Confession: I’m not a complete coding novice. I’ve dabbled through the years via online resources and sat through a semester of web design in grad school. But even though I know my <h1> from my </h1>, true coding mastery has escaped me. When I heard about Eleven Fifty Academy’s Free Intro to Coding course I thought it would be a good place to brush up on my skills and learn more about the coding bootcamp experience.
First day jitters
It’s always a little nerve-wracking walking into a new classroom, but the Eleven Fifty crew was friendly and welcoming. After checking in I was led to the classroom by Nicky, one of the Eleven Fifty admissions advisors, who chatted with me about my previous coding experience. I settled into the classroom and pulled out my laptop (if you don’t have one, they have Chromebooks on hand to borrow). I was ready to go–which is good, because there was no time to waste in this jam-packed three hour course.
You’ll be in good company
My particular class was packed with a diverse group—-young kids who looked like they’d just graduated from high school, seasoned professionals, coding newbies, and those, like me, who knew a few things but were by no means experts. No matter who you are, you’re going to fit in.
You’ll dig into code right off the bat
Coding started almost immediately. After getting set-up with a CodePen.io account (an online platform for writing code), we dug in to a project building a single page portfolio with a navigation bar, multiple sections, photos, and more. The course solely focused on HTML and CSS, the intro coding languages that are the building blocks of the internet.
There’s help if you get lost
Conner, an Eleven Fifty Python instructor, took the lead for the course. While his screen was projected for us to follow along and code, a handful of other Eleven Fifty instructors were at the ready to help us one-on-one when stuck. Conner also addressed questions from the class throughout, and there was a handy cheatsheet for us to keep open in a tab that showed all of the code we would be writing throughout the class.
You’ll get a feel for the pace of an Eleven Fifty bootcamp
By the end of the course we’d covered about as much as I did in half a semester of my grad school web design class. Needless to say, it was FAST—and for good reason. As Conner noted, this is the pace you can expect in a full bootcamp experience. For the most part, everyone around me seemed to stay on task with the material we covered, and no one seemed shy about asking for help when something wasn’t going right.
There’s time for your Eleven Fifty questions
Outside of instruction time, Eleven Fifty team members were on hand to talk about the application process, bootcamp options, and more. The class ended with a few comments from the admissions advisors, including the next steps to the Eleven Fifty coding journey. Bring your questions or set up an appointment with an admissions advisor at a later time.
You’ll get a dose of honesty
The Eleven Fifty team seemed genuinely invested in your success—even if that means Eleven Fifty isn’t a part of it. While they expressed that anyone—no matter your age, gender, or background—could be a great coder, they noted it’s not right for everyone.
The secret? You have to love it!
The Eleven Fifty team seemed to truly want to be sure I was setting myself up for what’s best for me. That’s why the Intro to Coding course is valuable: it gives you that taste to determine whether or not you’ll be bitten by the coding bug.
At the end of the day, I’ll likely remain a coder from afar, dabbling here and there but not making the full-time transition to a programmer.
But if you think you could be dedicated to living a life of code, go for it! Sign up for a future Free Intro to Coding course, get your hands dirty, and maybe you’ll find a new future path. The worst thing that can happen is you learn your <h> from your </h1> and enjoy some free pizza.