Being in an immersive, intensive bootcamp for three months is no joke. I wish I could say that it is easy, but really it is not. My schedule requires that I quit my job and dedicate anywhere from 60-75 hours a week to coding, planning, debugging, testing, Googling, Slacking, and if there is time, eating.
Here is what my day looks like
The day officially ends at 8:00pm, but I usually stay until 9 or 9:30 to listen to useful after hours talks about programming, job searches, or tutoring. (A week before our hiring assessment, I clocked a day that ended at 11:15PM). This schedule is 6 days a week for 3 months. 3 months. 6 days a week.
Preparation is the Key
The key to ensuring that you are eating right, have clean clothes available everyday, and paying bills is to prepare BEFORE you enter bootcamp. Here is a handy guide to automate the process
One month before
- Set all bills to autopay at an amount you know won’t leave you broke during your 3 month job search
- Quit your job
- Send emails to loved ones informing them of your upcoming absence. Call your mom/dad/sibling/partner/bookie and tell them what they read in your email and that you love them/will pay them back
- Start on your pre-coursework
- Visit your local 99 Cent Store and stock up on tupperware containers
One week before
- Cancel cable and return boxes in person to get a receipt that you in fact, did return it (Yes, Comcast, I am calling you out)
- Cancel cable. Seriously, trust me. You will not have the time to watch TV
- Finish up that pre-coursework
- Pick three-four meals that you wouldn’t mind eating 3-4 times a week that can prepared in under an hour
- Explore where the cheapest laundromat is near the coding bootcamp.
- Have a pseudo-going away party with friends and family to send you off for the next three months. If you are looking for a theme, I say military since it is similar to a bootcamp
For the first two months of the program, I was lucky enough to have an in-house washer/dryer, but later moved it to my new condo in LA where I was planning on relocating after graduation. As much money coin laundry may save me, the most valuable commodity I have is not money, but time. That being said, find the nearest and cheapest laundromat near the coding school and drop it off in the morning. Most places near where I attend charge $1.00/lb, but they wash, dry, and fold it for you by the end of the day!
There are two options here obviously:
Spend your money to save time or spend your time to save money
I chose the latter because chopping vegetables and sautéing garlic and onion takes me to a Zen place. Choose 2-3 meals that you don’t mind eating frequently that fill you up and won’t get sick of. A couple years back, I bought the Cooking with Trader Joe’s Cookbook and have an arsenal of recipes that are done in under an hour.
My one precious day off involves cooking a minimum of two meals that are divided over 2 meal breaks for 6 days
Turkey chili – 3 meals (2 lunch + 2 dinner)
Greek Salad – 2 meals (1 lunch + 1 dinner)
Greek Salad mixed with frozen quinoa – 4 meals (2 lunch + 2 dinner)
This leaves me with 1 day a week to eat out. Overall, I save $600 dollars not eating out and feeling a bit of normalcy in my life
The other item I bought a week before were one-minute Madras Lentils and cups of oatmeal from Costco. They are great in a pinch when I run out of meals.
One of the mistakes I made early in my bootcamp experience was using my one day off to code or catch up. I was told in a check-in to not touch code at all on Sunday. Its hard because I always felt behind, but it was important to have a day to not code and do something for myself. I took up going to the batting cages and focus on my batting form, than my coding style. Best decision I made so far!
Lastly, your loved ones WILL feel abandoned. Its not normal to see someone everyday to never seeing them. That being said, invite them to eat dinner with you or to social night to keep the connection alive.
Good Luck with your Coding Bootcamp Engineers!