10 Tips for a Successful First Week of Coding Bootcamp
How I survived my first week
Lambda’s schedule is quite similar to a typical 9am to 5pm work day. Most mornings I’ve an hour to complete precourse work and check my slack. Then I’ve a two hour lecture followed by a one hour lunch. The remaining time is to complete the daily project. Throughout the day, I’ve a few meetings to check my understanding followed by an end of the day meeting. Sounds not too bad right?
The good news is that in a week’s time I know way more about programming than what I’d taught myself the previous three months. In 9 month’s time, I may actually become a legit programmer.
These are my Main Takeaways from Week 1:
1. Time Management
Time flies when you’re coding. I can get lost in a coding problem, and before I know it it’s the end of the day. So, I’ve been using Kate Northrup’s Do Less Planner to map out my schedule for the day. Visualizing how much time I have has helped me sustain my energy, remain focused, and know when to…
2. Take Breaks
I’ve been using the Pomodoro Method, which is 25 minutes of undistracted work followed by 5 minutes of relaxation. After four rounds, there’s a 20 minute break. I’ve been experimenting with Google Chrome’s extension called Marinara Pomodoro Assistant. It’s a timer that keeps track of my workflow. During the breaks, yoga’s been a great way to keep me energized. Pausing has been my biggest struggle because by the end of the day I just want to finish the project and…
There are people in my cohort who’ve said that they pulled all nighters, working on their project. That’s great for them, but that’s not possible for me because I teach English online between 5:00 to 8:00am every morning. In order to wake up early, I need to go to sleep early. If you’re a sleeper like me, I recommend that you
4. Don’t work weekdays during a full-time bootcamp
I’m working between 10 to 15 hours a week. That’s been a lot. If I could afford it, I wouldn’t work. I haven’t met anyone else in the full-time program that’s working weekdays. Because I’ve limited amounts of time to complete the project, I’ve had to…
5. Be ok with meeting the minimum requirement
I’ve always been a straight A student and a high achiever. Lambda School has three “grades”, which are fail, pass, stretch. The stretch problems are similar to extra credit. I’ve yet to even look at the stretch problems. In the past, I’d have gotten an A+ on every project, but now I value that extra time to…
6. Get outside!
Omg. One day I coded from 8:00am to 10:00pm. I barely moved from my computer. As someone who needs to move and has low vitamin D levels, my body hated this decision. Since then, I’ve been incorporating Kate Northrup’s philosophy “body first, business second.” Basically, this means that if you don’t prioritize your wellbeing then everything else will suffer. So, I spend at least an hour a day in the sunshine, collecting my 10,000 steps. What’s also been beneficial for my body was to…
7. Splurge on things that make life better
Due to COVID, I’ve worked from home since March, which has meant more sitting and less moving. That’s resulted in my joints aching in pain. Having a tight budget, I didn’t think spending $250 on a standing desk was worth it. Well, I was wrong. Just having the option to stand has been a blessing. Another blessing was getting a used desktop computer. I thought that I’d be fine coding on my laptop. Once again, I was wrong. During class, I’m using Zoom, Codepen, Slack, Slido, OneNote, etc. Bouncing from one thing to the next is a challenge, but having a desktop makes that way easier and less stressful. Another way I’ve been reducing stress is to…
8. Get off the screen
If I didn’t pay attention to my screen time, I’d be on my computer or phone from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. So, I’m pretty strict about not using my phone when I walk or run. I also disconnect and read for at least 30 minutes before I go to bed. Another practice that’s helped me relax my central nervous system is to…
Every morning I do a centering meditation, which keeps me grounded in my body. I’ll either do 10 minutes of Wim Hoff’s Breathing Exercises or 10 minutes of Vida’s Centering Meditation. A couple times a week, I’ll also do Amy Kuretsky’s Breathwork Meditation to move the stuck energy out of my body. Frequently, centering keeps me calm when I feel overwhelmed or anxious during coding tests. So, when I start feeling frustrated with myself for getting stuck on a coding problem, I know it’s time to…
10. Ask for help
People like to help. I’ve learned that if someone offers to help then kindly accept it. The hardest part’s been articulating what I don’t understand, so that someone can help me solve the problem. Although it’s still a work in progress, I’m becoming more and more comfortable learning how to ask good questions.
Although these tips may seem trivial, I’ve really needed to make them my top priority to maintain my sanity through the first week of Lambda School. I’m realizing how easily I could get burnt out if I don’t practice “body first, business second.” Hopefully, these simple tips are good reminders to put yourself first, so that you can be successful in your first week of a bootcamp.
Are you interested in doing a coding bootcamp? I love to hear about it! Feel free to leave a comment below.
This article originally appeared on https://lizapincsak.com/blog/2020/Ten-Tips-Week1.html.