5 Tips to Acing an Online Coding Bootcamp

By Imogen Crispe
Last Updated March 16, 2020

How do you stay motivated throughout an online coding bootcamp (and land a job afterwards)? Many people choose to take online coding bootcamps because it’s more convenient to study from home, or because they don’t have access to an in-person bootcamp in their city. At Course Report, we regularly hear success stories from online bootcamp graduates who have found great jobs with their new skills. But what is the secret to success at an online bootcamp? We asked the team at Thinkful, which offers full-time and part-time remote coding bootcamps, for their top tips to acing an online bootcamp. Watch the video or read the blog post.

Tip #1: Find a Course That Will Support You

Dan Friedman, Thinkful Co-Founder

  • There’s a difference between a self-guided, online course and an online bootcamp
    • Online resources are like books in a library, while bootcamps are like schools. Choose a program that will guide you to success.
  • Find support for your learning style
    • Can you learn from recorded lectures and self-direction? Great! If you need more support, look for a program with live instruction and interaction with mentors.
    • One-on-one instruction can mean faster learning and better retention.
  • Look at a school’s outcomes to see how their grads are doing
    • Look for graduation rate, placement rate, & clear definitions.
    • Compare outcomes apples to apples in a framework like CIRR.


Tip #2: Carve Out Time for The Online Course

Derek Fogge, Flexible Bootcamp Program Manager

  • Be aware of all your obligations
    • Set up your Google calendar before the course
    • Block off time to deal with family, day job, & other obligations
    • See what time is left to study and defend that time
  • Know when to ask for help
    • After 30 minutes, it’s time to ask for some help
    • Know which instructor to go to for your questions, and who is available
  • Choose Your Environment
    • If you’re surrounded by other people, it may be distracting
    • Find a coffee shop, coworking space, or library
    • Get away from everything so you can focus without distractions


Tip #3: Make The Most of Your Support Network

Theresa Freet, Full Time Web Development Bootcamp Program Manager

  • You need a network of support to help you go through a coding bootcamp
    • Get buy-in from the people in your life
    • Make sure your family and friends know you’ll be working really hard and that they’re rooting for you
    • Coding can be tough, so it’s nice to have people who have your back
  • Work closely with staff and your peers at the bootcamp
    • These people are your first level of technical support, moral support, and will help you build soft skills
    • Leverage these systems to help you get through the program
  • Share the projects you make, it’s nice to see friends using them
    • Show people what you’re doing, like this Thinkful team which built a virtual drum circle.
    • Share projects on Facebook or social media


Tip #4: Always Be Coding

Bhaumik Patel, Head of Full Time Web Development Bootcamp

  • The only way to get better at writing code is to write more code
  • Work through practice problems and real interview questions


Tip #5: Network Aggressively

Liz Parsekian, Thinkful Career Services Manager

  • Work with your careers team to have a targeted job search
    • Refine your application materials, resume, and LinkedIn
  • Network like crazy
    • You’re an online student, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go offline to network!
      • Attend meetups, events, and coffee meetings
      • Build inroads to companies you want to work at
    • Share what you’re working on
      • Discoveries, new technologies, projects
    • People are really receptive to connecting on LinkedIn
    • Networking is like a shortcut to a job
      • Cuts out work and effort of applying for roles
      • You already have a warm connection
  • Plus, networking has been super helpful for past Thinkful students who are now working at companies like BBC News, IBM, Intel, JP Morgan Chase & Co, and PeopleVine.

Thanks to the Thinkful team for sharing what they’ve learned! Find out more and read Thinkful reviews on Course Report. Check out the Thinkful website.

About The Author

Imogen is a writer and content producer who loves writing about technology and education. Her background is in journalism, writing for newspapers and news websites. She grew up in England, Dubai and New Zealand, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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