Hey how’s it going? Welcome to DBC! I bet you’re nervous. I sure as hell was. Don’t worry, you’ll settle in soon. This place is pretty chill. Just don’t be a jerk and you’ll do fine.
One piece of advice that you’ll hear a lot is that you’ll only get as much out of this place as you put into it. I know that’s a cliché but it’s true. The problem is, when I heard that advice I interpreted it as “work really, really hard.” It took me a while to realize that’s not what was meant. Don’t get me wrong, you’re going to work hard. It’s not called bootcamp for nothing. But it’s much more than that.
DBC is a collaborative effort. Every single person in your cohort is there for a reason. You all come from different backgrounds and bring different skills with you. You’ll each learn new skills at different rates. For some people the morning lecture will totally click. For others it totally won’t. This is where the collaboration comes in.
Every single person at DBC is a teacher. All of them. Including you. Especially you. You don’t need to be some kind of super genius or an absolute perfect expert on a topic in order to teach it, you just need to know a chunk of information and believe that knowing said information would be valuable to your cohort-mates.
DBC tries to convey this to you by encouraging you to share “Aha!” moments during Phase 1 and assigning you lightning talks during Phase 2. These are times specifically set aside so that you all can teach each other.
You are not required to save all of your “Aha” moments for the designated time. If you figured something out and want to share your knowledge with everyone else, please do so as often as possible! Make an announcement that you’d like to do a quick breakout on whatever topic you choose, gather anyone who wants to listen, and teach away.
Your topic doesn’t have to be something huge, it can be a handy little keyboard shortcut that you discovered today, or a metaphor to explain AJAX. You can share a pneumonic device that helps you remember something. All of this counts as teaching. All of this helps.
The more you all teach each other, the more you will learn and the stronger your cohort will be. This is a good thing! Programming is collaborative, not competitive. You need to be able to work on a team. The stronger your team is, the better your work will be.
Then once your 9 (or 12, or 15) weeks are over and you’ve graduated and earned your dog tags, you don’t stop learning. You didn’t just come to Dev Bootcamp to learn how to program, you came to learn how to teach yourself new things. It’s not like technology is going to stop evolving. You’ve got to keep learning if you want to keep up. You’ll have to keep learning new languages and concepts for the rest of your career. You might be able to do it alone, maybe, but it will be a lot faster and a lot easier if you have friends to help teach you along the way. Can you see yourself in 5 years attending a workshop to learn some new language and running into other DBC grads? How do you want them to remember you?
Make the most out of your time at Dev Bootcamp (after all, you paid for it! Get your money’s worth!) Put in as much as you possibly can, and get out as much as you can.
- Erin Joan Snyder, Fiery Banana Bear 2014 -