Cora Hays-Magan

An enthusiastic coder

Dev Bootcamp: Like Peace Corps for tech?

The toughest job you'll ever love to code yourself a future

August 1, 2015

I've done Peace Corps and am now doing Dev Bootcamp, one took me to a rural village in the middle of a developing country to teach English and the other is taking me into the the world of code, compilers, data, version control, languages, application architecture, front and back end and it will all boil down into ones and zeros. Dev Bootcamp required less packing and shots, Peace Corps required less tech. I remember landing in country with Peace Corps and being told "Peace Corps is what you make it". I wanted it to make me a lot so I made it. The same can be said of Dev Bootcamp. Following the manual, not asking the questions or for opportunity, not pushing farther, will still lead a person to the end of each but the quality of the knowledge and skill achieved at the end will differ.

I thrive in this type of culture. The communal learning suits me as I like to engage with others and bring people into the mix while preserving order and direction within it. I always expected Dev Bootcamp to be an intense experience yet the Phase 0 intensity never crossed my mind. Luckily, it did cross my calendar as I cleared it beforehand.

The lack of knowing my cohort and having face to face meeting during Phase 0 is alien to me. I have rarely worked remotely, and when it did happen, the task was for people I knew. Week 1 feels like a disembodied head to me.

I'm nervous about the intensity taking a toll on the simple things, like eating and sleeping. I rack my brain over preparing for it but no comfort comes. The intensity of learning excites me, mind you, I'm rather certain I will cry at some point and let my frustration get to me at others.That happens. If I cry, please hand me a napkin as my nose will run like a snot train. If my frustration is unkind, send me on a walk and forgive me.

I remember my worse days in Peace Corps. You can flip a coin between the nights in a freezing cold house where I needed to heat my socks and wear two layers and a hat to fall asleep and the days when the countries over "hospitality" required me to keep with the women for safety and the time I wrote in a the wrong color blue which almost got my co-worker fired. Wait! You can't flip a coin between three things...and thus the worse day doing the most challenging things is still better than not. I'm hopeful that Dev Bootcamp and my cohort WILL push me beyond my normal sphere of learning and out of my comfort zone. The achievement gained through those moments of stress lead the way to amazing things. Peace Corps is a two year program which left me hungry for that tough job again. I know I can code myself a future which will provide the same opportunities and stresses I thrive on in life.