Considering a coding bootcamp? I can help!
Hi there 👋 I’m Michelle Wong, the blueberry-loving Frontend Developer at Rumie.
I successfully completed a Web Development Bootcamp in 2022, and I’m ready to give away all of my secrets!
😫 How stressed did I really get?
😫 What’s the hardest part about a bootcamp?
😫 How did I prepare for success?
Here is my not-so-harrowing story of coding for my life 💪
What is the hardest part of a coding bootcamp?
How tedious the learning process is! So many coding problems boil down to a typo…but the typo happens to be hidden in a giant haystack of code 🤦🏻♀️
There’s a 🇬🇷 Greek proverb that says, “one minute of patience, ten years of peace.” In other words, once you learn how to code — you can code in the long term. In order to keep up with the coursework, it was time to rethink my attitude!
✅ Here’s how you can overcome frustration in a bootcamp setting:
Get comfortable asking a million questions: Intensive training bootcamps are built for you to succeed. I personally found that the days move slowly enough for you to get your questions answered right away.
Stack Overflow is your friend: I recommend the friendly Stack Overflow community for your oh-so-specific coding questions if you can't find the answers you're looking for on Google.
Embrace the process: It's tempting to jump right into an assigned activity after a quick scan of the instructions. But when I didn't read the assignment properly, this led to mistakes 🤦♀️ Theory and practice are equally important, so take your time.
Tell yourself, "I'm a web developer!"
When starting the bootcamp, I had difficulty switching my mindset from “Michelle the Immunology and Health & Disease graduate” to “Michelle the web developer”.
It was performance anxiety
To be honest, I wondered if web development was truly something I could do. I also felt like an imposter because of the stigma that comes with accelerated learning.
😩 Would I find a job?
😩 Am I employable?
Denying myself this new label only added to my sense of imposter syndrome, which resulted in an emotional response to each step of the learning journey.
✅ You can work through the performance anxiety by repeating the mantra, "I am a web developer." Repeating statements like this can actually help you improve attentional and emotional self-regulation. And if you find a great coding bootcamp team, they'll be quick to remind that you become a web developer the day you began the bootcamp 😊
Get ahead of the learning curve
Turns out I was fine! Since coding bootcamps are structured for collaboration, I felt empowered to tackle the curriculum day by day.
✅ You can work through the learning curve by consulting with your peers to understand the material.
🔍 Learning code with other students looks like:
🎯 Studying someone else's code 🎯
Why? It's called unconscious perceptual knowledge, and it means there are some things your peers (or experts) know, but they don't know they know it. So when you read your peers' code, you'll find hidden gems of knowledge to apply to your own projects! 💎
How? It's as though you're dating yourself to get to know what kind of process works for you, or possibilities you didn't think of before 🔮. While reading someone else's code, I like to ask questions such as:
🤓 Which lines of code interact with one another (and how do they interact)?
🤓 What kind of data is being passed and how is it being passed?
🎯 Talking about code with someone else 🎯
Why? Talking about code with peers in the bootcamp prepared me for real-world problem-solving at Rumie. We're an organization that embraces healthy feedback. But having fellow cohort-mates regularly make suggestions on my developer projects gave me the tools to receive this feedback in a professional setting.
How? Practice giving healthy feedback to each other by swapping code before handing in projects.
Commit to your plan for each coding project!
I often found myself restarting projects, which was a huge time sink.
The end result could’ve been much more polished if I'd committed to my original ideas. I also could’ve avoided unnecessary stress!
✅ You can ensure you save time and commit to your idea by creating a project plan.
This doesn't need to look as complex as a SpaceX launch plan, but here are some tools I've used in the past 💪:
Plan well with pseudo-code: This is a developer's trick to mapping out the logic of your project. When you take a realistic amount of time to plan, you're more likely to commit to your original idea.
Consult with the bootcamp instructors to see if they think your idea is feasible in the assigned time.
Make a list of every major step to complete the project.
Put each major step in your calendar and if you need to make any changes, consult with an instructor.
🚨 Reserve enough time for testing before the assignment deadline in order to carefully test your project for bugs. If you change your idea mid-project, you may not have time to test it properly.
Reggie was halfway through a coding project when he decided to make his app for youth instead of kids. Before submitting, Reggie ran out of time and handed in broken code. What could Reggie do differently on the next assignment? Select all that apply.
I hope this helps you on your coding journey and beyond 🚀 Are you ready to create your own bootcamp journey survival guide?