Time Management While in Software Development Boot camp

Deciding to attend a Software Development boot camp is a tough and extremely time consuming decision to make. While you’re in this course, you will feel like you won’t have time for anything. No time to relax, play games or , even sleep 😱. My first two weeks starting boot camp with Flatiron School felt a little something like the world from down below.

I struggled with trying to learn the concepts, I was spending too much time trying to understand irreverent details of the code I was writing and I had 15hr days where I would stop coding around 12 or 1 am. It was becoming unbearable and to top it off, I was working a part time job.

Knowing that I couldn’t keep up with that type of schedule and work style I changed it up starting my second week after I failed my first code challenge. It was a big blow because even though I was studying like crazy, my efforts bore no fruit. I though of trying a different strategy that would work for me and that’s what I’ll be explaining. Keep in mind that this may or may not work for you.

To Do Lists:

Back when I was in middle school, high school, and college, I kept track of everything I needed to do in a To Do List style. This was very effective then so why not now? The thing is while you’re in this boot camp everything is already laid out for you on what to do so you just need to do it.

I found that making this planner was more time consuming since there’s already one made for you. The difference is how you priorities what YOU need to work on.

I dedicate 1–3 hrs on the easier concepts that I don’t understand and I work on labs that revolve around them to get that hands on feeling until I, can for the most part, do it without needing to search up how to do it. Usually I stop this process when I think I’ve spent enough time on each of the concepts I’m confused on or I give it the limit to 6pm. And then if I still feel like I need more time, I handle it later on that night and then spend maybe about another 4 hrs. Again depending on the concepts and how difficult they may seem for you. That this process does is it breaks up what you need to learn in small sections so you can master those first before moving on to a more difficult concept. If you’re a week behind, you will be able to catch up within a few days, maybe a week at most depending on your study habits.

Webinars:

As funny and ridiculous as it may sound, attend a few webinars that are held in the language you’re learning. You may pick up a new mindset of how to go about writing your code. You might learn a few new concepts that could help you in the long run and it’s a great way to just expand your knowledge and get different ideas from from the coding community. Don’t know this till you try it and only when you have time. It’s mainly a bonus but not a necessity.

Solo Projects:

To fully understand the concepts you learned from labs and by solo studying them by yourselves, work on solo projects. Yea it may be time consuming in a blog that has to do with time management but I never said you can go drinking during the weekday. But keep in mind, If you start working on solo projects and it doesn’t have to be a big project or a massive one at that, I can be something where you can implement only 1 or 2 concepts in and call it done, or you can do a follow along tutorial on how to build a dupe of a certain website or a game in your language but overall I promise you, you will have a better fundamental understanding of the language and how certain things interact with each other.

Break your code..

If you build something or follow a guide, break the code on purpose, test out things that would happen so you can learn what it has done and even better, prevent them from happening in your other projects. Think of it this way, cooking wasn’t mastered instantly, I’m sure people started making bread and their bread was either too hard or too soft. The rice was probably too hard/burnt or too soft/soggy. same thing with coding, you aren’t going to master syntax and vocabulary just because you paid a hefty price to learn a new skill. It takes time, practice and dedication. Which leads me to my last strategy which is how I’ve been able to keep up with the class.

Cram Sessions:

Usually the weekend before the code challenge we get labs that are closely similar to what will be presented on the code challenge. With this I utilize the time frame I have and combine a few of the previous methods into cramming. This is the method that may or may not work for everyone because it may be a nightmare staying up to 3–4am studying all the material needed from scratch the night before the code challenge. And then potentially forgetting everything in the morning or even over sleeping and being late/missing the test all together!! I had a few close call with the last one myself. These are the main strategies I use to help keep the flow of things stable. I tend to end my coding sessions around 6–7 daily. I still have enough time throughout the day between labs to do errands, trade in the stock and Forex market and assemble my packages from Amazon or any other sketchy website I buy merchandise from!

Full Stack Software Engineering Student at Flatiron School New York City