Graduation day, space, and time

In a few hours I will be a graduate of Flatiron’s online software engineering bootcamp. So many times throughout this voyage, I wanted to quit. I was convinced that I had no idea what was going on and I’d never be a great programmer.

Imposter syndrome was a reality for me for a good portion of the bootcamp. It’s inevitable for those of us who don’t come from a math/science background. It wasn’t until I leaned in to what I realized was my own unique perspective that I truly began to see myself as a special potential programmer.

I’m a linguist, educator, communicator and social person. I made my name as a journalist and a teacher. What I thought was a useless Bachelor’s degree and aimless wandering around the globe in my 20s turned out to be part of what makes me such a different programmer.

It became clear to me that coding is just talking, programming just another language. I learned Mandarin in a year. It took about a decade to learn Spanish. If only I could speak JavaScript to a computer.

Naming conventions stuck out. I wondered how early programmers settled on terms and keywords like ‘object’ and ‘bug’. The eloquent variable names of better programmers gave me a glimpse into what it took to become a solid coder.

It’s communication. Being able to speak clearly. Design a set of instructions for the hardware as well was the programmer to follow. My skills as a team-player would be useful for more than just office morale.

Programming has led me to a new pinnacle as a person. I feel like I’m becoming a master. I’m no longer a journalist, celebrating the works of others. I will be the one scrutinized. I welcome it.

In the lull since finishing my final project and graduation night, I’ve reignited my obsession with NASA and space. Honestly, it’s shaken me out of a slight depression brought on by COVID-induced stir-craziness. Seeing man reach incomprehensible heights has brought me back to life. It’s a reason to get up and go learn. The infinite areas to navigate in the Observable Universe have helped me tailor my search for where I want to work next and what I want to do.

A year ago, I could not have imagined myself as an engineer. Truly, in 2019, on this day, the thought had never crossed my mind. I’m a new person. What I’ve learned will carry me on a path that, when thinking about it, makes my stomach drop. It’s incredible what humans can learn and do with the right circumstances and motivation.

I worried a bit about leaving the nest of Flatiron and daily schoolwork. I’ll miss my teacher, my classmates. But that thought is gone now, replaced by my need to learn and a desperation to be important. It may sound lame to you, but I want to push the limits of humanity and make our world a better place.

Coders are the new architects. It’s a prestigious occupation. As a new Howard Roark of sorts, I see my calling as holy. It makes it all worth while.

As excited as I am to graduate tonight, I’m more excited for it to be over. I’m ready to call myself a software engineer and change the world.

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