Finish What You Started: IRON YARD GRADUATION!

If you read my post about failure, you know I didn’t complete the Iron Yard Front-End Engineering Course with the rest of my class in March 2015. That bothered me and I was determined to finish all requirements for graduation. We learned a lot of valuable skills and I could have walked away with what skills I had in my back pocket, but I’ve always been one to finish what I started.  In tech, its skills that matter, not pieces of paper, but I still felt it was important to finish nonetheless. After some reflection, I decided there were two reasons for why I didn’t finish on-time:

1. I had to work for three of the 12 weekends. Lets just say my job is the kind I can’t skip out on. The course was intense and left little time for anything else, but classwork. As a result, I missed some critical brain processing time to let everything sink in and complete the work along with the rest of the class. If I had to do it all over again, I’m not sure I had much of a choice anyway.

2. A terrible cold/flu. For an entire week my head felt like it was spinning and my entire body felt overly tired.  I made it to class, but sometimes you just get whats going around and I got it. Learning is best done when you don’t have a fever.

The upside to this experience was that the good folks at The Iron Yard were very understanding and worked with me even after everyone else had graduated. Our instructor worked one-on-one with me until I was up to par and even gave me extra JavaScript problems to work through which helped immensely and my confidence went through the roof. I’m a coding monster. ROAR!

So, for those who may find themselves in a similar situation to me or contemplating a new learning experience for which they harbor doubt I think its important to list reasons that are NOT why I didn’t finish on time:

1. My age. I have an MBA and years of working experience. It would have been easy to say, “I’m too old for this”, but that’s not me. I know I’m smart, but once I got a little behind it was hard to catch back up. However, clearly I was up to the material, because I caught the concepts on the back end and now, BAM!, here I am. Plus, I was not the oldest graduate.

2. The instructors had it out for me.  There are always students in every class that complain the teacher didn’t like them.  I’ve seen this my entire life, but never understood this attitude.  Teachers want you to learn.  Thats how they know they did well.  Sure, I was never at the top of our class, I had some of the least amount of coding knowledge when we started, but I was eager and committed to learn and our teacher always had time for my questions. So I did learn. Again, kudos to our instructor who went out his way to see my to the finish line.

3. The material was too much/too fast.  OK, so there was a lot of material to cover and it did go by pretty fast, but you have to see that as material to come back to later on your own.  Very few people are so smart they absorb everything the first time. Just ask my fellow University of Illinois MBA friends and fellow Air Force Officer Training School chums. Learning never stops anyway so “git” used to it, Buck-o.

So there it is. Some lessons learned. I’m listening to Red Sovine’s “Teddy Bear” as I write this so I’ll wrap this up before my grammar gets too country. I hope you’ll find some comfort or inspiration in this post. Shoot me an email ( or check me out on GitHub Portfolio.