I AM A CODING BOOTCAMP GRADUATE!!!
I spent 8 weeks in Costa Rica, learning python/Django….8 weeks away from home, immersed in a routine of constant coding…in paradise! Lets not leave out that I was a short walk to the beach, in a resort with a pool, and nice staff that made me feel comfortable.
Staying true to the BOOTCAMP-way, I got my brain drilled. It was frustrating and exhausting but each ounce of “pain” created a stronger bond of knowledge. I learned by doing, stumbling, and sometimes failing.
As I stand now, I am not an expert by any means…What I CAN do is: work independently, develop projects, and write code to help me process data. Elegant code is still an opportunity area, but like all things in life, finesse comes with hard work and experience.
So the big question (for a coding student) is: What happens after? Are you a coding ninja? Do you start applying to google? The answer is no, sorry. The truth is: there are many scenarios and reasons people attend a bootcamp…success is different for every individual. I’ll illustrate some scenarios.
THE CAREER CHANGE
My reason for attending the program was to change my career path. Granted, I had coded before (in college), so I had an idea of what I was getting myself into. The majority of bootcamp students fall in this “Career Change” category. My advice to you is to really understand the field. Do your research about what fundamental skills you need to do well in the course, and more importantly be aware of the market in your area for junior developers. The internet is saturated with bootcamps promising you interviews and high salary jobs. That is misleading.
It boils down to how much can you absorb in the 8 weeks of class to demonstrate:
1. PROJECTS: you created/contributed to.
2. INTERVIEW: How do you attack a coding problem and can you communicate your thought process?
Your projects and ability to interview will pave the way for your success in changing careers. Its the best test for showing off your skills and abilities.
So where am I now? Before I graduated the program I had a job! I was asked to return as an instructor for GoCode. So here I am, teaching python! And so the padawan becomes the jedi (sort of)… 🙂
For me, this was a great opportunity because didn’t have a job to return to. Some students take a sabbatical to attend the program and have to return to their job. Their ultimate goal is to search for the “new role” upon return but this is a slippery slope. The momentum can be different in this scenario. The pace of job search for those students has been slower. Some have gotten interviews and gone a few rounds but it seems to take longer to actually make the change.
THE SKILL BUILDER
In this situation, the student’s goal is to just learn a skill. They have a job that they want to keep and this course is just adding another tool to the toolbox. In one instance, a student had been sponsored (by their employer) to come to the program and return to to implement the knowledge!
The job-hunt pressure is less when you are in this situation. In the end, adding this skill helps you become more marketable; not only to your employer but to other companies as well. This resume-builder can lead to a future pay increase at your job or by getting an offer with another company. I see it as a win/win. Its business, right?
Ultimately, if you are considering the bootcamp, your mentality should be to add a skill to your professional tool-belt. If you pressure yourself by thinking this is the only hope for a new job, it can be overwhelming. The anxiety that causes is not pretty. Success is different for everyone. In my case, it led to a job as an instructor for two months. Once the course is over, I return to Boston and resume the job hunt alongside all the coding minions. I imagine my story will continue…so stay tuned.