Thinking of starting a bootcamp? Resources & Insight in your search!
It is hard to believe that we are 12 weeks into our 15 week program. We are in our 5th and final module, and I had the opportunity to talk to the incoming Module 1 cohort with a few of our cohort mates and chat about our experience. That inspired me to write a blog about things I wish I knew when I was starting out. I hope this serves as a resource for people interested in doing a coding bootcamp, and having access to resources prior and during the program!
I am going to break this down into resources I feel are helpful for folks that can be used before starting a coding bootcamp. And I may update the blog when I graduate and find resources for during & post-coding bootcamp to continue in my learning and the job search
Before starting the Bootcamp
- ) Do your research!
Committing to a bootcamp is no easy and light commitment. Depending on the program whether it is
- full time or part time
- in person or online/remote,
- length of the program overall, and length of days,
- cost and access to scholarships, payment plays and income share agreements
all can affect the time commitment from a personal, time and financial aspect on an individual basis. I came across Flatiron because of a Facebook group I was a part of, where non-traditional folks in tech shared resources. For me, someone posted a link to a new scholarship created by Flatiron to increase access for underrepresented communities — and start sparked my interest. Below are some resources I recommend people check out
- Check out the websites of the schools you are interested in! What is great is that many have recruiters and people on staff you can call to simply show interest and gain more information. This does not mean it is binding, but that you are searching around at all your options. I personally did this with Flatiron and it gave me a better idea of what the program would be about by talking to staff.
- Check out reviews online! I used two websites to compare different coding programs, what their curriculum was like, access to aid, payment plans, and what the outcomes of students and campus culture around inclusivity was like. The purpose of this post is not to tell you which is best, but to pick which one is best for your based on your needs, identities, what languages you want to learn, and many other factors. The two websites I used early on were https://www.coursereport.com/ and https://careerkarma.com/.
- Another great approach is to ask recent alum! I found a video of a student testimonial on Youtube, and I reached out to her on her public instagram page. And also, my mentor and former college friend who majored in IT both did coding bootcamps and hearing their experiences was incredibly insightful. You would be surprised at how willing and helpful people are in lending you insights!
- Take advantage of the FREE coding bootcamp pre-work. Many coding bootcamps provide FREE coding challenges and pre-work. While there will most likely be mandatory pre-work once you get accepted, as was the case with me, the pre-work to prepare for the interview counted toward the pre-work when I was accepted into Flatiron. But many times, the FREE online pre-work is meant to give you a taste of the curriculum and lets you better gauge where you are understanding wise of the material. Which can give you a better sense of perhaps taking a bit more time to practice — which is not a bad thing!
- I came across this article compiling 81 free resources to learn how to code. This is a great resource that has many self-paced programs. However, do not do what I did and feel like you have to overload! Take it one step at a time, dip your feet, and find which resources can work best for you.
- Also for people who may prefer videos and tutorials as a way of learning to make it easier to follow — YouTube & Udemy were two amazing resources I used. Udemy has some cheap classes around coding, an introductory web-development course that usually goes on sale regularly for about $13. But personally for the content you get int he courses, I think it is absolutely worth it!
2.) Lean into your own story — Non-traditional Techies
One of the things I personally had to grapple with was this fear of not knowing if coding was for me. But I wish I got over that fear earlier, because tech does not always have — and SHOULD NOT — have a traditional path. I have met people ranging from different backgrounds professionally, age, majors, interests and walks of life that come into tech for different reasons. Do not shy from that, let your past lived experiences serve as a foundation of where you are going. Is coding always easy? No, but anyone can learn it with enough hard work and time.
One of our coaches told us this quote the first week, and I still hold it close as it resonates with me. “Race your own race” — everyone comes into coding with different levels of understanding. Compare yourself to your previous level of understanding.
3.) Do not feel you have to immediately jump in
Personally, when I found out about coding bootcamps I was excited to jump right in. But I want to say that everyone has a different timeline. Some people work, some have school, and depending on the time commitment (15 weeks of Monday to Friday 9am–6pm plus studying and projects and assessments) it is important to take inventory of what you feel like best fits your schedule. I know people who gave themselves a few months to prepare and study to learn more coding, while I know others that jumped immediately right in. My point is not to say one is better than the other, but to know your own personal learning style and by using the advice I gave above, can give you a better idea of the opportunity cost (and rewards!) the program can provide.
I hope this gives you a better idea of what are some helpful resources, and things I look back on and wish I knew! I am always down to serve as a resource for folks as well and share my experience. Happy coding — and take your time in your journey!