5 Tips to Help You Thrive On The Code First Girls Degree

The actions that helped me succeed on my coding bootcamp.

8/21/20234 min read

Coding Bootcamps can be challenging! In most cases, 'Bootcampers' are balancing working full-time and learning how to code with other life commitments 🤯. It can be tricky, however, there were 5 key things I was able to do that enabled me to not only complete my coding Bootcamp, but also finish with a merit 🥳!

In this blog post, I will be taking you through these key tips and providing practical steps that you can take to actually use them.

Side note: These tips are specific to the Code First Girls (CFG) degree course (find out more about it here). Nonetheless, they can be tweaked and applied to other coding bootcamps.


🎯Be Prepared

🎯Be Organised

🎯Use Resources

🎯Embrace The Supportive Community

🎯Develop a Growth Mindset

1. Be Prepared

The course is very fast-paced and it can be easy to fall behind. I'd recommend getting some foundational knowledge of the key concepts that you'll be covering in the course. CFG have great Kickstarter and career switcher courses which will be enough to catch you up on the basics. In my case, I reviewed SQL and Python 🧐, mostly using YouTube and the notes I had from previous courses. Now, you don't have to LEARN these (as this is what the course is for), but do some research on them, see what they are used for, their importance in programming etc. I found that by doing this, I was more confident when going onto the degree and was able to grasp these concepts more easily when they were covered in lessons 👌.

2. Be Organised

The classes run 4 days a week for 2 hours each day. That means you are getting a lot of knowledge in a short amount of time. This is why organisation is super important. Organise your files - these include any coding practice you do in and out of lessons. You also need to be on top of theory questions and homework deadlines 👩🏽‍💻. Do not leave these til the last minute!

Now, let me put you guys onto the main thing that saved me during this course. This notion template 📑 that I created made taking and organising my notes during the course so simple. I also added active recall tabs which I'd use to test my knowledge of the class content. If you're someone who hasn't gotten into active recall yet, I'd 100% recommend you adopt it as a revision technique - it will transform the amount of information you're able to remember. The template is free to download so grab it whilst you can! When it came to revising for the exam, I knew where everything was and this made what could've been a hectic experience, wayy less stressful. I still use those notes every now and then to refresh my memory on certain things. They were also of great use when I was applying for tech jobs. Ultimately, effective note-taking and organisation are the key.

In terms of staying on top of lessons, you will be introduced to many new, tricky concepts. Make a habit of reviewing each lesson after to check your understanding and see if you need to do any extra research before the next class. For those times when things are just not clicking, remember that you can always ask for help from your instructor or your peers.

An important note to add for all my full-time workers, I’d recommend taking annual leave around exam time to help with revision (and stress!).

3. Use Resources

Although the CFG course content is comprehensive and structured, using additional resources to supplement my knowledge was super helpful. Sometimes you just need to hear an algorithm explained in 10 different ways from 10 different sources before you grasp it💭!

Some amazing resources I used include:

CFG also provide additional coding practice for you to do. I’d recommend doing as many as you can.

4. Embrace The Supportive Community

There will be a Slack channel for your group to communicate in. I encourage you to really get involved in this channel and be vocal. Ask questions, support others and teach others (teaching will enhance your learning). You are all in the same boat, navigating the complex (but overall rewarding) ups and downs of learning how to be a Software Engineer. As a result, the chat is great for building community and reduces isolation🤝🏼. One of the coolest things about the Code First Girls program is the amazing community you'll be a part of, so embrace it because it's empowering!

5. Develop a Growth Mindset

Last but not least, develop a growth mindset 🧠. You will be learning so many new and challenging concepts - it can get overwhelming. What got me through the course is the acceptance that I will not understand everything the first time and that I will get things wrong. That I will struggle when creating my first programme using OOP, or when creating the back-end of my first Flask app. But a simple formula of time, intentional revision and persistence will get me over that bridge and in a place where I will be able to grasp these concepts. Being a beginner in anything is difficult, so give yourself grace and understand that setbacks and challenges are an opportunity for growth. Don't be afraid to ask for help or simply say 'I don't get it!'.

I hope you found these tips useful. If you’ve done the degree, do let me know of any additional tips you’d add!

Until next time,


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