Getting ready for a coding bootcamp means drastically changing your life for the foreseeable future. This is undeniably exciting because of the possibilities that come with a new career as well as going “all in” by investing in yourself. The excitement however, is equally tempered with some of the anxiety that comes with that uncertainty.
We asked two LearningFuze graduates, Travis Ueki and Scott Bowler, whom we’ve actually hired and are now full-time members of the LearningFuze team, to reflect back on their experience both from a student and graduate perspective to shed some light on how to get the most out of the learning. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but why not learn from those that have been there?
1. What did you do to prepare for the bootcamp?
Travis: I did a little bit of Codecademy, but I have 3 little ones and my wife was working, so I really didn’t have much of an opportunity to study much.
Scott: I went through the suggested material from LF. Codecademy, CodeSchool and some reading on w3 schools.
2. How much time did you spend? Did you practice during the week or weekends?
Travis: I spent 6 hours per day studying on the weekends during the course. The weekends were vital to my progression.
Scott: Around 20 hours a week for the prep material. I worked on it both during the week and on weekends. I was moving at the time and wished I could’ve done more.
3. What would you say you should have done more of? What would you have spent less time on or worrying about less?
Scott: I would've spent more time with the prep period and understanding basic programming logic. I would have spent less time worrying about some of the small details. It is really easy to get caught up in things that don’t matter at the time, although being new it can be difficult knowing what is and what isn’t important.
4. What things can you do now that a beginner shouldn't worry about because only going through it and building experience will help?
Travis: I can use libraries and frameworks. I would not recommend that to a beginner, because they would have no context for utilizing them. It really is like putting the cart before the horse.
Scott: Learning multiple languages and frameworks. In the beginning you should start with one primary language (besides HTML, CSS). Once you have a basic understanding of programming in general it makes it orders of magnitude easier to learn new languages. And once you know the language you can also start diving into frameworks, but you need to understand the language first.
For beginners and those preparing for a coding bootcamp, we’ve asked Travis & Scott to put a list of items they would recommend:
Ensure that you have a quiet workplace that is free of distractions
Code every single day
Skills that we would have liked to have MASTERED prior to attending the bootcamp:
Understand what role HTML plays in a webpage
Understand how to create an HTML skeleton
Know what the following HTML tags do/mean:
- all heading tags (w3schools-headings)
- paragraph tags (w3schools-paragraphs)
- div tags w3schools-div)
Understand what role CSS plays in a webpage
Understand how to manipulate HTML with CSS
Know how to implement and distinguish between the following CSS selectors:
- id’s (w3schools-selectors)
- classes (w3schools-selectors)
- element (w3schools-selectors)
- variables (w3schools-JS-variables)
- loops (codecademy-for-loops
- conditional statements (codecademy-if-statements)
- data types (w3schools-data-types)
As a final note to consider, these were some of the recommended items that stood out to Scott & Travis but doesn’t encompass everything bootcamp students go through to be best prepared. Every bootcamp is different, and in addition to considering the above items we would always recommend you talk to them directly and ask about their guidelines and seek additional advice.