The Growth Mindset: Addie’s Story

At 19 years old, Addie Padula is quite smitten with her job as a Front-End Developer at Colonial Life. “Colonial Life is great,” she said. “I am part of an awesome team filled with great people. They’re all so much fun.”

Addie (“My full name is Rebekah Adair Padula…nobody calls me that!”) was a precocious homeschooler when she was first introduced to coding. “My mom had a dog breeding business, and she always had a website before that was a thing you had to have,” she said. “She was ahead of the curve.”

What started as a childhood desire to build webpages for her favorite dogs, shepherded her in the “Hello World” phase of coding at a relatively early age. As she got older, she began to utilize resources like Codecademy to continue to learn CSS and JavaScript.

Addie was almost always intrigued by the idea of working in tech, but it was hearing about the classroom experience of her friend George Perez that made her seriously consider starting a career as a developer. “I had been working in restaurants since I’d graduated from high school, and figured I’d end up at the community college,” she continued. “I felt the need to figure out what I was going to do with my life.” When it came down to community college or The Iron Yard, my first thought was, ‘It’s only three months. Why not?”.

Despite an exposure to programming prior to the course, when Addie started the February 2016 Front End Engineering Course at our Columbia Campus––she found it quite challenging. She credits her mental state and her approach to learning with helping her succeed in the course. “Our prerequisite assignment was to read this article about mindsetpic_1, and the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset,” she said. “The article talked about how with a fixed mindset you shut down when you encounter a problem. You get discouraged and you stop learning. But if you adopt a growth mindset, you can fail but you see it as an opportunity to grow.”

In addition to a growth mindset, Addie said she just trusted in The Iron Yard system. “You have to just trust that over time, the understanding is going to come, even when it feels like it might not,” she continued.

And that understanding did come. It was only a few weeks removed from Demo Day that Addie got a call offering her a job at Colonial Life.

Addie’s advice to people considering The Iron Yard echoes the advice of many other graduates. “Be prepared to work your ass off,” she said. “You’re going to get really stressed out, you’re going to beat your head against the wall, you’re going to want to quit, but in the end it’s really all worth it.” When we asked Addie if there was a particular assignment or accomplishment she was most proud of during her time at The Iron Yard, her response was simply, and eloquently, “All of them…absolutely all of them. Every hurdle and every challenge. It’s always a victory.”

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