Coding bootcamps have emerged as a popular way to transition into a career in tech. While it is true that a quality bootcamp will teach you the skills needed for an entry-level job as a programmer, that is only one part of the equation. To be successful, you will need to learn to think like a programmer, and this will be your first opportunity to give it a try. Bootcamps can be pricey, and you want to make the most of your time. Preparing yourself before classes start ensures that you are setting yourself up for success. Once classes begin, the real work starts, and you will have little time for anything else.
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Get Your Finances in Order
Attending a full-time coding bootcamp leaves little time for anything else. For the next 12 to 20 weeks your days, and many nights, will revolve around class. Have a plan in place for covering your living expenses during this time. The stress created by financial strain will only make it more difficult to focus, which will make it hard to keep up with your classmates. Whether you plan to move in with family, live off of savings, or have a partner to temporarily carry the load, lowering your monthly expenses allows you to live on less income.
Aside from the obvious budget cuts, such as cutting back on restaurant meals and drinks, and canceling subscription services that offer no real value, you can probably find other ways to cut costs. If student loan debt is weighing you down, consider consolidating your loans. Consolidating multiple student loans into a single loan with a private lender not only simplifies the repayment process but saves money. Loan consolidation allows you to take your various student loans, regardless of their interest rates and term lengths, and roll them into a single loan. Lowering your interest rate and increasing the length of the loan are both options that can lower your monthly expenses.
Do Some Prep Work
The bootcamp you plan to attend may have some free online lessons to help you prepare for class. If so, be sure to take your time to complete this work. If there are no options like this provided, there are many free online resources you can use to become familiar with basic programming concepts.
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Stay on Top of Your Classwork
Once classes start, it is important to stay on top of your work every day. Programming involves a different method of thinking, which can be exhausting as your brain makes the transition. You may be tempted to set things aside, take an evening off, or plan to catch up on the weekends. Letting this work get ahead of you will only cause you to fall further behind. Coding bootcamps are not like traditional college courses. They are designed to move quickly, helping you learn the technical skills needed to land a job. Miss even one day of class and you will be behind.
Take Advantage of All Resources
Your instructors want you to succeed. They attract new students by showing that their previous students landed jobs in the industry. Landing these jobs, however, requires more than basic technical knowledge. A company hiring a bootcamp graduate understands that they will still need some hands-on training once they are hired. To make sure hiring managers see you as the best choice to fill an open position, work on expanding your skills. Complete online coding challenges and participate in mock job interviews to get an idea of how programming interviews are handled. Your bootcamp will likely offer job assistance, and you should take advantage of that as well. Whether it is through interview prep, career fairs, or portfolio and resume reviews, listen to their recommendations. They want to see you get hired as much as you do.