October 1, 2020
Setting Expectations for Life Before, During, and After CodeupHave you been wondering about whether or not you can keep your current job during Codeup, or if Codeup classes will let you work around certain hours of certain days, or if you really have to apply so far in advance? We get questions like this all the time from prospective students. To make sure you’re successful in your career transition, let’s first set up some expectations about what you can expect before, during, and after Codeup. What is it like to experience life at a coding bootcamp?
The number one, most important, most helpful advice we can give is: do the prework! Give yourself a month to carefully understand and complete the prework we assign when you’re accepted, which was made to help you practice active learning and problem-solving. You’ll soon find that programming is all about practice and getting that muscle memory, like learning to play an instrument. You will thank yourself if you finish it, and risk falling behind if you don’t.
In order to complete the prework, you’ll need to apply early. Why? Take the start date you are considering, and subtract a month. You’ll need to be accepted by that date in order to finish the prework. The multi-step application process can take several weeks to over a month. Combining the prework timeframe plus the application timeframe means you should apply seven weeks before your start date. This will also give you enough time to secure grant funding, if applicable, as that also takes about a month to be processed. You can learn more about our application process here.
Codeup classes are full-time, immersive experiences. As a Codeup student, these are the times you will need to be in class:
Classes are being conducted daily via live Zoom calls with instructors and other classmates. Optional office hours are held before and after class for additional help. You should plan to spend 20-25 additional hours per week practicing what you learned in class. You should also arrive at your workstation with coffee in tow 30 minutes before class starts so that you can map out your schedule for the day, and review what questions you have going into lecture. Combining office hours, planning, and practicing, you can expect to be occupied from 8am to 7 or 8pm almost daily.
Now that you know your new schedule, you can probably see that you won’t have time for much else. Just for a few months, you’ll have to do the bare minimum outside of Codeup. You will need to quit your job. Before joining Codeup, try to save enough money to pay your bills for 6 months. We strongly suggest you avoid working outside of class, as this typically results in poor classroom performance, and we really want you to do well. If you have to work, calculate the bare minimum you need to earn each week in order to get by. Then, spread out your workload to do a little bit here and there throughout the week rather than full days on the weekends, because you do need rest days! The best options are flexible jobs where you’re in charge of your own schedule, such as food delivery, rideshare, dog walking, babysitting, etc. This is not the time to take an overnight shift at your current job or start your own business.You may need to downgrade your living situation to save up. Some students have sold their houses to make this investment possible. Some have moved in with in-laws to save on bills. Some have had to find roommates. Do whatever you can, within reason, to not have to work during Codeup!You won’t be able to adopt puppies, but you can get a fish, try raising plants, or look at pictures of puppies until you can get the real thing after you graduate! The last option is great because you’ll have a reward to work towards, but you have to earn it!Outside classes are also a no-go, but you can watch YouTube videos and documentaries on a new subject you’re interested in. Family and friends may not get to see you as much, but every weekend you can tell them all about what you’re learning and appreciate the time together that much more!Remember, it’s only 6 months of complete dedication to changing your life at a coding bootamp, and then you’ll be thanking yourself for the sacrifices you made!
Gone are the days of copying lecture notes word-for-word. (Did that ever work, anyway?) Since you’ll have an online curriculum to read through and refer back to, write notes on what you don’t understand during reading, practice, or lecture. It’s good to track what exactly doesn’t make sense and what you’ve tried that didn’t work so you can ask more targeted questions, whether to peers, Google, or instructors. This way, you’re building yourself a roadmap to follow when you return to your studies each day.
Learning how to code is like learning an instrument. Practice, practice, practice. You can do all the reading you want, watch all the video tutorials, and still not know how to code if you don’t actually code. There’s no cramming for exams, no writing research papers. It’s continuous learning and adding to your arsenal through a few additional hours of study/practice every day.
In order to make the most of your experience, build on skills, and help yourself for the job search in the long run, you’ll be encouraged to attend meetups, join community Slack channels, and try to meet others in the industry to build your support network, so you have plenty of people to ask for help. You don’t have to go through this alone!
While this sounds totally foreign right now, it will become a daily mantra! Every Codeup student will make an account on a website called GitHub. On a daily basis, we’ll expect you to “commit” code, which means to make a revision to a code file, and then “push” that revision, which, in this case, means to transfer it from your computer to GitHub so that others can keep track of how often you’re coding. This is important to keep up after graduating Codeup to keep your coding skills fresh, and so that potential employers can see that you’re actively working on your craft.
Every day between graduation and the start of your job, you should become more valuable and skilled, not less polished and more rusty. The learning never stops, especially not in tech, and especially not in data science! What’s all the rage one year may be out of date the next, and it’s your responsibility to stay on top of the latest technology, programming languages, and practices.
We have a whole team dedicated to helping students get jobs! Our placement team will assist you even after graduating. You’ll spend time every day on either finding new listings, touching up your resume and LinkedIn, applying, or interviewing...and that’s in addition to coding every day. You gotta put in the work to find work. Do be prepared to get rejected sometimes, but trust the process. It’s much better to face these mass unemployment rates with a whole team working to get you hired rather than on your own.In summary, you get out what you put in. Our most successful students finished their pre work and made significant life sacrifices to stay focused and committed to the program. Others that weren’t ready, willing, or able to make the changes they needed were unfortunately not able to finish. However, those that do continue to reap the rewards! If you would like to hear more about life at a coding bootcamp like Codeup, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 210 – 802 – 7289 to talk to a member of our admissions team today!