Historical post: Choosing a program

I want to talk a little bit about how I decided to go with Flatiron School, the other schools I looked at, and the reasoning behind my decision.

I don’t even remember how I first heard about these programs, but I was immediately super psyched on them. This is the kind of educational experience I was looking for instead of my other option: going for an LIS Ph.D or a Comp Sci undergraduate degree, with much more invested for many less gains. I started reading reading reading and researching. I was a researching maniac.

I looked at a lot of different programs and eventually began to suss out what I wanted out of one. I had originally intended to do a program after the end of my temporary position, but due to [redacted complaining] and good fortune, I decided to apply for the Summer 2014 sessions. I also knew that I was ready to jump in, and that the sooner I took the jump, the better. I have a lot of faith in the program that I went with, but I do feel like the bootcamp sheen has already begun to wear off in tech community, due to them growing fast and popping up everywhere, and although I think they are all a great educational experience for all the right reasons, I also want to get in while its still hot, if that makes sense?

I narrowed it down to a handful and ended up applying to three. Flatiron, Makersquare, and the Iron Yard.

I got really excited about the Iron Yard and sent them a bunch of questions, and received a whole lot of very thorough answers. Very friendly. They had camps in many different cities, including the one where my parents live. Since I wanted to get the most out of my 12-week program, I was a little concerned at their near complete lack of pre-work for their courses, but they assured me that everyone is pretty much on equal level after week one because it is so intense. I also like that they split up their bootcamps into JS-based and Ruby-based, which makes a lot of sense for them, I think. Both programs cover a bit of the other, but a student can really focus on being a back-end or front-end developer instead of trying to cover the entire stack in 12 weeks. However, I am greedy, and want the whole stack (of non-pancakes). I eventually settled on a course in Durham, NC because I researched the person teaching the Ruby track and he seemed like a great teacher. Unfortunately, when I applied and an interview was scheduled, I was stood up for the interview! A week later, I was contacted with an apology, but I had decided that that was unacceptable and I declined to continue the interview process. I still have a lot of good, strong feelings towards the Iron Yard and am excited to see them bringing the tech skills to the much-needed Southern American states, but I passed. I worry a lot that they are trying to grow too fast, but I wish them the best.

Next up, Makersquare. I had already done a good bit of their pre-work and was super interested in their program. It seems like they have a close relationship with the Austin community and I love-lovelove Austin and would love to live there. I had a long and very thoughtful Skype interview with one of the admissions coordinators and I was really happy with everything Makersquare is about. I ended up accepting with Flatiron shortly after the MS interview though. I really was into the kind of things they were looking for, their teaching methods, their interview process, etc. It could have very easily gone either way between them and Flatiron.

Finally, Flatiron. I sent in my application and got an email back very promptly wanting to set up an interview with one of the co-founders. We had a half-hour too-brief chat, because I was still full of questions after, which I felt was a good sign. At the end of the chat, the next steps were mentioned and I immediately went to work on the programming problem I was given, because my interview was at noon on a Saturday and I work full time. I got the official problem via email the next day, but I had already dedicated my Saturday towards it, and continued to work on it nonstop for the next two days (I had googled around to confirm what the problem was and found a blog post about it from another person talking about her interview experience, so I just dug in – plus it was fun). After these three days, I turned in my work. I knew it wasn’t perfect, but it was at least functional, and there was a lot of room for improvement. I was asked to schedule a code review interview with Avi. I was super happy about this, since he is the person actually doing the teaching. We went through my code, I explained my process, and he gave me some help on how I might make the code better, in a very good way that made me feel good about potentially having him as a teacher for 3 months. A few days later, I had been accepted. I immediately emailed someone, texted a few people, and quickly said yes.

It’s funny, because at first, I had decided I wasn’t even going to apply for Flatiron. I don’t know why, but I was slightly put off by it (in retrospect, I don’t know why). But the more I looked into the program, the more good things I heard about it, the more I really thought about their learning methods and methodology and etc etc, the more they became my number one pick. In contrast with the Iron Yard, they recently received a lot of funding but were not interesting in growing out right away, which I appreciate. They also offer a program for free to people local to New York that made under $50k, which is worth supporting. Also, I would like to end up in NYC after the program and their NYC connections seem very strong. Their guest speakers are always top quality. Overall, I’m very happy to have been accepted and look forward to meeting my classmates and having an extremely rigorous and exciting summer.