Kyle Bustard, May 16, 2016 | 3 min read

A Billionaire’s Haircut

I discovered TTS by a happy accident. I had been teaching myself how to code for about a couple of weeks when I saw a job posting by TTS. I was originally looking for a new job in Charlotte for my fiancée, but upon discovering TTS I immediately began researching coding bootcamps. My goal was to become a web developer, and the TTS Full-Time Code Immersion Course seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. Less than two weeks later I was at orientation!

What was I looking for? Pain. Humility. To be beaten down and lose all sense of self so I could be rebuilt into a cog of the machine that is the global tech industry. I knew I would get exactly what I was looking for when my instructor Lee showed up at my house the first day and yanked me from my bed at 6AM. When we first assembled at the classroom, Lee shaved our heads while Jackie walked around with an item in each hand.

What did Jackie have in her hands? A Supercuts [trademark] coupon and a picture of an unimpressive looking gentleman she declared, with great admiration, to be the billionaire and tech mogul Bill Gates. Jackie explained that once we were no longer ‘plebes’ but full-fledged coders, we would then have the privilege of wearing a Bill Gates haircut. The group collectively inferred that this privilege would be enjoyed by all regardless of our gender or hair texture. Then Jackie dropped a bitter dose of reality: no matter how far we progressed in our tech careers or how innovative we were, we would never have a true Bill Gates haircut, because Bill Gates cuts his own hair.

We’re now wrapping up Week 6 in the full-time code immersion course, and instructor Lee tells us that next week we have a speed-typing competition to decide who gets to use Bing search in their browser — JK JK JK!!!

The truth is, most of that is not true. Yes, I really am happy to have accidentally discovered TTS. The TTS staff is very friendly and helpful, but they’re not like drill instructors or even teachers from high school or college. They ask questions and actively seek to connect you with people or technologies to help you meet your goals after the course conclusion. They are entrepreneurial because they make it their job to help you meet your custom goals. My classmates range from aspiring developers, to entrepreneurs to designers. Our end goals are different, but we all work together and learn the same technologies.

My advice for students is first and foremost to be practical. Don’t try to be a computer genius, but don’t procrastinate because you aren’t one. Just open up your homework everyday and get started. Open up the documentation and start reading for a few minutes. Open up your text editor and start typing code. I’ve been successful in this course because I’ve allowed myself to fully immerse in all things tech. I listen to coding and tech podcasts and YouTube audio while I drive in my car. I go to all the Meetups, TTS tours and guest speakers. I’m only learning about 20% of what I’m immersed in, but this information and skill set is invaluable!

Don’t try to understand everything at once, that’s likely impossible. Be overwhelmed and accept it. It’s like going to the beach and standing in the surf, have fun, let the waves knock you around but don’t drown. Accept the failures as learning opportunities, and help your classmates. Immerse yourself in all things tech…except billionaire haircuts.