Continued Learning After a Coding Bootcamp
In the technology industry, learning doesn't stop after graduation or once you've landed your first developer job. In an industry that's constantly growing and developing new technologies, continued learning is the key to success!Bootcamps are a great way to learn software development fundamentals, multiple programming languages and give you the skills you need to land your first developer job, but arguably the most important thing they teach you is how to learn new skills
One of the bootcamps most successful at teaching their students how to research and find their own solutions is The Tech Academy. The program starts with the Technology Basics Course which equips students with a solid understanding of the fundamentals, helping them to grasp more complex concepts encountered later in both the bootcamp and the real work environment. Then students are given difficult projects and coding challenges and are encouraged to look for solutions on their own first, receiving guidance from instructors whenever needed, but never spoon-fed the solution. The structure of the program is a gradual workout for your problem-solving "muscle".
As Tech Academy graduate Shelly A. explained: "[The Tech Academy] also taught me how to be a self-motivated learner and enabled me to develop problem-solving skills. In addition to teaching coding knowledge, the school also teaches students how to look for answers and approach problems on their own. Instructors are always available and willing to help, but they also guide students and teach them how to solve problems, rather than giving out answers right away."
Once you've completed your bootcamp, graduated, and landed your first job it can be difficult to know how or where to restart the learning process. We've compiled a list of the different tools and resources available to help you continually improve your skills and grow as a developer:
Mentorship culture is widespread in the software development community and is a great first step in continuing your education. Mentors can help guide you through challenges you'll face either on the job or through your supplemental studies. Working with someone while improving your skills helps ensure you're developing good coding practices, and having someone to provide feedback can be invaluable.
Seeking out a mentor doesn't have to be a formal affair or awkward occasion where you feel like you're asking someone for their secret sauce. Mentorship can be a mutually beneficial relationship where you not only have a guide when you run into roadblocks, but they can also reinforce their knowledge by teaching. A more senior developer at work, previous instructor, or other alumni are often great places to start looking for someone willing to help guide you in building your skills.
Meetups and Tech Events
Become an active member of your local tech community by going to meetups, tech talks or tech conferences. Surrounding yourself with other programmers of differing skill levels will inevitably present you with opportunities to improve your skills!
Tech talks and conferences are a great way to stay up-to-date with what's going on in the industry and learn something new. Staying current with industry trends and standards is a great way to help guide your continued learning in the direction that will benefit you most.
In most cities there are a wide-range of technology meetups that focus on many different topics. For example, The Tech Academy hosts multiple meetups at their Portland campus including a monthly Unity PDX meetup that focuses on game development, as well as a Tech Talk every Friday with different technology professionals. Meetups not only help reinforce your understanding of a subject, but also offer an opportunity for you to work on your soft skills.
Do some research on Meetup.com to find meetups in your area!
Your Bootcamp and Alumni Network
Your investment in a bootcamp should not be limited to just the time it takes you to complete it — stay in touch with your bootcamp and utilize any resources they have available to help you succeed. Bootcamps like The Tech Academy offer a series of advanced courses created for experienced developers and graduates looking to continue their education.
Another valuable resource to take advantage of is your bootcamp's network of alumni and former instructors. This network can be a great source of support where you can share your experiences, ask questions, or collaborate on side projects.
Side Projects, Hackathons & Code Retreats
As most students discover while in bootcamp, the best way to learn is by doing. Participating in hackathons and working on side projects provide you with an opportunity to develop your technical skills by actually writing code.
During hackathons and code retreats groups are tasked with building something new or finding a solution to a specific problem. These events can last anywhere from 4 hours to 48 hours. Hackathons and code retreats are a fun way to practice and strengthen your skills in a collaborative setting.
There are countless online resources available, both free and paid, to help you learn a new technology stack or improve upon your current skill set.
Websites like Udemy, Treehouse, and Lynda have a comprehensive collection of videos and tutorials to help you pick up a new skill or revisit information. Another great way to practice your skills is through coding challenges on Codeforces or Hackerrank, or by joining an online community like Stack Overflow or Codeanywhere where you can share your code and learn from peers.
Learning how to code is no small feat, and graduating from coding bootcamp is a huge milestone! While graduation is an accomplishment that should be celebrated, it's important to remember that learning doesn't stop there. Ongoing education can feel like an overwhelming task at times, but as you continue to get better learning only gets easier. Keep that motivation and excitement that got you through coding bootcamp, and remember that there are many tools and resources available to you to help you succeed!
This post was sponsored by The Tech Academy.