My reflections halfway through a coding bootcamp: the good, the bad and the ugly: UNCENSORED.

I’m getting my mind naked over here (wink, wink). Come join me for a full disclosure of my coding bootcamp journey so far.

I already wrote about myself and my decision to start coding and also about the tools that I used to break the ice and get a first glimpse at the coding world. But how is it like to go from zero to start coding full projects in 12 weeks? Is it everything how I expected it to be? Let’s take a look at the things I love, the things I regret and some heads up in case you are about to jump into a coding bootcamp as a novice.

Which bootcamp did I choose?

I chose the Technigo bootcamp

Technigo website

Why did I choose this bootcamp?

Let’s start by saying that joining a bootcamp was both the hardest and one of the most fun things I’ve done in my life. It’s challenging yet enjoyable. I’ve never felt more vulnerable yet more empowered than how I feel nowadays that I already know how to code a little bit.

  • I chose Technigo because their values resonate with mine. I feel represented by their aim to see more women in the tech industry and I like how they make everything look more approachable and fun.
  • I talked to some former bootcampers and they were very happy with the overall experience in the bootcamp.
  • I carefully took a look at the contents included in the programme and compared it to the requirements that I used to see in daily job offers.
  • The corporate colors and the logo, oh ❤ Just kidding hahaha (or maybe not).

The challenge

Going from zero to Frontend Dev in “just” 24 weeks. Coming out of the bootcamp with a well-fed portfolio and a strong professional network. This was the bootcamp’s proposal (and I said YES to the mess!).

The structure

  • It’s a fast-paced. part-time bootcamp divided into 6 sprints, each of those lasts for four weeks and revolves around one or two topics at a time (though you totally need to have incorporated and be able to use what you’ve studied in the former sprint to do good on the next one).
  • It’s 100% online. Not even one mandatory in-presence lesson or meeting. That was also a plus for me since I’m based in Denmark and the bootcamp, in Sweden.
  • Every week you have to study the prerecorded contents, some bibliography and virtually assist to 3 lectures and 2 team sessions.
  • All in all that makes at least 20 hours a week of coding, including projects, codealongs and studying. And if you are a beginner like me, it would probably take you longer than 20 hours a week. I’m spending at least 30 hours per week. A hard cookie, I know.

The team

We are divided into teams of 7 or 8 people each. The reason for doing this is that the actual job of a developer always implies team work. A lot of people have this random idea that developers are supposed to be isolated, coding in the shadows of their basements and talking to nobody for weeks. Well, while nowadays with remote work this can be half-true, the reality is that projects need the effort of several people to progress adequately and to be ready in time, that’s why it’s always great to learn how to function in a team and learn things like pair-programming and mob-programming.

So below there’s a picture of the wonderful women I met in this bootcamp. I’ve learnt so much from them! “Team work makes the dream work” as our project manager says. :)

Things I love

  • I just love the pre-recorded lecture videos with all the nice background and how the coaches explain everything in such a detailed and pedagogic way. It’s a lot of fun to listen to them. They even make jokes. Cracking up AND learning how to code can actually go hand in hand!
  • I also love the permanent support that I perceive both from my fellow bootcampers and Technigo. Despite of being an online bootcamp I can still feel everybody close. We keep in touch through Slack, and several activities are organized from time to time: there was even a clay night and, in my team, we even got together for an afterwork (beers, wine and even champagne included).
  • The bootcamp also includes an optative career coaching programme, which in my case is crucial because I’m a foreigner, so I need to get familiar with the way the things are done here. We even get a career mentor, which is somebody already working in an area of my interest, in a tech company. I already had my first meeting with her, we went through my resume and through my Linkedin account and she gave me lots of valuable tips!

What I wish I’ve done before I started:

  • I wish I had coded a little bit more. I actually focused too much on just reading and watching, but very little on actually trying to build something with code. There’s a whole world of difference between following a tutorial, solving exercises and actually building something by writing your code. If I had the chance to start again, I would code more and study less theory.
  • I wish I had talked to more people in the industry and specifically JavaScript developers. It’s always great to know what to expect and get a word of advice beforehand. real people in casual chats will give you way more info than random videos you can find online.

The ugly times when I felt really bad

  • There were times when I thought I was not going to be able to handle everything, yes. How did I solve it? Planning became my best friend. Now I can’t live without having my bullet journal by my side and checking it several times every day.
  • I’ve sometimes felt vulnerable and too old for this. The ghosts of “I should have started earlier” and “I’ll never code like somebody who started as a teen” still visit me often. But hey! I have a whole lot of acquired skills under my former employee skin: I can write material aimed to teach people stuff and people voluntarily buy it. And also: a company even trusted me to recruit and train their employees. So, I’m bringing all this hard and soft skills with me into the technology industry.

Would I choose a bootcamp again?

I most DEFINITELY would. I mean, I know there are other ways, but I this is certainly giving me a solid base where to start from, and it couldn’t have happened if not following this fast pace. I can always continue to grow and learn and practice on my own, but this general strong idea that I have about JavaScript, React, React Native, Redux and more gave me enough confidence to get my hands on the work and start building amazing sites and apps for people to use and enjoy. I can’t wait for what’s next to come on the second half of this journey!

Hails from Argentina, based in Denmark. Former Spanish teacher and translator. Self-published fiction writer. Now learning how to code. Huge fan of empanadas.