Last year, my boyfriend came to me with the wild idea of wanting to join a coding bootcamp so that he could make a change in his career. My initial reaction – a 6 month boot camp to learn to code? That sounds pretty intense.
*Spoiler Alert* It is intense.
After doing a ton of research, he chose to enroll in Inventive Academy’s 26 week Full Stack Immersive program. With a month before classes began, he had to prepare for a new normal – a full time job, full time schooling at night, homework and projects on the weekend, and persistent dreams about code.
And I had to prepare for my new normal – talking about code 24/7, nerd jokes, watching him pull out his hair, but also seeing him celebrate when he finally mastered something he was struggling with. I anticipated that this was going to be intense, and I was probably going to lose my boyfriend to the programming world for half of the year – but a short term sacrifice for a long term reward is worth it.
If your significant other is thinking about joining a coding bootcamp, don’t worry! It’s a crazy journey, but you’ll be stronger for going through this together.
Class starts and they dive straight into their first project…
Many times I would look over at him wearing a frustrated look on his face and ask, “What are you thinking about?” – his response “I’m just thinking about coding.” 🤦 The coding is NON. STOP. There will be many nights when you’ll wake up in the middle of the night to find the computer light still illuminating the kitchen or spare room. As a SO of a future developer, this is when you step in and physically drag them away from the computer.
You’ll probably hear “I can’t do this” or “I’m stupid” or “Why am I doing this?” – that’s the Imposter Syndrome talking. Don’t let them bog themselves down with negativity. This is when your role as their top supporter comes into play. Coding is all about trial and error, things aren’t always going to work the first time they try. Don’t let them give up! Reassure them that the purpose of the course is to teach them the coding skills that they need to be successful, not a race or a competition amongst their peers. Sometimes just stepping away from the computer would help, coming back to the problem with a fresh set of eyes would normally do the trick.
Just wait for that “aha!” moment, it’s great.
Graduation day. THE DAY! I can’t remember who was more excited to see him graduate, me or him. But now comes the hard part, landing a job post-graduation. The home stretch. We’ve all been there – finding a new job is hard. And annoying. And stressful. Now throw in a new career field, coding interviews, and a competitive job market. Yikes…
Even after receiving their certification, the Imposter Syndrome is still a very big monster they have to overcome. They won’t think they’re good enough, quick enough, or creative enough to land their first job in the developer world. Put your support cap on one more time and tell them to take a chance. They didn’t put themselves through six months of school not to try. There are plenty of jobs out there looking for fresh new talent, they just have to believe in themselves enough to apply.
The day they land that first job after graduation will be an amazing and memorable day! Even though you didn’t do any of the work, it’s great to see the ones you love accomplish their goals.
As the girlfriend of a former bootcamp student, the journey will be long and hard. But you’ll both make it out the other side. Just remember to always be supportive, encouraging, and most importantly, be patient.
Be sure to check out How to Prepare for Coding Bootcamp to see what steps you should take to start off coding Bootcamp on the right foot.