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Hackernoon logoI Just Finished a Coding Bootcamp... Was It Worth It? by@pablinx

I Just Finished a Coding Bootcamp... Was It Worth It?

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@pablinxPablo Olóndriz

31 year old online entrepreneur and -sometimes- writer. Now learning to Code.

Long story short: F*ck Yes!

As I explained on two previous posts, I was lately focusing my time on learning how to code at the same time I was managing a business.

Now that the last one didn't need as much attention as it needed at the first 2-3 years, I could finally focus on programming.

I tried first some online courses and books with little success, but at least I learnt there the basics of software thinking: arrays, strings, loops, variables, functions... you know, the usual jargon.

However, I was clearly lacking a proper roadmap and a schedule, so it was difficult for me to "make" something out of my limited coding knowledge. Yes, I could build HTML/CSS basic websites, but oh my god... they looked -and worked- like a 90's website.

So I was sticking-and stuck- to my old Wordpress knowledge when it came to building real stuff.

After giving it some thought (explained here), I decided to enroll on the best part-time coding bootcamp on my hometown, Barcelona.

And I knew right on the first class week that it was the best decission possible.

6 months forward (Yesterday), I presented my final project: a website where you can sign up / log in and then create, modify and delete things, made with React on the frontend, Node + Express on the backend and a MongoDB database.

For people like me, who love to build online websites, It feels crazy empowering to be able to write those lines, put them together and see a final proper-working site. As someone said:

“There is a great satisfaction that comes with truly creating something from scratch, and having a deep understanding of how your code works and how to manipulate it.”

But I mean, finishing a coding Bootcamp is not the end, is just the beginning. You finish this course with the basic knowledge, so you can put your feet on the door of a company, get a junior developer job and start learning the real thing. Or, if you're more the entrepreneurship type, like me, then continue building stuff for your own.

I feel now like my head is a lot clearer, I can see better. I had so many technical words and concepts related to programming flying around my mind without any order, but after those 6 months, every single one is in place and, most importantly, I can make the connections between them.

And I also learned how to learn coding.

There's no magic on a bootcamp, just work and tons of practice. I've been very lucky as well to have a great teacher, Thor, who's passionate about the subject and passionate as well about teaching it, and three great TA's that were helping us padawans on the way: Alex, Manu and Jorge. I think that's very important. Thank you guys from the bottom of my heart.

So, if you really like this world and you're thinking about it, I can tell you that, for me at least, it's been one of the best professional investments on my life.

So, how to make the most out of it?

That's what I felt:

- Don't sign up for a coding Bootcamp with zero previous knowledge on coding. I've seen classmates learning it from scratch during the bootcamp as well, but I think is a lot better if you struggle first doing one or two free online coding courses and then learn the fundamentals. That will help you a lot. And make sure as well that you really really like this stuff.

- For me, 6 month part-time has been perfect. I believe the full-time 2 month course is too concentrated, because I'm no genius and, on my mind, I need the concepts to sit in place with a lot of reiterated practice. Coding is very hard at the beginning and you need to understand well the basics before learning the next steps. For example, you will struggle learning React if you didn't learn properly Javascript before.

- Practice a lot. Theory will be good, but you need to write a lot of messy code, so your mind can learn how to think in a new way, the programming way. It's a safe environment, so try new things and break constantly your websites and apps, without comparing yourself to other classmates.

By the way, you don't need a Mac to program decently, I've done it all with my beloved Xubuntu laptop and I couldn't be happier with it :)

That's it, I'm very open to any questions in regards of the coding bootcamp experience.

Now let's go build some things!

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@pablinxPablo Olóndriz

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31 year old online entrepreneur and -sometimes- writer. Now learning to Code.

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