My friend Katie Leonard just wrote a book and I’m pretty excited to share it with everyone. She and I attended the same class of a code school here in Portland and for both of us it was a huge leap of faith, with big learnings and wildly different, but thankfully successful, results.
We talked many times about what we’ve learned from the experience and what we might have liked to know going into this whole thing, spending thousands of dollars, quitting our jobs, putting our lives on hold and pouring ourselves into programming.
She had enough of talking and decided to put together the getting started guide we both wish we’d had when we got started. Covering: picking your school, the skills you need, the results to expect, and notably a lot of what you won’t learn.
I’m happy to report that its a very comprehensive overview. Katie covers everything on the nuance of what schools might work best, digging into financials, credentials, student teacher ratios that are ideal and different curriculums. There is a section covering what initial career paths will be open to you once you graduate, tips on cracking the interview process, and points out the dangers of getting too comfortable in a support role.
She gives great summaries of the tools you’ll find yourself using most often when you get started, including probably the best layman explanation of Git that i’ve heard.
Git is like a series of cartoons that make up an animation in a flip book — each page contains a snapshot of what your code looks like with some slight modification. The last image is the most up-to-date version of the code, but you can also flip back to any snapshot along the way, compare two snapshots to see how they are different, or add new ones to continue the story.
And perhaps most important is the psychological aspect of going to code school: You must really love problem solving, building and viewing things in a systematic way to get the most out of a career in programming and you should take care to validate that you’ll really enjoy it before taking the plunge.
If you’re looking to pursue a Career Change via Code School: Buy this book
If i’d had this guide when I got started in the tech industry I think i’d have felt far less uncertainty than I did going into it. If you know someone planning to take the code school plunge or are planning this career change for yourself you owe it to yourself to pick up this book. You won’t regret it.
You can follow Katie on Twitter or check out her blog, both of which she updates when she’s not too busy writing books or keeping the wheels turning at her day job.