So, you’ve been looking at taking a coding bootcamp, but you aren’t sure whether or not it’s right for you. It’s a tough decision to make. If you decide to do it, you’ll have to quit your job, put your life on hold, and take a plunge into doing something you’ve never done before. It’s a risk, and it’s not for everyone.
In order to be successful as a software developer, you need to make sure that you’re prepared for the transition. Working in technology is unique compared to other professions. The interview process is different, resumes are littered with ever-changing skills, and you’re expected to learn nearly everyday.
Ready to be challenged
I don’t care how smart you are, learning how to code in 10-12 weeks is incredibly challenging. You’re being asked to learn the foundations of web architecture, programming structure and syntax, source control, frameworks, database, and more in a very short amount of time. You’ll learn more applicable skills in those weeks than you would from a 4-year degree in Computer Science. To be fair, you won’t learn theory and history, but you’ll code your ass off because these programs are more about coding than learning abstract concepts.
Programming requires practice and determination to break through learning barriers. The weeks are crammed with so much information that it is impossible to consume it all, and you’ll feel overwhelmed. Those of you that stick with it will come out with an incredibly valuable talent and the ability to learn anything in the field on your own for the rest of your career.
Not afraid to work
Class may only be 8 hours a day, but you’re going to need to put in more hours than that to learn what you need to in order to be ready for a job when you get out. Most students spend 60-80 hours per week when you include the time they put in at home and on the weekends. If you’re unwilling to put in the effort, then you should not take attend a coding bootcamp.
Coding schools require that the student put in the effort. No one is going to hand you the answers to your questions on a platter. We’re going to challenge you to figure it out yourself before we answer your questions, and we have to do that in order for you to learn how to figure things out on your own. We have to do that because we won’t be there to hold your hand after 10-weeks, and the coding school is just the first step in your journey as a software developer.
Willing to take control of your career
We recently had a student that only applied to two jobs since finishing the course. If you’re unwilling to put yourself out there and apply to all different types of opportunities, then you shouldn’t expect to be landing a job shortly after you complete the class. There are literally thousands of open jobs for programmers in every major city, but you need to be willing to find them and apply to as many as you can. You’re breaking into a new industry with a completely different interview process. You should go on many different interviews before you show up for an interview at your dream job.
Also, don’t expect the bootcamp to hand deliver you a job. We do our best to network you with employers by having CTOs, developers, and hiring manager come talk to you about what it’s like to work at their companies. We expect you to take advantage of these relationships, but you can’t expect us to find a job for you. We prepare you with the tools that you need to get a job, but it is still your responsibility to drive the results.
Learn something new everyday
Programming is a lifelong journey. There shouldn’t be a day that goes by where you don’t learn something new about development. If you don’t love to learn, then you’ll never be the best developer that you can be, and you won’t enjoy your job. Development changes at an incredibly fast pace. There are new technologies, languages, and frameworks released everyday, and you’ll need to enjoy keeping up with these things in order to succeed.
Despite the feeling that a 10-week course is a sprint, you’re actually embarking on a marathon. A coding bootcamp will get you out of the gate quickly, but it is only the beginning.
One suggestion I make to students that I think has helped me as I learned technologies from Visual Basic 6, .Net, Objective-C, Cordova, Node.js, and more is that you come up with a side project that you will use on a regular basis. My project is a bill tracking application, and I still use it today. The last version is written in PlatypusTS. This allowed me to learn a new language, framework, or technology without needing to re-architect a new product. I could focus on what I was trying to learn rather than the features I would be developing and how the product would work. I would highly recommend that you come up with something similar that you can use throughout your career.
If you embrace challenges, love to learn, and enjoy technology, then delaying your decision to take a coding bootcamp is only delaying the beginning of your new exciting career. There will never be a perfectly opportune time to disrupt your life like we are asking you to do, so you just have to go for it. Don’t let social norms and pressures prevent you from living the life you want. Take control of your life and your career, and I promise you that you’ll never regret the experiences you’ll gain diving into the deep end.