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.
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.
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.Read More
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.
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.
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.
Boot Camp! You’ve StartedRead More
Is a Coding Boot Camp for Me?
So you’ve heard of coding boot camps and you are wondering what they’re all about, if they really work or if they’re for you? Perhaps you’ve signed up for one and are counting down the days until you start and want to know how to make the most of your time before, during and after the course.
In this 3 part Coding Boot Camp series I will try and help answer some questions you may have. I was part of the first cohort of London’s Makers Academy in 2013 and I’m now a working web developer. I’ve been there, had lots of questions and lived through the madness. There are a few things you can do to make the most of your time (and money) spent on your coding boot camp.
Can I code?
So you are wondering if you would even be any good at coding. There are a few things that will signal this is a good path for you.
1. Are you a logical thinker? Take the this simple test:
a = 10, b = 20, a = b
What is the value of a?” (Answer at the bottom of the post).
2. Entrance Criteria – Depending on the boot camp there could be a screening process to check for ways of thinking which are consistently shown in good developers.
3. Do you have an interest in tech?
4. Are you good with detail and like to ask lots of question?
A misconception I had for many years was that coding was about staring at a screen full of text and numbers for hours on end and doing loads of complex math equations. When in fact it is much more creative than I imagined and for most developer roles basic math will be all you need most of the time. As a developer you will be problem solving with code trying to find the best solution to a problem. If you work on front end code it is also very visually creative.
How to Choose a Coding Boot Camp
As more coding boot camps start up you will need to decide which one is the right one for you. There are some things you can ask and do to help decide.Read More