Diana Lease

@dianalease

What led me to enroll at a NYC coding bootcamp

A little bit about myself and why I decided on Fullstack Academy of Code

Growing up, I was always naturally great at math and science, studying AP Chemistry and AP Calculus in high school. But becoming a scientist or mathematician? That didn’t sound too glamorous.

With music always being a huge part of my life, and being drawn to the fun, exciting world of the entertainment industry, I confidently pursued a BS in Music Industry at Drexel University in Philadelphia, minoring in Business Administration. Having excelled in my business courses, I decided to extend my education another year after graduation, and I earned an MBA, focusing on marketing.

During college, I interned at major record labels like Columbia (Sony) and Astralwerks (at the time, EMI). However, after graduating from business school, I moved to NYC and started a job in Partner Relations at a small tech startup in the live music industry. This was my first introduction into the tech and startup world, and I still had no idea what it was our developers did all day.

The partnerships team was pretty removed from the engineering team. However, the longer I worked at this tech startup, the more interested I became in what they were doing. Whenever something in our app, website, or admin side of things wasn’t working as it should have, I enjoyed helping our dev team understand what the issue was so they could fix it.

There is one event that I believe started my journey on my road to code (and it occurred about a year before my decision to pursue software engineering became a reality). My role at my job involved quite a bit of laborious admin work and data entry when I first started, and our engineers were often trying to automate a lot of things on the admin side of our app to make my team’s work more efficient.

One of our developers created a calculator application for the partnerships team to use. It seemed so simple, but it made such a huge difference in how I could get my work done. I asked him what I would need to know to create something like that, and he responded that he created it entirely using JavaScript.

JavaScript — up until this point I had no idea what JavaScript was used for. I still knew nothing other than that it was used to create a tool that made my job a lot easier. With this little knowledge, I decided that I would learn JavaScript. I wanted to create things.

Working at a tech startup, I also inevitably started to learn more about the tech industry. I signed up for newsletters, read blogs, and followed tech moguls on social media. The more I learned about the opportunities in this field and the awesome things people were creating everyday, the more excited I became.

I started looking into online resources and tried some tutorials on sites such as Codecademy. However, over the next few months, my job changed quite a bit. The company I worked for was making big transitions (for better or worse), and my role was changing. I started moving into publicity and public relations, and I also started writing content for our blog. I began focusing on learning how I could succeed in this new role and how I could make connections in publicity and PR.

The engineer that had created that “calculator” had since left the company, and our physical office actually no longer had any tech people in it besides our CEO, because our new developer worked remotely. With all of these changes, it felt like I had come across a stop sign on my road to code. However, no one stays stopped at a stop sign forever, right?

With my lack of enthusiasm about publicity, and my uncertainty about my future opportunities if I stayed where I was, I started getting more serious about coding. I took a weekend-long course at General Assembly and another one at Hack Reactor. I was learning, but still having a hard time putting the pieces together.

It wasn’t until I started Fullstack’s JavaScript JumpStart online course that I started feeling confident about my abilities to code. I was finally starting to understand the concepts and how to apply them to solve coding challenges. This encouraged me to enroll in Fullstack’s month-long part-time Bootcamp Prep course. Each evening was comprised of a lecture followed by several related coding challenges, which we solved in pairs using the pair programming approach. It was difficult, but I was loving it! I loved problem solving and the feeling of accomplishment after writing code that worked in the way I intended.

After completing Bootcamp Prep, I was accepted into Fullstack’s Software Engineering Immersive, a full-time coding bootcamp with the prospect of getting you job-ready in 17 weeks. Excited, nervous, and wondering what the hell I got myself into, I feel ready to take this next step in my career.

I have just completed the first four weeks that consist of the “Foundations” phase, the online portion that prepares you for the on-campus bootcamp. Tomorrow will be my first day on campus as a Fullstack immersive student. Wish me luck!

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