I have never been a user of "the facebook" or "the twitter" and the only reason that I have either of those is because we needed them for Dev Bootcamp.  

I plan on posting about things I am studying, interested in, and working on but I figured I should give anyone that reads this an idea of who I am and how I got here.

I am also going to say here that I am setting a goal for myself to post at least 1 time per week.  Accountability, right?

I have spent the better part of the last 5 years working in the tech field.  I knew I loved technology but didn't know what exactly I wanted to do.  One of my favorite sayings is "If you don't step forward, you will always be in the same place".   So I decided to step forward in the "general direction" in which I knew I was going.   I was thinking that by trying different things, I could at least figure out what I didn't want to do and hopefully find what I was looking for in the process.  

I started out with hardware/software support, getting certified as a Dell Certified System Expert in the process on a LOT of hardware.  I figured out that I hate driving.

I found what I thought was a dream job, working for a start-up.  I have always been incredibly dedicated, loyal, and focused and thought my ability to put in crazy hours and "prove myself" on a daily basis were the perfect combination for success.  I was wrong.  I wound up supporting a system that was in dire need of an overhaul.

I learned a couple of VERY valuable lessons here.  

1.  I really enjoy programming.

2.  I want to write well crafted, tested, simple, and maintainable code.

3.  Where you work and who you work for are actually important.  Huh, go figure.  All of the lunches and fancy offices don't mean a thing unless you are working with people you enjoy.  Another favorite quote of mine, "putting whipped-cream on horse-shit doesn't make it any good" said by one of the guys I caddied for when I was 12.   

4.  I want to work on projects that are engaging, inspiring, and meaningful.  

5.  I want to work for a company that promotes learning, cooperation and camaraderie while providing guidance and support. 

In late 2012 the web started to grab my attention.  Websites were starting to do some really cool things, but I had no idea how to start learning about them.

I read an article about Dev Bootcamp in Wired ( ) and knew that was my calling.  I was a General Contractor prior to all of this and have always been drawn toward building things.

I applied and was told I needed to be more knowledgeable about the various technologies before I would be considered a good candidate.  I was pissed and I wanted to go ASAP but realized that it wasn't going to be as easy as just wanting to go.  

Challenge accepted.   

Time to dig in again, but this time with a single minded focus.  I felt there was light at the end of the tunnel and I had finally figured out what I was meant to do.  There were a lot of things I needed to learn before I could be successful and I committed myself to learning them.  I searched the web for an outline of the technologies needed and possible order in which to learn them.  One day I came across a similar program called The Flatiron School and stumbled onto their pre-work website ( ).  As soon as I saw this page, I knew that was the plan.  

Needless to say, there was a lot to do.  I started knocking items off that list, slowly but surely, every evening after work and most weekend days.  I started to get it and it was exciting.  When I got about 3/4 of the way through it was mid June and I contacted Dev Bootcamp again to re-apply.  This time I got in and I decided to go to the final cohort of the year, Oct - December.

Crunch time.  I realized that I had 3 months to complete the Advanced HTML/CSS course I was taking at "The Starter League", the Flatiron pre-work, the Dev Bootcamp pre-work, and some self guided goals of working through "The Ruby Way" and "The Well Grounded Rubyist". Haha.  I know what you're thinking and yea, I'm kind of ambitious.  This was a lot of work but I knew I was capable of it and wound up getting a little help.  

The start-up I was working for had been imploding slowly for about a year and I wound up getting laid off at the beginning of August.  It was perfect timing.  I was able to dedicate 10-12 hours a day to studying and preparing myself for the experience that was going to shape the rest of my life.   These 2 months were by no means easy but they laid the groundwork for having to work 12-14 hours a day at Dev Bootcamp.  

Side note - Our final project at Dev Bootcamp was the epitome of all 5 of the valuable lessons I learned above.

It's a crazy world.  I realize now that if I had been admitted and gone in January, I would've washed out of Dev Bootcamp for sure.  I am thinking my next post is going to be about the Dev Bootcamp experience.  Hope you enjoyed this one, if you did, let me know.