Code Fellows – My Experience

When I lost my job in February I was devastated, mostly because I wasn’t expecting it. I was looking online for jobs and found a Glassdoor article highlighting the Top 50 best paying jobs in 2017 when I stumbled upon UX/UI designer.

I thought to myself “that sounds interesting…”. I started googling UX/UI designer, and what kind of degree, classes, or certifications I would need to become one. As I was browsing the internet, my boyfriend Alex’s mom said “Oh, you should check out Code Fellows, my sister used to be a recruiter there!”. I said “Code Fellows?… What’s that?”. Of course, I googled it. I found an admissions event that was free and a few days away, and a Code 101: Your Introduction to a Tech Career. It was only $100, so I said “what the heck, why not?”.

That 10 hour day in Lakewood, WA in a room full of 40 people was the most frustrating, fun, and rewarding day I had experienced in a long, long time.

After 101, I knew I wanted more, so I signed up for 102: Intro to JavaScript, and quickly realized I was in for a lot more frustration than I’d experienced during 101.

But, again, I wanted more.

I applied for a diversity scholarship which offers scholarships to women, veterans, and minorities. I got it. I applied for a loan (yes… another one) and I got that as well. I took my entrance test for 201, and I got accepted.

That was the day my life changed and it will never be the same again.

The first week of 201 was the most intense, insane, stressful, overwhelming and terrifying week of my life. Every other minute I was asking myself “what the heck is going on right now? what did Duncan (my instructor) just say? I have no idea what he just said… “. Every day I went home mentally drained and exhausted because my brain has never in my life been challenged before. But coding challenged my brain, and I loved it. I woke up every morning bright eyed and bushy tailed; completely unable to contain my excitement and joy to arrive at school again.

Several times a week I was plagued with the terrifying thought that I might not actually be smart enough to do something to challenging as coding. It really is tough, I don’t care what anyone says. I really wondered if it was possible that my brain just doesn’t work that way, maybe I’ll never get it. Two of our assignments in 201 were to watch a TedTalk on the growth mindset, and a TedTalk on grit.

Suddenly a light bulb went off. I am smart enough to do ANYTHING I want and anything is possible for me and my life.

My brain is capable of absolutely anything with perseverance and hard work. When faced with challenge the brain is able to adapt, change, and grow as long as we keep going and don’t give up. That’s when I decided that I’m going to be a software developer and I’m going to be successful and I’m going to support myself and I’m going to be challenged and I’m going to be rewarded and I’m going to be happy.

Being a software developer is going to allow me to work on a team of talented, supportive, brilliant, creative, and inspiring people, and to learn something new every single day. That is what I want. And that is what I’m going to make happen, no matter what.

Not only was I loving what I was doing, but who I was doing it with.

I was never one of those people who “found their people” in college or high school, or life afterwards. I’ve always felt like a bit of a loner, even though I truly love people and want to connect and impact their lives in a meaningful way.

Enter Code Fellows. The people I met two months ago in 201 are my best friends today. Code Fellows is my people. I’ve never been in a setting like this with a group of people so diverse, from all walks of life, who instantly connected the way we did. We really love each other, we’re a family. During lab we all sit together, ask each other for help when we’re stumped, and quickly jump to anyones aid who needs it. After school we go to each others houses and code, or stop at a bar on the way home to have a beer and code. We go to meet ups and tech events together. When someone is out sick we come together to help them get caught up when they get back, or go to their house on the weekend and walk them through what they missed. We are all determined that not only do we as individuals succeed, but also that we as a group succeed.

Every single person I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with at Code Fellows has inspired me, lifted me up, and encouraged me to keep going. I can’t express with words how much this school means to me, how much it has given me, and how much happiness it’s brought to my life.

Code Fellows is by far the most difficult, intense, stressful, challenging, rewarding, and amazing thing I have ever done.

