A childhood friend of mine told me that he was planning on attending Byte, in July (2016), and I decided to check the place out. I'll never forget how much Tom, an instructor at the time, and Kai, the head of admissions, didn't try to sell me on enrollment.... Read More
I can't remember exactly when this was (it's mid-January, now), but I remember not doing much of the pre-course work. My friend was on top of it, from the start, but I thought that the bootcamp was going to be more or less of a cake-walk because I was developing websites with WordPress / managing my own servers, for a few years before I attended. I ended up paying for it the first month; if there's any advice I have to offer it's: 1) choose Byte and 2) do the pre-work.
I touched on Rak and Cody (my fin. and tech. instructors, respectively) in a review on Byte's website, but I'll mention them, here, too; if I had to choose one phrase to sum both of them up it'd be: "world class." I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I've been through a myriad of educational experiences (attending boarding school in South Korea, conducting research sponsored by General Electric, etc.) and this-- by far and away-- was the best educational experience of my life.
That's not to say that it isn't grueling. The first month can be a dog. I thought that I'd be the big-swinging-dick at Byte when I first signed up because of my experience developing WordPress themes and plugins, but I was leagues behind my peers for the entirety of the first month (en serio: do the pre-work). I think, in retrospect, that I thought that the rest of my cohort would be a bunch of chumps, but, as it turned out, every person in my cohort ended up having a work history that'd make your dick shrivel (investment banker at Credit Suisse, cryptolinguist at the National Security Agency, etc.) and, in my opinion, there's nothing better-- whether you're trying to become a better athlete or a better programmer-- than to be surrounded by your betters.
I wasn't on the struggle bus forever, either. I ended up getting an open-source project off the ground and speaking to a bunch of people about it at DigitalOcean's headquarters. It's still pretty small, but I feel like it's one of happening things at the crossroads of financial technology and we've even had the C.E.O. of Investopedia come by Byte, as part of the project's speaker series, to talk about his experiences in the industry. The project actually shares the name of a WordPress-based project that I demo-ed at DisruptNY's hackathon in 2015, and in a strange way, I feel like something about this anecdote sums up my opinion of Byte; it's something like a bridge: between what was and what could be.
It's a weird thing, to look back, you know? I mean, I read every single review on Course Report, and every other website that I could find, before I took the leap. I was hungry, man. I was f***ing rabid. I don't even know what this means, but I wanted "to know."
I took a moment to re-read what I'd written and the album "Is This It" came to mind. I was about to plug my headphones into my laptop and pull it up on Spotify, but I started to think about why the album came to mind in the first place as I reflected on what I meant when I wrote "I wanted 'to know'" I realized that that's exactly what I was asking myself right around the time in my life when my friend told me that he was going to go to Byte. You've really got to look inward before you take the leap. Three months can seem like a long time if you aren't ready for a lot of change, but if you're right head-space: it'll go by in the blink of an eye.
Switchup Full Disclosure: After graduating from the program, this student worked for this school.