Bootcamp Survival Guide: 5 Tips to Help You Succeed
So, you're researching coding bootcamps but there is one lingering question that research can't answer: "Can I do it?" The short answer is yes, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Completing a bootcamp program will simultaneously be one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences in your life. Throughout the years, we've picked our graduates' brains about what it takes to succeed in our fully-immersive program. Here are the top five tips to help you survive a coding bootcamp:
1. Planning and Organization are Key
With the whirlwind pace of most bootcamps, your free time will be at a premium. Start to plan out each day – it doesn't need to be down to the minute, but you should focus on blocking out sections of your day. By organizing your daily schedule, you'll limit distractions and be able to remain laser-focused on your coursework.
Remember to factor in things like your commute, meals, and mental breaks. If you have children, make sure to plan after-school activities or arrange for someone to take care of them while you're on-site. If you have pets, try to arrange for someone to come by to walk, feed, and/or play with them so you don't need to worry about your furry best friend.
2. Tell Friends and Family Ahead of Time
In today's age of constant communication and notifications, it may come across as rude if you don't get around to responding to friends or family for a couple of hours, let alone days or weeks. Tell your friends and family how important the bootcamp is to you and explain that you'll be incredibly busy. They'll understand, and it will be helpful for them so they can be respectful of your time and working hours.
Many students turn their phones off and log out of their social media accounts during the day so they can stay focused. If you need to keep your phone on, change individual application settings so you only get notified for critical things. Also, don't tempt yourself by peeking at your phone or quickly checking Facebook during a mental break – we've all gone down that rabbit hole…
3. Embrace the Madness
It's okay if you don't know everything and it's okay to feel overwhelmed. You will have your cohort and instructors to lean on when you need them. By being honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses, you can identify sections you may struggle with in advance, and dedicate more time and resources to them.
Speaking of struggling…you're going to hit walls and you're going to get stumped. You just have to stick it out and get through it. When you're on the other side, you'll look back and say, "that wasn't too bad." Some of your most triumphant moments will come from struggling and finding creative solutions or doubling-down on studying to make sure the concept is crystal clear. Enjoy the ride and make some good friends along the way.
4. Find Your Fuel
If you're expecting to be handed the secrets to becoming a coding genius, we have news for you: those don't exist. You will need to put everything you have into learning the material to achieve your goals. Motivation is crucial. It's the fuel that will push you through the inevitable challenges you'll face during the program.
Whether your motivation is to work for your dream company, support your family, rehaul your career, get into a fun industry, or completely change the trajectory of your life, harness it to push your limits. If doubt and frustration ever creep into your mind, remember the bigger picture to keep you going.
5. Leave Your Ego at the Door
We saved the best advice for last – leave your ego at the door. Even if you have some coding experience, be open to every little thing you're taught as you'll still learn a few new tricks. Bootcamps foster collaboration, not competition, so be open to feedback and ask for help.
By utilizing the people around you and working with your classmates, you'll be a better coder and a better teammate in your future career. While you're in the bootcamp, never be afraid of digging deeper or asking tons of questions. Be confident and try to ask questions when debugging what you don't know.
Anyone can succeed at coding bootcamps by adopting the right mindset and dedicating everything they can to the program. Set yourself up for success and in 14 short weeks, your dreams can become a reality!
This post was sponsored by Coding Dojo. To learn more about Coding Dojo, check out their reviews on SwitchUp.