I am talking to you, Dockyard Academy Cohort Newbie. This is me just four months ago. I am about to start Dockyard Academy and level up my skills as a software developer. I do not yet know this is one of the toughest things I have ever done. This is what I want to know:
- Stick to the curriculum: all you need is there. It will be tempting to find other sources of knowledge, books, videos, forums, etc. At the end of the day, all of those will be distractions and will waste your time. It will be better to accept that Brook has written the curriculum with your growth in mind: it is the only book you need for now.
- Create memory cards: You are going to be given a hundred units of knowledge per day, and your brain will be able to grasp thirty of those. Of those thirty, you are going to remember ten. If you get into the habit of writing and using memory cards, you will increase those percentages. You can write them in physical form, or in an app such as anki. This will give the information a chance to sink into the brain, and serve as a scaffold for the rest of the curriculum. Repetition simply works.
- Repeat the syntax. Tatoo it. Practice it: as per the repetition principle above, it will pay to drill and drill certain common syntaxes: declaring a function, writing Enums, nested values, maps vs tuples vs lists... Those things, if automated, will be wings that will make you fly. Drill it. Do syntax pushups.
- Multiple passes. Read the lessons several days ahead: it will pay to read lessons a few days in advance, and do so multiple times. You want to know which words and concepts are familiar, and which ones turn your brain into peanut butter. Mapping the territory before walking into it is wise, and will pay off.
- Make public ignorance a corageous virtue: get very comfortable with the following expressions: "I am lost", "I do not understand it", "Could you please repeat this?". Make understanding something more important than the uncomfortable feeling of appearing (or thinking yourself) stupid.
- Multiple passes (part 2: the return): If at all possible, repeat exercises several times. It will give you a boost of confidence to see your mind and your fingers get more and more competent with each pass.
- Help your classmates: you may think that, as a newbie, you do not have a lot of help to offer. That will be true in a number of cases. Still try and be a net positive and lend a helping hand as your default position. There is nothing to lose and a lot to gain (and learn) from it. Stretch yourself into the person that will have something to offer.
- Ride the tiger: unless you are the coding demigod I wish I was, you will surely experience some of the following joys: cognitive overload, sleep deprivation, self-concept anihilation (good old classic self-doubt), anxiety, euphoria, depression, stress... remember that they call it bootcamp for a good reason. It is meant to stretch you. In times like this, remember that the sun will rise tomorrow, and the following day, and you will surely make it to the end despite the ups and downs. Dig into your hidden superpowers. Persist. It pays off.
- Clear the deck: in as much as you can, make space for the bootcamp, the lessons, and the spectacular amount of new knowledge and concepts that is going to come your way. Press "pause" in as many things as you can press "pause" in, and allow your focus to be like a laser that has a job to do.
- Take care of yourself, pleaaaaseeee: allow your brain to assimilate stuff by sleeping as much as you need to. Get into a good routine so your system is not out of whack running on cortisol and adrenaline, go outside and allow the sunshine to hit your skin. Go to the gym, meet with friends, create a healthy life that will sustain you and buffer the demands of the bootcamp. Know your limits and respect them. Your system will thank you for it.
And finally: ENJOY IT!! You are about to go through an experience that has the potential to transform your life. It is unlikely that you will do something like this any time soon. It is the very definition of an adventure. Hone it. Savor it. Honor it. Give it your all.
git add . git commit -m "Academy Completed. Massage at 4pm."