5 Tips for Going Back to School From Alums Who Did Just That

Posted by Charles Poladian  /  September 17, 2019

It’s back to school season for children and adults alike. At Flatiron School, we believe anyone can change their careers and their lives. We know because we’ve helped thousands of students begin new careers as software engineers, data scientists, and UX/UI designers.

And who better to ask for advice than our alumni? Here are a few of their tips to make going back to school a success.

Back to School Advice

Celebrate your progress

Bekah W., a recent graduate and mother of four, says it’s important to pause, reflect, and congratulate yourself on everything you’ve accomplished so far. “There will be days where you feel like you know exactly what you’re doing and days when you’re not sure if you’ve learned anything at all,” she says. “That’s normal. Look back at all of the progress you’ve made, pat yourself on the back, and keep moving forward.” 

Find your community

Our alumni agree that finding your community to support you on this journey is incredibly important. A community provides support and can also act as your first professional network. 

Your fellow developers know what you’re going through, so don’t be afraid to turn to them when you’re feeling stuck. “Don’t feel like you have to do it alone. There’s so much support, all you have to do is ask,” Bekah says. “Asking questions is part of the learning experience. Remember, even senior devs don’t know everything. It's a challenge to get through it all, but it's amazing preparation for what will come next.”

Sarah P., a current Online Software Engineering student, agrees.“The community you become part of is truly incredible! Always so supportive, and very helpful,” she says. “The curriculum is also really great, and the resources provided with videos, Slack channels, study groups make the whole experience really amazing!”

Just give it a try 

You won’t know until you actually do it, according to Nancy Noyes, our Online Section Lead. We have a free Coding Bootcamp Prep that lets you see what it’s like to learn code with 75+ hours of hands-on instruction. “It’s not about how long you’ve been away from school,” Nancy says. “One of the strengths of Flatiron School, for example, is that it’s a great vehicle for people to get back into school.”

Find your inspiration

Thinking about a new career? Want to skillup? Need more flexibility? Worried about becoming too senior when you return to work? Or, maybe it’s a higher salary. There’s a reason why you’re thinking about going back to school and you should use that motivation to invest in yourself. Use your inspiration to help you overcome challenges that you may face along the way. Remind yourself why you’re on this path and don’t lose sight of your goals.

If you’re thinking about a new career as a software engineer, Nancy has two great reasons why you should consider making the switch to tech. “There are more jobs than people who can fill them,” Nancy says. “Tech is also great for remote work.” More people are moving away from big cities and moving to places that better fit their lifestyle because of remote opportunities,” according to Nancy.

Forget what you think about _____

Time and again we stop ourselves from doing something based on second-hand information or foreboding stories. At Flatiron School, we hear it all the time from students. “I’m not good at math” or “I heard code is just memorization and writing lines of text” or “I can’t do it because I don’t have a Computer Science background.” 

Nancy’s had chefs, musicians, and even a long-haul truck driver who have gone back to school with Flatiron School. Nancy herself spent 18 years on Wall Street before enrolling in Flatiron School. “You don’t need a college degree. You just need to have the skills,” Nancy says.

Nancy recalls students having laminated cheat sheets when she was in college. A lot has changed since then, according to her, and there are way more tools that software engineers can use. It’s less about memorization and more about logic. Working through each step much like a detective would to identify the section where there was a bug, for example. 

With Flatiron School, it’s never been easier to go back to school. Whether it’s on-campus or online, there’s a course and pace that’s right for you. 

Want to learn more before going back to school? Try our free Coding Bootcamp Prep, Data Science Bootcamp Prep, and Intro to Careers in Design today!