Posted on September 15th, 2016 in Coding, Coding Bootcamp, Student Stories Tags: ,
Code Career Changers Listening to John Qualls

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By: Evan Reller, Apprentice at Eleven Fifty Academy

Nine weeks isn’t very much time to learn a new skill. Especially one as complicated as computer coding. But Eleven Fifty Academy promises to teach you the abilities needed to be successful in the field, and they absolutely deliver.

A few months ago I embarked on a career change, potentially leaving the world of journalism to pursue a career as a computer coder. To learn the technical skills I would need, I enrolled in the nine-week JavaScript Accelerated Learning Program offered by Eleven Fifty Academy. I honestly could not have made a better decision. While the entirety of the program is great, even the first three weeks can be beneficial for someone hoping to get into the field.

The First Three Weeks

The opening third of the course is offered independently and gives students a foundation in web development. An exceptional base from which people could launch a career or enhance their current work with. Learning to build a website from scratch (or manipulate an existing template) is an invaluable skill in our digital world.

Those first few weeks now feel as if they took place in another life. I’ve been through undergraduate studies and a master’s program, but nothing can compare to the pace with which the Eleven Fifty Accelerated Learning Program moves.

And that certainly isn’t a bad thing, either. At times it can be overwhelming, almost drowning, but thanks to the staff and teachers you are never under water for very long. Everyone has been beyond helpful regardless of whether it is a coding issue or an issue of confidence. They have been there to encourage our learning and help students develop at their own pace.

The Challenge

Coding seems incredibly daunting and it isn’t for everyone. There is a steep learning curve that is constantly changing due to the field evolving at a blistering pace. People in the field are constantly adding to their repertoire, building their knowledge base and learning new languages. This is a perfect career for someone who loves to learn and face down challenges.

My experience as a writer left me in a sort of middle ground, rarely was there a true high. A good story might not elicit any reaction, but you better believe you’ll hear it. But with coding, the highs and lows are extreme and more self-contained. There is clear success and failure. Solving a problem is a great rush, but it can come after hours or days of struggling.

While the struggle was indeed real, you won’t have to face it alone in Eleven Fifty. Coding is generally a group effort and between the helping staff and my classmates, I never felt as if I was facing these challenges alone. At times you would solve your own errors, sometimes a solution was given to you, and often a classmate would make a suggestion or look at the problem in a new way that would lead to success.

Changing Careers

I’ve been a journalist for the past seven years, covering Indiana sports for a variety of outlets. I’ve loved the discussion and platform to express my opinion, but it hasn’t always been great. The sense of reward rarely hit me in that field and the amount of work became a chore rather than a pleasure.

As I sought a way to move forward with my career, I was told that I’d make an ideal coder. It wasn’t something I’d ever considered, although I knew a few people in the field. A weekend seminar with Eleven Fifty in March started my path towards this shift. It was tough to make the leap, but I’m very happy with the decision.

It was reassuring to not take this sort of move alone as the vast majority of my fellow students were all making the same career move. That alone helped build our sense of camaraderie, knowing that we were all in the same boat and not just in terms of struggling with our code.

A Better Approach

Coding isn’t easy and it can be difficult to learn without some guidance. There are plenty of tools available to help you learn to code, but they don’t help you learn the best practices when it comes to working in the field. They don’t teach you the nuances of the work, the file structure, or the importance of routine commits. Those online resources won’t help you find success in the field like Eleven Fifty while at the same time supporting your continued education.

Coding presents a new challenge for me, one that has tested my creative ability. Anyone can pick up a pencil or type out some words to create something imaginative, it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. But with coding, you really need that strong foundation in order to really test your creativity. Having a simple idea will likely result in a product that will take months of work, but it is something I am looking forward to.

I can see myself as a front-end developer, or working on building apps, or even maintaining and creating websites. The great part of JavaScript is just how versatile it truly is. The internet is ingrained in society and therefore so is JavaScript. I haven’t yet found my calling in the field, but then again I’m just 10 weeks removed from the beginning of this journey.

This summer with Eleven Fifty has been incredible and I would recommend the program to anyone who asks about it or is looking for a career change. Learn more about the Accelerated Learning Program here. 

If you are looking to change careers, be sure to reach out to our Admissions Coaches! 




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