What I Learned at Lambda School

Created: March 22, 2019
Updated: November 14, 2019

Hello world! I'm excited to be writing my first blog post and also publish it to devTo. After some deliberation, I've decided to write on this platform over Medium, which I have written posts in the past. The main reason is that I feel that devTo is a friendlier, developer-centric platform. Let's get started!

Today, I am writing about what I learned at Lambda School over my 7-month program. Since I started in July 2018, I felt that I have grown so much in such a short time and met so many incredible people along the way. To preface with my experiences before Lambda School, so that you can better understand where I'm coming from, I left my cushy medical job as a pharmacist and tried different business ventures. Long story short, I found that coding was really cool and wished I studied this 8 years ago. I jumped into coding courses and built out small apps to learn and participated in local dev groups around Virginia. At one point, I decided that I wanted to round out my education in web development after about a year of self-teaching. In the span of about a year already, I managed to teach myself javascript, reactjs, nodejs, and mongodb. I knew there was still much more to learn on my path of web development. Therefore, I decided to enroll in Lambda School. I picked up other languages and computer science at Lambda School. It would also make the job search process a lot easier too since they have an awesome careers team.

How you overcame struggles while studying at Lambda School? How have you grown personally? Professionally?

Initially, I didn't have many struggles with the front-end modules of the program since I had previous experience with it. Back-end was also familiar but I still managed to learn some new things as well. Things were especially challenging as we moved into the computer science curriculum of the course. The pace was more self-directed and the topic matter was especially challenging. Along the way, we also picked up new languages like Python, Django and C.

I overcame struggles through a steadfast, logical mindset. I won't tell you it was easy but I will tell you that it's possible if you keep at it. If the challenge was big, I broke it down into smaller pieces and tried to understand them clearly. Once understood, I would piece together the puzzle and get a bigger picture. It also took a tremendous amount of patience to go through videos and topics on the subject matter. Worse comes to worst, I knew my stand-up group and cohort were within reach of a simple direct or channel message.

I felt that I have grown tremendously in my personal development. I have learned that I can handle problems if I just stay calm. Frustration can limit progress but sometimes helps fuel me to seek more information. In terms of growing professionally, I felt that I have made so many connections while going through the curriculum from the amazing instructors to the ambitious students. I have learned to work better with other engineers when we did Lambda Build Week and Lambda Labs. I learned my own shortcomings and worked on improving those skills.

Walk us through your experience at Lambda. What trials did you come up against, and how did you overcome them?

Most of the Lambda experience was guided by the instructors and was slowly tapered with the computer science curriculum. The trial I had to go through was learning to teach myself in a better fashion. I was accustomed to self-teaching at this point but when you're under time to produce code, the story changes. I overcame this challenge by making sure I understood the foundations of the topic well and took my time with them. A thorough understanding helped me when newer variations and alternate solutions came in. If I couldn't take anything away, I would try to at least to remember the basics of the problem presented and the implementation.

What helped you most to stay consistent in showing up every day and doing your best?

I attribute most of my success to being well-rested and the recovery time outside of class. It's important to be calm, nourished, and awake for the most learning to take place. Just like Lebron James spends a lot of time recovering after games, I didn't want my performance doesn't suffer come game time. I am not a strong believer in going all in, as it's a quick way to burn out. I have at least learned this much from my medical career.

In terms of doing your best, it was motivating to see my classmates working daily, which further motivated me to show up too. When I had problems, it felt good to have someone to lean on since we were both wading through the same problem. This was the main difference when I was teaching myself last year compared to attending Lambda School. The community helps a lot and helps keep you on task.

I want to take this opportunity again for reading. I hope you learned more about me, the school, and web development.