3 Things to Know Before Starting A Software Engineering Bootcamp

I graduate from Flatiron school in a week and thought I would share a few tips with people that are embarking on their bootcamp journey.

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  1. You are going to probably going to feel dumb…and thats OK.

During my bootcamp experience at Flatiron school(3.5 month program) more often then not I felt like I didn’t understand the material. I would get frustrated easily when code wouldn’t work and it would stress me out. When you are in the moment it’s hard not to feel incompetent and flustered, but I’m telling you if you can understand that this feeling is normal and happens to many of us learning to code(besides geniuses), the better off you will be. It will save you stress, time, and it will help you problem solve more efficiently. You have to be comfortable with feeling like you know nothing because chances are you are going to feel that way quite often. Then, finally, something starts clicking, and then another and you feel like you are grasping it and then POOF… you are just as confused as you were yesterday when the teacher introduces something new. The learning curve to coding is a constant up and down battle so be prepared for it when you start, and remember to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

2. Take it day by day, lesson by lesson.

When learning a large amount of new content at a very high pace, it can get messy and stressful real fast. My advice when you start feeling that way is to just slow down. I know it sounds cliche but it has it’s truth. There were times that I was feeling super rushed trying to complete all the labs before the next unit, and I would end up just breezing through them without letting the info sink in. Slow down, take it one lesson at a time and don’t feel rushed trying to complete every single lab, you will have time to go back and sharpen your skills on the things you didn’t quite understand. Get comfortable with the main concepts and hammer them home. It will take you farther than flying through all the labs just for the sake of completing them. You are cramming probably a years worth of content into 4 months so give yourself a break.

3. Ask Questions, Ask Questions, Ask Questions.

Ask as many questions as you need too, even if you think it’s simple. Don’t just ask the teachers too, ask your fellow students. Most of the time they are the ones available and a lot of the time explain things to you in a way that may make more sense. Your classmates are going to be your first responders when you need help or are struggling with a concept. The people in my bootcamp were genuinely some of the nicest and most helpful people I have ever met. If I had a question they would completely stop what they’re doing and start debugging with me, and I would do the same for them. If you are feeling hesitant about asking a question that should be your cue to go ahead and ask it. That may be the difference between you understanding a concept and being lost. If you try to sweep it under the rug and move on it could come back and bite you because lots of concepts are built upon each other. ASK THE QUESTION!

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