Readers, these testimonials are written as part of a reflection exercise from We Can Code IT coding bootcamp students on their final days of instruction. Students have given permission for us to share them as their gift to you. We hope this gives you an understanding of their experience, and will help prepare you for your coding bootcamp experience.
Dear Future Bootcamp Students,
Deciding to go to a software development bootcamp is insane. Congratulations, you are insane. However, it’s the good kind of insane, the type of insane that gets things done. No one who didn’t want to get things done would sign up for this, because the time and investment is largely a matter of deciding you want it more than you are afraid of it. There isn’t a way of knowing if it’s really going to pay off going into it, unless you decide that you are going to make it pay off come hell or high water.
…that saying doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, come to think of it. Wouldn’t you rather wade through a flood than venture through hell? Who would choose hell? I’m not fireproof, but I can swim…
You are about to have a grueling three (or, I suppose, six) months. Some things will be easy and other things will be hard, and you will most likely be surprised by what is hard. Sometimes the hard things are things that have nothing to do with coding. Sometimes the hard things are the things that don’t even have to do with bootcamp. There will be days when you don’t want to put in the effort to deal with the hard things, and those will be the days you learn the most. It doesn’t matter if you’re not in the mood for relational databases after staying up all night, nearly breaking up with your partner, and getting a ticket for rolling a stop sign on your way to school. Throw yourself a pity party, wash your face, and come in anyway.
You will have to turn coffee into code. It’s a lot of work in a very short time, especially when you have to live your life on top of it. Get yourself a water bottle and some granola bars for your bag. You can’t focus when you’re dehydrated and hungry.
Go to meetups. Sit in your car for five minutes and text your bestie all the reasons why you are nervous. Make an attempt to actually calm down when they tell you to. Get out of your car and go to the meetup, even if you just want to go home. Especially if you just want to go home.
Talk to your classmates. Let them talk to you. Don’t try to make them like you, because people know if you’re being fake. Tell them about your hobbies, especially the weird ones. Tell them the story about the time you nearly blew up a Nissan Versa by driving it up a mountain in Arizona. Let them tell you their stories. Connect on Linkedin. Friend each other on Facebook. Don’t just talk about code, just talk.
Start using Github early. Keep using Github. Don’t push everything at the last minute.
Your new best friends are Google and Stack Overflow.
You will probably feel incredibly unprepared and as though you have no idea what is going on. This is a completely normal state for any human being at any given time, and it is a totally valid emotion to feel when attempting something new. Try not to let it get to you. Take a deep breath and throw yourself into it, and you’ll end up surprised at what you can do. You signed up for this for a reason, and now you’ve got to make it happen.
I did this and so will you