Coding bootcamp. The term may conjure up images of life in the military – instructors barking orders, being made to feel like a broken human and hours of what feels like physical, mental and emotional torture. Getting through 3 to 6 months of intense theory and training may sound like it fits the stereotype, but in reality, online coding bootcamps are very different. A professional, effectively facilitated bootcamp can be the key to unlocking a thriving career in development. It all begins with the right mindset. Here are our tips on how to maximise the positive impact of a bootcamp.
Stay away from the comparison trap
Before choosing an online coding bootcamp, you may read success stories about how students have built award-winning apps or started their own businesses after maximising the positive impact of a bootcamp. In scenarios like these, human beings have the weird tendency to focus on the differences between people rather than their similarities, and to start drawing proverbial battle lines between those who know their stuff and those who don’t. We encourage you to resist the urge to compare yourself to others – it’s a sure-fire way to feeling inferior, whatever your level of knowledge is. And quite frankly, the comparison trap detracts from your ability to learn from others.
Stay away from comparing yourself and the pace at which you work, to the stories you may hear. Everyone learns at their own pace and with different results. Own your journey and take responsibility for doing your best – beyond that, with a bit of luck and good timing, your bootcamp will be a stepping stone to something big.
Most coding students think that anxiety or nervousness is a sign of weakness. Not so. Feeling anxious about learning something new is a completely natural response. And let’s face it, bootcamps are not for the faint-hearted. The solution is simple – get honest with yourself, with your peers and with the bootcamp facilitator. The worst thing you can do is bottle up your anxiety, suffer in silence and eventually allow it to ruin what should be an informative and uplifting experience.
You may even find that your peers relate to what you are feeling, and that the facilitator finds it useful to know that you are anxious so that they can give you individual attention when possible. Another great way to combat your nerves is to join online forums on the topic and get tips on how to overcome anxiety as you dive headfirst into complex concepts. Reach out – you might be pleasantly surprised at how many people are willing to listen and give you valuable advice.
Some online coding bootcamps are mentor-led, so you’ll have the opportunity to work 1:1 with a mentor, who is a specialised trainer. Mentors review your code to make sure that it’s accurate and aligned to industry standards. They’re also a source of personal motivation and an infinite source of knowledge, so if your bootcamp provides you with a mentor, reach out to him/her and discuss your challenges. Good mentors are good listeners.
If you go into an online coding bootcamp expecting school-style learning where teachers guide the process step by step, you may find it challenging. Good bootcamps are the ones that encourage proactiveness. You won’t simply be given answers – you’ll be expected to think independently and do extra research to solve problems. In this way, bootcamps prepare you for the world outside the classroom, where you’ll be expected to take responsibility for your career and the course it takes. Bootcamps require you to think on your feet and go the extra mile.
This is certainly not one of those cases where you’ll achieve a good result by doing the bare minimum. If you really want to maximise your return on investment (so to speak), you’ll need to be proactive. Before the bootcamp begins, inform yourself, do research and learn as much as possible on the topic so you attend your first lesson prepared and ready to go. And after every lesson, go over the material and apply it practically in whichever way you can. Build as you learn. Practice makes perfect.
Coding bootcamps can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first one. But don’t let that stop you from getting it under your belt and pursuing a career in what can arguably be thought of as the most lucrative field in the digital age. Bootcamps are intense because they’re designed to be that way. They are designed to equip you with the tools you need to build a strong foundation in your field of development. With the right mindset and work ethic, an online coding bootcamp can be a springboard to a successful future.
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