I’ve decided I should go to a coding bootcamp. Now WHAT?
As the old saying goes – no risk, no reward – but there are ways to minimize your risk when switching careers and going after the developer role you’ve always wanted. It is important to consider these 8 major points in each step of the process.
Step 1 – Which bootcamp should I choose?
- Your time is valuable: Learning in a large class can be fun, but it is important to make sure your are paying for quality instruction and not just a cool space with a bar. If the program is full-time, it is important to know how much time is spent with the instructor vs. self-guided assignments. Spending hours working through a project on your own may cost you more than you think.
- Test it out to make sure: In order to determine how much time (and money) you want to spend for new skills – test it out. The cost of a bootcamp is comparable to a house down payment or a new 2014 Honda, so walk-around and take a drive with learning how to code. There are many free websites that will allow you to dabble. Were you OK with hitting the wall a few times? Can you sit with one problem for hours? Then you may be ready for step 2.
Step 2 – How do I ace the application?
- Share your background: If you have completely worked through the 3 points above then you are ready to tell the admissions representative why you want to attend their school above all others. A school that has a process to make sure you’re not wasting your time (or money), is looking for eager students, not numbers of classroom seats.
- Study the prep material: A brief assessment may require you to review videos about the programming language they teach, or require more tutorials and coding experience. Read through the guidelines to make sure you have the time to put into the process.
Step 3 – How do I start off on the right foot?
- Evaluate your life: You’ve already done part of this in “Step 1,” but now it’s time to really make arrangements. Will you need a pet-sitter? Do you know how you will get to and from the learning facility? The best time to put together your routine and plan for success is by handling all the “life things” before you start.
- Complete the pre-work: Many schools will require about a week’s worth of exercises and projects that will help get everyone in class to the same baseline. Setting up your computer and pinging the instructor or TA to make sure all of your work is good to go is a great way to get on the right path.
- Your attitude is everything: Get excited! You have decided to brave down the path less traveled. Having a positive attitude about yourself and remembering WHY you want to be a developer makes the struggle worth it.