My Time at CareerFoundry: What a Coding Bootcamp Is Really Like
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If you want to know what a real coding bootcamp is like, let me tell you.
I began the full-stack web development coding bootcamp at CareerFoundry in March 2022. It has been fantastic in helping me regain motivation and overcome coding obstacles I was running into at the beginning.
Let's be honest — coding can be a very complicated and hard-to-understand subject to follow. With new data being constantly released and new versions coming out for each coding language, new coders like myself can get confused and hesitate to get started. Thankfully, the tutors and mentors at CareerFoundry work with you throughout the course, review your work, and make improvement suggestions or point out where errors occurred.
Now, let's discuss how the real bootcamp experience was.
Right off the bat, it can be a little overwhelming to read all the links the program shares and to stay up to date with the languages you are going to work with. I would recommend having a folder to organize all of them. As you continue working with different languages and programs, these resources can add up very quickly. The projects you will work on all go toward the professional tech portfolio you will build throughout the course.
This portfolio website showcases all of your credible and professional-looking projects. As you work through the bootcamp, you will continue adding these projects to it as you finalize them. You can choose which projects you prefer to show off, or you can add all of them to create a large variety of projects displayed.
In the full-stack web development bootcamp, you will learn many different programming languages as you complete each project. The real kicker is that you don't spend too much time on one language before starting an entirely different one. This makes it important to fully understand each language and utilize your tutor and mentor for any questions. There is also a student directory where you can ask other students for advice and help!
During my calls with my mentor, I brought up any questions or concerns, varying from coding errors to interview questions. My mentor has been great at going above and beyond to help make sure my code is correct and professional.
In a coding bootcamp, it is important to utilize your mentor — they will be the biggest advantage you will receive. Your tutor will review all the work you submit and will verify your code's functionality.
However, a tutor can only help so much. Your commitment is key when starting this process, as this course is entirely self-paced. CareerFoundry has a recommended amount of exercises you should complete each week for the specific course. However, for the self-paced courses, this is just a recommendation and not mandatory.
There are several pros and cons to enrolling in a self-paced bootcamp. If you choose to take a week off, this will only affect you. Nobody will message you asking where you disappeared to, so you must constantly motivate yourself and push through.
A pro is that CareerFoundry breaks each project down into "bite-size" exercises. This prevents overloading you with information all at once. You also have other student projects you can reference to get a sense of how other people approach and process their code.
While working full-time on top of the bootcamp, I didn't always have that much time to work on my projects. This caused a lack of confidence and a decrease in my motivation at times. CareerFoundry wants you to keep working on exercises even if your previous assignment has not been approved yet. This was a very nice feature for someone working full-time like myself, as they allow you to resubmit the task as often as you need to to reach that professional level.
Some good news is that once you get halfway through, you unlock the job preparations course! You can craft a mission statement, polish your portfolio, and practice interviews. CareerFoundry teaches you how to sell yourself and evaluate the best approach to win over your interviewer. You also work with other students throughout the course, preparing each other for what's to come. It helps you fluently get your message across.
Overall, I have had mixed feelings as I progressed through the course. Working a full 40-hour week left limited time for me to commit to the longer bootcamp exercises. Commitment and pure will to keep going are the only ways to complete a self-paced course, so be sure you can commit the time and effort before enrolling.
However, I truly did prefer this learning style to mandatory classes and forced learning. CareerFoundry is wonderful at allowing you to work at your own pace with references, mentors, and tutors to help you along the way. The ultimate key is using these tools to benefit yourself. By the end of the program, with your interview skills honed and a portfolio to back you up, you will feel confident to find a job in no time.
Meet the Author
Carl Reynolds is currently the assistant manager at his local Gamestop. However, as he has always had a passion for coding, he is currently working towards learning more about the tech industry. He is currently enrolled in a full-stack web development coding bootcamp at CareerFoundry, hoping to expand his future options.