No computer experience? No problem. Meet Coding Dojo Graduate Yamin HakizimanaBy: Luke Lappala, Director of Public Relations at Coding Dojo
So you're considering enrolling in a coding bootcamp, but you don't have much experience with computers. If you're worried your lack of technical knowledge will hold you back, set your fears aside, and let us introduce Burundian refugee and recent Boise Coding Dojo graduate, Yamin Hakizimana.
In 2014, Yamin fled from Burundi due to ongoing conflict in the region and sought asylum in the United States. After immigrating to Boise, he found work at a meat-packing plant and then worked as a landscaper for a few years. Yamin found these jobs unrewarding, so he decided to make a change and enrolled in a Coding Dojo bootcamp.
Today, Yamin is a software developer with the national software company VYNYL, a job that he landed only three weeks after graduating from Coding Dojo. If you think you don't know a lot about computers, get this – prior to Coding Dojo, Yamin had never even typed on a computer!
Yamin had quite the journey to get where he is today. So we sat down with him to get the inside scoop on his experience and his advice for anyone thinking about enrolling in a coding bootcamp.
What was it like getting ready for the bootcamp?
I was super excited because I was like, "Oh man, now I'm going to go to school." But I had no experience with computer science. I mean, I've seen computers and touched them, but didn't know anything about typing and other stuff. I was super excited, but nervous.
Walk us through your first week or two in the program. What was it like?
The first couple weeks I was a little bit behind trying to adapt because I didn't have a computer. A friend let me borrow a computer, but it had issues with a few programs. So the nonprofit One Refugee bought a computer for me, which I am very grateful for. With the computer issues, the first week was pretty challenging. I tried to go on YouTube to watch videos so I could be on the same page as the rest of the class.
How did you overcome the obstacles you faced?
I just had to "go in." I decided to go all in with everything I had, because I loved it and obviously it was the thing I wanted to do with my life. But I knew I wouldn't get another opportunity. So I tried to use everything I could to help myself. The Coding Dojo platform explained everything really well and the pre-bootcamp course was really helpful. It was just starting from the very beginning, and little by little I got up to speed.
How did you feel as the graduation date approached?
Every time I think about where I came from and how much I learned in 14 weeks... it's unbelievable. I had a lot of confidence about my job prospects. It was more like, "Where can I take my skills and create something of meaning?" It was a beautiful thing.
What advice do you have for others who are interested in coding bootcamps?
Try to make everything count. Make every day count. Learning how to code takes so much dedication, so you have to put a lot of time into it. You always think, "Oh it's hard, it's hard." But you haven't tried it yet. Think of something that motivates you, and it will keep you going.
And you need to always remember that everyone starts at the beginning. I mean, look at me – I didn't know how to type on a computer. But now, I know how to create any code – I mean, not every code, but I at least have an idea of how I could use every coding language.
What does your family back in Burundi think about your journey?
They are super excited. They couldn't believe it. We used to look at iPhones or mobile apps and say, "How do you do that?" And now I can tell my friends and family that I can do that!
What do you want to do in five or ten years?
There are a lot of ideas I want to put out there. I want to work on my own and have my own company building apps. That's all I need: to create apps. I'm so addicted right now, I don't know what Coding Dojo did to me. It's become everything in my life: coding, coding, coding. In 10 years, I want to have my own company that teaches people to code and inspires new developers.
Any parting thoughts?
For everything that's good, you have to struggle. Everything worthy, you have to struggle for. Just surround yourself and enjoy it. And then keep going.
Don't be nervous, because there's nothing to be nervous about. Stop thinking about how difficult it will be or the walls that have been built around you. You can go wherever you want to go.
So, what's holding you back? What walls have you built around yourself? Get in touch with us to learn how Coding Dojo can help you get wherever you want to go.