Catherine Jimenez
3 min readMay 24, 2020

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Surviving My First Week of Coding Bootcamp

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Starting coding bootcamp was something I’ve been looking forward to for the past year. I went through all the motions and checked off my lists. Drew up plans, saved up money, quit my job, and began to code furiously. I did everything possible to begin immersing myself in the local tech world, from joining tech-based Meetups to researching coding bootcamps. I was excited, but intimidated. I am naturally anxious and wanted to take every measure to set myself up for success before taking the leap and applying to bootcamps.

So, in an act of excessive caution, I signed up for a coding bootcamp prep course. (A solid foundation never hurt!) To my immense surprise, bootcamp prep went swimmingly! I passed every assessment, grasped every concept, and by the end of that course I felt like I really got beginner JavaScript. I felt confident enough to begin the bootcamp application process.

A few months later I got accepted to my top-choice bootcamp and was on my way. I powered through my prep work, feeling increasingly confident with each passing lab. Things were going to be great! I started bootcamp and things were fine… until day three. I was utterly lost and convinced I didn’t actually know how to code and was clearly heading down a dark road full of failed code challenges and wounded spirits (not dramatic at all). I didn’t cry, but was suddenly overcome with intense allergy symptoms as I questioned what I was doing and how I would possibly pass my upcoming coding challenge. After my allergies subsided, I got serious about learning. I had one week to absorb the influx of new material we would later be tested on. So I got to work and began to strategize. I started rewatching lectures and taking copious notes. I started reaching out to classmates to pair program, since it’s how I learn best. I started coding my own projects based on deliverables discussed in lecture. The weekend before our coding challenge, I coded for 14 hours straight each day because I am a machine. Sustenance and hydration are for mortals! I made sure I really understood what my code was doing and why it was behaving the way it did. I coded until my brain refused to function.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

The day of our coding challenge I didn’t feel as confident as I’d hoped, but I knew I’d put forth my best effort to master the material. I felt relatively calm during the challenge, although I did end up succumbing to nerves midway through. The coding challenge was over before I knew it and then came the most difficult part: waiting for my results. I’ll spare you the suspense: I totally passed! I was convinced I’d failed and was already mapping out alternative plans, but had done much better than I’d anticipated! I’d survived!

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Catherine Jimenez

Latina Software Engineer | Ravenclaw rising | cat lady