So you’ve been bitten by the coding bug?
You’ve started working through the Codecademy HTML Track, or maybe even worked through some of the courses on freeCodeCamp and you want to turn this into a new career!
But how can you balance and develop your new skills all while working a full-time or part-time job? Or managing your family life? Although it can be extremely rewarding, the additional workload can be quite challenging, so what are the best ways to stay on top of your work, personal life and studying alongside a full-time job?
Make sure it’s right for you
Learning to code is such a huge undertaking. It requires a lot of commitment and a lot of determination, even more so when you’re learning along side a full-time job. It’s important to make sure that coding is right for you - have a play with Codecademy or freeCodeCamp and see if you're having fun!
If you need some help figuring out whether coding is right for you, Harriet, who runs the Part-Time Bootcamp wrote a blog listing all of the tell-tale signs that you should learn to code, read it here!
When it comes to balancing work, life and study, structure is critical. Make a schedule and stick to it. Use Google Calendar or a paper diary and schedule time before or after work and dedicate a day every weekend to study. Whatever works for you - but be consistent. It’s a short term sacrifice but it’s well worth it.
As important as scheduling time to study is ensuring you have time to relax too. You’re in this for the long haul, so you need to plan against burn out. A little time with friends, exercising or just doing nothing will help you re-energise and make your studying all the more effective.
Now comes the really tough bit. You’ve chosen a path, you’re steadily making progress but then something pops up. A term you don’t understand or a problem you can’t solve. You question whether you’re really able to do this, whether you’ve learnt a thing along the way and you start to spiral. You frantically google, you’re led to articles that seem to be discussing what you’re learning but they might as well be in written in another language.
This is a problem all aspiring developers have at one point or another, there’s even a term for this: ‘Valley of Despair’.
This is where self-teaching becomes really difficult. With no-one to turn to, your stay in the Valley of Despair can be long and harsh. With enough time and focus you will exit again but my next tip can make all the difference.
The Web Community is very welcoming and supportive.The odds are that there’s something near you aimed at helping new developers: CodeUp and Free Code Camp meetups being great examples of this. It’s likely there will be people at these events that have faced problems similar to yours, whether they’re studying themselves or Developers offering their time to mentor.
Another benefit of attending these meetups is learning to communicate about your work/problems. When self-learning it's easy to overlook but being able to talk to others about your code will be critical when it comes to getting a job.
How can Northcoders help?
We’ve built a curriculum and provide extensive career support to get you into your first Software Developer job - but more importantly, we’ve built a community to support you along the way. Many of our staff and mentors are graduates of Northcoders and understand the rollercoaster of learning to code, having someone who’s been there can make all the difference.
We’ve experienced the challenges and the euphoria, we’ve gone through the growth that you will go through and we’re here to guide you to your new career. And at the end of it all, we’ll find the right role for you, setting up interviews for you to help place you with an innovative business in our large Hiring Partner network.
Our current Part-Time cohort are making massive strides on their journey towards being Software Developers. Happy coding!
Click here to find out more about our Part-Time Bootcamp