How to Get Most out of Coding Bootcamp

I want to share with you a story about one student. He realized that sometimes he was behaving like robot: doing same thing over and over. He wanted to automate his business.

So, he goes to lectures, works his ass off. He comes back home and at least takes a look what he have done. More often than not, he spends few more hours a day on tasks that he comes up himself. Every time we talk, he just bombards me with questions and his experiences.

Needless to say, we both had amazing experience: growing and witnessing such rapid growth.

Let me share my believes and experiences how to get most out of coding bootcamp!

Know what you want

Why do you participate in a coding bootcamp?

Why do you want to be a programmer?

These questions are extremely important! Those reasons should give you a lot of motivation and you should be very disciplined. Programming is tough, you are going to face a problem that will hound you for weeks or months! I am not saying you may, because it is inevitable. I don’t know any good developer who solved all his problems immediately as they appeared.

You must be persistent and this is when the why comes to the scene. If you have strong reasons, you will not quit. Problems will hound you and you will come up with solutions at random moments: while driving, sleeping, eating. And these are moments of glory. You will remember me saying this when it happens. 🙂

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.
— African Proverb

Practice outside of bootcamp environment

You have to work.

You have to take care of your family.

You have to make food.

You have to drive your children around.

You want to lie down and get some rest.

Life doesn’t stop when you enter a bootcamp. You only have 24 hours and we all do. But despite that, I highly recommend practicing on your own.

To make things clear, I am not saying that you should get rid of all other activities. No! You will need them to clean up your brain. But you should strive to use your time efficiently.

Pro Tip: Prepare for lectures. You can do this almost anytime and anywhere! Read some articles or watch videos for a topic that will come up. Even if you didn’t understand much. Write down things that you didn’t understand. Then ask those questions. See those questions from many perspectives to enhance your understanding.

Ask Questions

I remember one student asking what is the difference between include, require, include_once and require_once. I was caught off guard and I loved that!

I knew that answer long time ago but I haven’t used any of these for many years (use statements for the win!). So, I showed students how I get answer: I conducted experiment (tried all 4 statements) and observed what happened.

As a result, we all got better. I remembered things that have forgotten. They learnt that you can always try things out and see what happens!

When you ask questions, magic happens. Firstly, to come up with them, you have to know what you don’t understand. Therefore, you will have to dig deep into topics. If you dig deep into topics, you will learn.

To give you something practical, I invite you to start asking a lot of questions. It doesn’t matter if the question is bad or good. Just make sure it is a real question. Answer should give you something new or put a dot on i. Heck, try this even before bootcamp and see how it affects your life. When you ask questions, you get answers.

Have a side project

Side project is where a lot of magic happens. Even professional developers have side projects to keep expanding their knowledge.

Let’s say you commit to one. You have been struggling with managing your family finances. So be it, software for managing family budget: income, outcome, cash flows. Your goal is to create something yourself.

You are working on it, it mainly goes okay. Then, lecturer presents you decimal data type. You have been using float, but realized that it is not precise enough for storing monetary values. You improve your software.

Next time, you have been presented with full text search. You have been using your own software to a degree, but search with LIKE was not good enough! So you add full text search to your database. Once again, your software becomes better.

The process goes on and on and one day look back. Software is great, but look at yourself.

Problems that were thrown to your face are real! You were not doing carefully calibrated tasks for your level. You did what you had to for this particular case. Most of programmers career is spent doing exactly that: figuring out how to solve new problems. Code is just a way to express yourself. In some time, you will want those challenges. 🙂

I can guarantee that if you read once or twice about those things, you will soon forget them very fast. But once used, knowledge stays for longed.

Worst case scenario, you will know all little nuances of family budgeting or whatever it is.

And please don’t say you don’t have any ideas. Check out your daily life. Is there a thing you could automate? This hilarious article may show you some opportunities.

Live it!

I am not asking you to believe me. Hell no.

I am inviting you to try and challenge yourself with one idea from this post. Actually, I want you to prove me wrong! Why? We both learn!

Yes, it takes a lot of hard work and discipline. Yes, you will spend less time with your friends or family. But it would not be that good otherwise. 🙂

What is your experience with bootcamps? Have you participated in one? Are you going to?

Share your experience in the comments!

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