Day in the life of a Data Science Bootcamp.
Having been in the program for a month my process has changed from the first day I arrived. That first day I was eager to start the Data Science program with wide eyed optimism and excited to change my life . A month later I’m still somewhat optimistic but things are a lot harder. I’ll be giving you my honest experience of what a day in the life of a coding bootcamp is like.
My bootcamp is 15 weeks and by the end of that I should be able to have the knowledge I need to get a job in Data Science. Schedule is from 9 am to 5 pm. I remember the first week I’d come in around 9 and have a decent night's sleep but i’d be fighting traffic for an hour and that time was wasted when I could be studying. Now I come in around 6:30 am this gives me an extra couple of hours to study, which I need. I turn on my laptop, grab a cup of coffee ,and settle in for the long day.
I use this morning before classes start to brush up on my Python. If you plan on getting into any bootcamp I suggest really do a month or more pre work before starting. This way when the material comes you won’t feel as overwhelmed. I don’t have a tech background and my Python skills were non existent. I feel like I'm in a rpg where I’m still battling bugs for experience while my classmates are battling monsters.
Two hours pass and now it’s 9 am. We check in for the day and often our data science coach will greet us and ask us if there are any questions about any of the material. Material is a lot. Our current module is statistics and we should take 3 weeks to go through it. There are brief lessons and labs. I try my best to do the labs but end up looking at the solution and looking back. We will have a lecture in a couple hours and I’ll go make myself a caffeine free hot tea to trick my mind into being awake even though I’m already tired. We have one low key lecture in the morning and one project based lecture in the afternoon before lunch.
A lot of us just bring our own lunch to save money since none of us are working and this is a full time course. That break for lunch isn’t really scheduled, sometimes I’ll just take a moment for myself to walk around or skip lunch to get some extra studying done. There really isn’t any breaks and any are all self imposed. Only times I get a break is when I go grab something to drink or use the restroom. All that time is used for studying.
There is an afternoon lecture and we can attend it or choose to focus on other materials. At this point it’s around 3 pm and the hot tea isn’t working for me. I go up to our 10th floor where the good coffee is and get myself an espresso shot. Sleeping isn’t a luxury I can say I have. I try during this afternoon session to study up on lectures we will be having the next day so I can understand the concepts better when it is presented to us. When it reaches 5 pm I go over the notes I made for the day and look over it to review what I learned for the day. By 6 pm I’ve been studying for almost 11 hours. I take a break and go up to the 10th floor where it is more casual and go over my python again for another hour.
Normally by 7 pm I go home or later depending how traffic is. I go home, eat dinner, set out my clothes for the next day, try to sleep before 11, and then do it all over again. I knew a bootcamp wasn’t going to be easy and I would have to work for it. I didn’t know it was going to be this hard. I think most days I have doubts I have what it takes to make it in this field but I have to fight those thoughts to keep pushing through. When I'm not studying, I feel like I should be studying. Bootcamp can be physically and mentally tough but you need to prepare yourself for that. It’s all about how bad you want it. I want it bad. Maybe it’s easier for others but this is my experience.
My friend sent me this quote that help me get through one of my rough days and I hope it will help you too when times are tough during your bootcamp.
“If you really want something, you will find a way. If you don’t you will find an Excuse”