What I learned at Dev Academy

New Zealand web development course
Annah Gerletti, Dev Academy graduate, with head teacher Don Smith

Enspiral Dev Academy is a New Zealand web development programme that takes students of any level and trains them to become junior web developers through 9 weeks of remote learning and an intensive hands-on 9 week in-class bootcamp.

My story begins at Code Camp Wellington 2016, hosted by Xero and Trade Me. My morning began with my partner coaxing me, tired and just-getting-over-a-cold, out of bed with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Admittedly I was not totally keen on the idea of listening to talks about Machine Learning and naming conventions — because frankly at this time in my life I did not know what any of that meant. But I had nothing better to do on that Saturday, so I packed my cold meds and a notebook and left for the Camp.

I can’t pinpoint the precise moment I knew I was hooked. But after the many fascinating lectures, exploring the open floor plans of Xero and TradeMe, plus using the slide once or twice, I was intrigued and wanted to find out more. As I was eating the amazing lunch and reflecting on the day, I looked around and realized so many of these people had interesting stories. And most importantly they were “just like me”, in that they came here to learn, meet new people and become engaged with the world of technology.

The big question was after this awesome day was: how was I going to get involved?

Well, I had heard about Enspiral Dev Academy numerous times within the span of just a few hours. So I began checking out Dev Academy as soon as I got home. I was researching stats, reviews and finding out what I could get from the experience.

The programme had everything — small teacher to student ratios, an easy-to-follow curriculum and a really neat open space. Even though it seemed to have it all, it was a big decision for me. I already held a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Marine Science. Did I really want to go back to school and completely change my career?

I had to be honest with myself. I was not getting far in Marine Science. And because I needed to stay in Wellington, this narrowed my job options. Overall I felt uninspired and needed to be doing something different. This prompted me to apply for Dev Academy.

It was one of the best things I could have ever done for myself.

Before Dev Academy, I could say that my technical computer skills were minuscule at best. Knowing this about myself made me slightly intimidated by the other students. But I tackled this challenge head on.

My intimidation and doubt were abruptly overshadowed by the speed at which I was learning. It was incredible, I had no idea that I could retain so much information and that I was capable of building a web app after my first week at the Dev Academy bootcamp.

There was sheer enjoyment in working through problems and errors, and being able to show a finished product to my fellow cohort. I learned that I was capable! I could actually write code, and this feeling of accomplishment enabled me to learn an enormous range about myself.

For instance, learning how to regulate my emotions was so important in learning how to code. It requires so much mental capacity that the body can get forgotten, making an awareness of self-care very important.

What I am taking away from this experience is the ability to learn, understand and manage my emotions, and how I work best within a group. Dev Academy is not all about lecturing and homework — it’s so much more. They set up an environment which is unthreatening, has good vibes and free access to a computer and internet, with very kind and helpful teaching staff. It allows for the creative juices to flow, letting you become an amazing coder. It gives you the strength, it gives you the motivation and it gives you the knowledge to succeed in whatever you do.

The greatest thing I am taking away from Dev Academy is what I learned about myself.

Web dev bootcamp wellington
Miromiro November 2017 graduating class

Annah Gerletti graduated in November 2017 and is now a full stack developer at Tapin, a group purchasing app for schools.