Online Bootcamp 101: Tips for Success

Online Bootcamp 101: Tips for Success

April 3, 2020

Transitioning to remote learning, especially when you’re used to a traditional bootcamp experience, can feel daunting. “I was nervous,” says Daniel Beaver, an Eleven Fifty Web Development student. “Learning in a classroom was easy; the environment felt just like the classrooms I had spent so many years in before. Home is a different story.” Whether your in-person experience had to make the jump online for COVID-19 or you’re considering joining a virtual bootcamp right now, succeeding in your studies is possible with the right attitude and adjustments.

Create a dedicated work space

Remote learning has the perk of working from the couch, but a dedicated work space is going to help you get your mind into work mode. “Move your desk, work in a spare bedroom, do everything you can to make the place you work and study feel less like the place you relax and play. Treat this space like an office,” Beaver said. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and yes, it can be a seat on your couch if you don't have a desk, table, or other workspace option. The key is making a space that’s a work-only zone. This means walking away from it on breaks and when you wrap up for the day. You’re also going to be spending long hours at your computer, so consider the best place to support good posture. While it’s super tempting, we 100% don’t recommend making your work space your bed!

Stick to your schedule

It’s easy to sleep in when you don’t have somewhere to be in the morning, but letting your schedule go haywire is an easy way to get behind. Most online bootcamp experiences, however, have designated class hours, so while you’re not driving to class you still have to make the commute from your bed to your laptop.

Get dressed

Sure, your friend who works from home might live in pajamas, but we recommend still getting dressed every day. This will help you feel more polished and get into the work zone. You’ll also look more professional when you tune in for a video chat. Remember: Even though you’re still a student, you’re always preparing for the next professional step. Look the part!Set boundaries“As long as you meet the technical requirements to join an online class and you block out any distractions, you can approach the sessions as if you are taking a traditional class,” says Chris Gigliotti, Eleven Fifty Cybersecurity Instructor.If you’re sharing your space with a partner, parents, or friends, be sure to let them know your schedule. Create designated no-interruption time. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode. Make it easier than ever for you to focus.

Stay Organized

The bootcamp experience is fast-paced and challenging, and that doesn’t change when it’s online. Working from home means it's more important than ever to dodge distractions and stay on top of deadlines. Take full advantage of scheduling tools like Google Calendar or use a good old fashioned paper planner to stay on task and keep track of assignments. “At the start of each day make an agreement with yourself on what you will get done, and stick to it,” Beaver recommends. “These small goals over time make big changes.”

Give yourself space

While it’s important to put in the hours and get your work done, it’s just as important to rest and give yourself space. When work is always there in front of you it’s easy to burn out. Step away from the computer and take a real lunch break. When you wrap up for the day, walk away from your computer. Creating some space from your learning will allow you to recharge and, as a result, be a better student.

Stay engaged

If you’re not used to them, video chats can feel weird at first, but they’re a fantastic way to still be a part of your cohort community. “Everyone can be seen and heard just the same, each student getting the proper interaction with classmates and instructors,” Gigliotti says. Be sure to bring questions to the table and don’t be afraid to speak up. Instructors are there to help you succeed!

Build relationships

Relationships are one of the most important things you can take away from a bootcamp. Build relationships with instructors, which can often turn into mentorships. Build relationships with your cohort members for support and help. Build relationships with career development for guidance on your job search and professional development. The more time you take to develop relationships, the more supported and successful you’ll be.

Track your progress

Being in a classroom setting makes immediate feedback on your progress a little easier. While feedback is still a part of the online experience, being solo can make it feel harder to see just how much you’ve accomplished. Beaver suggests tracking how you’re feeling about the day’s topics. “Take notes daily on how much you learned and what you have become more comfortable with, so when you look back over these notes you can see just how much progress you’re making,” he said.

Remember you’re not alone

The bootcamp experience is intense. You’re deep-diving into intense material and spending hours a day dedicated to changing your life. If you don’t have others around you going through the same experience, it’s easy to feel alone. Your fellow cohort members are likely feeling the same way! That’s why it’s important to feel like you can turn to them when things get tough. You also have a team behind you. At Eleven Fifty, we’re here to cheer you on and extend the support you need to succeed. You can do this!Eleven Fifty Academy’s free online courses are the perfect way to get a taste for coding and the online bootcamp experience. Check out Intro to Coding or Intro to Cybersecurity.

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