From 0 to CODER in 7 months: My progress as a Turing student

A recent grad of the front-end program shares his journey at the Turing School across 7 months.

From 0 to CODER in 7 months: My progress as a Turing student

By Brian Roxbury, Front End Engineering alum

Less than a year ago, I attended a Try Coding workshop for Front End development at Turing School of Software & Design. We animated a little ghost to bounce around the screen in a CodePen. "This is pretty cool," I thought.

But, is it $20,000 and 7 months of my life cool?? It's not an easy decision for anyone to make.

What if I'm not good at it? What if I don't like it? What if I fail?

A couple weeks and many "what ifs" later, I decided that yes, the prospect of a more fulfilling and challenging career was absolutely worth it (not going to lie a quick search of Junior Developer salaries swayed my decision a  bit).

Screenshot of website featuring tourist destinations in Brazil
My First Website

A couple months after I learned about Turing, I was required to build a 'Capstone' project to present on the first day of class. The result of my dozens of hours of work in HTML and CSS can be seen above. What a masterpiece! I mean, to be fair, I was VERY proud of the site. Do you see those columns!?

On the first day of Turing, we were given a project that required us to write actual Javascript. "I'm sorry, did you see my Capstone project? I should probably spend the first couple projects getting better at this CSS stuff, right?"

Screenshot of Javascript code.
Javascript is hard.

What you see above are the fruits of my 12 hour work days throughout the first week of the program. Yeah that's right, 12 hour days! Turing is hard...And you don't sleep that much either. Oh, and when you do sleep, you dream in code!

Anyway... again, I was satisfied with my first few lines of Javascript. Look at that function! Also, please ignore the spacing between variable declarations... I guess I needed to pad my lines of Javascript code. 🤣

Screenshot of Auctionable Change app.
Final project for Turing - a fully functionable mobile app that allows the user to sell items and donate the money to a charity of their choice.

Seven months later, I am graduating, and look what I can do! Yup, that's a fully functioning app built in React Native!

AND my team and I built it out from scratch in a little over two weeks!

AND it was our first project using React Native!

It's the culmination of 7 months of grueling work, sleepless nights, and emotional roller coasters. Turing has been one of the hardest (and at times most stressful) things I have ever done. But, as it's over now, I am going to miss everything about the experience.

There is this funny phenomenon that happens in your brain when you solve a coding challenge or fix a bug in your application. It's a little shot of dopamine that floods in and leaves you with a satisfying feeling like you actually know what you are doing.

But then, usually 2-5 minutes after that breakthrough, you are faced with the next challenge. I love golf, and there's an expression that I've heard golfers use that relates to software development. When you go golfing, most of the shots you take aren't going to end up exactly as you'd like; however, there are usually one or two shots every round that leave you with an overwhelming sensation to return to the golf course.

Gif of golfer throwing golf bag.

I feel like coding and golf share this failure/success ratio. You're going to fail... a lot. BUT, you're also going to succeed... A LOT! When you do, it's satisfying enough to make you dive right back into whatever you're working on.

So, was it worth it?

YES! A million times yes! Is it hard? Yes. Will you cry at some point? Maybe.

But, from my experience, it is 100% worth it. I've met some incredible people, and learned a tremendous amount about myself, my resiliency, and my capabilities. I've grown personally AND professionally, and have truly found a career that is an ideal balance of creativity and intellectual challenge.

Could software development be a perfect fit for you?

I don't know. Go on YouTube and find some inspiration. Go to a Try Coding workshop and see if you like it. Or, reach out to me as I'd be happy to answer your questions!

Photo of Brian in front of a grey background.
First day at Turing back in January.
Brian is a former Video Production Specialist and Content Creator beginning a career in Front End Software Development.

He is passionate about empathetic development/design with an emphasis on UI/UX, creating comprehensive test suites on the front end, and is looking to learn new technologies. As a student at the Turing School of Software and Design, he has refined his work ethic, dedication, and passion needed to thrive as an asset to any Front End team. Currently seeking opportunities in the Denver area and also open to remote opportunities. Contact him on LinkedIn.