Bootcamp Corner with Savaughn Jones

Savaughn Jones is an incoming Hack Reactor software engineering student. He talks about why he picked Hack Reactor, his motivation to learn to code, and advice he would give to others considering a coding bootcamp.

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

Savaughn is crowdfunding a loan to cover his Hack Reactor tuition and expenses. 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.

What made you decide on Hack Reactor and not another program?

My friend Peter de Croos spoke extremely highly of the program. He also encouraged another mutual friend of ours to do Hack Reactor as well and he found a great job.

The evidence, from the people I knew and what I read online, confirmed to me that Hack Reactor was the right path for me.

Was it difficult for you to learn to code? How was the transition?

I took a very little bit of programming in high school but it was a foreign topic among people I knew; people didn’t really know about it and didn’t see it as a thing that we could do.

Since spending time learning to code by myself, I really like it and enjoy it. There’s nothing more satisfying as when I try to make a program do something and it works.

Was it difficult to adapt to the developer mindset?

To be honest, I don’t think so. I’ve always had a thing for solving puzzles and logic problems — I’m just doing it on a larger scale. I’ve ran into walls but that’s normal and I love being able to overcome them.

What made you make the “jump” to do a coding bootcamp?

I’ve been thinking about coding ever since high school. Pete kept trying to convince me to come out and it was the perfect storm of switching jobs and looking for a new living situation. It just made sense to move from Boston to the Bay Area.

Most people consider “jumps” as risky but I don’t since I’m confident I can do this. I’m really excited for the program and the next part of my professional journey.

What are you hoping to get out of Hack Reactor other than education?

The network. I’ve already met a bunch of people through Pete, both coworkers and from his cohort. The community seems amazing and I can’t wait to build relationships with other likeminded people.

Are you looking to stay in the Bay Area after the program?

Definitely. If you want to be an actor, you move to LA. If you want to be in theatre, you move to New York. If you want to be a software engineer, you move to the Bay Area. There’s a huge network effect and it’ll be the best opportunity to find an interesting job at a great company.

What was your experience applying to Hack Reactor? What tips would you give people?

Once I realized I wanted to make the jump, I spent two months drilling concepts into my head. I spent time solving problems and doing projects.

Make sure you have the basics down — Eloquent JavaScript is your friend — and don’t give up.

Try not to stress out before the interview; go into it as calmly as possible.

What was the interview process like?

They asked me a bunch of questions and, surprisingly, I was never really stumped by what they asked me since they were all concepts I studied. It was really good reassurance that I didn’t waste the last few months of my life.

What are you looking to do after the program?

I’m leaning more towards front-end but I’m open to everything. My goal is to absorb as much as I can and find a product and company where I can add value.

If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?

If I could go back the maximum amount of time, I would say to start studying now and just teach yourself. It’s not about what degree you have or where you went to college; it’s more about how much you put in.

If you want to learn, don’t wait — start right now.

Do you think programs like Hack Reactor are helping with diversity in tech?

From the people I’ve met during the interview process and who have gone through the program, I think it definitely helps.

I think the fact that it’s more affordable than a computer science degree (and significantly shorter) is key. Affordability is the biggest deterrent and programs like Hack Reactor are removing the barrier.