Walid Asmar, May 14, 2015 | 3 min read

Campaign Trail to Tacos to Tech

After leaving D.C. to work a campaign in July- I know, I know, I apologize to the billion of you that I called nonstop- I opened a food truck with my cousin, and enrolled in Tech Talent South. In less than a year I changed my career path three times. Now, if that doesn’t cause anxiety issues, I’m not sure what does. Truth is, I never felt at home in D.C. or on the campaign trail, and working the food truck was fun but it always felt temporary. I’ve always known that to be truly happy I need a career that is challenging and that will provide a service to our community. After three weeks in the class, I feel confident that Tech Talent South will equip me with the skills and network I need to embark on this career.

I have never learned so much in such a short period of time. I showed up on my first day with no experience other than the assigned pre-work under my belt, yet, on my third day I was able to launch my personal website. I wasn’t able to do this in three days because I’m a quick learner or naturally smart; I did this because Betsy and the TTS staff have built an amazing team in Raleigh. Tim and Dan, our instructors, are an amazing duo. Dan is an incredible developer and brings a very technical perspective to class; Tim translates the material into English and stays hours later than he should to help. The guy is really passionate about our education. Our community organizer, Erin, and Raleigh rockstar, Ray, help us network with the tech community and provide an environment that makes us feel welcome and excited about coming to class. (Erin is a standup comic- yeah, I know, enough said!)

We have a class that is incredibly diverse in all regards. People ask questions, solve problems, and bring perspectives to the table that I would have never been able to come up with based on my experiences. All of this makes learning easier, quicker, and enjoyable. There are a million ways to solve any problem in code. If I’m stuck on something, I know one of my classmates will have a different way to approach the problem. If that doesn’t work, I can always ask Tim or anyone on the TTS team.

One of the things I love most about TTS is the exposure of the development community it provides for its students. The Raleigh campus is located in HQ Raleigh: a workspace shared by tech entrepreneurs and innovators alike. It hosts over 100 startups, speakers, and events like NC Datapalooza. Being around like-minded people who want to build great things helps keep me on task and motivated to work harder. Not to mention, HQ has free coffee and beer!

Erin works hard to secure speakers and networking events for the class. The first speaker Erin booked was Jason Draper of ThoughtBot. Jason brought an incredibly insightful perspective and provided some best practices to follow. He spoke about what I think is the best part of being a developer: the community.  Jason stressed the importance of working with other developers to create new tools and suggested using platforms like github. Keep in mind, the development he was talking about was for creating open source tools… applications for others to use for free. There aren’t many industries where people are willing to work hard on something with a total stranger for nothing in return. Developers like Jason actually love what they do so much, after hours of working in the office, they go home and collaborate on projects for FREE. Guys like him are so invested in their community they have released free tools like bootstrap, so that other developers can build beautiful and responsive websites for their clients.

Honestly, I have loved my time at Tech Talent South. If you have any worries about their full-time class, put them to rest. I was concerned by the lack of resources and information on boot camps online. I was always digging for something negative. Now that I’m about to start my fourth week, I have nothing but great things to say. It’s a challenging program and it will take a lot of effort. But as long as you are willing to put in that effort, I’m confident you’ll leave this 8-week program as a programmer and not someone ready to switch career tracks as I have often found myself.