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Bluenose Girl

Coding Boot Camp Survival Guide Part 3 - Do They Work?

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The Learning Hasn’t finished!

Being part of the tech world means things are constantly changing, embrace it.  You will be constantly learning new things and evolving how you code.  There are things I was taught that I now have my own opinions on due to my real world experiences and I’m adapting my style according to what I find works for me.

Find a mentor.  It’s very helpful to have someone (or a few people) with more experience than you (even if they are only slightly further ahead of you) with whom you can speak to regularly to bounce ideas off of and ask for advice.  It’s a good way to get a point of view different from that of those you work with everyday.

Another great thing to do is mentor someone else.  The best way to solidify what you know is to teach it to someone else.  You may think you don’t know enough but after your coding boot camp you will be surprised. I volunteered at a Rails Girls event and it was a great boost to my confidence to realize how far I had come in 3 months. Also teaching at this early stage in your coding career means you can remember being in their shoes and you are more likely to use language they understand.

Now What?

Hopefully you’ve been thinking about what you want to do after you finish.  I felt when I was finished my coding boot camp I wasn’t ready for employment. I lacked confidence and didn’t feel I knew enough to be of value.  I spent a month after my code boot camp looking at job postings, internships and other options to see what was out there and what the process was all about.  I applied for jobs, did code tests, took interviews, went to meetups and job fairs.  Getting to know the industry was also important to me and so I took every opportunity to get out there and be part of it.  I also spent this time continuing to practice and learn new code skills.work

At the end of this month I felt an internship was the right place for me to gain some real world experience. I then focused on internship postings and found a placement with a small startup. I was lucky the developers I worked with were very open to sharing their knowledge and treating me as a full member of the team.  No better way to learn than in the deep end.  I also gained valuable insight to how an Agile team works in the real world and those skills and that knowledge was key to getting my current job.

So I would recommend banking some extra buffer money for time after the course allowing yourself to work on your skills, build a portfolio as well as for finding the right place at the right company for you.  I felt quite a lot of pressure to consider an agency. I wasn’t convinced it was the right move for me, however I went through the interview process. The interviews confirmed my suspicions however it also gave me experience in the technical interview process which was new to me.

Do Coding Boot Camps Work?

Can you become an employable developer in 3 months?  That’s what everyone wants to know.  My answer is no, not for someone starting at 0 with no web or code knowledge.  To up your chances of success you need to really work hard at getting an understandings of the basics (see Part 2) under your belt before the start of the coding boot camp. And then give yourself some time afterwards to build things and work on those skills that you didn’t quite get in the fast moving pace of the boot camp.

Coding boot camp was a great way to find out if coding was for me without having to put in many years of chipping away learning in my spare time or going back to University for years taking a Computer Science degree which has very little practical coding taught.

I’m now in a job I love which has great prospects and many options, some of which I am still learning about.  I wouldn’t say this is the easy route but if you are willing to work hard before, during and for some time after a coding boot camp you will do well and be in high demand.

In case you missed them here are the first 2 parts in Coding Boot Camp Survival Series:

Part 1 – Is it For Me?

Part 2 – Before Your Coding Boot Camp Starts

If I have left something out or you still have questions feel free to get in touch by leaving a comment below or Tweet me on @YHZgirl.