Some Important Things That My Coding Bootcamp Didn’t Teach Me.

I graduated from my Bootcamp just a few months ago and during my time searching for a job I have realized there are some important skills that I didn’t learn during my program. If you are about to, or already started a Bootcamp I would strongly recommend supplementing your program's work with additional work in these areas.

  1. Data structures and Algorithms.

Anyone searching for a job in the tech space knows that coding interviews are packed full of questions about data structures and algorithms. I knew this during my Bootcamp and did practice a bit during my program. However, I soon realized after finishing my Bootcamp and starting to apply for jobs that my knowledge in these areas was lacking and that I needed to put in a lot more work. Make this a habit early and grow your skills in this area.

2. In-Depth Git.

After graduating from my program I wanted to add something to my experience section to help in getting to that first step of an interview. I joined a few volunteer organizations working in civic tech in my area — if you’re looking to do this a good place to start is Code for America. During my time with these organizations, I worked on teams that functioned similarly to how teams of developers work on the job. This meant that I needed to work on large codebases with lots of other developers instead of repos that I created and worked on by myself or with a small group of 2 or 3.

The biggest difference in these repos was my initial lack of understanding of how to use Git in a more in-depth way. Although I technically used Git in my projects for my Bootcamp I rarely used features like pull requests, separate branches, Github issues, or fetching upstream and keeping your local repository up to date. I think this is an important skill to learn and will make you seem less “new” when you first start working on a team.

3. New Languages.

This one I think isn’t nearly as important but is a good thing to learn during or after graduating. If your Bootcamp doesn’t teach python I would suggest that as a good language to start with. Learning another language is just another thing to add to your resume and just generally increases your worth to an employer. I think combining this with number 1 on this list is a great way to practice. Pick some easier problems and do them in whatever new language you’ve chosen to learn. You might not become a master at the new language this way but it's a good way to learn a lot of the functionality and syntax in a new language while also brushing up on your DSandA.

4. Experience.

Bootcamps can’t offer you work experience and even though you are likely to create some technical projects during your time at a Bootcamp they can only get you so far and experience is one of the best ways to take your resume up a notch. After you understand the basics consider doing some volunteer or freelance work to have something to stuff into the experience section of your resume coming out of the Bootcamp.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of things to learn outside of your Bootcamp but I think it is a good start and they are some of the things that I noticed were a bit weaker for me after my Bootcamp finished.