The blog ofJonathan Pepin

Do whatever you want


Don't tell me it's impossible. There is no problem, only excuses to stop you from acting.

Exactly a year ago, January 1, 2012, I woke up and as every morning, got an allongé and went to read Techcrunch; My only tech read, as every non-tech person.

And this morning, I read this article, about Codecademy starting CodeYear, for people to build code skills during 2012.

Working in an early stage startup, with hackers building our software, I had already decided that I wanted to learn more than the basic HTML and CSS I knew, so this possibility to "easily" learn some Javascript sounded exciting to me.

I instantly went on the website, signed up to Codecademy and started learning.

The learning

A few exercises later, I realized it had been already more than 5 hours that I was trying to figure out how variables and functions were working, and that I hadn't taken a single sip on my allongé.

This is the moment my life changed. I realized I got bitten.

All I could do is think about what I didn't know yet and that I should be learning now. Every moment I spent not working, I would spend as much time on Codecademy as possible.

After a few weeks, I realized that I was totally bored at work and I all I could think about was coding more. Learning more. Building more.

So I started to think about how to become more technical. A master's degree? Another bachelor's? Yes, I would go back to 3-4 years of study if I needed to, just to be able to get a technical job.

And then, another TechCrunch read told me about Devbootcamp. 10 weeks, and you lend a job for twice the money I make now? In companies like twitter? Hipmunk?

I didn't need to think too much about it. I applied and couldn't sleep for a week. The time they took to accept me.

The more intense learning

All I know is that a week later, I had quit my job, and told my girlfriend and family that I was leaving for San Francisco. 10 weeks. Chances are I'll just move there and work there too. Not negotiable. Ok thanks bye!

That was around May. So I spent the whole summer to study as much as I could.

Everything was so new to me, I needed to do things at least twice to understand as little as 20%.

It was pretty depressing. But still, I loved it. The harder it was, the more technical, the more I loved it. Finally, I felt like I was doing something that was really requiring some gray matter. That I was doing something that not everyone could do.

The super intense learning

September 29. The D date. I get in the plane to fly to San Francisco, meet my new roommates for the next 10 weeks and start that bootcamp I've been waiting for so long.

We are 6 in a 2 bedrooms. I'm still not sure if I'll share a bed or a sofa with a stranger, or if I'll sleep on the floor.
I don't really care, because all I want is learn how to code, as much as I can, and lend the most exciting job I can find.

DevBootcamp was NOT a lie. It's a fucking bootcamp. We literally spent 14hrs a day at the office, from Monday to Sunday.
Not a single break. Ok ONE. Thanksgiving.
One day out of 70. Except that, every-single-day. Eating more code than you can imagine. We got sick of it.

A year to become what I wanted to be

DevBootcamp finished December 7, 2012.
Exactly 11 months after I discovered Javascript and started CodeYear.
I had my first job offer during my first interview on the next Monday. And spent the whole week doing on average 2 interviews a day.

I accepted an offer at Exec, Justin Kan's new company, the next week. Talk about an fucking opportunity right?

Accepting that offer, I had the hard time to reject 2 other offers. Offers made by other incredible companies, from incredible people. People I would totally see myself contact again the next time I am looking for a job. I had opportunities in San Francisco of course, but also in New York, Medellin in Colombia, and back in Canada.
A fellow student got a job in Paris the week before DevBootcamp's graduation. Because he wanted to move there.

I am NOT trying to brag. What I'm trying to say is, it wasn't easy.

I had to quit my job which I liked, where I was working with amazing people I loved. I had opportunities of a C-level position.
Quitting all that for an uncertain future, for a 10-week not-yet-proven program, was NOT easy.

I had to tell my parents I would move on the other side of the Continent.

I had to tell my girlfriend we would be separated for God-knows how long. We are still trying to figure out what we're going to do…

I had to work to the point of being on the edge of the burnout, 14hrs a day, everyday, getting the few hours of sleep I allowed myself on a couch.

What I'm trying to say is, whatever you want to do, you can do it. Nobody is here to stop you. The only thing stopping you is excuses. It's always really easy to find excuses for not acting. I could find a thousand excuses for not going through my last year.

But I just did it, because I knew I wanted to do it. I knew it was worth it.

Nothing is impossible. You can do whatever you want. The secret is to not come up with excuses.

Repeat after me; No Fucking Excuses.