Bootcamp Mastery: Less Talking, More Coding

I recently finished a coding intensive at Fullstack Academy in NYC. These articles are part of a series about how to get the most out of an immersive bootcamp experience. Check out my stories for more!

Focus

Halfway through Fullstack they give you a red bracelet that says ‘Focus’. It comes with instructions: “When you’re asking yourself, ‘What should I be doing right now?’, just look at your wrist.”

As you go through a bootcamp and learn more, it’s fun to talk about code. Talking about code can definitely be rewarding, especially if you’re talking to someone who knows a lot more than you do.

But you should avoid doing it too much.

As hard as it is, I had to keep reminding myself to stop talking about code and to focus on writing it.

Even though it feels great to talk about code, you’ll learn more by writing something hard and new.

Talk is cheap. And just like watching YouTube videos or doing ‘Hello World’ tutorials, talking about what you’re learning can quickly become a substitute for deep learning.

I’ve noticed that people with elite educations in non-technical disciplines find this the most difficult.

One of the great drawbacks of a liberal arts education, especially of the Socratic variety is that you can get really good at talking about stuff without being able to practically use that stuff.

‘But,’ people will say, ‘it’s best to be a great communicator of ideas and to be able to apply those ideas.’

Sure. But consider the value of your time in your bootcamp. While in your bootcamp you have the chance to log hundreds of hours of deep work. You’ll do plenty of talking already, because of lectures and drinks after-hours.

While in bootcamp, you should prefer to write code rather than talk about it. Procedural fluency is more valuable than sounding smart at dinner parties.

I still wear my red bracelet to keep this in mind!