When you finally find the career field for you
My boyfriend’s in his last year of dental school and despite his obviously tired expressions and complaints about his sore muscles, there’s a trace of enthusiasm and passion that shines through his face and voice when he prattles on and on to me about that day’s procedures and treatments. Listening to him talk about his career fervently, I’d wondered, “would I ever find a career that invokes those same emotions in me?”
As a child, I performed well in school and won multiple music auditions and competitions with my clarinet. The world seemed to be my oyster and the possibilities of my future looked limitless. Yet, I found myself graduating with a Business Administration degree to pursue human resources, with little to no interest in the actual subject. Even up till the very end of my senior year, I continued to ponder the decisions I’d made for my career.
Fast forward to today, I’m already in my sixth month of Flatiron’s Software Engineering bootcamp (which I’m thoroughly enjoying), and while I do still have doubts about my career (e.g. the ever so cliche “will I ever get a job” question), I feel more comfortable and stable with my tech career prospects.
Without a doubt programming is every bit as confusing and difficult as people perceive it to be, but the process of going from utterly confused to creating an entire project on your own is in itself thrilling and completely rewarding. As my cohort is getting closer and closer to the end, I can begin to see just how much I’ve learned and how far I’ve gotten since the beginning.
With our third project looming around the corner, I was determined to approach it differently, with a proper start and end. This meant I needed to create a user flow chart, a user story, and wireframes to prep and plan my project, all before I even started coding my web app. Although it was really more of a personal want to prepare these diagrams (since our instructors don’t require us to submit them), I desperately wanted to see my capability as a developer at this stage.
Our third project requirements were to:
- Incorporate Rails (our last project only used Ruby)
- Have at least one
has_many, at least one
belongs_to, and at least two
has_many :throughrelationships, with a many-to-many relationship between the
- Have the join table include a user-submittable attribute other than foreign keys
- Incorporate validations in our models, as well as display the errors on our views
- Use an ActiveRecord scope method that uses ActiveRecord Query methods
- Incorporate user authentication (sign-up, login, etc.) as well as Omniauth
- Use nested resources, with specific inclusion of nested
- Make sure our code was DRY by using partials and helpers
I started this off by creating said guides on draw.io.
It’s very safe to say that I went above and beyond for this project. During the planning stage, I found myself packing in a lot of extra features that even I was unsure if I could manage to bring all of them to fruition. Overall, just conceptualizing, planning, and creating especially the wireframes took me three whole days. Throughout this process, I wondered aloud if all this was just a big time waster.
Luckily, all this planning benefitted once I tackled the actual code.
I referred to my models’ association table numerous times throughout the beginning and used the flow chart to then visualize the user experience and how I wanted the app to look and feel. Although a lot of my pages ended up not looking like my wireframes, it expedited my process as I was able to physically visualize where the buttons, links, headers, navigation bar, footer, etc. would go and how they’d look like. Once I got the bulk of my code finished, I was able to concentrate on Bootstrap and CSS to make my app look nicer and for most of the time, I referred to my wireframes.
Overall, this experience was undoubtedly a stressful one. There were so much about Rails and Bootstrap that I wasn’t exposed to and as even seasoned programmers would say, “Google was my best friend” (although all that knowledge floating around on Google was overwhelming to say the least). However, I learned so much in just these past two weeks, e.g. I learned how to use Figma and draw up wireframes for the first time. Yet, throughout the entire process, I found myself genuinely having fun creating my app as it consumed me. I was devising solutions and thinking of ways to approach a particular problem differently as I was brushing my teeth, eating breakfast — whenever and throughout any other mundane daily activities.
Truthfully, I hadn’t felt this feeling of excitement and yearn to learn in a while and it’s been invigorating. It’s as if I returned back to myself as a child and the world is my oyster. It gives me peace and happiness to know that after all this time, I finally found what I want to do for a career.