Alex Gonzalez, San Antonio
If you’ve been approved by your boss to take off a few hours to learn code in the morning, then congratulations, you’ve already made it past the hardest part.
For students looking to enroll in a full-time code immersion program while also working full time, the challenge might seem both daunting and unachievable, but I promise, it is possible. For some folks, getting your place of work to allow you to rearrange your schedule might be a little more difficult than others, but don’t let that stop you from at least asking.
Though at first the course work, plus your regular work, daily life activities and functions may seem overwhelming, it will get easier to manage. Because my code-immersion class started each day at 8 and went to 11 a.m., that meant getting up extra early (yes, it was still dark outside!) to begin my work and putting in a few extra hours in the evening to make sure I was on top of things. That left a few hours in the evenings, plus weekends for homework and studying.
Sure, it was a challenge, but the rewards of completing this coding bootcamp have already proven to be worth the early mornings and a few less hours of sleep. My advice for an full-time workers looking to enroll in either a part-time or full-time cohort is this:
1. Talk with your teacher. They’re there to guide you, work with you and make sure you’re understanding the material, which means they’re not going to let you fall behind. Your teacher, of all people, should be able to understand the difficulties of balancing work, life and your class better than anyone, because after all, they’re most likely taking time away from work to teach you. Work with them to coordinate office hours, out-of-class learning and where to find other resource materials.
2. Accept giving up a social life...at least while you’re in class. Give your friends and family a heads-up that you’re pursuing your dreams of learning to code. Hopefully they’ll understand that a course of this intensity requires all of your attention and a lot of your time. You can promise them the first round of drinks when you start making a developer’s salary to make up for it.
3. Ask for help. Ask your spouse, roommates, co-workers, classmates and friends to support you while you’re in bootcamp. For me, that meant asking my husband to cook dinner on nights that it was my turn; asking my co-workers to handle situations that needed immediate attention; asking my friends for encouragement; and asking my classmates to take notes when I had leave class early to get to a work-related meeting. The people around you want to see you succeeded, so don’t be afraid to reach out to others.
It is completely possible to complete a full-time course while working, but it’s up to you to dedicate your time, energy and resource to making it happen.