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Brittany Lee-Still
Brittany Lee-Still

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Interested in a coding bootcamp? Make sure you're ready.

Beginning the admissions process for a coding bootcamp can feel overwhelming. You’ll encounter a whirlwind of information: curriculum topics, deadlines, admissions requirements, and more. But with a little bit of strategy and planning, you can make sure you’re starting the admissions process off on the right foot.

Before you start the admissions process, consider doing the following:

Do some self-reflection

First, identify where you’re at in your journey. Everyone enters the admissions process at a different stage. Maybe you’ve been coding as a hobby for a year and are ready to take your learning to the next level, or maybe you just ran your first line of code yesterday. There’s no requirement to be at any given skill level before applying and completing an admissions call, but it’s still a good idea to compare your level of knowledge to the knowledge required to pass the bootcamp’s admissions process. If you’ve been learning JavaScript for less than three months before a cohort begins, consider aiming for the next cohort to give yourself time to build your coding skills.

Next, clarify your motivation. If you are making a career change, what’s motivating you to leave your current career, and why should web development be your first step? Why are you considering joining a coding bootcamp to make this happen?

Once you have your motivation figured out, it’s time to identify your goals. No one expects you to know exactly what you want to do from the get go—there’s a lot you don’t know yet! But doing some research to get a sense for what kinds of jobs you may be looking for after you graduate is very helpful. This will give you a sense of direction, and will help you stay motivated throughout the course.

“I’m just trying to get my foot in the door. I’ll take whatever job I can get!”

We hear this comment a lot. While the sentiment is understandable, we have found that the “throwing things at the wall to see what sticks” strategy is not effective. We want you to narrow down your preferences. Try thinking about your background and/or hobbies and how those might tie into a future career. For example, maybe you’re a nurse who’s making the switch to software engineering. You’ve spent years working with outdated tech in hospitals and clinics. Maybe your experience and existing network could be useful in pivoting into a health tech focus! From there, you can also narrow down further: Do you want to work at a big company, or would a small company or start up be more your style? Do you have a preference for front end, back end, or full stack engineering?

Do your homework

Your homework begins with researching the industry at large. There are plenty of places to get information about what the tech world is like, from the news, to industry sites, to YouTube “day in the life” videos. Learn everything you can about the tech industry, what the day-to-day work is like, and how you might see yourself fitting into the field.

Next, research the bootcamp you’re applying to. Read the bootcamp’s website, check out reviews, talk to grads on LinkedIn, and more. Find out everything you can about the program so you don’t have to waste time in your admissions call learning information that’s readily available, and can instead dive deeper into the program details.

Lastly, come prepared with questions. If you’re doing your research carefully, you should be coming up with questions along the way. Whether you want to clarify details, learn more about an offering, or ask information you weren’t able to learn about yet, your questions are always welcomed!

Make sure this is the right decision for you

Most importantly, make sure you enjoy coding! Take a month or so to study JavaScript every day. Is this something you like? Do you feel satisfied from it? Can you see yourself doing it for the next 10, 20, 30 years of your life?

Beginning your coding bootcamp journey may seem daunting at first, but with strategy and thoughtfulness, you can set yourself up for success. Before you begin the admissions process, be sure to engage in self-reflection to understand where you’re at, what your motivation is, and what goal you’re aiming for. Narrow down your preferences and set a clear direction for your future career. Conduct research on the tech industry and the different bootcamps you’re applying to, and remember to come prepared with the questions you’ve developed from that research. Finally, make sure that this truly is the path you want to take, and that you can see yourself thriving in a career as a software engineer. In the end, choosing the right path and being well-prepared for the admissions process will set you up to start your career off on the right foot.

Top comments (4)

pharkmanlee profile image
Faruq Arowolo

i'm interested

rithmschool profile image
Brittany Lee-Still

Awesome! Check out Rithm School if you haven't already :)

mikasa1412 profile image

I especially appreciate the focus on self-reflection. The breakdown between throwing things at the wall and identifying specific interests within software development is spot on. Retro Bowl