Learning to Code: My Story as a Galvanize Web Dev Student

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This is a series written by former Galvanize employee Dan Beerman on his experience as a Galvanize student in WDI Cohort g70. Read the next post in the series here.


Yep. This isn’t a Dream. I Actually Just Quit My Job.

This is happening. It’s real. I’ve quit my job. This time I won’t be spending 6 months hiking miles across the country. Rather, I’ll be spending 6 months at Galvanize – Platte learning web development, studying, coding, and building things!

I’m taking the Web Development Immersive (WDI) at Galvanize starting this week. My first day is rapidly approaching – it’s tomorrow – and I’ve already spent days studying to get caught up on prep materials, getting my personal and professional life in order, and mentally getting ready.

Where I’ve come from and why I’ve decided a coding school is a good fit

Full disclosure – I’ve worked at Galvanize as a Senior Events Coordinator and Community Coordinator close to 2 years. From ordering beer and making coffee to working with other students and companies – this is a transition I’m excited about. I’ve worked closely with the staff and built friendships with people in the community.  I started at Galvanize while I was freelancing as a technical writer/designer and was seasonally teaching outdoor ed programs with Avid 4 Adventure in Golden, CO. Before that I earned a BS in Biochemistry in Missouri, worked in Biotech, and I hiked the 2700-mile-long Pacific Crest Trail. Working for Galvanize has been my introduction to entrepreneurship and technology.

I’ve been interested in the full-time immersive style classes Galvanize offers since I saw the first classes’ (cohort in Galvanize lingo) project presentations (then known as the Capstone Showcase) and the success graduates saw soon after. In a 3-hour event, I watched students show off their projects: IoT chemistry tools, games, to-scale virtual reality environments of the mapped galaxy, and useful day-to-day web apps. I saw first hand the transformative power that an immersive education in web development has. I was interested, but didn’t want to quit my day job.

Since then, I’ve spent many hours learning the basics of web development in my free time, taken Galvanize workshops, and built some small projects. While I’m confident in all the prep work I’ve done, I’m still nervous about the rigors that come along with 6 months of full-time education.

Making a career change is like a lot things in life; there’s no perfect time for it. So I’ve made time. I’ll be documenting my experience from the highs and lows to the struggles and success, on this blog throughout the program. I’m excited for you to follow along!

Immersive means Immersive

I’m confident that the energy and shared dedication of a class exclusively dedicated to learning web development will help push me to grow faster and learn more than if I were on my own. I’ve seen full stack developers and data scientists get their start on our campus and I’m excited to join their ranks. However, learning doesn’t happen in a vacuum and life doesn’t stop for professional development. Family, friends, personal health and finances – nothing can be left alone, and the Immersive is going to take so much time and energy to get everything out of it. All I can do is be mindful of the challenges to come and be as ready as I can to take them on. Life is a series of adjustments.

Starting down the path – what I’ve used to prepare

I’ve mentioned resources I’ve been using. Here’s a list of the things that enabled me to gain a basic understanding of web development before I enrolled in the Web Development Immersive. I’ll continue to post about the tools and resources I use throughout the program.

Codeacademy – great sequential materials to learn basics

FreeCodeCamp – also builds on basics

Code School – specifically the Git Real track

Edx Classes – like going back to college, but no one reminds you to go to class

Empire of Code – graphic web-based game with challenges

Enki – mobile app, daily workouts and challenges

Code Wars – once you’ve nailed some basics, try challenging yourself

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Getting Ready for the First Day of the Rest of My Life

Time to get some playlists organized, tune up the bike, get laundry done, and all these different apps updated on my computer. I’ve completed the pre-assigned course materials and now I’m just trying to open my mind and be ready to catch this giant wave of information coming at me.