Is Bootcamp Hard?

When I tell people that I’m in a programming bootcamp, and their response is usually something like this:

Ooooh, I’ve heard about those. How’s it going? Aren’t those like, really hard?

Yeah, well, it’s hard. It’s kind of designed to be hard. There’s a lot of information that has to be processed in a very short amount of time, and that’s hard, no matter what. But there are different kinds of hard, and for me, the hardest part isn’t the mental gymnastics.

Unfortunately, with my being basically a robot when it comes to feels, bootcamp’s morning stand-up makes my blood pressure spike because I am expected to share my feelings. I don’t have feelings that get shared with other people. My biggest breakthrough was admitting that I was “slightly nervous” on the day we had to do “math stuff” (wow, so eloquent, way to go, Tori). We’re also asked to share our goals for the day each morning, and I can never think of a goal. My goal is to finish bootcamp and get a kickin’ job with health insurance. How do I break that down into a daily thing?

The other bit that I struggle with is that I really, really like whiteboards. We have whiteboard tables and I love having a marker and drawing all over the table while I’m figuring something out. If we’re partnered up, I have a tendency to run away with my marker and leave my bewildered partner staring at my scribbles as I blather on, three steps ahead of where I’ve lost them. I also tend to talk pretty fast, especially when I’m talking through problems or, even more disastrously, solutions. This has been a problem since elementary school—my brain gets going and I forget to slow down. It’s not that other people are slow, or stupid, or anything like that—my classmates are all wicked bright, otherwise they wouldn’t be there, and I very much like them as people. It’s just that I get carried away, and then I worry that I’m coming off as an insufferable know-it-all.

So yes, bootcamp is hard. I have no doubt that for some people (most people?) the hard part may be the sheer amount of information presented in such a short length of time, or learning how to think analytically, or acclimating themselves to the syntax of whatever computer language is being used. But even though those are the kind of things that come easily to me, bootcamp is still hard—just hard in a different way.

Review: Ting

When I moved back to the United States and had to acquire cell phone service, I had two requirements: I had to be able to bring my own device, and I would not sign a service contract.  I had an unlocked iPhone 4S and had been using a pay-as-you-go service (Lebara, if you’re interested) in the UK.  I purchased a SIM card for £1, activated it and was able to choose whether to pay-as-you-go or pay for a monthly plan with a set limit on minutes, SMS (texts) and mobile data.  Every month, I would purchase a £10 (about $16 US) Lebara service voucher with my groceries at Tesco, and top up my phone on the bus ride home.

After a little bit of searching, I found Ting, a Tucows company.  (Yeah, that Tucows.)  With Ting, your monthly bill is based on how many minutes, texts and mobile data you consume, plus a $6 fee for every active device on your account.  Service is sorted into “small”, “medium”, and “large” caps (you can see a rate table here.)  I generally use a “small” amount of minutes and texts per month, and a “medium” amount of data.  My bill is generally $30 or less, and I’ve set it to automatically deducts from my checking account.  Here’s a snapshot of my account dashboard showing what I’ve used this billing cycle:


Ting piggybacks on the Sprint network, and I am rarely out of the service.  The only time I couldn’t get anything more than an emergency-only signal was when I was driving through very rural areas of Ohio.  That isn’t a regular occurrence for me, so I wasn’t concerned, but check on coverage before signing up if you live in cow country.  Ting is also the first North American carrier to offer service across both GSM and CDMA networks–I have a Ting GSM SIM in the LG Google Nexus 4 I’m currently using.

I like that I can switch phones at any time, that I own my phone outright, and that I’m not locked into a years-long service contract.  You can bring your own device (check the MEID/IMEI to see if it will work with Ting here) or purchase a new or refurbished phone directly from Ting.

If you’d like to try Ting for yourself, head over to their website and click through the wicked-easy activation process.  Oh, and to spread the love–use my personal referral link to get $25 a device purchase, or $25 in Ting credit.



Finally deciding to actually use WordPress to blog!  My first post should probably be something profound, but I can’t come up with any visionary statements at the moment.

The purpose of this blog is to organize my thoughts around attending a full-time software development bootcamp–and perhaps provide myself with a space to explore some other topics further on down the line as well.  I started bootcamp two weeks ago, and found myself wishing I had a space to write down my thoughts on the experience.  Everything expressed in this blog is my own opinion, and should not be considered an endorsement of, a reflection on, or a statement by We Can Code IT, LLC, LauchHouse, or any of their affiliates, networks, and/or related businesses.  Names may have been changed to protect others’ privacy.