Code Chrysalis Cohort 3 - Student Interviews

code chrysalis cohort 3 grad

As the third cohort of Code Chrysalis enters the final two weeks of the course, we sat down with the students, both to look back on what they’ve learned and also to see what insight they have to offer future classmates.

Why did you choose Code Chrysalis and, if you are coming from abroad, what are you looking for in Japan?

Yi-Tze: “I wanted to get up to speed in terms of programming, particularly Javascript. I did a search of which languages are popular at the moment, and Javascript came up mostly as the top one. I didn’t want to go learn for 1 year or 2 years, so I was also looking for a short program. In that regard, a bootcamp was the best option for me.”

Shingo: “I want to become a full-stack engineer and work abroad in North America — Canada or the United States. So I wanted something to prepare me beforehand.”

Masataka: “I was an engineer and in my project I was mostly a project leader for engineers and a consultant for customers… I didn’t have the opportunity to code by myself, so I couldn’t code well. So I want to become able to make applications by myself, so I joined this program.”

Elia: “The first reason is that I’ve always loved Japan, and before this I’ve lived in various countries. The second is that, where I’m at in my career right now, I want to pivot from project management to software development.”

What strategies did you come up with to manage stress and the program’s considerable workload?

In response to this question, the students unanimously impressed upon the need for sleep, proper time management, and the importance of asking questions when you’re stuck. Other recommendations include:

Elia: “Exercise is something I really recommend. Walking, even if it isn’t rigorous, helps clear my head. Whenever there are issues, assessing why there are issues.”

Masataka: “Take it one week at a time. One by one. Communicating with staff and classmates… Being able to communicate with staff and classmates is a lot of fun, especially during lunch!”

Yi-Tze: “Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Did you learn anything unexpected? If so, what?

One of the things that surprised students was the depth of the course’s focus on developing communication and interpersonal skills. A repeated sentiment was that, more so than just hard coding skills, students also learned how to communicate effectively in a variety of circumstances and across cultures.

Ryuta: “Building confidence…I supposed I would only get technical skills, but here we have a lot of challenges in terms of project or team management —  having to work with people — and also a lot of public speaking. So there are a lot of things to overcome. These small steps make me really confident. And also, the staff here encourages me a lot and that makes more more confident.”

Shingo: “This course has American standards, so I had to open my mind. For me, my goal is to find a job and work in North America, so it was really good for me to learn this kind of behavior or thinking.”

What are you most proud of accomplishing during the past 12 weeks?

Students were proud not just of their projects, but also in the personal growth they experienced throughout their time in the program. Across the board, each student indicated pride not just in what they have already accomplished, but in what they intend to do from now on.

Christian: “I’m proud, of course, that I finished the course. I had to deal with a lot of stress related to learning both programming and a new language…”

Yi-Tze: “I’m not there yet. I finished the program, but I regard it as more of a stepping stone for what I want…I have to carry on. If I can make the transition between finance and IT, then maybe I’ll feel a bit proud.”

What, if anything, did you discover about yourself through this course?

Whereas students answered the previous questions in often similar ways, this question received by far the most diverse set of answers. Each individual learned something unique to themselves, which is the most an educational program could hope for.

Masataka: “I was a project leader in my company, so I thought I was already good at team-building. But during this program I would have trouble communicating with members because of conflicting opinions or other reasons, and through that I learned that I am good at managing conflict. I learned that I can communicate in English by actively practicing that communication.”

Elia: “I’m an impatient person, so Code Chrysalis has taught me how to take things slower so I can understand them better.”

Ryuta: “I discovered that I can change my soft skills. Before Code Chrysalis I was not very active and was very introverted.”

Do you have any advice for incoming students?

This is probably the most interesting section for some of our incoming students. Our current cohort advises that prospective students prepare before classes begin so that the first few weeks will be less stressful. Additionally, they repeated the need for flexibility and having an open mind. And if you’re stuck on a problem? — Ask the instructors for help.

Yi-Tze: “You should prepare well and review the fundamentals…Once you’re in, the first 6 weeks can be really tough, and if you have to catch up you will spend more and more time on the course.”

Christian: “Relearn and prepare before you come. If you are new to coding, try to learn a bit beforehand so it will be less stressful. Don’t forget to have fun!”

Shingo: “First and foremost, the bootcamp is really tough. You have to sacrifice a lot of things and focus on this course… Flexibility is important. And ask for help!”

Ryuta: “Don’t stress yourself out, the program is stressful enough…Take difficulties as challenges, and even the small successes are nice. Welcome everything.”

Elia: “Be okay with uncertainty.”

Masataka: “Communicate with classmates…making connections is very helpful. Being open-minded is important for learning new things, and if you have a closed mind it is so difficult to absorb new things. Try to learn new things, even if you feel it is not relevant to you.”

We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into our program. If you’re interested in Code Chrysalis, please feel free to check out our website!

Code Chrysalis is a 12-week advanced software engineering bootcamp in Tokyo for entrepreneurs, advanced beginners, current developers, and dreamers. Interested in joining? Apply here. Want to see what it’s like to be in the program? Check out our Youtube Videos!

Written on March 24, 2018