There Is Only One Thing More Painful Than Learning From Experience…

… not learning from experience.”    Archibald McLeish
I’ve been trying to teach myself coding for a while now, and the convention historically has been to major in Computer Science, then get a job. The new disrupter for IT aspirants is completing online schools, “bootcamps” or even becoming self-taught. I’ve tried each of these, and just started my ‘second’ beginning of a bootcamp.

See, this ain’t my first toe in the water. I started a fulltime “full-stack boot camp” last year. I’d done the prep work required and paid my hefty tuition and was excited to be educated, naively expecting to learn years of wisdom much the same way Neo learns jui-jitsu.

Here was my experience of moving from “preparation” to the actual full-time course:

surfer falls off board from atop huge wave

Let’s summarize that I found the experience … “clarifying”.

I quit after 2 weeks, having assured myself that I was totally unprepared and therefore incapable of assimilating that intensity of foreign, complex and cumulative information uploads, each day, for another 10 weeks.


Following that intense agitation, I’ve continued online courses and completed a laid-back “code camp” in September; it was gratifying, and the milieu and instruction was, primarily, designed to foster a dev community in a ski town. We met once a week for 3 months following an online WebDev course curriculum. It was, in every way, different than the bootcamp.

So now I have 2 radically different pedagogies around coding but I do have one consistent insight:

” …The thing that I think is the most frustrating about programming is you battle with a concept or feature or tool for a long time, and while you are battling, it feels like you’re never gonna get it.

And then you get it.

And then it feels obvious.

I feel like there’s a very small amount of time, maybe like 5 seconds, where you feel good about it. 90% of it is spent where you feel angry, and stupid. 9% is spent feeling like ‘oh. Obviously.’

And there’s 1% of happiness…”
Saron Yitbarek, founder of