When speaking to potential students for DigitalCrafts about the learning process, I often compared it to learning to cook. I'd usually draw a comparison that it was, like a cooking class, very hands on and that you were "thrown into the fire" before you felt ready.

Making Pasta
Photo by Jorge Zapata / Unsplash

After a few weeks, I can see I wasn't wrong. What surprised me, however, was how this metaphor also matched the way in which specific topics are taught. In some cases, a cooking class would probably prepare you more before asking you to tackle a new dish with the skills you just learned.

A good way to describe the process of learning to code at a coding bootcamp while still drawing on the cooking school metaphor:

  1. This is how you use a knife.
  2. This is how you handle raw meat.
  3. This is how you tell the doneness of meat.
  4. Make a main course using the skills above.

The leap from step 3 to 4 is obviously pretty big and leaves the student with a ton of questions. I feel like this holds true for bootcamps, too.

Full focus at a coffee shop
Photo by Tim Gouw / Unsplash

But, this is not a bad thing - leaving the student to connect the dots, learn to stand on their own, make mistakes, and spend hours finding out how to use the small number of basics they are shown to actually make something (without much direction or instructions) really does prepare them well for going into the real world of Software Engineering. It's also where the most valuable learning happens - especially when we have mere weeks to absorb everything.