What to Know Before Attending A Coding Bootcamp: 7 Tips to Help You Prepare For Your First Day
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Are you considering a career in coding, UX design, or full-stack development? Exploring your options and investing in a coding bootcamp on average may help you increase your salary by 56% or $25,000, but it may not be for everyone.
Although the potential boost in income may sound enticing, deciding to attend a coding bootcamp is a big commitment. Whether you’re just starting your research or preparing for your first class in the next few weeks, here are 7 things to keep in mind before you attend a coding bootcamp.
1. Know the way you learn and succeed.
Do your research on the different types of coding bootcamps available to you. Some programs are entirely online and others may be in-person only or require some in-person participation once campuses start to open again.
If you have children or plan to work part-time while taking classes and need a flexible schedule, find a bootcamp program that will allow you to move at your own pace to help ensure you don’t fall behind. If you know that you perform better with strict deadlines every week, you may thrive in a rigorous program.
Find the environment and school where you will perform best. If you still need help narrowing down your top programs, check out our link below to help you choose which bootcamp is right for you.
2. Stay organized.
Once you find a program that’s best for you, now it’s time to start preparing for it. Over the next few months, you’re going to learn and practice so much new material at an incredibly fast pace. The earlier you take the time to understand how you stay organized, the better you will set yourself up to succeed during your program.
Index cards? Sticky notes? Handwritten to-do lists? Google Calendars? No matter how you stay organized, pick your process and find a way to incorporate it into your everyday life. For me, crossing something off my to-do list makes me feel accomplished and ready to tackle the next thing. Find your strength and stick to it!
3. Take a trial run.
If your program is 100% online, your pre-course can help you find ways to stay motivated at home and prepare you for the journey ahead. It will also be a good indicator of the pace of the program, so take it seriously.
4. Network in school.
Before you start your program, pay a visit to your school’s career services center. There may already be networking events planned – and this is your chance to sign up! Even if there aren’t any events, talk to someone in the office who can connect you to alumni or networking groups.
Your classes also offer a great opportunity to network with your peers. It may not feel like you have time in class, but most programs have online portals where you upload your assignments and connect with other students. Reach out to other students and professors to build your own networking community. This may come in handy in the future when you’re stuck on an assignment and want to reach out to someone for help.
Subtle Reminder: You’re choosing to invest in yourself and the future life for you and your family, so make the most of your time in school.
5. Don’t let your skills go to waste.
Whether you previously worked in a restaurant, retail store, or hotel, odds are you learned valuable skills during your time there. Don’t let those skills go to waste! Some of those skills might include:
- Time Management
- Creative Thinking
- Customer Service
- Conflict Resolution
Use your past experiences to build confidence and your advantage in your bootcamp. Just because you don’t come from a technical background, it doesn’t mean you have to start from the bottom.
6. Your mental and physical health comes first.
Depending on the length of your program, the majority of your days may be filled with classes and assignments. It can be easy to let it consume your everyday life. Be prepared to sit for 10 to 12 hours a day, especially if your coding bootcamp is online only.
Remember to be kind to yourself and take breaks often. If you have a bit of free time, enjoy it by doing what you love most, like taking your dog on a walk, grabbing a cup of coffee, preparing a healthy meal for your family, or watching your favorite show.
Stepping away from your computer every once in a while can help you feel refreshed and re-energized to pick things up where you left off. Need tips on navigating your schedule? Read how three inspiring women are doing it on our blog.
7. Buckle down for your job search.
When the time comes, you’re going to need to get serious about your future career and the job opportunities available to you after you graduate. Yes, that means building a resume, creating a cover letter, and building your portfolio.
Depending on the program you choose, resume building and preparing for job interviews may already be a part of the curriculum. You may also be able to visit your career services center to gather resources and find a mentor to help you prepare for the job search. Just remember – you’re not alone. There will be other people in your class preparing for the job hunt, too, so find a buddy to help you proofread your materials.
Hopefully, this is the day you’ve been looking forward to most. No matter where your life was before your bootcamp, you’re one step closer to changing your life.
Everyone learns at their own pace and manages their time differently. Preparing for your bootcamp before you even start on your first day can help you stay motivated and level-headed when things feel impossible. Just remember, attending a bootcamp is a life-changing decision, so set yourself up for success as early as possible.
If you still haven’t decided on attending a bootcamp, check out our blog below to help you find some ideas about what you’re good at.