Your Journey Into Tech: Week 1 - Emotional rollercoasters and comfort zones

Apr 1st, 2019

We asked our latest cohort of returners to share their experience of the 'Your Journey Into Tech Programme' here Zoey shares her thoughts on the first two weeks

They say anyone can learn to code!

I am going to put that to the test, I am writing this post to document my progress. Hopefully it will help anyone who is thinking of learning to code and enter the Tech Industry.

I am a mum to a 17 month old and want to return to work into a career that wasn't as demanding as my last job in mental health but that isn’t mundane. So when I saw the application for The Tech Returners course I jumped at the chance to be on it and applied, and amazingly got a place. Even though the pre-course task took me well over the estimated 2-3 hours which was to complete a few lessons on freecodecamp.org

I am completely new to coding and before the immersion week, python was a type of snake, java was something to do with coffee and git was a word used to insult someone!

So Monday morning there I was, a bag of nerves mixed with the excitement of potential and eager to start my journey into tech.

My week was an emotional roller coaster as I felt I was clutching at straws to understand the concepts, coding, where the symbol I needed was on the keyboard! Over the week we did ice breakers to get to know one another, paired up with different people daily to mix the group and to learn how to work as a pair which was new to most of us. We have learnt how to use a terminal and some basic command line instructions. We have learnt how to use Github to save and share work, been taught about variables, tests, functions and looping Java Script. I am still trying to understand theses fully it has been a bit of a shock to my poor brain which isn't used to taking in lots of new information! However I have definitely taken some of it in.

I personally found the first week her difficult but am determined to finish the course to see how much I can learn and develop. After Tuesdays lesson I felt way out of my depth and really didn't want to return after lunch as I really had no clue what I was meant to be doing. But I spoke to my husband who gave me a bit of a pep talk and I returned with a different mindset as I had been putting a huge amount of pressure on myself to know everything when in fact I'd only been learning it for a handful of hours and it takes time!

People learn at different paces and also I saw asking for help as a 'weakness' when really its not so I am working on this. Getting help is better than struggling alone and its also nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about on a course like this.

Wednesday was a much better day for me as I was paired with another novice and although we only made it to question 4 out of 14 I felt I had learnt so much even though we hadn't progressed very far compared to the other pairs. That's the other thing I struggled with is that the course has people of all backgrounds so comparing myself to them is daft but I still did it! It's like I go to yoga but I don't compare myself with the amazing women who can do headstands as I know they have different flexibility and have  practiced for years! I do it as I enjoy it and don't practice often. Before I started this course I had a small bit of experience using Microsoft Office, emails, social media and browsing the Internet. The majority of the other people work in offices and use computers daily so my skills don't match theirs.

Thursday we learnt another part of Javascript which again I struggled with however we had more time on Friday to have another look at it and as a pair we progressed further. Then in the afternoon we covered personal development which was very insightful as I'm a self help book addict! I am always looking to improve myself and learn new ways of doing things.  

This course is pushing me out of my comfort zone and I have to manage that in order to learn.

I am not looking forward to this weeks homework as I don't understand most of what's been covered this week so my 10 hours will be put into redoing the tasks 1-2 and learning the basics! 

James and Harriet are always on hand via Slack for help and advice which I can see will be a lifeline for me at this point, and they have offered lots of other support if I need it. Like 1:1's. At this point I would rather try and figure it out by myself but it's good to know I can access help if needed.

Next week Is HTML which is hopefully easier than java script to build my confidence in myself and my abilities. 

Week 2

I submitted the 'homework' task late on Tuesday but hadn't got very far at all. However I did lots of work on what we had covered in immersion week so am feeling more confident but still have a lot to go over again.

This weeks lesson covered HTML, basic understanding of how websites work and then we got to make a web page were we added headings, text and buttons. I found this easier and only asked for help once as I couldn't get my text into columns on a table. 

I spoke to some other students on the course today as well who I barely saw last week as it was lots of pairing work and they were very understanding of why I was struggling so that made me feel better to as I had given myself a very hard time to know it all straight away last week and when I didn't I panicked.

I will continue that JavaScript task from last week and do this weeks HTML homework. If my daughter lets me, she was slightly unwell yesterday and today so needs lots of TLC from Mummy!