By Francis Flanagan, TripleTen grad
I recently finished TripleTen’s ten-month software engineering bootcamp, and after coming through the other side, I wanted to share my experience. I did not know what to expect when I decided to join a programming bootcamp, but now I can say there were many positive aspects. Here are my three most underrated things about bootcamps.
Prior to joining TripleTen, I tried to follow the self-study route. I did some programs like CS50x and Free Code Camp, both of which have some structure, but they could also be viewed as guidelines. In addition to that, there is so much information online that it can be hard to figure out what path to go down. The fear of getting stuck in ‘tutorial hell’ was a real one for me.
What I knew I needed was some structure to my learning experience. That is exactly what you get with a bootcamp like TripleTen.
The structure and curriculum were designed by industry professionals to take learners from zero to full-stack engineer. Even if you come in with no knowledge, you will learn everything you need to succeed. You start from the basics, learning how to write semantic HTML and to style it accordingly with CSS.
In the past, when I was writing code and doing projects on my own, one of the biggest questions I would often have was, “Is this the best way to do this?” Sure, the code accomplished what I wanted it to, but did it follow best practices? Was this extra condition necessary? Were my files organized in the most concise way? As a graduate of a bootcamp, I can honestly say one of my favorite aspects of it was code review.
I admit, at first it was hard to hear the criticism and not feel at least a little offended, but by the middle of the program, I was actually looking forward to the code review process. I started to view the code review as another way to improve and learn. Often, the code reviewers would give some ‘Could be improved’ comments that teach other ways of writing pieces of code that I would not have thought of. In addition to that, it is useful to have mistakes pointed out.
It can be hard to hear that we did something wrong, but I try to look at it from a positive perspective. Making mistakes gives us the opportunity to learn and grow. It’s better to find out the correct way than to continue doing it the wrong way. On the other hand, code review is also great because you receive validation when you see that you are doing the right things.
I no longer had to ask myself the question “Is this the best way to do this?” because I finally knew that I was doing things the best way.
When I was studying on my own, there were periods where it felt like a pretty lonely experience. I was going through lessons and modules, but there was no one to talk to about them. Sometimes I wanted to ask questions or just connect with people going through the same courses as I was. Of course, there are online communities on social media, but I have never been comfortable with them; they feel too disconnected.
One of the best aspects of a bootcamp is having a group of people who are going through the same lessons and tasks as you are. In addition to that, there is a larger community you join that includes all the other students going through the program.
At TripleTen, we have a Discord server that we use to communicate. There are several channels, some corresponding to the individual sprints and others just for the community at large. Here we are able to ask for help or advice from tutors and other students. We can post memes or just have chats about our favorite VS Code extensions. Ultimately though, it gave me the feeling of having a shared experience with people who are going through the same thing.