How to Survive a Web Development Bootcamp

How to Survive a Web Development Bootcamp

::Gasp:: I’m truly shocked by how fast this whipped by, but the good news is this gal survived and conquered, and with no breakdowns suffered — just a few migraines and some minor frustrations!

Final week of web development bootcamp. ::Gasp:: I’m truly shocked by how fast this whipped by, but the good news is this gal survived and conquered, and with no breakdowns suffered — just a few migraines and some minor frustrations! That, in itself, I consider a huge win. So, now, as an almost-alumni reflecting on the past nine weeks, I thought it’d be a good time to assess what I’ve learned or what I wish I’d done, and bestow some of these hot tips to future bootcamp students, who are no doubt anxious for what’s to come.

  1. Be prepared to put the social life on the back-burner. I was told to expect about 30–40 hours of homework a week. I didn’t put a timer on, but that number’s quite right. If you’ve been through anything in life, this definitely won’t be the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but 30–40 hours a week is an investment of time and energy— don’t be one of the inevitable people who say, “I didn’t expect it to be so immersive!” As a good friend says, “It’s called Web Dev Bootcamp, not Web Dev 1-hour Hatha Yoga.”
  2. Build your support system. Talk to developer friends or anyone in the industry willing to chat. Ask for advice. Ask about their struggles. The more information you have on what lies ahead, the easier you can build a tangible picture of your future, set some practical goals. And also, if any of these people are offering to help, which guaranteed they will… ACCEPT: their one-minute of expertise might save you from 24 hours of frustration! In the short time spent in this world, I’ve already learned that developers love problem-solving and truly get their kicks from helping others. Consider it a win-win situation for the both of you! (Confession: I reached out to 5 developers for guidance on my React project. For real.)
  3. *Get rid of that blue glow. *Order a pair of blue-light filtered glasses or at the very least, install f.lux to shift the colour temperature of your monitor. Anything helps! I had only gotten a week into bootcamp when my eyeballs felt like they were about to dislodge, but f.lux helped tremendously. Take care of those peepers!
  4. *Practise thinking like a programmer. *For those of us not accustomed to thinking programmatically, the brain needs a little bit of a workout. If you have any spare time pre-bootcamp — even if it’s just on the toilet! — log into a fun coding app, like Google’s Grasshopper, m1m0, or Code Wars. Think about arrays and go over the different ways to manipulate them. The more time you can train your brain on these concepts, the easier JavaScript will be!
  5. Read up on React or whatever framework you’re studying. If you’re like me and you think a degree of comfort with basic jQuery means you’ll be able to comfortably understand and write a project in React within a week, you may want to reassess that assumption. If you do master it in a few days, good on you! But it doesn’t hurt to zip through a few online tutorials in advance. Your brain will thank you.

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