To all of the people who say and believe that coding bootcamps aren’t challenging, don’t have talented and experienced instructors, and are not sufficient enough to land a great job, I’m not sorry at all to tell you that could not be further from the truth. I have no doubt that Code Fellows is one of the top 5 coding bootcamps in the United States, and no I do not have statistical data to prove that. Yes, we learn data structures and algorithms. Yes, we learn binary trees, recursion and concurrency. Yes, we can implement those concepts in code and solve them.

Please, stop undermining coding bootcamps and their ability to produce insanely well prepared, well equipped full stack developers. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions as I am entitled to mine, but this is my blog so I feel very confident expressing mine openly here. My opinions and views are my own and don’t represent Code Fellows or anyone else.

I recently realized that I have never been happy before, and that’s not sad, it’s life. I know that because right now I am truly happy, satisfied, and fulfilled, and so in love with my life.

I can’t say it enough.

I love Code Fellows.

I love my classmates.

I love my instructors, Duncan and Sam.

I love JavaScript.

I love my TA’s.

I love Brandy Rhodes, the Director of Code Fellows.

I love my mom.


I never wanna leave!

Okay – just kidding, yes I do! I want a job!

Dear Microsoft, Google, & Facebook,

You are my dream companies. Watch out, this woman in tech is coming, and she’s not going to give up.

My name is Izabella Arya Baer, I’m a full stack JavaScript developer and I am grit.




I’m a Software Developer!


Hey y’all! I’m baaaaaack! 🙂


I know I haven’t written here in so long, I apologize to the amazing people that have missed these updates; I have truly missed this myself. I love writing. It’s always been a place that I can let go and tell the truth, be completely open, honest, and vulnerable. I don’t fear being judged here, at all.

So, do y’all wanna know what’s been going on in my life, or what?

Well whether you do or you don’t, here it goes.

Late February of 2017 I lost my waitressing job. It was totally out of the blue and unexpected, I truly couldn’t see it coming. I was devastated, shocked, and relieved. I was a bit upset for a few days, but pretty quickly I realized it was a blessing in disguise.

I had been a waitress for 13 years, and I was burnt the fuck out. I was miserable, and I had come to the conclusion that I hated people. Since then, I have realized I don’t hate people I just don’t like being their minion.

A few weeks after I got let go I completed a course called the Landmark Forum. It’s a three day course designed to help people let go of the constraints of their past, and transform their lives. I’m not going to go too in depth on this, but it was amazing. I realized I was holding on to things that happened in the past and creating a story about the things that happened. I made those stories my reality, but the reality is that those things happened. Period. The end. The rest is a story I created.

After I completed the Landmark Forum I was doing some research online to find a new career, and I stumbled upon Code Fellows, a 20 week immersive coding bootcamp. I said what the heck? why not? So I signed up for the intro 101 course to see how I liked it. It was one day, 12 hours, and by the end of that day I was so frustrated, be-fuzzled, and confused that I knew I wanted more. I wanted to figure this out. I had to. So I signed up for 102. Then I applied for a diversity scholarship and a loan, received both and applied for 201 Intro to Software Development.

The moment my first day of 201 was over, I knew that this is what I was going to do. I was totally confused, had no clue what my instructor was talking about, and my brain was straining to drink in the firehose of information coming at me, full force.

Everyday was extremely challenging, stressful, and exciting. I was stressed beyond belief, overwhelmed, and totally freaked out. I constantly wondering if I could do this. If I was smart enough, maybe I was just one of those people who couldn’t get this. We were required to watch two Ted Talks videos as homework in 201, one about the growth mindset and one about grit. After I watched those videos I started to realize that I literally can do anything I want. I just have to persevere and keep going even though it’s hard, and then, only then, will I get there. That’s what grit is. And I am grit.

Today is the Sunday before my third week of 401: Advanced Software Development: Fullstack Javascript. I have 8 more weeks of 401, and on August 18th I’ll graduate and receive a Certificate of Software Development. I couldn’t be happier. In fact, I don’t know if I have ever truly been happy in my life, until I started Code Fellows.

This has been the most incredible, challenging, and rewarding experience of my life. I can’t wait for what’s to come tomorrow, next week, in six months, a year, and five years. I’m ready, and I’m going to be successful. I am grit.