“What skills do you need to start a company?”
That was the question that really initiated my career.
My train of thoughts was: You design something, you build it and you sell it. And from that set, building is the key skill. You can build a bad design and not be able to sell it, but at least you have something. Without a builder you have nothing.
I wanted to start an Internet company, or join one, so building meant coding. I’ve always liked computers and on several occasions I had learned how to code a little bit and enjoyed it, but for different circumstances I never went deeper than a superficial introduction. Now, it was going to be different, I was going to go hard for it.
Coding bootcamps weren’t as popular as today so I wasn’t even contemplating that as an option. I didn’t know they existed. I bumped into Ironhack through a random newsletter. By pure coincidence, I had been a member of Impact Hub Madrid thanks to an entrepreneurship competition and the first Ironhack Hackshow took place at the same location. When I saw Ironhack in the newsletter it immediately caught my eye.
Ironhack called themselves an education startup, something I liked. The course was 100% practical and high intensity — exactly what I was looking for after completing a BS in Mathematics.
The bad part was that the bootcamp was expensive. It was a very short course for that price. It was unofficial. And it was absolutely new so there was no proof that it was useful as the foundations of a career. Was I willing to take such an expensive risk?
First things first, I wanted to do the interview process anyway. I really enjoyed the time talking with Ironhack people. It seemed that they knew what they were doing. As the final step, I investigated the teachers and they had great projects and companies in their pasts.
As with any important decision, I still had doubts. I went with the less regrets approach: “What would I regret more? Paying this price and finding out it wasn’t worth it or letting it go and realizing it was a golden opportunity?”
The program was intense, challenging and fast. I like to master subjects but at the speed that the course progresses it’s impossible to master anything. You’re lucky if you understand 50% of the topic at hand. At first, this speed and lack of understanding was intimidating but at some point I accepted it and realized that the goal wasn’t to become a master in a couple of subjects, the goal was to become a novice in many. It was a good approach because after the course is finished you have a list of topics to explore more in depth on your own.
The teachers didn’t disappoint. They were experts in their fields, good communicators and passionate about their craft.
The relationship with the other students was amazing. They were enthusiastic about being there and motivated to do their best work every single day. We talked about personal stuff and also about coding and related areas. We had long stimulating conversations.
The contrast with my university experience was huge. I found college studies dull, boring and full of indifference. Most teachers did a mediocre job and the friends I made weren’t very enthusiastic about the studies.
When the bootcamp was finished, I had solid foundations to start a career as a software developer. I had met exceptional developers and got in contact with the community. And very important: I was full of motivation.
I was lucky to get my first job as a developer in just one month. What a humbling experience! At that time I was an absolute burden for the team. You can’t learn a profession in 2 months. Ironhack was just the beginning of the trip. Laestrygones, Cyclopes, angry Poseidon waited for me ahead.
The next years have been better. I co-founded Foodinthebox in Madrid and learned about how to start a company. I joined Catawiki when we were 9 developers in Amsterdam and left the company when we were 32. I learned about good practices and how to grow and structure a company.
Currently, I work as a software engineer at Springest. We work with Holacracy, a self-management practice for organizations. We’ve a strong culture of learning, flexibility and responsibility. It’s very enriching. I believe this way of working is the future of organizations.
I feel lucky to be where I’m today. I enjoy my work and I improve my skills every day. I’m surrounded by awesome colleagues. I guess I could have arrived here without Ironhack because there are other great ways to learn how to code, but I made my choice and I couldn’t be happier about it.