(cross-posted with The Plan)
In January 2015, I made a tentative 4 month schedule for what my code learning would look like, and for the most part I executed on it. Anything optional got shelved. Almost all the MOOCs got shelved (I did stick with the MIT one about 3/4ths of the way through). I went to one meet-up group meeting, once, which is ridiculous given the wealth of resources in our community and openness to sharing, but hey, this journey is about learning and I’ve learned I’m not a meet-up person.
Not surprisingly, in-person class commitments were key to moving forward and keeping me accountable, and I’ve had overall positive results with Code Fellows so far.
If I had to plan it again, here’s my do-over itinerary:
- First, get you a Mac, or get ready for a world of pain.
- Unless you’re planning to do the full-time bootcamp (in which case do everything you can the month before), take a night class with Code Fellows ($500 for foundations I or $1,500 for foundations II if you already have some code experience and want to prep for an accelerator).
- If you have an opportunity to apply to Ada Academy, do it! Don’t let the required video and their unpredictable cohort schedule scare you away, unless the latter is a deal breaker. This cohort timing wouldn’t have worked for me, but that’s not why I didn’t apply — I didn’t apply because I was scared to make a stupid video. And that’s super lame. So, you know, just do it (and then turn them down if it doesn’t feel right).The act of applying will be a useful exercise for you. This year they had 265 applicants and selected 24 women, and, while I’m confident the number of applications will only grow, those odds are not terrible. You can do it!
- Work through MITx 6.00.1x Intro to Computer Science with John Guttag. I bought the textbook but never really used it, so skip that. Instead get the textbook for…
- Python the Hard Way: the book is offered for free entirely online, so a paper copy is optional (but nice, IMO, because you can keep going without an internet connection). If the hard way isn’t your style, try Elizabeth Wickes python for informatics instead.
- Get familiar with git (where you’ll keep track of your programs), unix/terminal line(where you’ll run/edit/etc your programs) and a text editor, I use Sublime 2. Like, really, learn them. This could maybe wait until month 2 or 3 but the sooner the better.
- Tackle a few side projects to start to grow your portfolio and have something to practice your new skills on: mine were this blog (powered via WordPress), a non-Wordpress pure html/css webpage, and twitter bots. Bot, bot, bot!
- Talk to programmers to learn about their jobs, and research code school options that might be a fit for you.
- Hopefully you made some friends in your class (or online) and have an ongoing study group in the works. Or, for Pete’s sake, go to some meet-ups. I hear they don’t bite.
- Try Ruby, ruby koans, learn rails (free for CF students or $19/month). Specifically, I’m working my way through these Ruby tutorials in the next month or so:
- Bento is “a guided, curated tour” through various online coding tutorials. There’s a lot of them, and this isn’t bad.
- I currently have a Treehouse subscription (because I forgot to close my account after 2 week trial), but I might ditch it in favor of a Code School membership. Treehouse does some things well but I’ve been unimpressed with the pacing of the Ruby track I’m working through (too slow). EDIT: this review says do both. I’m also considering onemonth.
- Next steps for me: take another foundations II class in June (this one in Ruby), and apply for the Ruby accelerator in August. On this path, I’ll be “done” by the end of October and looking for jobs or internships before the start of 2016. We’ll have to take a good hard look at finances after the wedding and honeymoon this summer. I’ll be most comfortable if my period of unemployment lasts no longer than a year, but I’m mentally prepared for a career shift to last up to two years (same amount of time as full-time grad school for most programs). One year could be crazy wishful thinking.
And that’s it! I tried and failed to break this out month-by-month, but I hope this is helpful to someone even without that timeline. I’ll keep my first (aspirational) draft on The Plan page that has many repeat resources (and a lot more that I didn’t get to). Enjoy! –Mary