Learn how to get ready for a great experience with your online bootcamp, well before the start of your first session. Some of our advice applies equally to traditional classroom and bootcamp experiences. After all, learning either way (or in a mix of both) provides similar outcomes and requires similar prep for success.
Career Path Considerations
This one starts well before your bootcamp begins, and applies nearly as much to traditional classroom programs as it does online. That is, do your research and think carefully about the career path you’re considering.
College programs provide general education. The goal in a bootcamp is to prepare specifically for a job in a tech field. In fact, bootcamp programs are developed with input from potential employers, to make sure the curriculum content and depth are what is required.
What type of work would you most enjoy? What are your income goals and expectations? Do you lean towards heavy tech like coding, or the softer more creative side, such as user experience (UX) design?
Learn what you can about the available options, weigh everything, and choose the path that appeals to you most.
Once you decide to take a bootcamp route to your dream tech job, specific preparation for it becomes your highest priority.
Although your bootcamp will provide pre-work to complete before class begins (DigitalCrafts does this), there is more you can do on your own to gain a general familiarity. Whether coding, UX design, cyber security, or any related disciplines, you’ll discover a wide range of concepts, frameworks, vocabulary, and facts to absorb. Not to suggest you have to learn the whole spectrum before starting, but rather just to gain a foothold of understanding.
Luckily, there are many free or low-cost online resources to help jumpstart your learning in the tech field you choose. Check out another post for examples in the UX design specialty. For coding there are even more to choose from!
Regardless of exactly how you prepare, make time to dig in and get somewhat up to speed in the area you’ve chosen before your formal program gets underway.
Take it Seriously
It’s important to approach your online learning experience as you would an in-person classroom session. What’s different in an online program is that the accountability is all yours. Set your own goals, due dates, and accomplishments on a timeline. Then keep yourself true to them.
You need the self-discipline to tell yourself, “Now, I’m going to focus on this,” and show your dedication to follow through. You have more schedule freedom when learning online, but don’t let that turn into procrastination. Block the time, do the work, and get results for yourself every day.
Remind yourself that you are paying to take this online bootcamp, just as you would for an in-person course. For further motivation, imagine yourself in the job you’re ultimately training for. Showing up on time, fully engaged, doing the hard work, and getting ahead.
Set-up a Place for Learning
Create a physical space for your online bootcamp learning experience that works best for you. Whether that’s a room in your home, the local library, or a quiet table in a coffee shop, the key is to make it yours for learning. Ideally, don’t bounce around here and there, opening your classwork wherever you may be. If you do, it will be a lot harder to get into a solid productive routine and your progress may suffer.
Make sure you have a comfortable seat and work surface. Check for a strong and steady Internet connection. All your necessary course books and papers should be within easy reach. You might have to experiment for a little while to get everything right, but it will be worth the time and effort spent.
Also, organize the computer you’re using. Reduce clutter and group the shortcuts and files you need cleanly. Reduce distractions that can take you off track. The social media bookmarks in your browser? Think about deleting them, along with other visual distractions that can only take you off the learning path.
Seek quiet, or the solitude of music in headphones if you perform better with it. In any case, to the extent possible, find a space without noise that you can not control. Distraction is your enemy!
Take Regular Breaks
Participating in a tech bootcamp is not easy. They’re not called “bootcamps” for nothing! They compress the learning you need to land a great tech job into weeks versus months or years. The programs tend to be jam-packed with content and fast-paced.
Working online, and for the most part alone, will present challenges. There’s no “between class” breaks built into your routine. There’s not much friendly social contact built in either. Therefore, it’s very important to schedule breaks in your day. We suggest scheduling a break for yourself every two hours to avoid stress and “glazed eyes” on the computer screen. Could be walking the dog, strolling a park, or just quiet time however you wish. 15-20 minutes or so should do the trick.
Don’t neglect your own health by spending a half or whole day focused entirely on the screen and the assignments. Breaks won’t slow your progress; They will help you maintain it with a clearer mind.
Communicate With Others
While an online bootcamp takes place mostly on your screen and working alone, don’t neglect the opportunities to interact with your classmates. Take advantage of chat, forums, and other opportunities to engage with fellow learners and instructors. DigitalCrafts offers Zoom, Slack, and other tools that provide opportunities for engagement.
Virtual handshakes, conversations, feedback sessions, and the opportunity to ask your peers and instructors questions will prove to be of huge value to you and your ultimate success.
DigitalCrafts offers several proven bootcamps with online and hybrid learning options. Learn more about all of them on our site, read the reviews, and move your exploration forward. There’s a great job waiting for you to fill at the end of bootcamp experience, with lots more learning and a lifetime of growth to come.
This post was written by contributor Marc Tramonte.