Truth About Coding Bootcamps

This is what I have learned from 3 years of mentoring code bootcamp students.

Most people are just not made to be in the field of software or “web development”. Building simple web pages with html and css is easy, anyone can do it. So try it. Build a website and see if it excited you to make it. Would you be happy to spend your whole day just sitting there making web pages if you had time. There are plenty of free online courses that let you get your feet wet. Learn on your own. Make a very simple javascript game where you are trying to guess a word. Do the concepts intrigue you and make you want to learn more, or do you get frustrated and have no idea what they are talking about. Does it bore you? Maybe you just want to get back to watching tv or playing videos games. If that is how you feel then you will not succeed in this profession.

These things are called bootcamps for a reason. Do not have the part time mentality. Especially if you are totally new to programming and computer systems and especially if you are a busy person who has a full time job and especially if that job is demanding, there is no point of taking a part time program, you will not succeed. Even if the actual schedule is part time, your mindset should be full time. If you are planning on learning computer software in any useful capacity in such a short time, then you need to spend every waking second of your life studying, practicing and learning. If you insist on keeping your full time job then you might as well just learn on your own in your spare time and hire a tutor to help you when you get stuck.

Focus. Don’t enroll in a bootcamp that has a curriculum that teaches a 100 different things. This also applies to self learning. Don’t get caught in the trap of wasting all your time trying to learn all the different aspects of the computer field or all the buzz topics and tools out there. There are a few concepts that you need to focus on when learning this field and once you master those, you will be able to understand all the other distractions easily. You need to maintain neutrality because every job will use different things and you need to be able to easily adapt to different environments.

Don’t go to a bootcamp that lets anyone in. If you can’t get into one of the bootcamps that requires an interview and admission process, you probably won’t succeed. If you feel like you couldn’t pass the entrance interview then take a bootcamp prep course or hire a tutor.

You can go for free. There are a few bootcamps that have an interesting approach; you don’t have to pay unless you end up getting a real full time job. These programs will take you in and even give you a living allowance or give you room and board. They give you a free education with the hope that you can pay them back after you actually get a job. Some actually don’t even expect you to pay them back, its just free no, no catch. Look into appacademy.io, learnersguild.org, or 42.us.org.

Don’t expect to get a job right away. I’m not saying that nobody does. If you are really good and have taken to this field very well, then perhaps you will. But most likely you are one of the normal people who can’t become proficient in a field that is very complicated in only a few month.

Make your own bootcamp. Why pay someone to teach you when there might be people who are willing to do it for free. There is most likely a few people in your area that would like to start learning how to code. Post an ad in craigslist or start a meetup. Find a place to meet like a library conference room. Use any of a number of free online courses as your curriculum. Find one experienced person to join you and help mentor everyone. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to give their free time for this. Meet on a regular basis.