Flatiron School ROI and life as a #FlatironAlum19 Dec 2014
I’m going to break this blog post up into three Cs.
Cash, Confidence, Comrades.
Not in that order. I’m going to rank them in order of importance/significance.
I’ve been thinking about confidence a lot over the past several months. When I look back on my time spent at Flatiron, I felt like the program overall was an immensely valuable experience in being able to learn so much in such a short period of time, to be able to push myself to and beyond the limit, and to work with so many great people. But the biggest impact on my life is less about the knowledge I gained and more about the increase of confidence in my abilities.
I want to emphasize here the difference between having confidence and being overly confident. I feel like I know exactly where I am at, what I know and don’t know, that there’s an infinite amount of things I don’t even know I don’t know about yet, and what I need to improve on (which is a lot!). But beyond that, I don’t doubt my abilities. I feel confident in my ability to tackle most things, even if I know it will probably take me longer than someone who has already done a particular task before.
Anyway: I don’t think I ever would have reached that point if I had taken on learning web development on my own. I am sure that I would have been riddled with assuming I was always wrong, that I always knew nothing, and I’d be afraid to speak up about anything related to coding because I wouldn’t be able to trust myself when I felt right.
Doubting one’s self is a massive problem in the tech field. When there are so many asshole developers out there talking down to every non-technical person, it’s easy to start a career off with a major inferiority complex. But just like anything else, people that act like they know the most tend to not, and people that are humble are a wealth of knowledge waiting to be uncovered.
In this way, I’ve overcome the “imposter syndrome.” Not completely, but enough.
Culture fit was really important to me when I was applying to different web development programs and interviewing at Flatiron. I really wanted to work with people that were like me — Friendly people, not 100% grumpy dudes, etc. etc., not like the “standard tech field demographic.” I wasn’t going in thinking “Oh jeez I hope I am working with people that are 40 new BFFs 4 life!” Like, who goes into anything thinking that? Maybe really amazing people. Anyway, I feel like that’s what I got. Not only was the culture fit exactly what I was looking for, I also have so many great friends after the program and into the future. This is especially great for me as someone who moved to New York for the program. I had a bunch of friends living here in New York but it’s always a little scary to move somewhere and not know anyone. I did that when I lived in New York before and it kinda sucked. Now I know a bunch of great people and have a great network of people I can rely on. I’ve also met a bunch of Flatiron alumni and they are also super nice, super rad, and super amazing. Flatiron is excellent at selecting good people and turning them into developers (which is exactly what they advertise).
Okay, yeah. The first two are not as easily predicted as they are qualitative data, but the quantifiable data was a big concern for me. Flatiron School was not cheap, nor is living in New York, so I had to feel confident about quitting my day job and night job to go all-in on programming, something I hadn’t done for a living but had done a little bit here-and-there. At the time, the website was boasting an average of $75k annual salary for grads. I won’t go into the personal deets of others, but a recent unofficial survey of my classmates show that this data is accurate. Happy to get specific in person, but in a blog post I want to emphasize that the statistics AIN’T NO LIE. I got a Master’s degree and took a job making less money than what I was making before. After Flatiron, my salary more than doubled AND I get crazy perks AND treated like a real person AND work with wonderful people all day AND I love writing code and figuring out problems. I have a lot of feelings about this that deserve an entire blog post. If this kind of educational track had been available to me instead of college as a 17-year-old, I would have done everything in my power to make it happen. Instead of being pushed out of computer science by stereotypes and Calculus, I could have embraced what I’ve always been good at and always have loved doing.
So thanks, Flatiron. I’m proud to be a #FlatironAlum.