At the beginning of November, I started at Northcoders, a coding bootcamp based in Manchester. Since then, my feet haven’t really touched the ground (it's called a bootcamp for a reason!) and my skills have come a long way from the regular expressions avoiding, for loop loving newbie that joined the course. I’ve learnt a lot so far, both technical and non-technical and wanted to share some key observations:
Being out of your comfort zone is a good thing
‘The best things in life are often waiting for you at the exit ramp of your comfort zone.’ - Karen Salmansohn
I always thought that quotes like the above sounded like general motivational speil, but the past few months have proved to me that it's true. I wouldn’t have learnt as much if I hadn’t have been pushed firmly outside of my comfort zone. From the very first hour of the course, I have been pushed to do things that challenge (and sometimes scare) me, but its never as bad as I fear and I always come out of it learning more than if I hadn't taken the leap.
Documentation is terrible
We are exposed to a lot of different libraries during our course and expected to implement them with intentionally sparse guidance from tutors. This brief experience has taught me one thing, documentation (or lack of it) can be a challenge to work with. Beginner unfriendly documentation was a huge source of frustration for me for a few weeks, but I have now started to see it as an adventure. Whenever we are shown a new library I will spend 30 mins playing around with it and seeing what it does in practice. Practical application has provided more inspiration and learning than a paragraph can (although a bit more of an explanation in the documentation would be nice).
It takes a village
Learning alone can be hard, frustrating and lonely. Being on a bootcamp hasn’t made learning code any easier (although having a clear roadmap helps), but it has removed the loneliness that frustration can cause. If I am finding something hard, the chance is, so are some of my cohort members and there is someone to offer a word of encouragement. Friendship, morale and support can be an underestimated resource, but for me, it has been priceless. Any major stumbling blocks seem a lot easier to tackle when you have people going through the exact same thing to talk to and bounce ideas off of.
Diversity fosters creativity
My cohort is a diverse bunch, from many different walks of life and from all around the UK. A large chunk of our days are spent pair programming and our combined experiences allow us to approach problems in different ways. A lot of the pairs I have worked in have been great, I have been able to learn something from my pair and teach them something in return. I am really excited to see how this diversity helps when it comes to project phase and we look to implement solutions for real-world issues.
I am almost at the halfway point of the bootcamp and I am sure there is a lot more to discover about the world of programming. With the skills I have gained so far I am ready for the challenge!
Jade Ryan- Week 6 Bootcamp Student
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