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Starting a coding bootcamp (yes, everyone feels that way)

Jeremy Ketema
・3 min read

And so it begins

I would like to take time to qualify myself as just like you. If you're reading this, chances are you are either new to coding or haven't been coding for very long. The same is true for me. Prior to joining Hack Reactor, a coding bootcamp, I was a front office manager at a hotel. My profession had absolutely nothing to do with software engineering and very little to do with technology as a whole. Once the lockdowns began, I (like many others I am sure) began to meditate on what I want my future to look like. One thing led to another and I decided to pursue software engineering.

The journey

If you're at the beginning of a prep course or self studying for your coding bootcamp entrance exam, you're probably feeling a large range of emotions depending on the hour. When I began my prep course, I would constantly question myself "am I making the right decision", "will I pass this assessment", "these people know way more about coding than I do". I started talking to classmates and asked them about their experience. I quickly realized that everyone feels this way. From the beginning of my prep course to the end, the amount of students dropped by approximately 50%. What that showed me is that software engineering isn't about who has some special eye view on looking at text on a screen - coding is just like anything else you've accomplished in life. Coding (and software engineering as a whole) is far more about perseverance than it is about and technical topic or logic. Beyond understanding any particular topic or problem, you have to be able to overcome that doubt when you're stuck on a problem for two hours. I read something once that stuck with me, "you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable".

How? Why?

For me, these two questions were critical to getting to this point (beginning the full immersive). How are you going to become a software engineer? That can be a heavy question. For me it was critical to have a mentor. A mentor in the industry can help you stay on track. It is very easy to want to learn how linux, git, github, virtual machines, containers, and AWS work within a month but it is not realistic, and until you're in the industry you do not know what you need to know in depth and what you simply need to be "familiar with". The last point I will touch on is the why. The why can be something you're open with or it can be something that is very personal - it doesn't matter. The most important thing is that you have a why. I personally went one step further and wrote my goal and why down on a sticky note and posted it next to my laptop. I look at it every single day. If you do not have a concrete "why", it is hard to look at your monitor for the 16th hour of your day, and walk away having no idea how to solve that problem, then wake up and feel ready to get back to the same problem only to feel that "stuck" feeling all over again.

All of this being said - I hope to see you in the bootcamp and I can't wait to share more of my experience on this journey to becoming a software engineer!

Discussion (1)

zbretz profile image

Congrats on starting Jeremy.

What's your cohort? I'm currently at HR too. DM me if you want to chat a bit.