Meet Walley


Before: Member of the US Air Force

After: Software Developer at Boeing

Walley Yang

Firehose Graduate

This story originally appeared on Quora.

Background

I have a BS in Computer programming, and I’ve created things in college or as hobbies, utilizing PHP, MySQL, HTML, CSS, Javascript, Java, VBA, VB.NET, and SQL. I had intermittently programmed over the last 10 years or so on the side. However, I didn’t feel completely confident and feel like I had enough experience. I had been in my career field (US Air Force) for almost 12 years, worked full time, and had a family. I wasn’t in a position where I could just pack up my things and leave for a different state for 12-15 weeks. An online bootcamp was perfect for my situation. 

My Goals

In particular, I wanted to focus on algorithms and data structures. I also wanted the experience of working on a team. Initially, I didn’t care a whole lot about learning Ruby on Rails because I felt like it hides a lot of things, which I’m not used to. However, I learned to like it towards the end of the course. 

My Firehose Experience

During the first half of the course, I put in about 40 hours per week going through the curriculum and learning additional things on the side. I then dropped this down to about 20 hours a week because of my work schedule at my regular job (switched to working nights). This affected my comprehension and the amount of information that I was able to retain. This might be something to consider if you think you might be in a similar situation. 

I was paired with an awesome mentor with about 30 years of experience. In the past, I have paid for “on-demand expert coding mentors” through several popular websites, and some of them even had M.S. in Computer Science degrees. None of them compared to my mentor and other mentors I’ve seen from Firehose. Firehose mentors are the epitome of what coding mentors should be. 

"My mentor sessions stretched my coding ability and comprehension beyond any college class I took."

My mentor challenged me throughout the algorithms and data structure challenges. Once I solved a challenge, I typically had some kind of homework to figure out how to optimize the code. My confidence with my coding ability improved through pair programming with my mentor. I can honestly say that my sessions with my mentor  stretched my coding ability and comprehension beyond any of the college class that I took. 

For my group project, I had a great team, and I was able to learn from other students that were above my coding abilities. The most important thing for me during the team project was seeing how all the pieces came together. I had never worked with a team, and there were obstacles and conflicts that I had to overcome. As a result, the team project gave me the experience of defeating these obstacles and conflicts as a team. 

Final Thoughts

My confidence and coding ability greatly improved through my experience at Firehose. If you have considered an online coding bootcamp, I highly recommend Firehose. They have a great curriculum, a great community, and awesome mentors. You don’t have to spend $10k+ and lose the earnings by spending time away from your current job for a coding bootcamp that will teach you similar things to Firehose.