Starting at a full-time boot camp can be a huge shock and an adjustment. We believe the easiest way to understand how to code is to fully immerse yourself in the language, and sometimes this can be difficult. Here are 17 pieces of advice our students left for our next cohort.
1. If you haven't done your prep work...Go Back! Do it!
LEARN provides our students some exercises for prep-work to get you started for bootcamp. We recommend doing it and mastering it. You can also take our Jumpstart 3-Day Weekend Bootcamp that goes over the same prep work and you can rollover the cost of Jumpstart into your Full-time tuition.
2. If you're feeling like you're not getting it - it's ok....you will!
Learning how to code is difficult...but it can be done. Don't get frustrated by the fact that you may be lost, it is going to happen. Be persistent, don't give up, talk to your peers and instructors, and you will soon see a break-through.
3. Go to meetups (Network, LEARN, Get a Job)
Meetups are a great way to meet new people, learn new concepts, and sometimes even find a job. LEARN academy has an extensive network of friends and alumni, and we also put on monthly events here at LEARN. Check out our Meetup page to see what is coming up.
4. When they tell you a best practice...work to maintain it
Best practices are best practices for a reason. Listen and be a be a vicarious learner.
5. Stuck? Go for a walk!
When you get frustrated, sometimes some fresh air is all you need to free your brain of that tension. LEARN academy is located right in the heart of downtown in East Village, get a coffee, grab a bite, free that tension and the answer will usually come.
6. Start your portfolio now
Your portfolio and GitHub will be important factors in helping you present your knowledge to prospective employers. Instead of doing this at the end of the curriculum, we recommend starting now and doing it in chunks so the amazing things you build will be fresh in your head.
7. Google substrings! Just do it!
Substrings .substr() will be a huge help to your learning process. Google it.
8. Participate in a Hackathon!
Hackathons are an excellent way to show off the skills you have learned and apply them to intense, real-world ideas. There is also the possibility of earning prizes and meeting possible employers. We recommend taking advantage of all opportunities, look for us to announce any hackathons we are working with.
9. Have FUN while you're here
We believe it is essential to love what you do. We LOVE to code, and we want you to as well. Let your brain go and flex your creative muscles. You are an artist, paint your masterpiece.
10. Ask Questions (all of them)
Understanding the language of programming and why certain things are done a certain way is extremely important. If you're lost, please ask your neighbor, your instructor, or dive into stack-overflow. Either way, answer ALL of your questions, it is extremely important.
11. Bring a sweater, this building's cold
Rumor has it Union Co-work gets a little cold sometimes. Bring a sweater just in case, you are in the classroom from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.
12. Get some rest...SLEEP (REGULARLY)!
Your brain and body will be of no use if you don't get some good sleep on a nightly basis. There might be some nights you get stuck or it's crunch-time for your group project, but it is extremely important that you create a productive routine. Eat right, sleep right, exercise, and you will be amazed at how much it will help.
13. Take Notes...and rewrite them, and rewrite them, and rewrite them
Notes will be your saving grace in getting information from class into your study routine. Use note-taking apps such as Evernote or there are notepads all over the class. We recommend going home and typing your notes every day after class (Best practice wink wink).
14. It's ok to stress
This will be a stressful adventure at some points. You are learning multiple new languages, working with your fellow classmates for group projects, spending a month at your guaranteed internship, and then pursuing a career. But do not worry, when you join LEARN you join our family. Whether you need advice on your resume, you're stuck in class, or you just need someone to tell you how great you are. We are here for YOU.
15. Study & practice together outside of class
Our campus is in a great location that gives you the opportunity to meet with your fellow classmates outside of class. Whether you are stuck on a coding challenge or need to dive deeper into a concept, meet at LEARN and do a study sesh.
16. Parking doesn't have to be a nightmare
LEARN academy is located in Downtown, San Diego, which is a blessing and also difficult sometimes. We are just outside of Petco Park where the San Diego Padres play so also be aware when games are. Take advantage of the $5 parking lot on 6th and K, make sure to get there by 9:00 am to pay $5, after that the price will go up. You can park for free in Golden Hill or Bankers Hill but it will be a 20-minute walk back to campus. There are plenty of other places to use, keep your eyes out and ask your classmates for advice if you need it.
17. Don't be overwhelmed...you'll get it!
When it's all said and done, just be persistent, keep an open mind, study hard, and it will come! Over 200 students have been in your shoes before. Use the amazing support staff and community behind you to accomplish your goals.