5 Things They Don’t Teach You in Code School

I was recently asked to write a guest post for Pear Deck, a tool that I love and have used in my classroom for the past two years. My original blog post can be found on their site here. Here is the blog below.

I’ve spent the last 4 years working in the software development industry, but my background is in teaching. I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Chemical Engineering and a minor in math education. I taught high school math for 8 months before I decided to switch careers and pursue programming. It was an interesting transition, as people often lose me when I tell them my background. It has been a great experience though, and while working in tech has some things in common with teaching, it also has some very big differences.

Here are five things they don’t teach you in code school:

1) You will be surprised how much you enjoy the process of learning.

– As someone who has worked through technical interviews, learning new frameworks, and building knowledge of programming languages, I know learning is hard work. The saying “Learning never stops” as a programmer is never truer than when you are navigating learning new skills every day. While this can be frustrating at times (especially when you

I went to a 12 week code school where I learned about the basics of web development. We learned Ruby, Rails, JavaScript, HTML, CSS and more. My class graduated and then we were off into the world with our new skills.

I was lucky enough to get a job out of the program. I have been working for almost 5 months now and I have learned a lot about my new career choice. It is a very different world than what I was used to at my old job as a marketer. There are things you learn in code school that they don’t tell you about once you start working as an engineer. Here are 5 things they don’t teach you in code school:

“I can’t believe you didn’t know this!”

“Why didn’t you tell me about this?”

“Where were you when I needed help with this?”

It happens time and time again. It happened to me as a student, and now it happens again as I teach my students. Code school is hard. It’s a lot of information to take in at one time, and it’s just not possible to teach everything. There are some things that I wish I would have known going into code school that would have made my life easier and my learning a bit faster. Here are the top five things they don’t teach you in code school.

When it comes to learning to code, there are many options for a prospective student.

From online code schools like Code School, Treehouse and Hack Reactor to the more traditional in-person bootcamps like App Academy, Dev Bootcamp and General Assembly. These programs all have their pros and cons, but they all claim to teach you how to be a developer.

And while they do a fine job of teaching you how to program, there are certain things that are never taught in code school or bootcamp. Here are five of those things that I’ve had to learn the hard way.

In this post, I’ll share 5 things I didn’t learn in code school that have helped me in my career. Most of these skills are soft skills — those interpersonal skills that help you work well with others.

1. How to contribute to open source

2. How to manage your time and energy

3. How to be a good manager

4. How to communicate effectively

5. How to be a good teammate

You can’t just code and be a great programmer. Yes, you need to know the language well, but there is so much more you need to know in order to succeed. You need to know how to communicate with people (customers, managers, colleagues), how to manage your time well, how to organize yourself and your work, and so on. These are the soft skills that make up a good programmer.

I attended Dev Bootcamp, a nine-week coding “school” in San Francisco, and I’ve spent the last five months working at Pear Deck, an education technology startup. After spending the last year with both students and developers, I wanted to share the top five things that surprised me about learning to code from my experience as a student and a teacher.

1. The hardest part of coding is not coding.

2. Coding is like playing a guitar.

3. You have to understand what is happening under the hood.

4. Coding is not just for developers.

5. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and be confused.

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