One of our Full Stack Web Development alumni, Lauralee, reflects back on her experience with Bloc, and shares tips and helpful strategies for anyone thinking about enrolling in a bootcamp.
With a degree in Applied Psychology and a focus on human-computer interaction, Lauralee came to Bloc with a unique background. She had her first experience programming when working as a web analyst, where she realized she loved it and wanted to pursue building her own business besides working for someone else. And so majorfinder.com was born. After trying to hire on people to build and design the site, she came to realize that getting the results she envisioned meant she had to learn to build them herself.
After Graduating Bloc:
Web Consultant and Ruby on Rails Developer
Lauralee’s Experience and Study Tips:
Coming into Bloc, what goals did you have of yourself, and how did you stay on top of these goals?
I had two main goals: become more comfortable with Rails, and get answers to specific questions I had. I had already been learning Rails when I came into Bloc. I had tried learning on my own for about a year and a half, so I was pretty comfortable with it. But my goal was to become even more comfortable. I had specific questions that I wanted answers, and my mentor really helped me. I really liked the idea of having someone to talk to- that was awesome.
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?
As I think back, I’m very happy with the way I did it. I’d probably give myself the same advice I give myself everyday. Which is to not stop, and keep going. To set difficult goals that stretch me and help me grow. And to write code every single day. I used to write code sporadically. But I saw such an increase in what I learned and what I retained when I practiced everyday.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to an incoming student?
Be excited! But be ready to work hard! The harder you work, the more you’re going to get out of it. This opens up so many opportunities and possibilities. I receive about 1 email a week from recruiters, so about 4-6 a month. I was surprised when I received my first one, and still am whenever I receive them. I didn’t expect this many opportunities to come to me. I even had to create default templates for responses, I was getting so many!
How should someone prepare themselves for Bloc? Can you name a few resources?
I used a lot of online resources to learn, so I felt really good coming to Bloc. I was prepared and able to grasp a lot. I used a lot of online resources to help me. She read a free online book called Learn Ruby the Hard way.
How did your experience with a mentor influence your experience?
I really loved the mentor aspect. That’s ultimately what made me decide on Bloc. I was able to ask the questions I wanted answered. I had a mentor there to give me advice on my Capstone Project, and to guide me. And to me, that is very valuable. You should definitely look through all the mentor profiles to ensure that you find a good fit.
What do you think your experience would be like had you not had a mentor?
Well, I had experience this last year when I was learning on my own. I was a lot slower, and had a lot of trial and errors. And although that is fine, the speed made a huge difference for me. I was able to learn something so much faster, and having a mentor was as lot more enjoyable than learning this stuff on my own.
What do you think was the key to your success?
For me, it was just my work ethic, I worked hard. I had a lot of drive, and I put in the time. But I was also really excited. My mentor definitely played a role as well, but ultimately it was my doing. Every single day I was on Bloc.
Did you ever feel like quitting? If so, how did you keep yourself motivated?
I certainly had difficult days, but I was really excited for my Capstone Project. That was the reason I signed up for Bloc; to have a mentor help me with my Capstone. But even when I had difficulty going through the Ruby modules, I felt that the sooner I got it over with, the closer I could get to my Capstone.
Going into Bloc I wasn’t really strong in Ruby; the exercises really stretched me. I had to develop a different way of thinking, and there were certainly times when I would just have to hunker down and get through it. But you have so many resources available to you with Bloc, that I always had something to help her.
What phase of Bloc did you see the most personal growth. How were you able to work through it’s challenges?
When I came across the Ruby modules. I grew the most when I encountered the modules, I still go back and work on them! I have a few Ruby books too. For me, the challenge was thinking like a developer. When I was going through Ruby I had to think like a developer, and that was difficult.
Are there any personal learning preferences individuals should take into account prior to signing up for a bootcamp? Can you give me a situation when Bloc was able to work with your learning style?
I was surprised with Bloc. I expected to watch a bunch of videos, so it was interesting for me coming into this experience without one.
Do you have any study tips for someone who is thinking of enrolling in an online bootcamp?
I would suggest for them to jump into learning. To have success, you just have to do the work and keep on going. My mentor mentioned to me that some of his other students just stopped. That wasn’t even an option for me- I didn’t even consider it. Maybe if these people had started before enrolling, or if they were excited about creating something, then maybe they would have kept on going. Just find a fun project and jump into it!
When you were enrolled in Bloc, did you have any routines that helped keep you on track?
Well, I have work to do during the day, so I definitely had a routine. I would get up in the morning before everyone else, and then when I came home I would do Bloc after work. I’d wake up at 5 am sometimes to squeeze in extra hours. And on weekends I spent even more time. I continued to complete projects with my mentor even after graduating Bloc.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell to the future students of Bloc?
I just think, that this is an incredible opportunity! This could literally change people’s lives! It’s changed mine in so many ways. And I think if you invest in yourself, then doors open up to you. And doing something like this and working hard and becoming better is only going to bring good things.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell to the current students of Bloc?
I would say that I’m very goal driven. If students are having difficulty finding motivation remind yourself why you’re doing this. Constantly go back to the “why.” If they can remember, and keep that in mind, then they should find the motivation. Every single day I have goals, and everyday visualize myself accomplishing my goals. They just need to think about what they want to do, and try to envision themselves doing it. If they do that, Bloc will be such an incredible experience for them.
It’s also interesting to see how much of a need there is for Rail developers. This is just a huge opportunity for anyone, and for me I just see it all as an amazing chance to have. Even if someone doesn’t want to become a developer, and they just want to create something, a bootcamp is a wonderful way to be creative.
Last but not lease, Job Prep was extremely valuable as well. Once I went through Job Prep, I got so many more job offers; it opened more doors.
What Lauralee is Doing now:
After graduating from Bloc, Lauralee has been receiving weekly offers from recruiters. She is now an entrepreneur and continues to brush up on her coding skills.
In addition to building out Major Finder, Lauralee left Bloc having completed a few projects and a personality test for users on her site. She also redesigned and is now maintaining a personal blog and portfolio.
Check out the rest of Lauralee’s story on our Alumni page!