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    4 Reasons Why Winter Session Coding Bootcamp is Worth It

    By Nick Tucker

    Man in sweater looking at screen

    Editor’s Note:
    Nick Tucker is our NYC Campus Director. Below, he shares why he thinks that a winter session cohort is a great time to attend Fullstack Academy’s Software Engineering Immersive bootcamp.

    In my nearly 5-year career at Fullstack Academy, I’ve had the privilege to work on many different teams and in many different functions: campus operations, admissions, academic operations, and now as the campus director for all of our New York City-based programs.

    My friends and family will frequently ask, “I’m ready to make a shift...but is now the right time?”

    And my answer to that question is simple: “If you’re thinking about transitioning into tech, it’s time to make the move!”

    Less frequently, I’m asked a much more insightful question: “If you had to choose, which cohort would you pick for yourself?”

    My answer often surprises those who ask: I would choose a winter session cohort.

    How could I possibly recommend that for anyone, considering the holiday season?

    Well, here are 4 really good reasons why you should give a winter session cohort a shot:

    1. Graduating earlier in the year is an ideal time to start your job hunt.

    Graduating earlier in the year is a particularly good time when it comes to job hunting. Students graduating at this time are met with favorable circumstances: businesses are gearing up to interview for their Q2 openings starting in April—meaning graduates of winter session cohorts will be poised to take advantage of this opportunity.

    The opportunities don’t stop there, though. Early in the year is also the ideal time to take advantage of established internship programs offered by several companies.

    Unlike the unpaid internship horror stories that may haunt the message boards of Reddit, tech internships are normally well-paid, full of mentorship opportunities for early-career coders, and a pipeline for future engineering talent. Unfortunately, formal internship programs are still tied to the typical college on-campus recruitment cycle, so these opportunities are mostly not available until January and gone by April, so many candidates will either have to wait or move on to more immediate opportunities.

    But if you’re a member of our winter session cohorts, you’re ideally placed to pursue both internships and more traditional roles.

    2. Winter break gives coding bootcamp students time to get prepared to start a bootcamp and formulate a study plan.

    Fullstack Academy’s curriculum and immersive program can be broken down into 2 halves: which we refer to as the Junior Phase and Senior Phase. But to those unfamiliar with our programs, a more apt description might be the “Learning” phase and the “Building” phase.

    In the first 6 weeks of our curriculum, you’ll learn our core stack for building an entire, full stack web application all on your own.

    Normally, students only have a week between the Junior Phase ending and the Senior Phase beginning. This week, which we call “Async Week”, is used to complete some solo workshops and get students prepared for Senior Phase while providing them some unstructured time to rest.

    Students who are enrolled in our November cohort, however, will have two extra weeks between the end of their Junior Phase and the start of their Senior Phase.

    That’s three total weeks that can be dedicated to building more personal projects to add to a portfolio, practicing algorithms, working on technical interview preparation, exploring new technologies, or networking with other industry professionals. Motivated and focused students can take advantage of this extra time to set themselves up for more success post-graduation.

    3. Winter break gives you a chance to catch your breath.

    Let me put this bluntly: we don’t call ourselves a bootcamp just because it has a nice ring to it. Bootcamps can be strenuous: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

    Fullstack Academy is a marathon and an uphill race for virtually the entire program. So, while having an extended break isn’t necessary, it definitely helps when managing the pace and rigor of the bootcamp.

    Students coming back from winter break have additional time to refill their tanks and hit the ground running hard and ready to work. Beyond the additional time, the winter break also gives students a chance to visit friends and family and celebrate the start of a New Year. Which brings me to my final point:

    4. The best way to keep a New Year's Resolution: start the process before the New Year.

    We’ve all been there before: we have lofty ambitions about everything we’ll accomplish in the new year, only to completely give up. Over half of all resolutions end up failing and over a third don’t even make it past January.

    Time and time again, friends or family will tell me that learning to code and changing their career is their New Year’s goal...only to completely peter out before they’ve even learned to write a for loop.

    And I get it—learning a new skill takes time, energy, and dedication.

    So my recommendation? Don’t wait to start the journey!

    Instead, use the winter months to embark on the journey you’ve already set in motion and set different goals for your New Year: make an amazing capstone project, work through 50 algorithmic problems in a month, or land your dream job. Like Newton’s First Law of Motion states: objects in motion will stay in motion...or in our case, a journey you’ve already started is much easier to complete than a journey you’re just beginning.

    If you were on the fence about taking the next step, I hope you’ll listen to the little voice inside of your head and take the plunge. Here are the ways that you can get started on your goal:

    1. Schedule a conversation with one of our Student Advisors
    2. Attend one of our live events
    3. Sign up for our free online Intro to Coding course
    4. Sign up for Bootcamp Prep to gain the skills you need to apply

    I hope to see many of you on our (virtual) campus soon!

    More about Nick:
    Nick’s story is an inspirational example of finding success after a major career change.

    A native Arkansan, Nick moved to NYC to pursue a career as an orchestral bassoonist. After being described as “always behind” by Maestro Kurt Masur, he decided performance was not the career for him and instead pivoted to his true passion: education. Nick spent nearly 4 years working in the K-12 public school system in NYC before joining Fullstack and working with the Admissions and Operations teams. To continue to grow his career, Nick recently completed his MBA at Columbia Business School, where he was a Columbia Fellow, a recipient of the Mark Hinckley Wiles scholarship, a member of student government, and was voted “Most likely to be injured by a cactus” by his CBS classmates. Nick is excited to be back at Fullstack and to continue to make Fullstack Academy’s NYC programs the best educational experience in the world.