Mark Sanghoon Kim Empathy is Key

Why I'm Attending an Immersive Software Engineering School

Sometime in late 2014, I began to think about my career and the next steps I wanted to take. I had an idea of what interested me - technology, problem-solving, and working with others. Innovation and good product design excited me. I wanted to be involved in product management, to be part of building a truly useful product for people.

I quickly realized that I needed to grow my skills, that I didn’t have the right tools to build the useful products I so desired. I wasn’t solely interested in building software products, but also thought about the possibility of designing non-software products that solved a problem (a ‘smart’ desk designed for students, a wallet belt holster, and others).

I thought about it some more, and the prospect of learning software skills stood out to me. I read about the pending talent gap, about how many tech jobs will be created with not enough people to fill them. I read about how software was changing and disrupting entire industries (see post about Breaking Smart). There were relatively low barriers to entry for someone to develop their software skills and build awesome products. I knew it would require a great deal of time and dedication, but I was prepared to apply myself.

I first tried my hand at MooCs (massive open online courses). It was very difficult, watching lectures, trying to do the homeworks, getting stuck, falling behind, and ultimately not being able to persist through the whole course. I especially enjoyed working through UC Berkeley’s EdX course on Engineering Software as a Service where I learned about SaaS topics and some Ruby on Rails. But learning on my own was tough, so I looked for more collaborative ways to learn.

I began to go out to local meetups and programming workshops. I attended a Hack Reactor (formerly MakerSquare) JavaScript Fundamentals workshop that was extremely helpful. Codesmith’s Build With Code workshops were also a great help for me. Learning with others and being able to attend in-person lectures were better than learning on my own through a MooC.

However, my skills were not progressing as quickly as I had hoped. If I wanted to fully switch to a career in software engineering and development, spending 5-10 hours a week would not suffice. I began to research more about these coding bootcamps, or immersive software engineering schools. Long story short, I realized that time = money, and that attending a bootcamp like Hack Reactor would provide the best and most efficient path towards a career in software development.

I am happy to say that I applied and was accepted into the Hack Reactor January cohort! I am currently working through the pre-course material and am hopeful, excited, and hungry to dive into software development. During these next few months, I hope to develop software, engineering, product, and team skills to build products that are truly useful for people.