After Hack Reactor: How Well Did Hack Reactor Prepare Me for an Actual Job?

Someone's actually paying me to type shit for them. It's the oddest thing. It wasn't too long ago that I thought Java was just a nickname for JavaScript.

Since I dropped nearly $18k on an unaccredited program, people have been asking: how's that job going?

Here's my answer.

Good, for the most part.

There's inevitably a lot of stuff that I don't know, especially since my company's backend is incredibly complex and I don't know any other languages outside of JavaScript. Engineering meetings still go over my head and I assume they will continue to be so for a while.

But for the stuff that's relevant to my job--all the JavaScript shit--I know enough to get around and get started on building things. I have been exposed to the majority of the technology and tools on the front-end and while I have never touched a codebase anywhere near a fraction of the size of Ayasdi's, that exposure has definitely carried me through my confusion into finding solutions.

The things Hack Reactor made sure I picked up along the way--git/version control, command line stuff, agile & various engineering workflows, task runners (grunt & gulp)--made it easier for me to get set-up quick and get right to the code.

Those problem solving skills came into good use.

Instead of showing us how to use a particular framework or technology, Hack Reactor pushed us to figure it out ourselves. I thought that I came out of Hack Reactor fairly framework agnostic, with a better sense of how to figure out a problem or pick something up fast.

The size of the codebase is definitely intimidating, but I've also been getting more comfortable playing around in it.

Unexpected Obstacle

CSS. Hands down, one of the things I wish I had been better about before and during Hack Reactor was really getting foundational CSS concepts down pat. I'm picking up quite a bit at work (and maybe that's the best way?), but CSS is definitely my biggest source of frustration these days.

  • position & display
  • flex box
  • complex selectors and heirarchy
  • Sass

CSS also gets quite a bit of flack from everyone (including me). But I've been finding much more respect for it lately.

CSS is very similar to accounting in many ways. Both are absolutely necessary, both are not easy AT ALL though there are shortcuts (Bootstrap & TurboTax) for more simplistic projects, both require a lot of experience & study, and both are seen as boring grunt work.

But no! Just like how a talented accountant can save/hide billions of dollars (ahem, Apple, ahem Google, ahem every large company out there), a developer with deep knowledge of CSS can do absolute wonders.