3 things I wish someone would've told me before starting a Coding Boot Camp.

Research. Study Study Study. Remember your Why.

A man with a black trench coat wearing sunglasses with no temples comes to you to ask you a very important question. He looks at you for a moment only to reach into his pockets and pull out a red pill and a blue pill. Stunned for a second you ask “What is that?”. He replies “You take the blue pill. The story ends and you wake up forgetting you ever wanted to become a software engineer.” “You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

So you decided to take the red pill… you wanted to dive into the strange and beautiful world of tech, congratulations! You probably had an overwhelming sense of happiness followed immediately by a surge of adrenaline wanting to get started right then and there. I’m sure you have a pending question. What do I do now? Well like most people you start looking into schools. You start to see that for some the most common option is to go to a four-year college/university, graduate, commence your job search hoping to land a job.

For most people, this would be an ideal choice. But, the reality is that life struggles come into our lives when we least expect them. Or, that we are concerned with maybe paying our rent for the month rather than thinking about school. So the idea of paying tuition, taking out loans for a full four-year experience isn't in the potential prospect of many.

So the question is, what do you do?

Bootcamps!!! You find out that the world of tech has coding boot camps that can get you up and running within a short amount of time and into the job market. Sounds like everything worked itself out, right? Not quite, because there are over 100 coding boot camps spreading across multiple cities in the U.S. Lucky for you, I’m here to tell you 3 things I wish someone would've told me before attending a coding boot camp.

  1. Research

The first thing to look at whenever you're looking into coding boot camps is to look at reviews. Most of the time if you look up a boot camp, you will find reviews on it. Course report is a very powerful tool in your search since many alumni can make a contribution by leaving an honest review about the boot camp you’re looking into. In my time looking for a coding boot camp I found out that the boot camp that was the best in terms of its rating was none other than FlatIron School. Nonetheless, it’s good for you to look into the coding boot camp that seems to attract you since everyone learns differently. So do your research!

I will say that there is a lot of boot camps out there that may be just looking for you to pay that tuition and leave you to the wind. In my personal experience, I did have a run-in with a company that was only using a very prestigious university name as a label not completely associated with it. After passing a rather too simple “coding challenge” and getting a call the same day saying I got in. I was rather suspicious that I had gotten in so easily and they were already trying to get me to pay for the tuition. After I felt that something was wrong, I went into a deep dive into the school. After some digging, I was able to find how people really felt about it and trying to warn others to NOT go to this school. So be careful!

2. Study Study Study

Okay, so you finally found the right boot camp for you. You did your research, called alumni to ask about their experience and in my case may even go through multiple interviews. What now?

“There are those who CAN and those who CAN’T, both are usually right.”

You’re going to have to study. A lot. You have to make it a priority that you learn something about coding every day in order to prepare for your journey as a software developer. It doesn't matter if you read a book on Javascript or actually write code. No matter what you do, it will further help you in the future. Because, once you start school, it’s game on. You have to be at the top of your game all the time. You have to think that yes, teachers and colleagues are there to help you, but at the end of the day, you realize that at one point you will have to leave the nest and be on your own. Get used to the idea that you are your greatest weakness or your greatest strength.

3. Remember your why.

You’ll realize though that while it was very important for you to prepare as much as possible that there are going to be times when things are hard. Because we cannot possibly know everything there is to know about coding or every language so the result is inevitable. You will reach a point where no matter how many times you try something it keeps returning with an error. You’ll try it 1,000 ways for it to only not work. So I ask again. What are you going to do? The answer is quite simple really.

You remember your why.

That is the answer. I had to remember the reason why I wanted to get into software engineering. I wanted to do this boot camp because I wanted to be doing what I love and also not having to worry about bills I have to pay. I wanted to suffer for a little while learning all the hard stuff so I can one day relax and do what I love. I wish someone would've told me to hold on to that because I found myself at the end of my first week exhausted. I found myself struggling with things I thought I had a grasp on. Until I remember why I started. Now instead of running away from the things I was struggling with, I decided to run toward them head-on. I pushed through and that has made all the difference. So make sure that remember why you decide to embark on this journey and hold on to it.

In closing, I'm excited about anyone who’s reading this because they found themselves wanting to learn how to code. You can do it, just remember what I wish someone would've told me and you'll do just fine. Even when you feel that it’s not meant for you, if you push through maybe you'll get it on that 1001 try and see how much you’re actually capable of. You got this!

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Abraham Saldivar

Abraham Saldivar

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Passion driven individual wanting to make a dent in the software engineering world.