You’ve been accepted to coding school. Now what? We interviewed three students from JRS Coding School in Charleston, SC, about their experiences. We asked them what advice they would give future coding school students – and what surprised them most about coding school.
It’s OK to be a Newbie, but Prepare Accordingly
“Having a prior knowledge of these skills allowed me to focus on the more difficult concepts being taught and avoid getting stuck on the basics.” – Kendra Davis
If you’re concerned about your lack of coding knowledge, know that the instructors are there to help. They will “get you where you need to be,” Theodore says, adding that JRS Coding School instructors’ commitment to their students is unmatched. Ultimately, don’t be afraid of coding if you have no experience, he says, but do yourself a favor and spend a month or so learning the basics to give yourself a good foundation. “I wish I had done more,” Theodore admits.
It Pays to Come in With Some Base Knowledge
Cameron Monaghan, who recently graduated with a Computing in the Arts degree from the College of Charleston, feels his computer science background was an advantage coming into the course. Because the JRS Coding School curriculum is content-rich and fast-paced, Monaghan says having prior exposure to many of the technologies discussed was a big advantage, especially early in the course. “We are consistently introduced to a number of new technologies as we download and install new programs that are routinely used throughout the course,” says Monaghan. “Just being familiar with some of the programs and their respective terms and language was a major benefit, because as the course progress, I came to rely on each program’s functionality quite a bit.” Having a working knowledge base and staying abreast of recent technologies can help students avoid playing catch-up in the course.
Immerse Yourself in the Tech Community
Kendra Davis came to coding from the world of music and initially taught herself to code using online tutorials. “The online tutorials taught me basic HTML and CSS,” says Davis, who adds that while these basic skills were referenced throughout the course, they were never the focus of any one lesson. “Having a prior knowledge of these skills allowed me to focus on the more difficult concepts being taught and avoid getting stuck on the basics.”
Davis advises future coding school students to enter coding school “with the mindset that you’re going to immerse yourself.” She started following people in the tech industry on Twitter to build connections and gain a broader and deeper understanding of the craft. “I get lots of helpful tips,” says Davis, who has found the tech community on social media to be invaluable. “That’s partially how you can continue learning after you leave the course.”
So, whether you’re a newcomer to coding or you come from an IT background, it’s a good idea to build a knowledge foundation before the first day of coding school. That will help ensure that you keep pace with the class and you’re making the most of your education. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our blog post on free exercises you can do to prepare for coding school. If you’re comfortable with your coding prep, focus your efforts on preparing for your career after coding school. Start following major technology influencers and building connections now. Immersing yourself in the online tech community can pay dividends long before you write your first line of code.