Here at the end of bootcamp, I’ve taken a little time to reflect on what the past 20 weeks has taught me, no only in the software engineering sense, but also in the real world. Here are a few things I’ve learned on the way -

Do Things That Intimidate You

Of course, this is set in the scope of bootcamp. What I mean here is to push yourself beyond your comfort limits. When I started my remote classes, I barely wanted to speak or have my camera on. I felt like I would be able to manage just fine on my own doing my own thing. So at first when it mentioned that we would do some pair programming, I wanted to not log on for that session. But after sitting through one of them, I realized just how valuable those sessions are. The ability to learn together as students helps not only you, but your partner as well. Learning from each other as students is invaluable and would have been an experience I would have missed had I not pushed myself to go to these pair programming sessions.

Trust Yourself

I’m realizing now some of these will spill over into each other, and that’s okay, because some of it works hand in hand with each other. For instance, mentioning above that I was picking up more than I realized. Someone on this journey had told me not to get discouraged, to keep my legs moving, keep working, and my brain would catch up with me. This was so true. I didn’t realize it for a while but I would start coming up with answers during code challenges or coding on my own that would surprise. Or I’d start typing out a function I would normally have to reference back on older code to remember how to do, but my fingers were just typing all the right things! During my final project, this was something I continually leaned back on. I learned to trust myself. That this knowledge was in me and if I would be patient with myself and give my brain the chance to think logically, I could find the answers I needed.

Time Management and Organization

In bootcamp, you have a deadline, so time management is key. Organizing your day so that you can learn and code without distracting, remember to eat lunch, and have the discipline to dive back in when you didn’t feel like it took a lot of self control and was not mastered. I don’t know that I will ever master that, but I have taken major strides in daily time management and organization. And I noticed some of my habits I created in how I code (organization and compartmentalization) spilled over into my every day life.

Lean on Others

Finally, and sort of coming back full circle if you are shy and want to stay in your comfort zone and lone it out, learn to lean on others. From the get-go, our instructor said that students that pair up with people tend to do better in this atmosphere. I didn’t realize how true that was until maybe week two or three when friendships really started developing. I probably could have gotten through this without the help of my new friends, but it would have taken a lot more time, it would have been way more stressful, and it would have overall been way harder. Meeting up with my friends and talking about issues we have or looking for bugs together only went to further solidify my foundations. Leaning on and learning with others not only gives you the opportunity to learn from them, but also for them to learn better by helping you, and vice versa. Explaining things to someone is a great way to help you yourself understand something. And hearing about a matter you are struggling with broken down in a different way by different people can further your understanding.

Conclusion

This whole experience has been a true blessing. I’ve been so lucky to have had the instructor I had, the friends I made, and have the love and support from family and friends throughout the journey. I feel as if I’m a new person emerging from bootcamp. And I can’t wait to see where this road continues to take me..