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Bootcamping: An 'in-tents' experience

Warning: I like a good (technically bad) pun.

My web development journey started in October 2022 when I decided to brave the wilderness and enrol in the Coder Academy full stack web development boot camp.

After over a decade in client service, sales, and marketing roles, the decision to change careers was sparked by a period of self-discovery; identifying personal and professional passions and acknowledging the desire for new challenges and a change of pace.

The past 7 months have been a baptism by (camp) fire. From juggling full-time work, learning a completely new skill set, and regular bouts of imposter syndrome and comparisonitis, I've constantly questioned whether I made the right decision.

Despite previously working with developers and project teams on managing web and app builds, I had no hands-on coding experience. Learning new languages, terminology, platforms, and systems at such a fast pace led me to doubt myself. This was compounded by many of my classmates being well-versed in tech and development, despite it being a beginner level course. Even the fact I'm not into Pokemon (shock!) led me down a path of uncertainty.

Needless to say, the s'more I overanalysed, the s'more I felt like a fraud.

It's taken a long time for things to finally start clicking, and while I'm still behind in my coding knowledge I have to remember that it's been less than a year. I'm still a beginner and everyone learns at their own pace.

With 8 weeks and one major assignment (full stack MERN app) to go, there's still a lot to do but I'm up for the challenge.

Lessons learned so far:

  • It's impor-tent to remember where you started, and how far you've come on the journey.
  • Learn and build with in-tent-sion; set yourself achievable goals and celebrate the small wins.
  • If you don't know, ask. Don't be afraid to ask questions and don't pre-tent to know it all.
  • When you feel like you've reached camp-acity, take a break. Mental and physical health is key to achieving a study/work/life balance.

Apologies for the pun overkill. Once I was in the zone, I couldn't get out.

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