Changing up the Game

Trading in walks around this neighborhood...
Trading in walks around this neighborhood…

Okay, so this blog was just started as a way to talk all about how great living in the mountains is, and I’ve got to almost immediately change up the game. I’ll be back to the mountains soon enough, but a killer opportunity came up that I really can’t pass on.

Since before even becoming unemployed I have been interested in learning how to write code. The creative market is volatile and unpredictable, and since I’ve spent the last four months applying to and getting rejected from every writing job under the Colorado sun, I’m ready to make a change. I have the opportunity to go to a coding school in Chicago called Coding Dojo, and I’m going to make the move to becoming a full blown web developer.

...for a few months in the big city.
…for a few months in the big city.

I began researching schools before I was even laid off, so I know all about the different types of programs that are out there. Ones where you live at the school, ones that only teach women, and (most obviously) ones that are closer to home. In the end, there were a few key factors that led me to decide on Coding Dojo.

  • First and foremost is the school’s focus on teaching multiple full stacks. I want to create the best possible opportunities for myself at the end of this, and know that more skills equals more opportunity. I’ll be able to write code in three different languages, which is pretty baller.
  • I love Chicago. Yes, even in the winter, when I know it will be biting cold and dreary-skied. I’m originally from the Midwest, and hope this helps me appreciate the sunny Colorado winters a little more.
  • Coding Dojo’s teaching style resonates with the way I think I will learn best: through repeated application. You do it, and do it, and do it again, until you have it down. Strength through struggle!
  • I have a good friend who I can stay with, in exchange for cooking meals and buying the occasional beers. Because I lost my job, finding accommodations were a huge factor in whether I could afford to attend. Thanks, B!
  • The program lasts 14 weeks. The biggest detractor from attending one of the schools in Denver is that they only offer 24 week programs. If you’re at the stage in your life where a mortgage, car payment, and other regular “adult” bills pile up quickly, 6 months is a long time to have to go without work.

While I’ve been spending some time brushing up on the basics of coding, I am a creative at heart. I look at this as an opportunity to continue creating things, just with a different tool set than I have always used. Instead of words, paints, and photos, I’ll use divs, stylesheets, Python, and positioning to send a new creation out into the world. 

I’ll keep posting things about life at home, but will also be sharing my experience as I go through this program: what I’m struggling with, what I’m loving, and how rapidly the homesickness sets in.

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