DEV Community πŸ‘©β€πŸ’»πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»

Alicia Fasciocco
Alicia Fasciocco

Posted on

After Bootcamp: Taking A Break From Coding

Check out my linktree with resources & actionable items related to anti-racism, protesting safely, and more. Please read something there before you read this.

You might have seen this title and thought:

At the beginning of May, I graduated from Flatiron School. It was an exciting (and confusing) time. The high of passing my final project quickly gave way to feeling that I had somehow duped myself and my teachers. In the week that followed, I struggled to add a simple feature to my project before abandoning the idea. I was careening towards burnout on a bicycle that had its training wheels taken off long before I was ready. There was still so much I didn't know how to do. How could I possibly call myself a developer, an engineer, a coder?

Beyond the feelings of uncertainty around what I was capable of working on next, my attention began to feel split between coding and something else I needed to get done. I wanted to keep learning by building. I started reading through docs, committed to a coding challenge, and worked through some tutorials. I was chasing the excitement of getting something to work to counteract feelings of aimlessness, but I was not fully invested in anything because I was doing too much.

I had spent ten months learning to code with no real break. During that time, I was working a full time job and relocated from New York City to a small upstate town. The truth is, although I was inspired to keep the momentum going, I hadn't learned how to thoughtfully carve out time to build things in a way that worked for me.

When you adhere to bootcamp deadlines, you are able to get a ton of coding done in a short amount of time, but you sacrifice some of the deep understanding required to build mindfully. In yoga, you finish your practice in Savasana, or corpse pose. In corpse pose, you lie still, letting thoughts float by and sealing in the good things you just did for your body and mind. I had not taken a "coding Savasana"--my new knowledge had not yet had the space to settle in.

At the beginning of June, I took a pause. For seven days, I didn't touch a line of code. I woke up without a bug on my mind, spent the mornings reading books, jotted down ideas, rested, watched TV without guilt, and spent focused time on other things without a split mind.

Though I had never really stopped doing other things I loved throughout bootcamp, there was always a deadline or project humming in the background. Now due dates are determined by me and that makes coding all the more creative and exciting! For me, it helps to make coding goals smaller. It's the difference between "Today, I will get the search feature to work" vs. "TODAY, I WILL FINISH THE ENTIRE APP!" One leads to thoughtful planning, while the other one leads to negative self talk. It's true that I will likely feel distracted by my latest project, and that is what makes me a developer, an engineer, a coder.

PS. This handy quiz helps me every time I am worried I might not have what it takes:
http://amiarealdeveloper.com/

Top comments (5)

Collapse
 
notfocaccia profile image
Alicia Fasciocco

Thank you so much for your response. I completely agree that CS is an artistic process. I’m enjoying it so much more now that I am deciding when and HOW MUCH I code. I love the way you described itβ€”some days deleting stuff is enough. :) Hope you have a great weekend.

Collapse
 
linus41 profile image
Linus Schief

DEAR LORD thank you so much for this, Alicia. I graduated my bootcamp a few nights ago and am basically watching Call Me By Your Name over and over, making smoothies, crying, trying to figure out if coding is even something I want to DO, etc. This made me feel worlds better, thank you one hundred million times.

Collapse
 
notfocaccia profile image
Alicia Fasciocco

I’m so glad this was helpful! Those first few weeks were unexpectedly pretty awful. I promise it gets better (especially if you take a few days off). Also, YES to binging Call Me By Your Name. Please let me know how things evolve for you!

🌚 Friends don't let friends browse without dark mode.

Sorry, it's true.