My Starter League Experience: One Year Later

I can’t believe it’s been a full year since I first stepped foot inside The Starter League and started learning Ruby on Rails. I wanted to look back over the last year and reflect on what I learned and what that experience has done for me in my life.

The Good

ruby-on-rails-screenshot

Screenshot of Ruby on Rails code

I’ve wrote about my positive experience with the program while I was attending it in several blog posts (links are below). One year later, I can say that the TSL experience has made a very positive impact on my life. I am happier, more challenged and I finally feel like I gained a hard skill that has so so many opportunities right now. I found out that I love building websites and unexpectedly, that I also love writing. I basically started writing my blog right around the time I started one year ago. It was a no frills site until recently when I updated it to be my central hub online and I’ve made a commitment to myself to write two blog posts per week going forward. As far as programming, a lot of what I have built has remained local (to my computer only) but I will be making a push in the next few months to make a lot of what I have built live on the internet. As I release new applications I will write a blog post about each app and what it took to build it.

My experience working out of 1871 made me realize a few things about my previous jobs. I had always been working in positions and offices that were not ideal for me and it took a vastly different experience for me to determine that they were not ideal. I have an introverted personality and I work best in quiet environments or an environment that can be controlled (i.e. working with headphones on). Large chunks of time in programming are working in those conditions and writing is almost always like that. I’ve also never really liked working in cubicles (I describe them as soul-sucking) and when I finally got a chance to work in an open office environment I was hooked. That experience has shaped my requirements for any position with an employer in the future.

I’m also proud to announce that I was recently chosen to be part of a recently formed Starter League Alumni Board. I am really happy to be part of this small group to help with improved relations, events, workshops, etc for the growing list of 700+ alumni to the program.

The Bad

The only downside is financially I am in less than ideal spot compared to last year at this time. The classes did cost a lot of money and during four of the six months I attended them I did it without an income. I landed a job post TSL but it didn’t turn out to be as lucrative as I thought it might have been (or a position I was happy with). I started my own business to do web development and mobile marketing and that is always a harder road to travel in the beginning. Even with this downside I feel like it is actually good for me right now to keep struggling and hustling to get where I want to be. It’s teaching me a lot about myself and it is helping me focus on doing things I love vs doing things for money. I’ll be honest, though, I thought I would have been more grounded and on a specific path at this point post TSL. This time of my life has become more self exploratory and open ended than having a set path. I don’t think it’s bad, it is just different from what I envisioned going into the program.

The Awesome

I’m sure the question everyone is asking right now is “if you could do it all over again would you quit your job and go to The Starter League?” My answer is an unwavering yes. The experience might not be the same for everyone but for me it was exactly what I needed in my career. I still consider myself a “beginner” with Ruby on Rails but I am so motivated to keep learning more. I was exposed to a whole new world of possibilities with knowing how to program and just thinking about those possibilities gets me excited. This is where I feel the program benefited me the most: showing me what is possible by learning Ruby on Rails and getting the exposure to so many people who are doing awesome things in the world.

Below are my previous posts about my experience with The Starter League while I was taking classes there:

My New Adventure: The Starter League

The Starter League: Week Two in Review

Starter League Week 5

Starter League Week 6

Starter League: The final stretch

Starter League Success!

Starter Night. A Bittersweet End to My Starter League Experience.