Planet with rings and stars
Ascent Blog

How to Succeed at a Coding Bootcamp

Jun 24, 2021 | By: Erica Arvanitis
Categories: Blog, For Bootcamps
How to Succeed in Your Bootcamp

As current and former students, we provide free resources to help you throughout your education, which may include links to third-party websites (where security and privacy policies may differ from Ascent’s). For our disclaimer, please click here.


Boot camp (ˈbo͞otˌkamp/) – a short, intensive, and rigorous course of training.


Choosing to attend a coding bootcamp can be a life-changing decision, but it no doubt comes with its obstacles. You’ll be introduced to a new world of technical terms, pushed beyond your comfort zone, and challenged to switch up your normal routine. 


Beyond gaining new skills, you will also learn to problem-solve, manage projects, and think critically while attending a coding bootcamp. If you’ve decided to take the leap and attend a bootcamp, here are eight tips to help you succeed (and survive) in your program.


Write out your goals. 

What exactly are you looking for while attending a coding bootcamp? Do you want to transition to a new career, expand your coding skills, or do you have a personal interest?


Whether it’s writing them in your planner, placing sticky notes on your walls, or using a notes app on your laptop, get your goals written down so you can refer to them whenever you need to. You’ll want to remember your goals when things get a little more difficult in class or you encounter roadblocks. Having clear goals helps you keep your focus on the finish line.


Use free coding resources. 

Before you start your coding bootcamp course, take some time to familiarize yourself with a few basic coding concepts. There are plenty of online resources, so take advantage of them! 

If you’re new to the coding world, understanding the different subjects you could focus on and the different coding languages can help you prepare before your first day – and build your confidence before the course begins.


Learn by doing. 

If you don’t have any programming experience, you might feel like you need to memorize every coding concept and definition. Try to avoid that.

Instead, zero in on tactile and visual learning. Come into your class each day with the mindset that you’ll mostly “learn by doing.” Write lines of code and test them. If the code doesn’t work, change it. Still doesn’t work? Change it again. The code will finally work, and you’ll have experienced coding in a nutshell.

Practice really does make perfection more attainable.


Don’t compare. 

Other students in your class might have more coding experience than you do or naturally pick things up quicker. No matter what pace you learn and retain information, it’s important to keep moving forward on your rhythm. Programming is all about persistence, applying concepts, and nurturing your coding confidence. It’s not a race.

Once you do find your rhythm, you’ll take that capability with you to every job you work at too. Learning how to collaborate with coworkers, not compete, and remain calm under pressure will be important to your future career.


Ask questions. 

The only bad question is…. well, you know what they say, ‘’Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions!”Sometimes it’s the unasked questions that are the key to understanding a valuable concept. You may not realize it, but it might be the same question your classmates are wondering about too.

Keep in mind that you’re investing a lot of your time, money, and energy into this coding bootcamp – so make sure you walk away from each class with a clear understanding of what’s expected.


Take breaks. 

While you’re sitting at your desk in classes, don’t forget about your posture. Remember to sit up straight and make sure your chair isn’t too high or low. Make sure your lower back is well supported and invest in blue light glasses since you’ll be staring at a screen for hours at a time.

Take short, five-minute breaks to stand up, stretch, maybe grab a snack, or walk the dog. Get outside and for a change of scenery so you can come back to your computer refreshed and ready. 


Connect with your classmates. 

You can learn a lot from your fellow students. Network with your classmates and help each other work through the course together. Not only will you gain insight from a new perspective,  you might also gain a friend or future connection in your field.


Be okay with not knowing. 

At several points throughout your bootcamp, you might feel lost or overwhelmed–that’s okay.

Right after you’ve finally mastered Ruby, they’ll melt your brain with Rails. It’s stressful, and you may even find yourself wondering, “Can I do this? Am I smart enough to be a professional coder?” 

Everyone hits this wall (even professional coders), and each person has their way of working through it at their own pace. It’s part of the job description, so learning how to use your resources and push through is a valuable skill. 

It’s not a sign that you aren’t good enough to be a developer – you are worth every class and course, so keep it up!


Looking for the right coding bootcamp for you? We’ll help you find a school that meets your goals: 


Find a Coding Bootcamp



Symbol icon

Join the Ascent community!

Stay in the loop with finance tips, scholarship resources, product updates, and more.