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Zoe's Experience - The Joys and Challenges of Coding Bootcamp

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I’m from an academic background and have done some coding in the past, but never really thought about it as a career. When I was reaching the end of my PhD I thought about what I wanted to do and I realised that coding was the part of my job I enjoyed the most. I applied for Northcoders, unsure as to whether I’d be good enough to get a place on the course and 9 weeks later we’re preparing to make web apps from scratch.

Northcoders is an experience - every day has been challenging, but also interesting and fun. For the first couple of weeks, the intensity of the course made it pretty exhausting – I was travelling home on the train in a bit of a daze. The workload hasn’t really changed but the way the course is designed means that familiarity with concepts and a foundation of JavaScript knowledge make it easier as the course progresses.

One of the pieces of advice we were given at the start of the course was to try to feel comfortable being out of your comfort zone. Initially, I found it difficult to keep moving on without understanding everything about what we were learning. However, in the following weeks of the course, the more we practiced using the concepts, the clearer they became. One of the key lessons I’ve learned is how to learn to code - as the languages are constantly evolving, there’s really no end to the learning, which makes reading documentation so important.

One of the great things about the course is that we have constant support to keep us on track. We’re encouraged to ask questions if we’re not entirely clear on the concepts and particularly in the lectures, topics are covered until all the questions are answered. The teaching staff genuinely want everyone to understand before they move on. The staff are also available throughout the day to help debug and answer questions during sprints.

I feel like it’s difficult during the course to stop and reflect (although this is a good opportunity to do just that), but it is amazing how much we have learned, it is intense, but it has been fun!

I think this is a real testimony to how good the course is, how good my cohort is and how well the teaching staff are doing their jobs – I still want to get up at 6am to come in to code!

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