What I learned from teaching at a major coding bootcamp in Europe
Last year, I was a Designer at a behind-the-desk boring agency job. I woke up one day realizing I am not meant to do this. Today, I’m a digital nomad traveling the world to teach at Le Wagon in Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen & Barcelona, and it has been an amazing journey.
In brief, Le Wagon is a coding bootcamp for entrepreneurs where you can learn web development in 9 weeks.
From the cities I taught in, I met students from all around the world, and while I was teaching, I was also learning.
Here are 5 highlights of my learning experience.
1. Official education is not important
A lot of cultures around me emphasize college as the only path, but it actually isn’t.
Let’s first get things straight, I don’t mean you can be a doctor or a scientist without university; but in the tech industry, and specifically in programming, you can do it on your own.
University courses teach you theories and algorithms and introduce you to concepts and ideas, but most institutions are far from what’s really happening in the modern business world.
Instead of waiting 3 to 5 years to get a university degree, you can do it in 9 weeks, the ‘quick and dirty’ way. You will shortcut your way to success.
Online courses also teach you to be productive and efficient. They teach you to code scenarios that you can directly use in real life.
But most importantly, practicing and coding real things by yourself by getting your hands dirty and debugging your code is what makes you a better developer.
2. Everything happens outside your comfort zone
Watching students -that had no previous coding knowledge- learn how to code made me realize how important it is to challenge yourself. Taking risks helps us grow and makes us happy.
Trying new things makes us more creative, and by learning new skills you can help your mind stay mentally sharp as you get older.
If you’re not able to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, then let someone push you. Connect with people who inspire you. Stay away from the negative people and get closer to the people who support you and challenge you.
3. It’s never too late to change your career
At Le Wagon, there is no age limit, we have students from 16 to 50 years old. Anyone who wants to learn how to code can do it, it doesn’t matter if you spent a decade of your life building your old career. Do what makes you happy!
Life should be about waking up everyday excited to start your day to pursue your goals and challenge yourself, not about feeling stuck at your job and always wanting to run away.
4.Learning business skills is crucial
Learning how to code, how to hire and how to sell are the three key skills you need to build a business.
Unfortunately, business and entrepreneurship are skills that are often missed in schools and colleges. No one teaches us how to make a business successful.
Here are some skills every graduate should develop, no matter what their career will be:
- Public speaking
- Time management
- Customer focus
5. Developing an MVP is your key to success
Before I talk about MVPs, let me focus on the fact that prototyping your product and testing it before production is critical. It enables you to test and refine the functionality of your product. It’s not a waste of time, it saves you time. It helps you describe your product more effectively and it gives you something to show to investors, who will take you more seriously.
Now, building an MVP of your product quickly is more efficient than waiting 6 months to build it and risk the fact that it might not work.
Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox and Snapchat all started out with an MVP which was later used to gather feedback, grow, and iterate their product to build the massive brands they are today.
6. Developers should learn design
Specifically front-end developers. It’s important for developers to have an idea on how design works, this will make you understand the designer’s language.
By understanding how design works, you will:
- Use the best design practices without designers
- Translate ideas more easily
- Deliver higher quality work and faster deliverables
There are lots of resources that can help you step up your design game, check out My Awesome Web Design Github Repository that has a curated list of resources for design.
I hope this got you excited to try new things and build your entrepreneurial career. Whatever your passion is, follow it and get help from professionals or supporting friends to get you where you want to go.
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