The Unique Challenge of Learning to Code in a Bootcamp Environment
Learning to code in a bootcamp environment presents a distinctive set of challenges that sets it apart from other traditional and demanding pursuits. While endeavors like earning a master’s degree or running a business share elements of challenge, the immersive nature, practical focus, and immediate application of coding bootcamps create a learning experience unlike many others.
We’ve seen individuals from all background and education levels come into the program – doctors, lawyers, teachers, musicians, PhDs, Masters level, and ages ranging from 18 to 50+.
Without fail, the majority of them all say the same thing: “This is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done.”
Let’s take a look at the factors that make the coding bootcamp such a challenge, and why this should be an exciting proposition for you, even if it feels intimidating.
What makes a coding bootcamp so challenging?
There are three factors we’ve identified that characterize the bootcamp experience and combine to create the challenge level our students experience.
1. Intensive and Immersive Nature
Our bootcamp is a short, intensive program, spanning only a few months. These programs demand an immersive commitment, with students dedicating several hours each day to coding. Unlike the more extended timelines of traditional pursuits, the concentrated nature of bootcamps requires a rapid absorption of skills.
2. Starting from the Ground Level
Learning to code in a bootcamp often involves starting from scratch, with participants diving into a brand new skill with little to no prior experience. This aspect adds a layer of challenge as individuals must rapidly grasp fundamental concepts and build a solid foundation. Unlike pursuing a master’s degree where a certain level of pre-existing knowledge is usually assumed, the journey in a bootcamp begins at the ground level, making the learning curve steep yet rewarding.
3. Practical Skills vs. Theoretical Knowledge
One of the distinctive features of a bootcamp is the emphasis on practical, hands-on skills. The curriculum is designed to equip students with the hands-on coding experience needed for immediate entry into the job market. This focus contrasts with the theoretical knowledge often imparted in traditional education programs, where the goal is to produce experts with a deep understanding of a particular field before they learn their skills on the job.
This is both thrilling and challenging – you get immediate feedback and gratification from applying skills, but also the frustration that can come if you feel like you aren’t immediately “getting it”.
What makes the challenge of a coding bootcamp so thrilling?
In short, there’s nothing like the feeling of looking back after the program is done and you’ve gone from no skill in coding to a fully functioning software application in the form of a capstone. Time and again, we get to see that look of amazement and fulfillment on students’ faces when they realize they are capable of doing so much more than they thought when they started.
This doesn’t invalidate the very real challenges during the program. It’s why we and many other bootcamps place such an emphasis on the support element – one of the things that makes it possible to learn such a complex discipline in a short period of time is knowing you don’t have to go it alone.
The other thing to remember – this is a short, intense period of time. It’s a lot of fun with highs and lows along the way. Just like a rollercoaster, it’s over before you know it, and you’re a different person on the other side!
Students who embrace the challenge and lean into the hard moments are the ones who experience the most growth as a result.
To come back to the question – if you’ve done any kind of short term, intensive program with a high degree of immersion and challenge (like serving in the military), you’ll have a taste of how challenging the program can be. Think of it like a sprint, not a marathon. Whereas a traditional education program requires you to apply a moderate amount of discipline over a long period of time, a bootcamp asks for high discipline and total dedication for a short period of time.
If that sounds like the kind of challenge you thrive on, you just might be in the right place.