Fiddler Crabs 2015, the Saturday before Phase 1

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The Three Greatest Things I Learned at Dev Bootcamp

13 April 2015

When I signed up for Dev Bootcamp, the only thing I was interested in learning to do was how to program in Ruby and JavaScript. If I could get a handle on these skills, I was sure that I would be able to get a job as a developer so that I could finally escape the grasp of jobs based in administration and customer service.

What I didn’t anticipate is that Dev Bootcamp is about so much more than learning to program. In fact, it is only a small portion of what I learned at Dev Bootcamp, and I would argue it is the least important of the three skills I learned.

On The Coding Skills I Learned

Surprise! Dev Bootcamp teaches you how to code. In fact, the Dev Bootcamp website lists a number of languages in their curriculum: Ruby, Javascript, SQL, HTML, and CSS. In addition, I learned how to use a few libraries, such as ActiveRecord, jQuery, and Handlebars.

However, learning to code is about more than just a specific language, and Dev Bootcamp knows this. Languages become obsolete, but coding skills last forever. In this regard, DBC taught us a number of programming “best practices,” including agile development, single responsibility code, object-oriented design, and basic algorithm approaches.

Learning How to Learn

Like I said: Dev Bootcamp recognizes that Ruby won’t be around forever (though the jury is still out on JavaScript). As such, coding best practices aren’t worth much if we don’t know how to pick up the next language.

Knowing how to learn is a skill which is vastly underrated in the “real world” but highly emphasized at Dev Bootcamp. Thus, one of the greatest skills that Dev Bootcamp taught me was how to focus my learning so I can reduce the amount of time between researching a new language and putting it to use. For example, one skill I practiced was jumping in and playing with the code. In this way, I can learn agilely: get something small working first, and then build from there.

What implications does this have as a new developer? Well, I can apply for a job in any language because I can achieve a workable knowledge within a week. It won’t necessarily produce great code, but I can always improve on those aspects as I continue to learn.

Developing Emotional Intelligence

The most surprising and rewarding skill I learned at Dev Bootcamp is Emotional Intelligence. In the past, I often got in the way of my own learning. If it was too hard, I decided it wasn’t for me. I would stop before I was ahead because I didn’t want to see myself fail. Learning Emotional Intelligence at Dev Bootcamp has given me a greater ability to recognize negative (and positive) emotions and choose to react in a positive, constructive manner.

First, I learned a great deal about my superego, which is also known as the internal voice of doubt which undermines my confidence. This negative voice was the greatest obstacle to my ability to learn. While I am no better at quieting my superego, I am significantly better at recognizing it and minimizing its impact on my performance. In particular, I learned to lean into confusion and embrace failure — two traits I didn't have which have changed my attitude when learning a difficult new topic.

In addition, I gained a higher emotional intelligence in regards to working on a team. While I am still learning to flex this muscle, I see its impact on my future. My favorite tool is asking for A.S.K. Feedback: feedback which is Actionable, Specific, and Kind. Through regular and specific feedback, I have learned how to be a better team member.

In Conclusion

Dev Bootcamp changed my life. I learned incredibly valuable life skills which make me a valuable and competent employee — and I happened to learn how to code along the way.

Long live the Fiddler Crabs, 2015!