Attending a coding bootcamp is an intense experience with one goal in mind – to learn new skills in a highly focused way in a short amount of time. An immersive educational programme like this is challenging – and the challenge can become exhausting after a while.
But there are strategies you can use to keep the stress levels down, the experience fun and rewarding, and yourself sane in the process.
Use these tips to help make your coding bootcamp experience a positive one. You’ll graduate with a sense of accomplishment and excited to get started in your new career.
Do the prerequisite work
Start off on the right foot by completing the prerequisite work before you begin your bootcamp. This will relieve some of those pre-class jitters because you’ll walk in with some understanding of what you’ll be learning and won’t feel completely lost on the first day.
Eat, sleep, and exercise
When you’re deeply involved – everyday, all day, for several months straight – in learning a new skill, it’s easy to neglect yourself. Your normal daily routine goes out the window, along with some of your healthy habits – like getting proper sleep, eating well, and exercising.
Take care of your body by eating nutritious meals – not just sugar-laden snacks and junk food. It’s easy to skimp on nutrition when you’re heavily focused on completing a task, so you might think eating something quick – or skipping lunch altogether – is the way to go. But it’s not. It’s important to fuel your body well by eating balanced meals with protein – to keep your hunger away and your mind functioning at its best so you can focus on learning.
Exercise is another habit that can fall by the wayside. You’ll be spending many hours in a chair in front of your computer screen, so you really need to set aside time to move. Take brisk walks after class, go to the gym, sign up for yoga – any activity that gets you out of the chair and moving will help keep your body limber and ease stress.
Getting the proper amount of rest is also extremely important. It might be tempting to continue coding until late into the night since there’s so much to learn, but you won’t be doing yourself any favours. A lack of sleep could lead to illness – and time out sick isn’t time you can afford. Be sure to get a solid night’s rest regularly to keep your body healthy and your mind sharp.
Take a break and socialise
Remember every now and then to step away from the computer.
Take daily breaks often. Stand up, stretch, take a short walk – the point is to stop staring at the computer screen for a bit and rest your brain.
Socialising with your fellow bootcampers is another important part of the learning process. Web development really isn’t a solitary career – you’ll be collaborating often and working in teams. Now’s the time to practice your communication skills with your peers by making an effort to get to know the others in your class. And by working through problems together as a group, you’ll learn much more than by going at it alone.
Give yourself a pat on the back
There will be times when the problems you’re working through will frustrate you. You’ll feel discouraged and a bit of self-doubt creeping in.
But when you do figure them out – and you will – be sure to take a moment to pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Learning to code is a process and it’s all about the little victories. Every step you take – every bit of code you learn, every concept you master – is a step forward toward your goal.
So throughout the bootcamp programme, acknowledge what you’ve accomplished so far. It will keep you motivated and excited to continue moving forward.
And don’t forget to congratulate your fellow bootcampers for their achievements along the way as well. You’re all in this together!