How to Get Ready for a Coding Bootcamp

Full classroom of students working on laptops

A coding bootcamp can feel like your first day of middle school. You had that cool outfit picked out and some jazzy pens to match your Trapper Keeper, but those nerves bubbled to the top when your combination lock just would not open. Maybe you should have listened to your mom when she told you to practice unlocking it.

Full Classroom with Bootcamp Students Working

Here are four things I recommend to our incoming bootcamp students to make sure they’re prepared to begin their career as a developer and prepared to start their bootcamp on the right foot:

  1. Try Coding Online
    Feeling comfortable in the development environment is a huge hurdle for new students, so I always recommend that potential students try out online self-paced coding lessons, like FreeCodeCamp or Codecademy. I always recommend students go through the tutorials in a text editor outside of the browser. It’s a great opportunity to build and refresh your syntax knowledge while practicing working in a more realistic development environment.
  2. Get to Know GitHub
    Something we focus on that’s important to all developers is version control. Version control is essentially a system that allows you to look back on all of the versions you’ve saved (kinda like Word’s track changes feature). We use Git and GitHub to help us with this in the classroom, but it is often one of the trickier topics for new developers to pick up. If you’re looking for extra stuff to get you ready for a bootcamp, first thing’s first – set up your GitHub account! After that, I 100% recommend watching this tutorial video and following along in this Github interactive tutorial.
  3. Complete any Assigned Pre-Work 
    Take your pre-work seriously! I know it seems like something you could cut corners on or blow off entirely, but it has a purpose. At Grand Circus, our pre-work is intended to make sure everyone starts on the exact same page – and then, we start running with new content. If you haven’t put real effort into your pre-work, not only can we tell, but you’ll be behind before you even get started. We help our new bootcampers by offering technical office hours during orientation and by getting bootcampers into their own Slack channel so they can work together through any bumps or mishaps.
  4. Get Involved in the Tech Community
    Attend a meet-up and start becoming a part of the tech community here in Detroit! Find your bootcamp topic’s user group, or just attend a general developer event like IT in the D or the Detroit Craftsman Guild. This is not just an awesome way to pick up on the terms and trends you’ll need in the bootcamp, but also a great chance to start networking for your new career! We’ve had alums who took this advice and had job offers before their bootcamp even ended.