So you’ve decided that you want to take things to the next level and commit to a coding bootcamp, great! Just know this, it won’t be easy and at times you will be tempted to quit but if you follow these 5 tips you will make it out the otherside.
Tip #1 – Put In The Work
Students who attend bootcamps should be expected to put in a minimum of 40hrs per week. Unfortunately, that will only cover the absolute minimum. In order to get the most out of your experience you should be putting in around 60hrs per week.
A typical day, for myself, looks like this:
- Arrive on campus by 8am
- Leave between 5-6pm
- Total time in class ~ 9-10 hrs
- Roughly 3hrs of studying/homework at night
- Total time/day ~ 12-13hrs
- Weekends – Total of roughly 4-5hrs study time
- Total time/week ~ 60-70hrs
These are markers to help you gauge what you will need to do in order to succeed and milage will certainly vary. I would say a solid estimation will be around 50-60hrs per week.
So stay focused and don’t waste time, you will only be given a short amount of time to learn topics before moving off to new territory so use your time wisely to amass as much understanding as possible to take with you when you graduate.
Tip #2 – Get Good Sleep
If you need to get a new mattress, do it. This has been one of my biggest annoyances since beginning Launch Academy – I have been sleeping horribly. There is nothing worse than watching people blow past you in morning mentor groups because you only got a couple hours of sleep the night before and still are unable to function.
A good rule of thumb is to give yourself hard cut offs for every night. For instance, on the recommendation of my mentor from day 1, I will never work past 11pm. It doesn’t matter if I still have more homework to do or I am behind, I always call it quits at 11. I do this because it is important to unplug and decompress given the stress that comes with going through a boot camp.
Tip #3 – Know When To Ask For Help
This is something I have seen on multiple occasions while attending Launch Academy. Some people, through no fault of their own, will not allow themselves to give up on a problem until they solve it – only to suffer as a result.
It is incredibly important to learn self-sufficiency and to cultivate a mindset of independent action but at a certain point you need to abandon this. If, after some time, you have made little to no progress on a problem you should reach out. First, reach out to big brother (Google) and if that doesn’t work reach out to those around you.
Everyone in your cohort is going to be more than willing to share their understanding of a problem with you, if you only ask. The trick is, you need to ask.
Tip #4 – Don’t Compare Yourself
As humans, we often compare ourselves to others as a way of gauging where we stand in the pack. DON’T DO IT. I understand that it can be tempted but I assure you it will bring you nothing but frustration.
Perception is the name of the game in life and you’re likely to think that others are grasping a topic easily when in reality they are just as confused as you are. You will have those who pick up on concepts and tools easier and quicker than most, but they are a small subset of your cohort – they are not the norm.
The only comparison you need to be making is to your former self. How much more do you understand today than you did 1 week ago, 2 weeks ago, a month etc. You didn’t join a bootcamp to compete with others you joined a bootcamp to supercharge your knowledge base and expand your skillset – focus on that and dismiss everything else as distraction.
Tip #5 – Use Your Weekends Wisely
Listen, like I said previously, you are going to be dedicating somewhere in the neighborhood of 60hrs a week to this program – that means every minute of free time is precious. You shouldn’t stress out trying to force yourself to complete random tasks on weekends, these 2 days are your time to recuperate and prepare for the next week ahead.
You should actively indulge yourself – you earned it. If you are the type of person who loves sleeping, shut off your alarm clock for Saturday morning and get yourself some dark blind – Sleep in until 11am and feel no guilt. If you are someone who loves trying new food, you’re in one of the best cities in the world – Go grab a bite to eat.
It is important that you give yourself a reprieve, something to look forward to all week that will keep your spirits high. Do this and you will see your productivity increase exponentially.
There you have it, 5 simple tips to surviving a boot camp. You should expect a stressful environment that will push your boundaries but, thankfully, you will be a better programmer because of it. Your resolve will be tested but by remaining focused on your goals and implementing proven strategies for success – you will greatly benefit. Happy coding and I wish you all the luck in your new venture!