Inaugural post

Hi, I’m Canh. I just turned 31 in July 2016. My professional background is in investment banking, which I just left as I aspire to make a career switch into technology, more specifically as a web developer.

This is my first post, and hopefully one of a consistent set of blogs I’ll look to upload to share my journey into the field.

Before making the decision to leave, I knew very little about programming. Going further back, I studied engineering and finance as an undergrad and graduated in 2007. There, I took a couple of introductory courses in Java, but I don’t remember much from it.

I decided to make the change earlier this year, when I began to seriously look into the best ways to get into the field. I started studying various programming languages, primarily including JavaScript and Ruby and ultimately found the most utility in JavaScript. Online resources are vast – however given the plethora of options, it was daunting to me in finding where to begin.

The few (free) resources I found tremendously helpful were:
* https://www.codecademy.com/ – This gave a real basic introduction to HTML/CSS and has step-by-step interactive lessons to build a webpage. The JavaScript track is also a really good introduction and will take 10 hours of your time
* https://www.coderbyte.com/ & https://www.codewars.com/ – A good place to go for practice problems. You can pick whatever language you want – I primarily did these in JavaScript
* http://eloquentjavascript.net/index.html – A good book to read for Javascript. I’ve only made it through chapter five. I’d only do this after going through the resources I listed above because it reads at a pace that almost feels like more of a review of JavaScript concepts than a more basic intro

After going through all of the above, I found that I hit a bit of a wall in learning and looked into more robust ways of learning. I then stumbled upon the concept of ‘coding bootcamps’, which are training programs that are generally 12-13 weeks in duration and offer a robust crash course on programming and various technology frameworks, and while each has its own focus (i.e. JavaScript vs. Ruby), they are all generally structured the same.

Within the US, there are a couple of JavaScript-oriented bootcamps that I was attracted to: Hack Reactor / MakerSquare, and FullStack Academy. At the end of the day, I was most attracted to MakerSquare, where I’ll end up attending beginning the day after Labor Day.

Combination of considerations contributed to this:
1 – Desire to stay in the NYC area, instead of moving out to SF
2 – Extremely robust curriculum and proven outcomes
3 – Everyone I met throughout the admissions process were really just awesome and extremely supportive

Prior to the bootcamp, I took an online class through the Reactor Core schools called Fulcrum, which was a ~$3,000 program that was almost entirely the “pre-course” work for MKS, and I was able to use the Fulcrum tuition towards the $17,000 tuition for MKS.

So that’s it in a very quick introductory nutshell. Hopefully going forward, I’ll have more to say about the specifics of technologies used, my experience and thought process through this endeavor, etc, so it ends up being useful for anyone else aspiring to make a similar move.

So far, it’s been incredibly exciting. Admittedly, it’s also been a bit unnerving as I think about completely making a switch from something tried and relatively true to something as complicated as computer programming.

It takes grit, dedication, and determination – (the last one because you will find yourself in many cases where you’re completely stuck and sometimes with the feeling like you have nowhere to go).

So here goes!

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