Coding Bootcamp: My One Thing

Coding Bootcamp: My One Thing
The One Thing: Introduction

I first read Gary Keller's book around 2017/2018. Around this time, I quit my job as a medical sales rep, went through what was probably depression, battled anxiety attacks, started a new job as a beverage sales rep, and...started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. A lot of things were happening all at once and most of it was very negative. I was lost, scared, and did not know what to do with my life. I was also living with my parents at the time, and my father went through a phase of ordering books for the whole family every so often. He ordered us "Relentless" by Time Grover, "Grinding It Out" by Ray Kroc, and eventually "The One Thing".

This one really stuck with me because I already was trying to find my one thing at the time, which was a career that I can really take root in. I was job hopping after college trying to find something that I could make money and build myself up from. Nothing was sticking. Eventually, I wound up working in Downtown Detroit at an insurance company. By being in the Downtown atmosphere, I had first heard about a local coding bootcamp that was being offered at a school called Grand Circus. It actually just a few blocks from where I worked, and the insurance company had some people in the IT department who graduated from the program. I ended up doing a little bit of research into what coding bootcamps were all about, the need for programmers and developers, talked to some of the folks that graduated from the program, and attended some introductory classes and information sessions on the bootcamp. All in all, it seemed legitamate.

There was a caveat though. Number one, it was not cheap. Number two, it was full time, which meant that I would have to quit my job in order to enroll in the program. It was a risky bet, do I quit my in hopes that this pays off and really launches me down a viable career path, or do I stay where I am at and continue down this road of hopping from job to job and chasing the task of trying to make money?

Needless to say, I was accepted into the program and gave my two weeks notice to my company. The journey was just getting started....

"Take out a sheet of paper"

I can remember two key moments before bootcamp had official started that let me know how I was going to succeed or fail in this bootcamp. One was in the orientation session where we got a breakdown of the schedule and got to meet our instructors. In the session, somebody asked what the instructors found to be the biggest reasons why students succeed or fail in bootcamp (Thank you to whoever asked this!). One of the instructors chimes in that the students he found succeeded were the ones that were working on their coding skills, doing extra problem sets, etc. outside of normal class hours and even into whatever free time they had. The ones who were not as successful simply did not devote as much time to it outside of normal class hours. Well after having read "The One Thing" a year or two prior (I did the bootcamp in 2019), it really sounded like the instructor was reiterating some of the same principles that Gary spoke about.

I had issues with focus in college, and I remember not doing well in classes because I made choices to go have fun, or go get a workout in over school work. I told myself, this bootcamp will not be a repeat of those times in college. I was learning a brand new skill, the learning curve would be steep. If I wanted to do this, it would take maximal effort. Not too mention, I was really counting on this to pay off because well...I quit my job and had no income source for several months (I also was living on my own at the about scary!). So like Gary wrote in the introduction of "The One Thing", "What's the ONE Thing you can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?" The answer to this question for me was laser focus on this new skillset and vigilance in lining up a job right as we were about to graduate from bootcamp. Basically, for the next few months, computer programming would be my ONE Thing.

The other key moment, was the first day of class. Our instructor Antonella asked us to take out a sheet of paper and write down why we were doing the bootcamp and who we were doing it for. After a few minutes of this exercise, she reminded us to every once in a while remember what we wrote down, especially when the material became challenging. Essentially, when the going go tough, remember why you are here. For me, this was to finally grow in a skillset and career path that could potentially open doors. It was also to grow and support a future family.

In September 2019, I graduated from bootcamp, and a few weeks after, started my first job as a developer. It seems surreal to say that, and it would have been had I not made this huge commitment my One Thing.