Is a Coding Bootcamp Right For You?
Our Co-Founder, Dan Pickett, recently had the chance to sit down with YouTube creator and podcaster, DonTheDeveloper to discuss...
How do you decide if you want to become a developer?
The message "Everyone should learn to code" seems to be all around us, but that's not necessarily true. Coding isn't for everyone. If you're looking at making a career change into software development, it's important to make sure that coding is something you would enjoy. One of the most important things you can ask yourself when considering a career in software development is "How do I deal with loosely defined problems?". If you're someone who enjoys tackling problems without clear solutions, or dealing with open ended ways of tackling issues, then you may enjoy a career as a software developer. Married with the feeling of uncertainty is your relationship with deadlines. A software developer's time is a precious resource to a company, and often you'll be grappling with deadlines and time pressure while working through challenging problems. Thinking about how you deal with deadlines, as well as that needing to bring more definition to the abstract, are important qualities to consider when deciding whether this is a career you'll enjoy. All that being said, Impostor Syndrome - feelings that cause you to doubt your own abilities and lead to feeling like a “fraud” - happens to almost everyone when starting on their coding journey. It’s a common topic among software developers as both new coders and veterans experience it from time to time. For new developers, impostor syndrome can potentially hold you back from getting started. Even now, you may have read the previous two paragraphs and be thinking “I can’t do that”. Ability is not the question here (we can help with that) - it’s more about how you respond emotionally to these challenges. At Launch Academy, we’ll do everything we can to set you up for success, including talking about impostor syndrome, giving you strategies to deal with ambiguity and deadlines, and making sure you’re ready to tackle whatever challenge come your way.
How do you decide if a coding bootcamp is right for you?
It is absolutely possible to learn to code on your own and there are a ton of wonderful resources on the internet for self-learning. The benefits of a bootcamp are in the speed at which you can learn and pivot careers, the support structures available for you, and making sure you're learning the right things at the right time. Attending a bootcamp is a proven path to having immediate access to mentorship, hiring managers, and a structured curriculum - it's essentially a cheat code for a quick way to get into the industry.
Who should not attend a bootcamp?
Bootcamps are intense. They require a huge time commitment and for you to be completely immersed in the program while attending. If you're someone who experiences overwhelm easily - whether it be at school, work, or at home - an accelerated program like a coding bootcamp can be an overwhelming experience if you don't have the resources to effectively manage the stress of the program. Before starting at Launch Academy, we recommend doing some pre-learning through free resources like Codecademy.com or freecodecamp.org to really solidify that coding is the right career path for you. Additionally, through both our Pre-Flight and Ignition part time programs, we’ll ease you into the full time program with a structured curriculum and supportive environment. Additionally, bootcamps aren't cheap. Tuition is one expense, but it is also impossible to work while going through the best full-time programs. Having your finances in order before attending a bootcamp is an important thing to consider. Sure, we’ll throw you in the deep end, but you’ll learn at an accelerated rate, and we’ll be there to help you along the way.
How are newbies unknowingly hurting their chances to find a job?
Focus in your coding portfolio is one of the most common misses a new developer does not realize hurts their chances at landing a job. Many new developers dive into multiple technologies and try to demonstrate a breadth of knowledge, but end up not having technically deep or impressive repositories in their portfolios. Chasing technologies that appear in job postings, but not committing to learning something deeply, shows hiring managers a lack of focus and doesn't show any sort of meaningful progress or understanding. Career services like ours can really help to bring focus and intention to your coding portfolio.
These questions just barely scratch the surface of what Dan and Don discuss. Check out the full conversation in the video link above.