Coding Bootcamps are intensive programs- some require an 80 hour per week commitment, and all demand undivided attention in the classroom. This structure may be necessary to learn a new skill in a short time, but it can also overwhelm students and in some cases, cause burnout.
Luckily, at Course Report, we get the opportunity to talk with alumni from coding bootcamps all over the world, and we always ask how they avoided burnout during their courses. We’ve compiled the top eight best pieces of advice for future students from alumni who have been through it before!
1. Schedule daily breaks
“One by one, we all experienced periods when we felt we got off track or got lost; we had times when we got stuck and felt like our brains were about to explode! The first few weeks of LearningFuze, we didn’t know how to take breaks properly. That was a huge thing they taught us- learning how to get away from the work and take breaks. After a couple weeks we started getting up from the desk periodically, going to a space to play a game on the Xbox or just lay down, relax and chat in the lounge area. We had to practice taking breaks consciously, though.”
"Developer Clay" is when your brain freezes up and you just can’t think anymore because you’ve been doing it for so long. It's like Writer’s Block, but I call it Developer Clay. To deal with it, I exercise or do something fun or go for a walk; do something to get my mind off of it. I only experienced burnout once or twice."
"Burnout is pretty standard in any creative endeavor - especially when you’re working as many hours as many of us did while at DESIGNATION. Being able to take a walk and get a change of scenery are easy ways to restart your brain. Also, making sure to make time for self-care is really important. It also helps that there are other people going through the exact same thing you are so you can rely on each other for support and understanding."
2. Opt for a bootcamp with "intermission weeks"
“Turing gives us a week off between each module. I think that if we didn’t have this, over the long run I would get burned out. With a week off, I already feel refreshed and ready to go for the next module.”
“I haven't experienced burn out. The six month structure allows for intermission weeks between each module, so this allows you time to rest or to catch up with whatever topics you feel you may need work on.”
3. Maintain Work-Life Balance
“I got married earlier this year, so I try to make sure that I have a very good work-life balance. I will take one day per weekend off, and I make sure I have a few hours most evenings to spend with my husband. I think because I was really intentional about keeping work-life boundaries, I didn’t get burned out."
4. Ace your pre-work
“I definitely benefitted from everything I did in Code School and Codeacademy because I’m not struggling as much with something like the concept of a loop. It’s probably beneficial to anyone doing any kind of bootcamp to work on their own and get the real basics down, because I think struggling with that and trying to solve logic problems at the same time is really challenging. It was nice to have a running start and feel confident that I can do it.”
“I probably experienced burnout less than most because of the experience I had before the class. Go above and beyond what the bootcamp tells you to do beforehand. If there are courses on Code School that you haven’t figured out, I would say just go through those courses again and do the answers again until you understand, it if you have the time."
“I ran in the morning every once in a while and I worked out midday after a lecture for a half hour or took a short walk to refresh myself. I tried to remain competitive.”
6. Commit full-time
"I wouldn’t recommend doing MakerSquare and working. I wish that I had just been able to quit for that period of time. At the end, I was starting to get a little stressed -- and I really would love to have had the weekends… both to chill out a little and also to review anything that wasn’t quite solidified in my mind yet.”
7. Take advantage of resources
"I didn’t experience burnout. If anything, I wanted to keep going. There was a steady supply of free beer and energy drinks, so I was always just cracked out enough to function."
"At Dev Bootcamp, we did yoga twice week. I hate yoga; I really hate it. It’s not for me. But it was mandatory and I knew that the point of it was to get focused on your body and make sure that you’re not neglecting that other parts of yourself that are really important towards being a realized human being. So really, I’m glad they forced me to take that time, even if I grumbled through it."
8. Celebrate small victories
“Another thing I did was celebrate all the smaller victories. If my code worked, I’d literally celebrate like I’d won the lottery and that would keep me motivated and excited.”
Have you graduated from a Coding Bootcamp? Have more advice for future students? Let us know in the comments!
Git Creative: 4 Ways Alumni Got Hired
4 Flatiron School alums share their creative stories of how they found jobs after coding bootcamp.
3 Ways Women Can Overcome Bias in Tech
Tips for women developers navigating the tech industry from Grace Hopper Program Dean Shanna Gregory
6 New Year's Resolutions for Bootcampers
6 resolutions for new and future coding bootcampers to level up their coding skills.