Attending a coding bootcamp is a big investment in terms of time, money and energy. Twelve hour days for twelve weeks is no joke, so it’s only natural to want to be prepared to get the most from your bootcamp experience.
The more information you absorb, the more skills you learn, the better your prospects for a dream job once you graduate – so it’s worth doing some preparation before you land at your bootcamp. Luckily, we know a thing or two about how to prep.
Know your pre-course material inside out
Depending on which bootcamp you attend, you may have work to do before you even arrive. We require our students to complete a 160 hour pre-course syllabus to cover the basics and make sure the entire class starts on a level playing field (this results in better outcomes for our students).
This element of your bootcamp will be self-paced, so you can take all the time you need to understand it completely. You can also spend time reading up about the topics you’ll be studying, and your bootcamp should give you a way to speak with your instructors and classmates to discuss the course material and ask questions. The better you understand the pre-course material, the more you’ll get from the course itself.
Think about how you learn best and apply that to the pre-course to make sure you get the very best from it.
Take care of the logistics
Coding bootcamps are purposely intensive – they require your full attention. You don’t want to be worrying about where you’ll live, how you’ll get to campus, or whether your phone will work if you’re studying abroad. It can seem like a chore, but at a minimum make sure you know:
- Where you’ll be living
- How you’ll get to campus every day
- Whether your phone will work (the data connection at least, does anyone actually use their minutes any more?)
- Where your nearest grocery store is
- Where you can do laundry
- Any useful local apps to get around or order food
- The contact details of your school
Plan for your wellbeing
When you’re spending twelve hours per day in the same room learning intensively, it can be a struggle to muster the energy to cook yourself a healthy meal when the day is over, or find time to exercise. But eating fast food every evening will impact your physical and mental health quickly, as will not finding time to exercise.
You may be lucky enough to study in a location like Barcelona, which has an ample supply of fast, healthy food options, as well as good weather for running, swimming and cycling.
Regardless, it’s best to plan how you’ll look after yourself during your bootcamp. Try:
- Making an exercise plan that fits around your bootcamp schedule. Try to fit in a short workout at lunch to keep you energised during the evening.
- Meal plan and decide when you’ll cook at home, when you’ll eat out, and when you’ll order takeaway (it’s good to reward yourself at the end of a tough week of learning!).
- Blocking out some time to decompress an evening or two per week. Find something to do that doesn’t involve a screen – read a book, play a board game or just take a walk.
Get your tech set up right
Most bootcamps will cater for students rocking Macs, PC and Linux machines – but make sure you check beforehand. Get your coding environment configured correctly (again, your bootcamp will tell you what software you need), plus any other software you might need. This will probably include collaboration and video conferencing software, especially if you’re attending your bootcamp remotely.
Make sure you have the right power adaptors for the country you’re studying in – Skyscanner has a good guide for that. Check you have good headphones and a mic that works well – in our experience the microphone in your laptop will work better than the one in your headphones.
Get ready for a completely immersive experience
There’s a good reason why coding bootcamps have become the most effective way to break into the tech industry in the last decade – they provide the fastest route to the coding expertise that’s so in-demand around the world.
To learn so many new skills in such a short amount of time requires intense focus and as few distractions as possible. A coding bootcamp requires complete commitment, so part of your preparations should be to remove all possible distractions.
Clear your to-do list of all those items you’ve been putting off for months, tell your friends and family that you’ll be pretty busy for the next three months, and build yourself a few good playlists of deep focus music.