It's been more than five months since I first stepped foot in the old Bitmaker Labs office space on Duncan Street for my interview with Erik and Minh. At the time, I was parsing through college curricula for post-grad programs in web development, contemplating the LSAT and facing down a daunting fork in the road as my final semester at the University of Toronto drew near.
Deciding on a single path post-graduation was predictably tough: on the one hand, I've thoroughly enjoyed my course of studies over the past few years in political theory and ethics. On the other hand, I'm all too familiar with the Jessica Hische-ism "procrastiwork": throughout undergrad, the freelance web design work I took on became affectionately known as "the work I do when I should be doing other work."
It took a few years of growth and self-reflection to finally realize that my impulse to create things on the web is a feature, not a bug, of my personal and professional interests.
As a political staffer at city hall (during the infamous Summer of Crack, no less), I happily took on a range of duties that fell under the umbrella of digital communications. Eventually, however, the urge to develop new and better tools outgrew my job description and fledgling skill set. I began exploring a range of free or inexpensive online options: One Month Rails and Codecademy would manage to keep me occupied for a day or two at a time, but I quickly realized that, while a primer on Ruby on Rails was a great start, I was seeking a more robust program.
Enter Bitmaker Labs
I'll spare you my own explanation of coding bootcamps and their relative merits: Quora and Hacker News are equally good places to begin your research if you're considering a similar program. The important point, however, seems to me to be this: seeing as a coding bootcamp provides you with a wealth of educational resources and a relatively brief period of time in which to take advantage of them, a person's relative success is a function of effort and effective use of time.
I'll be writing more about my experience at Bitmaker Labs in the weeks to come; feel free to get in touch if you have any questions. You should follow me on twitter at @alessbell.