Our first iOS bootcamp grad, Kervins Valcourt, reflects back on his experience with Bloc, and elaborates on study tips and habits that benefited him the most.
After graduating with a degree in mathematics and applied computer science, Kervins knew he needed additional skills to make his goals as an entrepreneur come true. His goals when he started were to gain the skills to land a developer job, and to get started building his app.
Kervins’ Experience and Study Tips:
Coming into Bloc, what goals did you have for yourself, and how did you stay on top of these goals?
My main goal was to become a better programmer and to understand app design.
Now a Bloc graduate, if you could go back into time and give yourself one piece of advice as a Bloc student, what would it be?
Start learning the course earlier! Going through the first week of Bloc was fine, but by the time I hit week 3, I felt like a prisoner.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to an incoming student?
Don’t be afraid to look on Google and ask more questions. Just don’t be afraid to go online to seek answers. You need to put in more time and research, so I really recommend using Google and any credible resources you can find online.
How should someone prepare themselves for a course at Bloc? Can you name a few resources?
You’re already giving a significant amount of time to Bloc, but you should really give yourself a headstart. I was proactive and read a whole book on C even though it wasn’t required of me.
How did your mentor influence your experience?
Aw Stan was awesome! He was a funny guy. I actually really liked it when he didn’t understand or know the answers to the questions I asked. Coming into Bloc, I only knew one form of programming, so I thought the mentors were Gods. So everytime Stan got stumped, he’d show me how he looked for the answer and how he found it. And then we would do it together, and sometimes it wouldn’t work. So we would do it again and solve it.
What do you think your experience would be like had you not had a mentor?
I don’t know, I feel like I would have figured it out eventually, but I wouldn’t have been able to build my portfolio. My other friends who took bootcamps didn’t have portfolios to show for interviews, so they are jealous. I really appreciate the structure of building workable apps, and having the ability to understand how everything functions.
What do you think was the key to your success?
Aaron helped me out a lot as well. He would always point out interesting blogs to read, and after one interview I had, he told me things that I should look out for when going into an interview.
Did you ever feel like quitting? If so, how did you keep yourself motivated?
I never felt like quitting, I knew that there was no alternative. I took a gamble and quit my job and decided that this was it. If there was a point that I felt discouraged during the bootcamp, it’d have to be when I came across quicken for the first time. But once I encountered it in my second project, it finally made sense.
What phase of Bloc did you see the most personal growth. How were you able to work through it’s challenges?
Definitely building your own project the second half. The first half was day-to-day and following the rules. But when I actually went into the trenches and started doing it is when things started to come together.
Do you have any study tips for someone who is thinking of enrolling in an online bootcamp?
Download self-control! Block websites that distract you. Like Facebook and Netflix. I can watch a whole season of a Netflix show in like two days. I’ve already watched Netflix’s new show, Marco Polo. I literally watched it in like, two days.
When you were enrolled in Bloc, did you have any routines that helped keep you on track?
I always tried to do 3 blocs a day, so 10 hours. But then I really got into it. When self-control was on and I wasn’t able to go on Netflix I would spend all my time on coding and just programming in general. I really got into it, and I would feel dumb if I wasn’t working.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell to the future students of Bloc?
Gotta make sure you love it. It’s definitely something you have to be passionate about it I mean, you could definitely truck through it, but I don’t think you’ll earn and grow as much if you’re not really passionate about it. I went to meetups and met people who were coding, and that really helped me. We would talk about the next steps to take and different projects we were working on. Without that passion, you aren’t going to be able to learn.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell to the current students of Bloc?
Give it a lot of time. Also don’t be afraid to ask your mentor for help. And look online for answers yourself! When you get stuck, send an email to your mentor, but still try to figure it out on your own. Be a part of the community, they can help you. Especially if you’re in a city go to a meetup and see people and ask them questions!
What Kervins is Doing now:
Having completed his apprenticeship, Kervins now splits his time between interviewing and working on new projects and ideas. He’s excited for his numerous upcoming interviews, and spends a lot of his time fine-tuning his skills and practicing. Kervins is also hard at work finishing up on an app that will be released by the middle of January.