I wake up at 12:00 am every morning. What wakes me up is not just the alerm clock, but also my goal to be a software engineer. I am a remote student at Hack Reactor in Hong Kong with local time 16 hours ahead of San Francisco. It is not easy to adapt the time difference, but it is even harder with the course material: recursion, hash table, pseudo-classical inheritance, Backbone, Express, more recursion… head hurts sometimes even though you are truely passionate about programming. What else am I learning from this environment?
Learn how to think
Professional software engineers build great products not just because they are good at programming. Also, they are good engineers because of their mind-set. How good they are with one framework is just one of the many factors. They are quick and constant learner, they are clear and empathic communicator, they are dedicated and curious problem solver… All these skills you cannot learn solely from books or online video, but exercise with code challenges, follow the way lecturers think and learn from the attitude of mentors.
Learn from smarter peers
Hack Reactor has the reputation of being a top coding bootcamp. Many smart people have studied here. Those who take the course are different from those who do not. They are smart, really smart. Am I smart enough for this good school? I am not sure. Impostor syndrome happens. It could be uncomfortable to collaborate with smarter people sometimes as I may sound like a retard. But this also makes me feel comfortable to make silly mistakes, fail more often and learn faster.
So, does Hack Reactor make me smarter?
I think so, and once we believe something, it becomes a self-fulfilling truth. Working with other smart people changes the way I solve and think about problems. There are always a better way to do things, to perfect and to simplify. The more you hang around with smart people, the greater the likelihood of that person teach you something and eventually you would be smarter too.
Originally published at victorleungtw.com on November 30, 2014.