Bitmaker: Fin

project

It occurred to me and Beth while we were taking the streetcar back home tonight that not only had it been exactly 9 weeks since we started the program, but we were sitting in exactly the same seats on the streetcar coming home from exactly the same event that we had attended on the first day of the course (only this time we both thought we were slightly above the networking/schmoozing and decided to call it quits before the event had even started).

Bitmaker as a whole has been an interesting journey. Yes, I’ve learned a whole lot that I didn’t know before–but will that be enough to get me a job? Only time will tell. My initial feeling is that it won’t be; obviously, my portfolio needs plenty of work and there are lots more ideas kicking around in my head that I’m more than confident enough in to be able to execute. One of the major positives that as sort of come into my head following this course’s completion is the idea that I don’t have to work for somebody. At this point, it seems slightly insane to start a business or give the man the finger before I’m even back up on my feet… and yet, the feeling is still there that something is coming. For the time being, I’ll probably keep fleshing out my portfolio, cleaning up old apps, making a few new ones (I kind of wish we had spent more time playing around with jQuery–I could [and probably will] spend weeks just making weird games).

Now, it goes without saying that everyone has thoughts about Bitmaker. Can you really learn to code in 9 weeks? On the surface level, or watching from afar, it does seem like one of those seminar courses you sign up for in some Californian convention hall (“sell me this pen“). Whether you think of the course itself as a success or failure mostly depends on what you went into the course wanting to get out of it. If you wanted a job right away, you’ll probably be disappointed. If you wanted to learn to code, you’ll at least be a decent chunk of the way there, with your knowledge level advancing the more effort you put into the course.

Besties.
Besties.

But if you were looking to build connections, by golly, you’ve got yourself a winner. By far, the best thing about Bitmaker was the people I met along the way; the willingness to help each other through the stress of the increasingly difficult material and collectively push the group forward even though many of us experienced our own dark moments in this course. On that note, there’s something unspoken that I’ve never really heard mentioned by the other students or the lecturers but I know I can’t be alone in this. Yes, we all came into this program because we were tired of our old careers, or to learn something new to complement our careers but there’s also something else that is generally unsaid.

I suppose I can’t speak for anyone else when I write this, but I generally considered Bitmaker as a last resort. Nobody out there wants to admit that the system failed them and that their degree didn’t quite get them to where they wanted to be, but for me anyways, I came into this program with a bit of desperation–knowing full well that I wasn’t likely to do a course like this again. I’m not sure if it’s actually true, but I wondered if some of the other students were like me, slightly embarrassed for being in this position, having to awkwardly explain the (hopeful) results of this course to friends and family members. With this line of thinking, I tried to do my best to help anyone who was falling behind (at least when I could do so in the earlier weeks; recall: I came into the course with a fair bit of OOP practice). I definitely wasn’t the only one doing this though–everyone generally wanted everyone to succeed; I think that knowing that someone struggling could just as easily be you, is enough encouragement as any to do anything to de-stress the situation.

So what did I learn at Bitmaker? Besides 9 weeks of Ruby on Rails, Javascript, Jquery, Databases, and on and on and on? I learned, after stalking the Github accounts of my fellow classmates from week 1 until the bitter end and watching the insane improvements before my eyes, that if you want something badly enough, just take it. Take it in an empty lab when everyone else has gone home and you can’t leave to get food because you don’t have a key back in. Take it when you haven’t had more than five hours of sleep in three days and you start to crash just as you start to make some progress. Take it when you decide to casually bypass an emotional breakdown by checking out the LEGO movie instead. Take it when it’s all over and you’re wondering what to do next.

And remember: just because there’s some competition around you, that doesn’t mean that any one of them wants to see you fail.

– Kyle