A Junior Developer's Guide to Bootcamps: Part 1

A Junior Developer's Guide to Bootcamps: Part 1

Hello, World! I recently got hired as Junior Frontend Developer with Blue Acorn iCi's Shopify team. I'm excited, overwhelmed, and I now feel qualified to write about some of my past experiences.

For my first post, I thought I would write my opinions on choosing and completing a tech industry bootcamp and the related coursework.

The views expressed in this article are my own and shouldn't be taken as final advice. Please do your own research and make decisions accordingly. If you're reading this I am assuming you have already done some reflection and made the decision between self-learning and a bootcamp so I won't cover that here.

Part 1 - Choosing a bootcamp & getting accepted.

Surprisingly I don't think the actual bootcamp matters as much as your willingness to work and understand the course material. I am a graduate of Thinkful's Engineering Immersion program, which I completely recommend...however I have seen graduates from many schools/programs who are doing awe-inspiring things.

My general rules of thumb are:

  1. There should be some sort of prep course and/or an entrance test or challenge. -You want to know you're learning & being challenged...
  2. There should be relevant technologies spoken to in the program description. -This is a bit ambiguous in nature because it is really up to you to decide what's relevant. A quick search on what they're hiring for in your area may help...
  3. There should be some sort of career services team. -The job search is hard and almost insurmountable without some guidance, take advantage of these services, please...
  4. DON'T READ REVIEWS, too much. -People fail out of bootcamps and leave bad reviews all the time. I would say the majority of all bootcamp reviews I've read were bad, don't miss out, or psych yourself out due to someone else's misfortune...

Getting Accepted.

I failed the entrance test for my bootcamp, twice! The first go-around I had completed the prep course material but wasn't honest with myself about the Javascript section. When I took the test I quickly learned that I hadn't pushed myself hard enough. I then started working thru freeCodeCamp's Javascript material & I was lucky enough to be told about Edabit.com. I took a second test and scored 12/19 points, and didn't get in...I was pretty down at this point but, I took it as a motivating factor. I realized that I had to show indefinitely that I knew the material and not just the test questions. I then set a goal to reach 1000 XP completing Javascript challenges on Edabit...I'm not entirely sure what my score was on my third test but I made sure to be able to explain multiple different solutions to the problem. This, in my opinion, is why Edabit is such a valuable tool for budding junior developers. (Tip: Look at other people's solutions after you complete the challenge)

To this day my first stop when attempting to learn a new language is Edabit and I honestly couldn't be more of an advocate of the service. freeCodeCamp's material is also very thorough and challenging and you should definitely complete some if not all of it.

...I'm not entirely sure what my next post will be but I plan on covering soft skills, personal accountability/study habits, and the job search.

Thanks for reading this, and happy coding!