Bootcamp Corner with Arnoldo Munoz

Arnoldo Munoz is an incoming Telegraph Academy software engineering student. He talks about applying to Telegraph, what gives him the energy to learn coding at night, and how he got past impostor syndrome.

Bootcamp Corner with WeFinance is a regular series that looks at coding bootcamp students, their experience, and the lessons they’ve learned.

Arnoldo successfully crowdfunded a loan to cover his Telegraph tuition. You can see his campaign here.

Are you considering a bootcamp but worried about the tuition or living expenses? WeFinance for Bootcampers is the fastest way to crowdfund a personal loan.

How did you find out about Telegraph Academy?

I found out about Telegraph Academy from one of my friends who owns his own startup. I’ve always been interested in technology and creating my own applications. I went online, started doing research, and realized it was the right one for me.

Did you consider any other bootcamps other than Telegraph Academy?

I considered Galvanize, but it’s a 6 month program. That’s what threw me off since I didn’t want to be in the school for 6 months — I rather spend 3 months looking for a job or starting a job.

When you were learning programming, what did you find helpful?

I did Codeacademy and Code School. The one that helped me out the most was Free Code Camp since they have you do projects. Once I was able to do one of the projects on my own — something like build a calculator — it gave me the confidence to keep going.

Before, I thought all programmers were genius level smart. Once I started working on it, I realized that it’s difficult, but not impossible.

How long did the whole learning process take before you applied to Telegraph?

I ended up taking the Telegraph Prep+. Before that, I was on and off teaching myself for about 6 months. After I took the 6 week course from Telegraph, I applied within a couple of weeks and got accepted.

What gave you the energy and push to learn to code at night?

Learning to program is not easy when your brain is half asleep but knowing that this skill will allow me to help others and myself is what keeps me awake. I want to do something positive with my life. I know that I want to help others and technology is the fastest way to reach people around the world. I know that I’m capable of doing anything I set my mind to and if I stayed content with my current life I wouldn’t achieve anything.

What’s the application process for Telegraph?

It was a little tough; most of it was my nerves. It was the back of my mind telling me that, “it was too tough, you probably can’t do it, you should quit.” A lot of it was fighting through this.

The 6 week course gave me a lot of confidence and I learnt a lot. That’s what prepared me for the technical interview — I passed on the first time! You learn so much in those 6 weeks that the application process is pretty easy.

What tips would you give to someone else applying for Telegraph?

Learn the basics of JavaScript — really get down into higher order functions and callbacks — since this is really what they’re trying to make sure you understand.

What’s your optimal outcome after Telegraph?

My focus after the program is to get a job at a technology company. I want to understand what it’s like to be an engineer and be surrounded by smart people. I want to be around an environment where I’m constantly learning and growing.

What made you decide on the push to do a coding bootcamp instead of just staying with learning online?

The reason I chose to go to Telegraph is that you learn a lot in a short amount of time — the support they give is priceless. Being able to work closely with other people who have the same interest as you do. Being able to speak the same language of developers really helps. When I was doing it on my own, there were times I would get super frustrated. I would go online and search for a solution but I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for, so finding the answer was difficult. At times, you get frustrated and put it to the side and waste time.

Once I went to the 6 week prep class, I learnt so much and my confidence just grew. I knew I could do it. They really teach you how you can go about fixing the bugs in your code, how to search for things online, and how to phrase the questions. That’s helped out a lot. Now, when I run into a problem, I know what to search for. I can debug a lot better as well now.

What are you doing to prepare for Telegraph?

I’m doing a lot of self learning. We are also given some pre-course work that needs to be completed before the program starts.

Have you had to deal with impostor syndrome? How have you dealt with it?

In the beginning, when I was teaching myself, I went in there thinking about how well I match against others — are they all smarter than me? I know a lot of the students who come into bootcamps have technical or professional backgrounds, or they’ve been in the tech industry before, or they know another language and are trying to learn JavaScript.

Impostor syndrome does affect you in the beginning but you get past it. You have to believe in yourself and have confidence in your abilities. Every time I was able to solve a problem, or seeing that I was able to solve problems before my peers, gave me the confidence that I don’t necessarily need the “right background” to succeed in this industry. I’m just as capable as anyone in this class.

Sometime important is that you have to remind yourself that you have the knowledge, it’s just about sitting down and applying it, and not worrying about the other people in the class and just focus on what’s in front of you.

What makes you a good investment?

The fact that I don’t bring myself down. When I say I’m going to go for something, I do it. When I started, I fell on my face over and over again but I kept pushing. I wanted to see what it was like to work as a developer and I’ve never stopped. To me, this is my future, my life depends on it. I’m so close — nothing is going to stop me.