March 28 – May 25
I just graduated Dev Bootcamp! The last 10 weeks have been a grind – late nights, long weekends, caffeine addictions renewed — but it has been a total blast!
I can, with full confidence, call myself a web-developer. I have even tinkered around with mobile iOS development (something I will be diving deeper into over the next few weeks and beyond). I feel totally freed to build the technology I can imagine and desire to see built. I am excited to take these skills to Northwestern and use them alongside what I learn in my classes to hopefully start a business (we’ll see!)
Reflecting on Dev Bootcamp (and perhaps the bootcamp experience in general), I do have a few thoughts:
- Learning how to code is the tip of the iceberg. There are SO many technologies, dev tools, APIs, libraries, languages, etc. to use. Part of the challenge in building anything is not only knowing how to build that tech, but also knowing what to use to get it done in the best way given your goals.
- Your portfolio (what you’ve built) is more important than a resume. Recruiters aren’t going to care you’re a smooth talker if you have nothing on your GitHub to show examples of your code. For the most part I think this is great (but may make it harder for my cohort mates to get their foot in the door).
- Bootcamps teach you a lot, but to be successful, you have to own your own learning (and recruiting process thereafter). This probably applies much more broadly than computer science.
- One of the biggest benefits of going to a bootcamp is the connections you make among your cohort. And, I had the BEST COHORT EVER!
Want to see what I’ve been building? Check out my website or my GitHub. And, feel free to hit me up if you have specific questions about DBC. Happy to dive in deeper with those interested!
After graduation I headed back to Orlando for my cousin’s graduation and a friend’s wedding. So far it has been a nice break as I figure out how best to change gears now that bootcamp is done.
I need to prepare for Northwestern (I start classes on 6/20!), but also figure out how to fit coding and writing into that (still digging in on iOS and still querying agents for Sandwatcher). Even though DBC is over, I am still feeling stressed by all I want to do. I know I’ll need to prioritize eventually, but right now I am having a hard time letting any one project / pursuit go.
March 20 – March 27
First week of Dev Bootcamp onsite = DONE
We spent much of this first week reviewing a lot of what we’d learned in Phase 0 (the remote program before arriving onsite). In some ways this was good and in other ways it left me eager for the pace to pick up. At least now, I feel really competent at Ruby.
I do hope that next week and the following 2 months are filled with greater challenges (I suspect they will be given what I see the cohorts ahead of us working on). I also hope our lectures become more focused on the ecosystem around coding (great: I can write up some good code and save it in a ruby file, but then how do I turn this into a gem or an app or a program with some sort of user interface). I want to learn the practical parts of programming.
Otherwise the week was good. I didn’t realize how challenging it would be for me to be around so many people all the time (#introvertlife), but the Caltrain is actually super manageable so I was able to recharge at home with Ryan more nights than I had anticipated.
I also got to celebrate my best friend’s (Chris from WashU!) engagement. He and his wonderful fiancee, Lisa, had a small engagement party at R&G Lounge in SF (an amazing Chinese restaurant). The food and company were stellar. I cannot wait for bachelorette party / wedding fun! Who knew I would be a grooms[wo]men before ever being a bridesmaid?
I hope as my time in DBC progresses I am still able to see friends and family, get back to some writing, and really push my knowledge on the practical CS front. Will keep y’all posted!
March 10 – March 19
Last week I participated in Startup Lockdown with an old friend of mine from McKinsey who is now at HBS, 2 other HBS first years, and a software engineer from Formidable.
We had 5 days and 5 people to build 5 companies. Boy! Was it a sprint and an incredibly fun one at that!
Over the week we built:
- Sherpa – curated itineraries to share with friends (landing page, instagram, survey)
- Physiatrix – physical therapy reimagined
- Phosify – a marketplace for brain fitness (website, twitter)
- Densr – the tech-enabled solution for men who want to keep their hair (website, twitter)
- Omega – the quantified self-wellness app (website)
I led our Physiatrix day. After multiple surgeries and many physical therapy sessions, I was especially invested in finding a solution for the pain that is PT. From the patient’s side, the logistics of travel to and from PT is difficult (you’re on meds / injured so driving may not be an option AND you’ve already taken time off work for the surgery yet most PT is only available M-F 9-5). From the PT’s side, the economics aren’t great (you’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars to get your DPT degree over 3 years, yet make $30-$35 an hour on sessions that insurers pay $200-$300 for!)
I was eager to spend the day testing viability. Before we can build a business, let’s find out if there is even an opportunity. Unfortunately, we discovered too many hurdles that would prevent the business(es) we were excited about from being profitable given the current state of healthcare in the US. Too bad, but still a great learning experience.
Overall the week was (not surprisingly) particularly educational! My key learnings:
- You can build a lot in a day: business plans, models, websites, brands, buzz, even customers (okay so you don’t ‘build’ customers … or can you O_O)
- Branding is just as key as thinking through your business’s backend (something I always used to lean more heavily towards)
- Starting a company is exhausting, yet exhilarating
- Developing a company with a team is a lot easier (even when there is dissent) than going at it alone
Also, building companies with cool, smart people is really fun. I highly recommend Startup Lockdown for any students at Harvard (HBS or not!). I feel very lucky to have been asked to participate (thank you for the millionth time Andrea!)
Oh … and we got some press 😉
What a whirlwind! AND — it’s not over. Tomorrow I move to SF (thank you again Arif!!) to start DevBootcamp on Monday. Very excited to dive in (just need to sleep a little more first).
February 11 – March 9
The last month has been very recovery focused.
BUT first, Ryan’s parents came up for the weekend and we spent Valentines Day / our one year anniversary (O_O) with them. Maybe this is embarrassing to admit given my age, but I actually have never ‘met the parents’ before. Luckily, Ry’s parents were pretty chill even if they seemed slightly underwhelmed by our ‘big V-day plans’ (aka staying in to avoid crowds …).
Soon after Ry’s parents left, I had my knee surgery. The doctor was supposed to repair the tear in my meniscus. The chance of a full recovery was about 60%. After surgery, she told me she instead removed all the torn parts of my meniscus. This would offer the chance of a full recovery. A bit confusing, but I’ll take it! My doctor was Dr. Deborah Faryniarz. I definitely recommend (although hopefully unnecessarily so — surgery sucks!)
After surgery I felt GREAT. Man, surgical pain medication is effective. Right after my surgery, I was walking around, wolfing down Chipotle, kicking my mom’s butt in scrabble …. then the heavy duty stuff wore off and I was essentially bed-ridden for a week. And, in crazy pain. Slowly I have weaned myself off of oxycodone, but recovery is moving at a glacier-like pace (although everyone says I am on-track).
I suppose there have been many silver-linings to this unexpected surgical hiccup:
- I really really appreciate the use of my legs. My days of extreme exercise are over
- I have great friends. Special shout out to Arif who is letting me stay with him while I do Dev Bootcamp
- I have had more time to write (short stories and maybe a new novel!) as well as query agents with Sandwatcher
- Ryan and I have had more time to iron out our single point of tension in the relationship. I think we are moving in a direction I am more comfortable with, but I suppose time will tell.
One more exciting bit of news to report: Beginning Sunday, I will be in Boston for Startup Lockdown — a 5 day / 5 person / 5 startup hackathon at HBS. The opportunity landed really unexpectedly in my lap (thanks Andrea!), but I jumped at the chance to participate. It is going to be intense (and right before DBC too), but I know I’ll learn a lot. My team has our kickoff tonight, so will definitely have more to report next time I check-in.