After decades of playing on the fringes of programming, i.e., taking the odd (COBOL and RPGII) programming and/or scripting (Wang VS) course, I made the decision to commit to code immersion. I wanted to give myself every advantage because I am truly hoping to make a career switch at this point after decades in IT support.
The first thing I did was to forego my usual practice of distance learning in favor of the brick-and-mortar experience. This was a little scary because I've not attended school since the 80's and I worried that I would be too tired after a day at work to sit through class twice a week.
That fear was quickly dispelled during the first class. The class was fun and fascinating and the time flew. I am loving the the coursework. But more than that, I am re-learning how to learn.
"Back in the day" when I was in college, you parked yourself in the library with a hard-cover book, about 3-4 inches thick, big neon highlighter in your dominant hand. I would highlight what I thought I needed to memorize, write what I highlighted, type what I had written and then read what I typed. It was time-consuming at best, and does not stand up to the test of time. At the rate new technology comes along these days, a new approach was clearly called for.
Today, I rely more on Google and have redirected my memory toward resources rather than material. This also frees up my mind for better things like critical thinking. (I'm a fan of meta-cognition.)
Here is an executive summary of what I'm learning at TTS:
1. Don't panic.
2. Don't take on technical debt (If you don't understand something, work on it so that you don't get left behind).
3. Be fearless.
4. Step out of your comfort zone.
5. Teach! and finally...
6. Get a rubber duck. (I'm not going to explain that one. If you take the class, you will find out what I mean.)
I made the decision to follow the direction of the accomplished staff at TTS and I haven't looked back since.
In the short time I've been here, I've been performing better on my job, due to this new-found skill I'm learning of aggressively investigating things that are new to me. It's exhilarating. From the very first class, I knew I made the right decision by enrolling in TTS.
It's one of the best decisions I've ever made, a life-changing experience.