So, you’ve decided to enroll in a coding bootcamp but you’re unsure of what you’ve gotten yourself into.
In hopes of quickly and efficiently closing the tech skills gap, bootcamps are highly intensive and immersive programs designed to provide critical tech skills at an accelerated rate. With a strong emphasis placed on professional development, the sole intent of these programs is to help students earn a living wage. Despite their grueling nature, bootcamps are appropriately named after the strict military training camps most are familiar with.
Likewise, bootcamps prepare individuals to become professional coders in an industry that never sleeps. If prepping to immerse yourself in the world of coding bootcamps, it’s important to know what you’re signing up for and to ensure you are completely equipped both mentally and physically for the journey ahead.
As you begin your bootcamp, consider the following eight “must-knows” prior to your first day in order to reach your full potential.
1. Your goals
Before starting a coding bootcamp, it’s important to have clear goals in mind – you can even write them down to refer to later. Whether you’ve dreamt of coding for years, are searching for a career with unlimited growth or are looking for a way to provide more for your family, having personal goals to strive towards will keep you motivated each step of the way. Whenever stressed, you can choose to focus on achieving these goals instead of comparing yourself to others – remember why you’re doing this and how far you’ve come. These thoughts will help propel you towards your accomplishments.
2. A clear mind is key
3. Support systems are crucial
When things get tough, support systems can ease the pain. With family and friends in your corner, there will be a constant lifeline of encouragement and motivation. Talk to family, vent to friends, and express worries instead of bottling them up and clouding your goals. Anticipate that those around you won’t understand the new language you are speaking, but don’t let that discourage you. Let them be there for you. You don’t need to go through bootcamp alone, so equip yourself with a strong support system to help relieve the pressure and empower yourself to keep working.
4. Social lives are sacrificed
Just like the job you’re striving to earn, bootcamps require a vast amount of dedication and energy. In order to stay committed, sure, you’ll have to sacrifice some extracurriculars. Netflix binging and gaming might need to be put on pause momentarily. However, you can inform family and friends that your time might be limited. You can even find ways for them to show their support through cooking dinner or watching your pets when studying. While you may need to sacrifice your personal life in the short-term, remember that you are also building new relationships, networks, and fundamentals for a successful career in the long-term.
5. Coding isn’t easy
With a focus on “all hands in the code” and accelerated skills training, bootcamps are highly immersive and comprehensive. These programs are demanding on the mind and body. Knowing this, it’s very important to be comfortable asking for help. Oftentimes, we want to prove that we can do it all by ourselves or we believe asking for help is a sign of weakness; however, this is not the case in coding bootcamps. Asking for help takes courage but it is also an absolute must for survival.
6. There’s crying in coding
With pressure comes stress and then tears – which is perfectly fine. Know thyself. Know your stressed behaviors and the factors that cause them. Before and during bootcamp, do mental check-ins with yourself. Recognize those behaviors and take proactive measures to ensure you don’t explode, like giving yourself a quick pep talk or taking a mental break. After all, it’s okay to shed a few tears every now and then.
7. But coding is fun
Embrace the challenge of coding and enjoy the ride. While it may be difficult at times, remember that you’re working towards a newfound passion that will help launch your career. Enjoy the learning process and stay curious in an ever-changing tech industry. Be part of the conversation in and outside of the classroom, and get to know those like-minded, talented peers you’re working alongside. The journey towards obtaining programming skills will not only be fulfilling but it will also expand your mind and your future.
8. You CAN do it
Bootcamps will be hard. Bootcamps will be time-consuming. Bootcamps will test your limits. But you can handle it and you will succeed. You belong there. And in no time, you’ll finish your bootcamp, graduate, become a professional developer and accept your first offer letter that will launch your career.
Despite the ups and downs of coding bootcamps, they can be one of the most rewarding experiences. No matter your educational background or past experiences in tech, every person has the opportunity to complete these programs, even groups who don’t have an easy path. For example, veterans. That is why schools like Eleven Fifty Academy have begun accepting GI Bill funds to help propel veterans into their professional careers by covering the costs associated with education and training.
As you prepare for the grind of a bootcamp, keep in mind you’ll be provided all the necessary tools and confidence to achieve your goals.