Dev Bootcamp Grads Share Tips on Learning to Code, in 140 Characters

By Dev Bootcamp • December 18, 2016

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The very first Dev Bootcamp cohort came onsite in San Francisco in the summer of 2012. Since then, more than 2,700 graduates have experienced a career (and life) transformation by completing our program. While most agree that it is one of the hardest things they’ve ever done, they also agree that it is one of the most rewarding, not only because of the technical and interpersonal skills they acquired in order to land careers in the tech industry, but because of the expansive network of developers and friends they made by becoming part of our community of learners.

That community starts in Phase 0, the 9 weeks of online part-time prep that happens even before students set foot on one of our six campuses. As Cari Westbrook, a 2014 SF Tiger Swallowtail and software engineer at Deliv, put it, “It’s a really big bonding experience with your fellow cohort mates; you haven’t even met each other [in person], and you’re working together to solve these tough problems.”

That spirit of working together carries through to the next nine weeks of the onsite immersive portion of the program. One of our favorite onsite traditions (aside from “Tutu Tuesday” in San Francisco, “Hide the Shovel” in Chicago and cookies and game night in New York) that helps establish the type of community we have right off the bat happens every Day 1 of a new cohort. As we sit in a big circle, welcoming the newest Phase 1 students to our campuses, students in Phase 2 and Phase 3 share lessons learned in the form of “tweet-sized pieces of advice.”

Some tweets of advice are about self-care, some are about knowing when to ask for help. Some are “classics” in the Dev Bootcamp world, like “Don’t push to master.” Though very few are actually within the 140 character limit, don’t worry, we’re not counting characters here. Our goal is to create an environment where everyone is both a teacher and a student, where everyone is empowered to share the knowledge they’ve gained and pass it on to the “next generation.”

That desire to help new Dev Bootcamp students extends well beyond the walls of our campuses and permeates throughout our vast and vibrant network of alumni and employer partners. We have hundreds of alumni who are now mid-level developers, who are out running teams, who are out being international public speakers, really supporting our community and our craft. And many times, alumni want to continue the culture of support they felt on campus and “pay it forward” to the new cohorts with advice on technical interviews, research resources, job openings, conference opportunities, etc.

Just take it from John Kim, a 2016 SF Salamander, who landed his job as a software engineer at Capital One just two months after graduation by utilizing the Dev Bootcamp alumni network. “It was amazing. DBC grads who weren’t even part of my cohort would return my cold calls and emails and give me advice or make introductions. Something like that would never happen if I cold called alumni from my college alma mater. I’d pay half of the DBC tuition just for the network.”

At Dev Bootcamp, we work to help facilitate that community of sharing with methods to keep alumni connected to current students, each other, Dev Bootcamp staff, and the broader tech community. So, in the spirit of sharing, here are tweets of advice from some of our original graduates from San Francisco, Chicago and New York.

“Ask yourself, ‘how will learning to code get me where I want to be?’ Be clear with yourself up-front on how DBC will get you there. Then, be the hardest worker in your cohort.” Mack McConnell, Founder at Taster’s Club, 2012 Dev Bootcamp San Francisco Graduate

“If you just want to learn coding, you can go anywhere. But if you care about coding, go to DBC, they care about you and coding.” Insung Lee, Application Developer at CVS Health, 2014 Dev Bootcamp NYC Graduate

“If you're confused, it probably means you're learning something.” Isabel Rial, Full Stack Developer at Freshly, 2014 Dev Bootcamp NYC Graduate

“Remember that your level of skill or understanding is only part of your value-add as an employee, and is unrelated to your worth as a person." Mehul Kar, Software Developer at Apple, 2012 Dev Bootcamp San Francisco Graduate

“Don’t let yourself get stuck, always keep moving forward and circle back if you need to.” Andrew Stamm, Web Developer at Eight Bit Studios, 2013 Dev Bootcamp Chicago Graduate

“Be humble. Learn to ask questions even when you think you already know the answer.” Lora Abe, Web Developer at Treehouse, 2013 Dev Bootcamp Chicago Graduate

“Stop thinking. Just do it! Whatever you're trying to do, workout, meditation, learn a few more Ruby methods, or joining DBC, if you stop and analyze whether you have time to do it, you never will.” Timmy Huang, Front End Software Engineer at Adecco at Google, 2014 Dev Bootcamp NYC Graduate

Bonus tweet:

“Be kind to yourself. Remember that you’re there to learn. Make as many mistakes as you can.” Brittney Braxton, Product Specialist at OpinionLab, 2016 Dev Bootcamp Chicago Graduate

Know someone learning to code? Share these tweet-sized pieces of advice from some of our earliest grads to inspire and motivate. And, for more from our alumni, check out our alumni page.

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