A Junior Developer's Guide to Bootcamps: Part 2

A Junior Developer's Guide to Bootcamps: Part 2

Part 2 - Personal Accountability/Study Habits. One of the biggest hurdles a bootcamper will face is their own study habits and accountability. Many students have a college background, others are changing careers, and some are coming from a completely non-technical background. In 2021, I would like to think that most people are at least aware of computers and some of the cool things they can do. If you're lucky enough to have found an in-person program some of the following info may not pertain to you. However, I think personal values equate to success in any life situation.

Study Habits

Building good study habits applies to all students regardless of discipline. If you earned a degree or other type of certification you're likely better off than most. If you are anything like me...you may need a little brushing up.

There is a huge difference between reading material and studying. One can power thru a small book in a day but that doesn't mean you retain all the information.

The biggest advantage of being in a tech-related field is you can immediately put your knowledge into practice. In my opinion, building, creating, or otherwise using the knowledge you just gained is the best way to expand your skillset. I've been universally told you should be spending at least 30 minutes doing your own research outside of the coursework, and likely another 30 putting that knowledge into practice.

I believe outside of directly related practice you should be studying for future scenarios. I like to question everything and try to read about things outside of my scope. Whether you're reading documentation or a step-by-step process of something you have no plans to build, there's always knowledge to gain. Another technique I used is to let my curiosity take the wheel, if I don't know something I look it up, read about it, make a mental note, then go back to my original subject. I've picked up a ton of knowledge by researching the different terms, and technologies I've come across.

A big part of getting into this industry is your own drive and passion. If you're not genuinely curious about your chosen field of study, it may not be a good fit.


Personal Accountability

In terms of a bootcamp, I believe accountability is of the utmost importance. You have to be accountable for yourself and your effort! C's may get degrees but you're not being graded on a letter scale. You don't have a GPA and, (unless you're in an in-person bootcamp) your teacher is not there to rip up your test if you get caught cheating.

You can cheat, you can copy other people's work, and you can plagiarize. In fact, I doubt there's any field of study or medium of creation that would be easier to do this than design & development. You can find amazing open-source code, you can be dishonest in a variety of ways, and you can copy and paste entire code snippets and no one may ever know.

Granted with design this is a little less applicable because trends and standards do exist so I feel there may be a little more overlap there.

The bottom line is, you can easily go thru a bootcamp without ever truly learning anything. You can likely find your course material online, or thru previous students. Don't do it! You're only doing yourself a disservice by not taking the time to learn the material. The point of your learning is to build habits that you will use for the rest of your career. On the job you're not going to be working off an established curriculum. You're going to have to fail, adapt, learn and prevail. If you cut corners early you're setting yourself up for disaster in the future.

It's natural to want to excel at things, but you have to put in the work to get to that level. Being job-ready is the very first step, and you want to be able to continue to grow once you get there.