Bootcamp Corner with Richard Durazo

Richard Durazo is an incoming MakerSquare software engineer-in-training. He talks about his journey and why he’s excited to learn to code.

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

Richard is crowdfunding a loan for MakerSquare. You can see his campaign here.

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What were you doing before MakerSquare?

I’ve been working in software implementation for the last couple of years since graduating college. Software implementation is interesting since you get to see the end product; I get to help client’s with things like landing pages and career sites.

I’m looking to become a software engineer because I want to be able to create products; I want to build and design the box, not just fit something inside of it.

At what point did you realize you wanted to make this transition?

It’s something I’ve been kicking around for the last couple years. I was looking at bootcamps about a year ago and ended up doing MakerSquare’s “MakerPrep” course. I really enjoyed the program and it sparked me to join the full-time program.

Did you do any self-study before the prep-course?

I did self-study using Codeacademy and One Month. Thinkful, a mentorship focused online program, was also extremely helpful. It was really exciting to learn and start building things on my own!

Has it been difficult to adapt to the developer mindset?

Yes and no. Learning to code is like learning a new language; it’s exciting and challenging at the same time. Sometimes you hit the wall and get stuck. Other times it just feels right. I’ve been slowly moving towards the developer mindset and have been loving the journey.

What’s been the biggest challenge with learning to code before MakerSquare?

The biggest challenge has been juggling work and trying to learn to code on the side — it’s hard to make the time. I’m looking forward to MakerSquare since it will allow me to focus 100% of my energies on learning and developing my skills.

What was the interview process like?

There was a web-based component and the in-person interview. The web-based component is pretty straightforward and is available to everyone to try. The in-person interview is afterwards and included technical questions around arrays, objects, array manipulation, and higher order functions.

These were all things I’ve been practicing so I felt very comfortable and confident during the interview.

What are you hoping to get out of MakerSquare?

I’m hoping to build the foundation I need to become a software engineer. Something I’m looking forward to is working with others, something that MakerSquare (and all of the Reactor Core bootcamps: Hack Reactor, Telegraph Academy, and Mobile Makers) focuses on very heavily.

I’ve heard that MakerSquare has a great community so I’m looking forward to starting projects and building out my portfolio with my cohort!

What tips would you give someone who’s thinking about learning to code?

My biggest tip would be to take it slow. My view of learning to code is that it’s a life-long process. Even if you don’t “get” something right away, just keep trying.

Eloquent JavaScript, one of the other resources I used, has a really motivational video about a rock climber and his approach to climbing something that’s difficult. He explains how he goes one step at a time; that each step might be extremely difficult, but the end result is worthwhile. It’s super motivational.

What are you looking to do after MakerSquare?

I would definitely be interested in going back to the company I work for since I have a strong foundation of the product and the company’s vision.

I also think it would be interesting working in a smaller startup since you get to deal with multiple parts of a product and business.

If you could go time, what advice would you give yourself?

I would focus less on “what I want to be” and more on what I enjoy doing. My advice would be to work towards something that interests you and that you find enjoyable.