It was honestly a pretty big difference. For every programming topic we learned we would have a different instructor that was highly knowledgable with that language/framework. On top of that we had TA's and a personal mentor. Having all that dedicated support I feel really accelerated my learning, debugging skills, and confidence to learn on my own post boot camp.
Definitely an accelerant. All the info is out here on the internet, the thing the boot camp provides is direction with the material, seasoned veterans who can answer your questions, and a network of other developers as well as an employer network for securing a job after grad. One of the things I found to be valuable that I didn't think about going in was that I got to work on team-based projects and learned how to communicate on a team with other devs.
No regrets on the waiting part. I had to make sure I had enough saved up before committing to a longer boot camp. One thing I've learned is to appreciate the process. So often we beat ourselves up for not knowing exactly what we want or for not being where we think we should be, I've learned to enjoy the journey. One thing I wish college me knew is that very few people know exactly what they want career wise, for most people it's a process of elimination. Just gotta try things.
One regret I do have is that in the beginning I didn't take care of myself enough during the bootcamp. I was getting 5-6 hours of sleep when I was used to getting 8. My exercise and diet slipped. I wasn't taking enough breaks. Looking back that's the only thing I would change. Don't sacrifice your health for anything, future you will thank you.
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