Ryan Hageman, December 10, 2015 | 2 min read

Eat, Sleep, Code, Repeat

On and off, for the last couple of years, I’ve been trying to learn to code. As a Dad I work a lot to make ends meet. As a Paramedic, my usual days are 13-15 hours long. After a shift from 9 am to 11:30 pm, sitting down to learn to code for another hour, when you’ve got to be back at 8:45 the next morning is a bit of a stretch.

There’s a lot of online content, really good content, but choosing a path is really hard when you don’t know much about all the different languages. There are so many different paths to choose, and learning to write functional software is slow. It seems like a bit of a first world problem, having too many options, but it’s really hard to feel confident you’re on the right path when progress feels so slow.

After talking with a friend, I decided it was time to go back to school. While looking at online degrees, I stumbled on coding boot camps.

After a lot of homework, I found one of the best rated boot camps right here in New Orleans. Tech Talent South has an 8 week code immersion program. 8 weeks is a lot more practical than longer classes for me, as the main breadwinner for a family of 4.

I only had 2 weeks before the class started to do the prep work I got with my acceptance letter. With the help of the a fancy spaced repetition notecard app called Anki, and the understanding of my really great wife and kids, I dove in head first to finally learn to code.

Trying to get the prep work done in 2 weeks was grueling. When class started, though, I was SO glad I’d done it. Having at least a basic understanding going into each lesson made the really insane pace of the class pretty manageable.

For the last 7 weeks, I’ve played the game, eat, sleep, code, repeat, pretty much every day. Class starts at 8 am and I’m usually done coding when it’s time for me to go to bed. I can’t imagine it being possible to pack any more into this class.

Our instructor Sia has been fantastic. She seems to have limitless patience and will always take the time to help us understand. Lindsay, our Community Organizer, has set up really great events and speakers for us to learn our way around the New Orleans tech community.

In the last couple months I’ve gone from eyes crossed when looking at anything more than a really short script to confidently navigating a fully featured Rails app. I feel confident solving problems and learning on my own.

Because of Tech Talent South, I have the foundation to keep growing as a coder, learning through work and on my own. I’ve met so many people in the tech industry here in New Orleans that I would never have met on my own. I also have the support of Tech Talent South and great group of fellow alumni to help me as I go down the road to working as a full time software developer.

There is no way I could’ve come farther in the last 2 months than I have with Tech Talent South.