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Why I Chose to Attend Fullstack Academy Instead of Pursuing a Computer Science Degree

A little over a year ago I decided that I wanted to learn to code and ultimately become a Software Engineer. In this post I’d like to share why I chose to attend Fullstack Academy instead of pursuing a traditional Computer Science degree.

I wish I could say I was someone that was always into engineering, that spent their early teens rebuilding computers or trying to recreate video games, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve always been into math and science, I’ve always liked to learn, but I’d always considered a career in software engineering to be reserved exclusively for the effortlessly brilliant.

So here I was, early twenties and never having written a line of code in my life when an old friend gave me a suggestion that would change my entire life. “You should try Codecademy, I bet you would like it.” He didn’t realize it at the time, but that one simple suggestion would begin my obsession with coding. That night, I created my Codecademy account and I didn’t sleep, the satisfaction of getting those green checkboxes became so addictive I lost track of time.

Me, having no idea what I was doing.

At the time I really didn’t have any idea what I was doing, but I was having fun. I thought it was impossible, to do something fun that I can actually turn into my career? Sign me up. I was attending CUNY Queens College at the time and everything seemed to line up just right because a few days after signing up for Codecademy I got to choose my classes for my next semester, and the first class I registered for was CSCI 111: Introduction to Algorithmic Problem Solving. I spent two semesters taking a variety of Computer Science courses required for the CS major at Queens College.

Then I began researching the skills that companies looking for software engineers wanted, and I didn’t see myself learning any of those skills through a traditional Computer Science curriculum. I felt as though I was learning tons of theory, but I couldn’t connect those theories to any useful projects and that was discouraging for me. That’s when I began researching alternatives and thinking about other opportunities that were available to me.

A series of clicks brought me to the information page of the Web Development Fellowship at Fullstack Academy. All I know is that once I knew this program existed I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I scoured the internet for reviews on Fullstack Academy. Were the students there happy? Did they actually get jobs? Can you really learn to be a web developer in 17 weeks?

I read reviews and articles written by graduates, I even reached out to past students on Linkedin to ask about their experiences. The answers to those questions was a resounding yes! By the time I submitted my application I was completely sold, Fullstack Academy offered everything that was lacking, in my opinion, from a traditional CS curriculum.

The admissions process for Fullstack is not trivial, and probably warrants it’s own post, so I’ll keep it short here: When I received my acceptance email it was a good thing I was home, because there was tons of screaming and happy dancing going on. Fast forward one month and I’m now preparing to begin the Junior Phase at Fullstack Academy. During this 7 week phase I‘ll learn about data structures, React, and SQL, just to name a few. I’ll finally have the skills to create beautiful and powerful web apps, and I’ll slowly unlock powers that I didn’t even know I had. It’s kind of like I’m starting my first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Coding bootcamps may not be for everyone, and I’m sure there are certain types of people that would much prefer attaining at CS degree, we’re all different after all. Additionally, all bootcamps are not created equal. All I can say is that I’ve learned more in the introductory phases of Fullstack Academy than I did the two semesters that I was taking CS courses in college. In fact, there are many topics that I thought I understood, but I now realize that I only knew how to recreate the code the professors had taught me. I couldn’t be more excited to continue my journey at Fullstack, and I will continue to share my experiences and my growth as a developer.