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Coding Boot Camp Survival Guide Part 2 - Before You Start


Prep Prep Prep

Before you start your boot camp make the most of this time to learn the basics. Hopefully you will have more than the 5 days I had because during your boot camp you will want to make the most of the experience and expertise of your teachers.  Here are some things you can start learning to give yourself a headstart.

Learn things which are easier to learn on your own like:

The basics of CSS/HTML.

The basics of Ruby (or the language your coding bootcamp teaches)- The Well-Grounded Rubyist is a great book to help you along.

Practice using the command line (aka the terminal), it’s not as scary as it looks.

Spend some time getting to know your text editor.  Sublime Text is a great one to start with and is used widely.

I had to relearn how to use a Mac (it had been 1994 the last time I’d used one) as well as learning the command line, Git, Ruby code, the text editor and all the new vocabulary that goes with these.  If you can get comfortable moving around a text editor and learning the basics of the command line, Ruby and JavaScript this will allow you to get more out of the course.

Here are some great online resources to get you started:

You probably don’t have a development environment setup on your computer yet, Cloud 9 is a great place to practice your command line skills and coding online anywhere you have a computer and the internet.  Save the process of setting up your environment for the first time until you have some help.

Treehouse – (14 days free) has a fantastic course on how coding works for complete newbies as well as some great HTML, CSS, Ruby and JavaScript courses.  All explained in plain english.

Some great  online resources to help learn the Ruby programming language Ruby for Newbies and Learn Ruby the Hard Way  – Both are great resources for other courses as well.

The Terminal aka CLI aka command line aka Bash (you get the picture) –  Great command line course

Give Git a try, it’s the most widely used (and very good) version control system. – Go over the first  6 Videos in this YouTube series.  It’s a great series for beginners because he uses plain english to explain Git.  After you’ve watched these videos and type along with him (muscle memory is important).  Give the official Git tutorial a try.

Download Sublime and use it to write anything so that you can start learning the keyboard short cuts and feel comfortable working with it.

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Boot Camp! You’ve Started

Clear your calendar and stock up on your favorite coffee. Tell your family and friends that for the 12 weeks of your course they won’t be seeing or hearing from you much.  You’ll be spending the next 3 months living, breathing and dreaming code.

Having said that I would recommend giving yourself an evening off each week and at least some of your weekend to prevent burn out. Look after yourself, eat healthily and get a good nights sleep.

Ask questions.  Make the most of the knowledge around you to learn good habits and coding practices.  You may not be surrounded by developers with as good knowledge and coaching skills again so make the most of your time at boot camp.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions there’s probably someone else who’s confused too.

If you are struggling speak up early and let you teacher or someone else at the coding boot camp know.  There is a lot to take in and you want to keep stress levels manageable.

If you missed Part 1, you can find it here: Is a Coding Boot Camp for Me?

Come back next week for Part 3 – Now What?

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