How to Succeed in Coding Bootcamp
In a traditional educational environment, students tend to focus on the one indicator of success they’ve been conditioned to monitor: good grades.
But adult education, and especially a coding bootcamp, isn’t so cut-and-dry. There’s no one definition or picture of success in coding bootcamp because there’s no singular path that students take.
There’s no one definition or picture of success in coding bootcamp because there’s no singular path that students take.
Instead, coding bootcamps like Launch Academy are designed to help graduates progress toward their personal goals. We do our best to ensure every student gets the most out of our program, but students must also be prepared to maximize their experience.
6 Tips for Success in Coding Bootcamp
No matter what you hope to accomplish by attending coding bootcamp, these tips will help you on your journey:
1. Validate your love of the craft
The catalyst for changing your career to software development should be more than wanting a pay raise—although that’s certainly a perk. Salary and benefits are undoubtedly important, but software engineers who enter the field solely for the opportunity to make six figures will burn out quickly.
A program like Launch Academy’s coding bootcamp aims to help students validate that they genuinely enjoy software development, which is crucial to long-term success as a programmer.
Ideally, when you get your first entry-level software developer job, you should feel so excited about the work that you almost can’t believe you’re getting paid to do it . . . almost.
2. Clear your path for pre-learning
Your success in coding bootcamp largely depends on how prepared you are when entering the program.
You’ll need to make time to learn the fundamentals in advance. Most bootcamps, Launch Academy’s included, have prerequisite courses to prepare students for the immersive bootcamp experience.
These courses give students a crucial foundation upon which to build their learning. Our prerequisite courses are part-time, so students should plan to step away from full-time work and wind part-time work down to participate.
It’s important not to cut corners, even in this early stage. Students who fail to set aside adequate time for pre-learning are often the ones who end up dropping out of bootcamp.
Pre-learning is also the time to begin establishing good study habits, which prime students to absorb the more challenging information that comes later in the program.
3. Get ready to raise your hand
It’s critical to advocate for your needs, especially in a fast-paced learning environment like coding bootcamp. Our team thrives in helping students overcome challenges, but we can’t help you unless you speak up!
At Launch Academy, we use weekly assessments to help keep students on track. That said, if you’re feeling confused on Tuesday but wait until Friday to ask for help, you’ll already be behind.
No student should have to suffer in silence. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand and ask questions as needed—your instructors will appreciate that you took the initiative!
4. Build relationships
Coding bootcamp is incredibly challenging, and without the right support network, it can leave students feeling isolated and insecure.
Online programs can increase these feelings: similar to the way social media tends to show everyone’s best moments, students in an online learning environment tend to only highlight their wins. Imposter syndrome can set in quickly for some students, creating a psychological spiral that interferes with their learning.
One of the best ways to prevent this outcome is by building relationships and learning out in the open with your peers, whether you are online or in person. When you surround yourself with other students, you quickly realize that everyone is struggling in their own way and that your struggles are perfectly normal.
5. Take advantage of career services
Believe it or not, the non-technical work that goes into securing a software engineering job is just as important as your programming skills. The technical credibility you’ve established will only get you so far, no matter how proficient you are, so be sure to take full advantage of any career services available as part of your bootcamp.
At Launch Academy, we put significant effort into our career services, helping our students optimize LinkedIn profiles, write resumes, prepare for interviews, and more. In addition to having a dedicated career services team, we have plenty of alumni who are happy to talk to students and share their experiences.
6. Focus on you
It’s easy to compare yourself to others, but try your best not to! Everyone comes from different backgrounds and has different skill sets. If you only have a month of coding experience, it’s not helpful to measure your success against someone who has been casually programming for a year.
The truth is that each student will be on their own emotional rollercoaster as they go through the program. Perhaps you excel in back-end programming but struggle with client-side programming. You can expect certain weeks to be harder than others. A peer with the opposite skill sets will have a different bootcamp experience.
Instead of blindly comparing your lows to another student’s highs, the best thing to do is get perspective from an instructor on how you’re performing overall and whether there are any areas of concern.
Most importantly, focus on what success looks like for you. Your outcome isn’t dependent on how you compare to other people in your cohort—it’s unique to you and well within your control. We advise students to write down their ultimate goal and work toward it throughout their coding bootcamp journey.
Want to learn more about enrolling in a coding bootcamp? Download our syllabus to see if Launch Academy is the right program for you!