Are teachers underrated? When it comes to choosing a good coding school I think they are. Not everyone who’s a software engineer can teach someone how to code. Being a teacher also requires a level of empathy and a way to explain concepts in different ways. It also requires a lot of patience. Though you will not get that level of hand holding at your first junior developer position, I think that when you drop thousands of dollars on a bootcamp you hope that instructors associated with the program would be comfortable with the curriculum to the point where they won’t give up easily on explaining something to a student if one approach doesn’t work.
To me the best teachers I’ve met are the ones who truly want you to succeed. These are usually the teachers that may also end up sending you additional links on the topic you struggled with in order to help you better understand it. Or they may sit with you a little longer until you’ve understood it. In university, no matter how hard a course was I persevered because despite the level of the difficulty because I wanted to learn. I apply this same mentality to coding.
When I was teaching English to adults in Japan, there were times when I had difficulties explaining aspects about the English language. In though cases, I made a note of that, researched it, and reached out to colleagues who were English teachers for advice on how I could explain it in the following class. While I was enrolled in a Japanese Language School, there were questions that a couple teachers had difficulties answering about Japanese some would say it was a “Japanese language rule” but others worked the concept into the next lesson so students better understood it.
If you reach a point where you’re concerned the school you’re in is not a good fit and you’ve invested a lot time and finances in it, it’s a bit paralyzing. However, it’s not the end when things don’t work out as expected. At the end of the day, it’s about how far you are able to progress. If that means extra programming books and enrolling in online courses alongside the school’s curriculum so be it. It may very well be a Tim Gunn “Make it work” scenario. There are plently of self-taught developers around who’ve never attended bootcamps. Some have also inspired me to keep moving forward no matter what. I’m happy that I’ve met a few that I feel comfortable reaching out to for advice.
What am I’m learning from my coding bootcamp experience? Some of these schools are a work-in-progress on a curriculum level but utilize whatever resources offered to help you get to the point where you need to be. Be resilient and never be afraid to reach out for outside help. Also, networking is just as important as coding. Get on Slack, go to a Meetup, go on Twitter, start a blog…etc.