Dev Bootcamp: Prep

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Presently I’m about a third of the way through Phase 0 at Dev Bootcamp (started on 2nd June and beginning Phase 0 on 4th August), so I’ll be trying to post the next few posts in fairly quick succession in order to catch up and blog about more recent experiences (e.g. what the previous week was like).

Between getting accepted into a cohort at Dev Bootcamp and beginning the nine week Phase 0, you are expected to complete some prep work and tick off a few prep ‘competencies’ to ensure you’re not spending the first few weeks trying to find your way around the terminal, for example.

While detailed information on the curriculum at Dev Bootcamp is kept reasonably under wraps due to it changing so regularly, I believe the prep work is fairly static, so hopefully they don’t have an issue with me sharing it! I also wanted to take the opportunity to provide my (personal, subjective, possibly incorrect) opinion on where I feel that less work is required and how I think it could be supplemented.

Dev Bootcamp prep summary and review:

  • Setup a Google account: you’ll be using Google hangouts quite a bit, so you’ll certainly need one of these
  • Understand your learning style: there is a little bit of reading to do and some tests to complete here to give you some insight into your learning styles. Whether you buy into Gregorc Mind Styles and the VARK model, you should at least keep an open mind (you’ll also be expected to write a blog about how these apply to you during Phase 0)
  • Setup your development environment: getting setup with Ruby and Sublime Text should be straightforward, especially if you’re on a Mac
  • Navigate using the terminal/command line: for people entirely new to programming I can imagine this being a bit daunting, but it’s absolutely necessary that you get comfortable working from and navigating around using the terminal, since you’ll be doing it *a lot*
  • Learn the basics of ruby: the prep suggests a combination of Learn to Program by Chris Pine and Codecademy ruby track. Personally, I’d suggest getting as much time in with ruby as possible to familiarise yourself with the ruby standard library and start a few personal projects
  • Learn to touch type: regular touch typing and touch type coding are two very different things – with the latter you will be using usually uncommon symbols as often as many letters (depending on the language, of course). The prep suggests a couple of code-oriented typing tutors to boost your productivity, but don’t stress about this too much unless you’re particularly slow
  • Read a few books: the additional resources are optional, but there are a few good selections in there. I’ve actually taken the CS50X Harvard Intro to Computer Science course and, while it may be overkill for DBC prep, it is a truly fantastic introduction to computer science which will give you a better understanding of algorithms, optimisation, and how computers work.

For a complete beginner, all of the above prep (excluding all of the extra books) will take around 20-30 hours. However, if you have the time, there are definitely a few extra subjects you could brush up on before you start Phase 0 at Dev Bootcamp:

  • Git: in week 1 of Phase 0, this is probably where most people experienced issues. If you can, learn the basics of git (at the very least, creating/cloning/forking repos and adding/committing/pushing changes) by going through Codeschool’s Try Git course, then create a repo or two of your own to pracitce
  • CSS: Codecademy’s HTML and CSS for beginners should be enough to give you a bit of a head start in week one and two of Phase 0
  • Javascript: not absolutely necessary for the purpose of preparing for phase 0, but Javascript *is* one of the key languages of the web, so it would definitely be a benefit to go in knowing the basics. I suggest Codecademy’s Javascript track for this
  • More ruby!: most importantly, get as much exposure to ruby as you can. Codecademy, Codeschool and Treehouse courses to familiarise yourself with concepts, then small personal projects to implement them (e.g. Project Euler, CodeWars, Mega Projects List, or whatever you can think of!)

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