Do well in school and get a good job. That was the standard saying throughout my life.

Sara HuyhnAs a little girl and into the present day, my family, teachers and friends tell me that to succeed in life, I need to do well in school. Let me start out with saying, I did not complete my traditional formal education. I finished high school and quickly learned in college my love for education was dying. The people whom I’ve talked to, who are in the same route, have chosen to go community college (a cheaper option than traditional four-year institutions), but that’s still what I call a linear education. Unlike this traditional path (high school grad to college grad), I decided to work, and realized I was still missing something in my life. Working early to save money wasn’t making me happy, but neither was traditional education. I was beginning to think that I was going nowhere with my life until I found out about coding bootcamps.

After hours of researching interesting digital classes that were held here in Boulder, I stumbled upon Boulder Digital Arts, which then led me to their sister company CodeCraft, a school that offers coding and UI/UX bootcamps. I was afraid of applying for the full-stack web development bootcamp at first, because a 9am-5pm class for 10 weeks sounded like traditional education, just packed with more work. I thought to myself, how was this place any different than a summer course at other traditional institutions?

After speaking with the CodeCraft Director at the time, I decided to join the second cohort at the beginning of 2016. Quitting one job and only working two days a week was very scary for me financially. I asked myself, how would I pay for basic necessities, and what if I failed?

I remember that first day of bootcamp clearly, I came into CodeCraft and was led to the classroom by Lead Instructor, Erty Seidohl and from there I met David Gray, the second lead instructor.   Again, I had great doubts but after my first day, I knew that CodeCraft was different than traditional education. Never in my life have I experienced so much 1×1 coaching and instruction. What I thought would be impossible – becoming a full-stack web developer – became a reality. During the program, I slowly regained my love for education, I came home working on my homework excited to do something else the next day. I came to class stressed out sometimes because I wanted to be able to solve a coding problem, but was constantly encouraged and always felt I was improving. Unlike traditional educational settings, CodeCraft has a small student to teacher ratio and adapts curriculum and teaching styles according to the students’ needs. Not only did that show me how dedicated the instructors were, but how anyone can learn anything given the confidence, guidance and mentorship.

Here I am with my team at T9 Hacks, a 24-hour hackathon focused on #WomenInTech, which CodeCraft sponsored in February 2016.

Here I am with my team at T9 Hacks, a 24-hour hackathon focused on #WomenInTech, which CodeCraft sponsored in February 2016.

I came to CodeCraft as a young woman who was trying to find out where she wanted to go in life, and graduated a woman who has found a passion for what she does as a full-stack web developer. I am proud to say having grown so much in just 10 weeks, I wanted to help others grow too. I enjoy being an assistant instructor at CodeCraft; I learn more and more about the tech industry, gaining confidence as a woman and programmer, and helping others gain that same confidence. The linear path of education did not suit me nor does it suit everyone; I would say if you want to change your life without spending the money you would at a traditional four-year institution, bootcamps like the full-stack web development one I attended at CodeCraft are the way to go!