Learn-co Verified Application Process: Part 1

Hey it's me, just poppin' in for a good ol chit chat :) Today I completed part one of the application process to Learn. So per usual, I will briefly explain what the process has been like so far, in case you're interested in this path too! 

After creating an account, you will go through several prompts that'll help configure your computer for the lessons. Then, part 1 of the application process is to complete the Into to Ruby Web Development track, which takes about 30 hours to do, give or take depending on your experience. By the end, you will have built a tic tac toe game! It wasn't easy for me. There were definitely some points where I had to walk away cursing to the heavens... but I came back, of course! Instead of going into the details of what you have to do (just do it, it's free and you'll learn heaps), I'll cover what I feel are pros and cons to this program thus far! 

PROS:

  • The program takes you step by step and makes it very easy to follow/understand. They also have their own computer application which is very user friendly. 
  • I appreciate the humor and pop-culture references sprinkled throughout the lessons, and the heart terminal cursor. It definitely helps to break up the nitty gritty. 
  • It's 100% remote and self-paced. Upon acceptance, they guarantee job placement (in 6 months) or your money back!
  • There are labs (code challenges), and "readme" files (mostly text with some videos). From taking other online tutorials, I was initially a bit turned off about the mostly text lessons, however they make a good point. As a programmer, we will be expected to read a lot; we will read a lot of readme files to learn about a program, and we will also be reading (and writing) a lot of code. So in the end I appreciated this approach. 
  • The lessons are challenging, but you have help available to you at any time. I reached out for help on three different occasions, interacting with two different people. I liked that they were able to guide me without giving me the answers, even though I was desperate at one point. I was told that it's more beneficial for me to work through, struggle through, the problem than it would be had they given me the answers. I also liked that they would share additional information with me. For example, the first time I reached out for help, I was frustrated because I got all the tests to pass but didn't quite do it the way the lesson suggested. My helper shared this video with me, reminding me that in programming there is no one right answer. 
  • There is an option to share screens. With one of the helpers, I shared my screen so that he could review my code live, and we could talk to each other using the computer's built-in microphones. This felt very personal and individualized. 
  • They emphasize Test Driven Development. I appreciated that the first thing I had to do in every lesson was run a test. I would use the tests to guide the direction of my code. You won't write the tests yet, but you will quickly get familiar with error messages which used to scare me before. But as a programmer, we'll get paid to solve problems. If everything was pretty and perfect, we wouldn't have a job. So get used to receiving projects in their broken states. Error codes are actually great because they're giving you clues and guiding you along the way! 
  • Karma = credit you receive for helping other people. You can ask questions, and also see questions that other students have. You also have the opportunity to respond to them if you know the answer. By helping other students you receive karma points. I don't know what you can do with those points exactly, but I helped somebody and it made me feel really good. :) 
  • I received a personalized message from one of the helpers once I completed the program. And we now follow each other on Twitter. That's pretty cool :) 
  • Tuition = A LOT cheaper than the other programs I was considering. I won't have to quit my job, and I won't have to take out a loan. 

CONS:

  • It's 100% remote; I still wonder if I'm missing out on attending an in-person code school.
  • It's self-paced; the longer you take to complete the course, the more expensive it'll be (which may belong in the pro section for motivation?) This only applies to the actual program. Qualifying (Part 1) is free. 
  • They have their own computer app that makes it very easy to communicate with github, without using commands/github. Thankfully, I'm already comfortable with github and how to push to my repos (thanks Skillcrush!). They also have a lesson covering this, and using their application is totally optional! You can do it manually too, but you don't have to. If I were a beginner who didn't know about git/github, I'd wonder if I'm missing out on practicing a valuable skill. 

As you can see, the pros outweigh the cons! Once I completed the track, I started their actual application (which I'll refer to as Part 2) but I had to stop when I saw they wanted me to record a 2 minute video of myself explaining why I want to be a developer. With zit cream all over my face, I was not prepared for that! So I'll continue on tomorrow and report back! 

I have no idea what the acceptance rate is but I think I have a pretty good shot at it, and it fits so much better with my schedule/life than my previous options! This program couldn't have been created at a more perfect time!