Why I Chose Iron Yard

Last week on Friday was a Meet & Greet party and an Installation party with the Iron Yard. The Iron Yard wanted to do this, to make sure everyone had a chance to meet each other and also ensure that their laptops had all the proper softwares needed before starting class next week on Monday with no problem.

It was a bit nerve-wrecking because it would be the first time I would attend the party where I would be without an interpreter. I was hoping that I had enough hearing to be able to understand what the instructors was talking about during the installation party. Luckily, it wasn’t that bad. Their voices were clear and they were very accommodating to me. How they were very accommodating toward me? The instructors knew that in order for me to comprehend what they were talking about, they needed to make sure they don’t turn their face away from me while they lecture the class. They continued to check on me to make sure I was doing okay. Even the director also made sure that I was doing ok as well. She did an exceptional job of ensuring that I can see her whenever she spoke to the group and her voice was loud and clear. They made it a little more easier for me to adjust to the classroom setting without an interpreter.

I am not saying it was okay to be without an interpreter. I just so happen to have enough hearing to be able to get on by without a need for an interpreter. Heck, I worked almost a decade in retail with jobs ranging from sales associate to an assistant manager. I even handle phone calls–in majority of cases (but not always). So, I knew I can also tackle this one. However, had I been completely deaf and hearing aids do not work for me–I would have pursued the need for an interpreter aggressively. However I wanted this long and knew I needed to get started with learning how to code.

I have a purpose and a need for completely changing my life. I am 30 years old. I graduated with a degree in Environmental Science about a year and a half ago. Unfortunately, the job market isn’t too good for me around where I live. I live with a partner who has a stable job. We have a daughter who will be turning 2 years old this year. We have great family support system around here too. I am not about to uproot our family to a different location just so I can get a job pertaining to my degree, especially when I didn’t haveĀ experience to back it up.

So, when my partner found out I knew how to code some in HTML and CSS–he suggested I should learn how to code other languages and should be able to find jobs a bit easier. Plus, it would be an ideal job for me–because as a deaf woman, I wouldn’t have to be face to face with customers or be in meetings on a daily basis as part of a job description (like retail jobs, anyone?). He was the one who looked into it and found Iron Yard. He went a step further–he visited the Iron Yard himself first and then later brought me in to meet with them to see how I like it. I became excited, because I realized this is something I should have been doing from the start.

I had enjoyed manipulating and designing websites many years ago–I remember how I spent countless hours learning how to do it from a book my aunt gave to me as a gift (it was an HTML and CSS book) and almost did nothing with my college assignments… šŸ™‚ Somehow, I managed to get by.

When I realized the expense of going to the Iron Yard–I once again worried how we were going to manage our budget. I also considered going to UNCC Coding Boot Camp. Why UNCC Coding Boot Camp? Well, it is offered by the university and will give us a certification provided by the university. They do offer a 3 months full time course or a 6 months part time course. They teach a little bit of everything such as HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, Bootstrap, React.js, Node.js, C#, .Net, Database Theory, Bookshelf.js, MongoDB, MySQL, Command Line, Git, and many more. They offer career services, help you build a profoilo of web applications to show to potential employers. There’s so many benefits I can go on and on–but the Iron Yard still stood out for me.

The Iron Yard is a bit more specialized and still teach the front-end and back-end programming such as Ruby, Javascript, Terminal, HTML, CSS, Databases, Java, Cyber Security and many more. I learned that it would be better to be specialized in few languages and it would become easier to learn new programming languages later on. They have career support system, alternate weeks from activity day and lecture day (it depends on the concepts that we’re learning which is great). They provide 3 months of intensive program (Monday to Friday). That wasn’t the just the best part of it. I almost was ready to decline going to eitherĀ boot camp because I wasn’t going to receive some help from the Vocational Rehabilitation (which I will explain a bit more in later post) until I received an email from the director, Michelle. She suggested I apply for the #YesWeCode Fund. I applied for the scholarship and suddenly in just theĀ same day I applied, I received word that I was eligible for a scholarship to the coding boot camp (The Iron Yard). I was so ecstatic andĀ in disbelief becauseĀ I wasn’t sure if I was actually getting what I needed to change my life for the better and especially for my daughter. I emailed the Student Relationship Representative from the Iron Yard, Oliver with some questions regarding the scholarship.

It turned out I received the full scholarship to the Iron Yard! Excited by the turn of event–I decided the Iron Yard was the coding boot camp to go, not just because of the scholarship but the staffs they had were extremely amiable and very willing to work with me, even despite not being able to get an interpreter.

Oh, and please note–I did check into scholarships for the UNCC Coding Boot Camp, I didn’t find any. I also asked if they accept financial aids which they don’t either.

To read more about the #YesWeCode Fund, please go toĀ #YesWeCode Fund: Scholarship application now open.

Iron Yard and Accommodations

Iron Yard is proving to be a great coding boot camp to go to.

I had a meeting with the director and the two instructors to discuss more about my accommodations. While they couldn’t sponsor an interpreter for my needs, they still had a lot to offer that I was really excited about. I found out that they changed how they structure the classroom setting. Originally, it was going to be a three hour mandatory lecture time Monday to Friday in the mornings then after that it was lab time (in other word, hands on coding).

Now, the new program will have a lot more hands on coding–which is perfect for me. I am a visual learner and I learn by hands on experience. Yes, lecture is important and they will have that–but they decided to make that “lecture” time for us to read notes and watch videos at night before the next class day–where we can focus more on hands on experience and the instructors will be there to help when we are struggling.

The director and the instructors were very receptive to my needs. I explained that while they talk clearly and have a deep voice (I understand people better when they have deep voice as opposed to high-pitch voice), I always have trouble understanding a student who makes a comment or have questions. I often had to turn around and see what the student is asking or commenting about. Luckily, the director explained that this would be a perfect practice for the instructors by repeating what the student said and then clarify their explanation themselves. The instructors agreed wholeheartedly.

They even go as far to mention that they will also provide a 1 on 1 mentor on a weekly basis to make sure that I’m fully grasping the new concepts.

The three of them explained that they are excited to have someone like me begin the program with them–because it will give them the experience they needed and know what and how to accommodate the next round.

From what I’ve learned so far–this is going to have a lot of hands on experience which is exactly what I needed. I may not be able to get an interpreter but I knew I can make this work. This is very similar to math classes. There were times that I told my interpreter that I didn’t need them in my math class because there were so much writing involved and I usually get lucky to have an instructor who speaks clearly and have a deep voice. In a way–this is a lot like math class. You’ll have instructors do some lectures but they will show you the codes up on the screen so you can follow along.

I’m excited to start with the The Iron Yard next week on Monday!