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Hot Tips to Get the Most from your Bootcamp

This is for my students, and for anyone who is embarking on learning to code, whether in a bootcamp, self-taught, or university.

  • Make flashcards of core concepts/new vocab/code snippets you see again and again. Use index cards, or better yet, Anki

  • Go to office hours, even if you fully understand the material, or conversely, even if you are completely lost.

  • Write down every error message you get and how you solved it.

  • Ask questions to the point of feeling obnoxious, then ask more questions.

  • Read the error messages/stacktrace. They are your guideposts.

  • Work on homework in groups.

  • Write about what you are learning. Publish it on Twitter.

  • Work in short sessions, 30 minutes at a time.

  • Have a time where you turn your laptop off for the night.

  • Do not allow yourself to be frustrated. Take a break before that happens.

  • Ask for extensions, if you need them!

  • Answer other people's questions. Concentrate on forming a collaborative dialogue with them, instead of having the 'right answer'.

  • Do not procrastinate. Often the hardest part is getting started. Just work on the thing for five minutes.

  • Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. Try the 70% rule: can you get this thing to work 70% of the way?

  • Your new favorite phrase is 'I don't know.' Use it!

  • It is ok and expected to use Google, a lot. It is not cheating.

  • Seek positive encouragement from friends, family, or even the internet.

  • There are often many right ways to do something. It is ok if your way is different than your colleague's.

  • There are pieces of code, and then there are finished projects. Programming is everything that happens in between.

  • The best way to learn to program is not 'to build projects', necessarily. But that is a very efficient way.

  • Teach others. Take on a mentee.

Photo by Tudor Baciu on Unsplash

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