You did it! You took a leap of faith and are now enrolled in a coding boot camp. The easy part is over, you’ve been accepted into the program and class is about to start. How do you prepare yourself for the next six months? What are the best steps to set yourself up for success for a new career?
Is your computer ready to go?
Have you installed the useful applications to prep your computer for learning web development? The two tools that we use for our classroom communication are Slack and Zoom. Slack is considered the default communication application amongst most developers, so it’s great that you will be getting familiar with the system before you start your career. It’s also beneficial for communication outside of class for collaborative problem-solving. Zoom is a web-based video conferencing tool. For those students joining remotely, Zoom will be your online tool for communication.
You will receive a list of tools to install that are appropriate for your class. Some of these might be SublimeText, Brackets, WebStorm, Atom, or Visual Studio Code.
You may need to clear out the unproductive programs that you don’t use to free up space and speed for your new applications. There’s nothing worse than when your computer is lagging behind when you’re trying to code.
Prep your online presence
Do you want to begin your career in the web development industry, but you don’t have an online presence? This is a great starting point for entering into this field of work. Start designing your own professional website that features your personality, development skills, and helps set you apart from everyone else in the industry.
You will also want to clear up your personal social media accounts. You still have crazy photos from college on your page (don’t worry, we’ve all been there), but it’s time to start painting yourself in a new light to your instructors and potential employers. Have you updated your LinkedIn? LinkedIn is the first website most employers look at when hiring new employees. Start by working on your network and keeping your page updated with recent job experience. And hey while you’re there, you should write a recommendation for someone you’ve worked with. It’s a great way to pay it forward, and possibly have them leave you something too!
If you don’t have a website yet, take a look at https://about.me to set up a quick landing page and start telling your story. Here is an example: https://about.me/andrewsiemer.
What are your goals?
What are you hoping to get out of this boot camp? Are you wanting to start a new career? Expand your current skill set? Or is this something fun for you to learn on the side? Whatever it is, write it down! Keep track of it through the semester and check in to see how you’ve been doing. When things get difficult during the semester, look at your goals and remind yourself why you took this leap of faith in the first place!
Tell your family!
Coding boot camp will need a lot of your undivided attention in order to be successful. Having a support system is going to be imperative, so tell your friends and family what you’re doing! Let them know why you’re going to fall off the grid for a few months, so they won’t be offended when your free time is spent practicing your skills. Be transparent with them about the journey you’re about to take for your career!
Test drive to campus!
The worst feeling is being stuck in rush hour traffic when you’re trying to get somewhere on time, there are few things more frustrating than being late. Before class starts, make a point to drive to your academy at the same time of day to prepare yourself for the commute. Attendance is crucial and every minute of class time is used to develop your knowledge. Another classmate might ask a question at the beginning of class, and now you’ve missed out on that learning experience. Always allow some wiggle room before class starts to get ready!
Make sure you have everything you need the night before
Prepare for your first day of school just like you would your first day of work. What are you going to need during class? You’re going to be working on your laptop for 4+ hours, so you’ll want to make sure you have your laptop charger. Bring something comfortable or warm to wear, you don’t want to be distracted by being cold or uncomfortable and take away from the topics discussed. You will also have breaks throughout the evening, pack something light to eat to keep your energy levels up!
Leave your ego at home
Coding is all about trial and error, things won’t always work the first time you try it. Don’t give up! Others might be learning certain topics fasters, and it’s important that the academy is not a race. The purpose of the course is to teach you the coding skills that you will need to be successful in your new career path, not a race against your classmates. Don’t worry about trying to impress anyone, you are all here to learn. Admit when you don’t understand something and ask questions. Get ready to be challenged!
Take care of yourself!
When you don’t feel well it’s hard to focus, we all know it. You need to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself first and foremost. This is the first day of school and the first step towards a new career path, so you’ll want to sleep well, eat well, and stay hydrated. Especially when your classes are in the evening, you will want to keep your energy levels high (this is where those snacks come in!). Keep your mind healthy and ready to learn!