Updated: Apr 23, 2020
I recently graduated from an intensive full-time Web Development Boot-camp course at UT Austin. Call it boasting or whatever, but I am proud to say that I graduated with flying colors; with a top notch grade and a lot of new learning. While this could easily be a cakewalk for many, I personally would call it nothing less than a feat. Why? Because, even with an undergraduate degree in Information Technology from a prestigious university in India, I dreaded Coding. Learning to write simple programs in C/C++/Java at a mere age of 15 never propitiated my inner coding genius.
As much as the mention of the word “coding” and its synonyms terrified my very existence, the lack of it’s praxis held me back from realizing my many ideas to fruition. And the naked truth is that this inability disheartened me everyday, making me feel like a loser; a loser who was too terrified to identify the root cause of the inability, accept it and work towards overcoming the crippling hindrance it had been causing in my life for quite a significant period of time. The creative, spontaneous soul that I was born with was being attacked by my self-appeasing, selfish values, every time it chimed with a brainchild. This inability was slaughtering my brainchildren mercilessly day-in and day-out; and yet I stood there in silence for years – doing nothing. Until one evening!
I am most vulnerable to the exploits of social media during evening and one of the infinite meaningless, time-killing quests on Facebook landed me in a boot-camp course at UT, Austin. Little did I know that this would be one of the most transforming experiences in my life. Eternally thankful to Mr. Zuckerberg!!
The course presented me with my many firsts. My first physical classroom experience in a foreign land with a native language different than mine, my first vocational training program and my first public transport experience in the United States, my first portfolio. None of it was easy. I did not expect it to be. However, facing my terror of coding head-on turned out to be much easier than most of the other challenges like figuring out the correct bus route to home, getting accustomed to the American accent, dedicating most of my time after class to completing coding assignments which I would otherwise utilize to read or paint. I missed spending weekends lazing around with my husband. I longed to find more time, other than on my bus rides, to read. But in the end, it was all worth it.
Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience.
I came out a stronger, more confident and informed person who had made friends in the class despite her not so extrovert personality. With my diligence and efforts, at the end of three months I had significant additions to my skill-set – both technical and inter-personal. I did not start acing my assignments as soon as I joined the class (although I did ace the first two!) but “the harder you work, the better your Tao!”. I had my fair share of B’s and C’s, before I presented my final project that was applauded not just by the entire class but the TAs and the Instructor himself. I would happily trade any amount of sweat, sleepless nights, nightmares of code full of bugs, super-busy weekends to have that feeling of conceptualizing an idea, believing in it, working towards it and then realizing it in a form that works for you and everyone else.
I can now happily say that after days of tanning, several broken finger-nails, hands looking like in dire need of manicure, a To-Be-Read pile, severe damage to my laptop’s RAM and keyboard, coding is now my second nature.
Seek a calling. Even if you don’t know what that means, seek. If you are following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be nothing like you ever felt.