Here we go, my last blog as a fellow before starting my career in programming! It’s been a grueling 5 months and as our 3 last weeks come to an end I find myself reflecting more and more about the all the feelings I had prior to going into this program and the feelings I’m left with now. The wealth of knowledge that I’ve gained is in a way an understatement to what actually took place within my time here at the Flatiron School. I was able to go from being curious about programming to being neck deep into a world where everything was new. It was exhilarating, immensely difficult, and a test to my character. It completely changed me as a person.
With that said, there are many things that I know now that could hopefully help someone starting out on a similar journey. I’ll cut them down to 3 big chunks, and of course these are the things that I wish I would’ve known or done more of sooner – so take it with a grain of sugar!
Before starting bootcamp
- Do all the prep work assigned to you (ALL of it) By doing the pre-work assignments you will grasp the little nuoces of programming that might take you longer to pick up when simultaneously trying to learn the bigger and more important concepts. Don’t let the little stuff trip you up!
- Meet other’s that share your curiosity and passion to code!
- Take notes! Seriously, you might be reading this and going well that’s not how I learn but trust me my friend, you will be insanely surprised at how many times you’ll give yourself a pat in the back for writing down notes. I suggest Evernote or Trello, they’re both very easy to use and have a mobile app for those long commute home from the Bronx to the Brooklyn.
- Understand the piece of art that is your brain. Knowing the focus mode and relax mode type of life that your brain lives is crucial to getting the most out of your days. This might be a “before starting bootcamp” advice but during your lifetime read “A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)” by Barbara Oakley. This book truly taught me how to acquire the best tools for learning how to learn.
- Don’t be shy. Ask questions! Post your programming questions on Stackoverflow, reach out to programmers on Twitter, or via their blog. You’d be surprised to see how much people love lending a helping hand.
- Side projects
- Learn a new framework/library/language
- Don’t stop coding!
I don’t believe there is a perfect way to do anything, there is only your way, your path and your own personal journey. These few tips that I am sharing with you are things that have worked for me and that I wish I would’ve known of before I started programming. But by no means is this “the way”, merely what worked best for my learning style. Looking back on all the things I have learned, the one thing that I wish I had more was patience with myself and my learning curve. It’s easy to get caught up the emotion of such an intense program and forget that at the end of the day we all have different ways of learning something new. Be kind to yourself and trust your brain.