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Get an Inside Peek at Hack Reactor: Student Blog

Owen Poindexter

Get an Inside Peek at Hack Reactor: Student Blog's Image

Just two weeks into the program, Wayne Adams is finding that the value of Hack Reactor goes far beyond full-stack JavaScript: he is learning new ways to think and learn.

“The main thing about Hack Reactor is they teach a growth mindset,” Adams explains. “Beyond coding, beyond JavaScript, beyond Computer Science, they teach you how to trust yourself. It’s okay to be not the best. Whatever level you’re at, you can get to the next level by just trying as hard as you can.”

Adams has a vlog, and he has been posting regularly since he started at Hack Reactor, offering an inside look into the school. The initial impetus was to stay in touch with his Florida-based mother (it was a more creative version of “yes mom, I’m still alive”), but he has started to see his video updates as something more than letters to one person.

“I recognize that we live in a connected world and people are always looking to the internet for references and sources of info. It’s fun to be part of that ecosystem,” he notes.

So far, he’s finding Hack Reactor to be an experience unlike anything he’s had in school or work.

“This is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life,” says Adams. “I didn’t know how much endurance I had inside of me. I’m starting to build self confidence. I don’t know what my upper bounds are anymore--which I think is part of the point of it all.”

He doesn’t mind the challenge, because Adams has big ambitions for his developer career:

“I want to work on teams that are building apps that scale to the size of humanity. I know that I don’t have the skills to do that yet and one part of coming to Hack Reactor is to learn how to think and learn like an engineer.”

Adams, like many Hack Reactor students, took a circuitous route to software engineering. Though he originally planned to major in engineering and Japanese, he switched to economics during the 2008 financial crisis, because he felt like that’s where he would have the most impact. After working as a credit analyst, and then in advertising, his exposure to software developers piqued his interest.

“I like developers,” states Adams. “After going to a lot of meetups, I realized these are my people. They’re passionate about their work. What they do comes from developing the passion in their lives.”

He began to study coding on his own, and got to the point where he could build basic apps. Eventually, he discovered the limits of self-studying, namely that he would get stuck and “wouldn’t know how to think through the problem.”

Once he decided to go to a coding bootcamp, Adams researched all the top programs. Searching numerous LinkedIn profiles for developers in the “connection economy,” e.g. Facebook, AirBnB and Uber, he found more Hack Reactor graduates than those of any other coding bootcamp. This told him that Hack Reactor was the program that would help him achieve his goals.

For those who want to follow in his footsteps and quickly ramp up their skills as a software engineer, Adams has this advice:

“Code every day. Thinking like a programmer is all about applying patterns in your head to computer software. You have to know those patterns and one way is to get exposure to them. Start as early as you can, code as much as you can. When you’ve reached the point of diminishing returns with self-study, apply to Hack Reactor.”

Ready for the next step? Take the Hack Reactor Admissions Challenge.

Read more:

How This Alumna’s Dedication Made Her a Software Engineer

5 Signs You’re About to go to a Coding Bootcamp

Alum’s Journey Shows How to Turn Grit Into a Coding Career