At Flatiron School, our success is our students’ success — when students get jobs, we achieve our mission of enabling the pursuit of a better life through education. But, students’ stories don’t end after they graduate. In this series, we chat with Flatiron School’s alumni community about their journey into coding, and how that journey transformed their life.

Below, Alex discusses how he challenged himself to grow, face his impostor syndrome, and become an Online Cohort Lead at Flatiron School.

Alex A. was one of our first immersive software engineering students at Flatiron School’s Houston campus. He was a Texas A&M grad with an Electronics Engineering Technology degree, but wanted to start a career as a software engineer.  Before Flatiron School, Alex had experience with firmware — the permanent software installed onto a chip that controls the hardware — but didn’t have web development experience.

He was always technical and liked solving problems. When things broke, he enjoyed fixing them and discovering how it worked in the process. He found that same joy in coding where bugs and breaking things were the norm. Finding a solution working with code also meant understanding how it worked.

Flatiron School’s curriculum and Learn.co platform was a perfect fit for how he liked to learn. New challenges and lessons were built on past successes. While you were learning something new, the answer was not out of reach. “Even when the moment comes that you feel completely uncomfortable and you think you can’t do this, if you push yourself it will pay off,” said Alex.

Even though coding made sense to Alex — and aligned with his passions — he experienced impostor syndrome when he attended Flatiron School. He thought he wasn’t good enough compared to other coders in his cohort. Alex discovered that he had the answer to his impostor syndrome.

Instead of competing with others, or thinking of his cohort as competition, Alex challenged himself to improve. He was his own competition and it helped him overcome his doubts. He was able to see how much he was learning and growing as a programmer week-to-week through this approach.

Challenging yourself is difficult. Going to a bootcamp can be emotional. You spend your whole time challenging yourself. Alex had to overcome these hurdles and recalls some of the challenges he faced during the JavaScript modules. While he turned inward to solve one problem, he looked outward and found the answer to this latest challenge.

Alex immersed himself in a learning environment where everyone wanted to learn. His cohort was open to sharing their experiences and learn together. This helped Alex work with others and learn in a completely different way than what he was used to.

Through it all, he realized how much he enjoyed teaching others and that’s what led him to the next phase of his career. Alex is now an Online Cohort Lead at Flatiron School where he can share his knowledge and experience with students.

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