How attending a 14-week coding boot camp retrained my ability to learn a growth mindset

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How attending a 14 week coding bootcamp retrained my ability to learn a growth mindset.

Incredible mindset capacities are latent inside all of us we just have to retrain the right mindful approach to awaken them. Coding boot camps are a great place to start acquiring mindful growth awakening.

Throughout my life, I’ve had a lot of failures. We all have failed in our lives at one point or another but few are taught that failure is the slow ascent to mastery of the challenges we face. Maybe it was not making the cut on the basketball team in my teens or being told by my parents getting a low grade on a scholastic assignment in school meant my brain was limited in achieving high honors. Whatever it was that frustration of being challenged and taking feedback as a personal critique of my character started somewhere. It corralled me into sticking to what I know instead of trying new things. All of these types of events reaffirm that voice living in the fixed mind “Failure is the limit to my abilities” Then I decided I no longer wanted to go about life thinking with a fixed boxed in perspective about learning, life, and my abilities. There is nothing wrong with destroying and rebuilding the way you think. Trust the process.

Milling around for a year trying to find an automation proof skill I could build on throughout life landed me at Stack Education’s WSU code school. I was already a college graduate and fast learner so I figured I’d breeze through the boot camp with ease. That perception changed during my weeks of coding boot camp. Ideally the hardest thing my brain has gone through in many years. Coding essentially is taking large complex tasks entering them into a computer using various languages only a computer would understand such as Python thus making those tasks easier and more streamline via the power of technology. Coding will make you question your grit, logic, intelligence, and sanity daily but once you get the hang of it the rewards are huge. One of those rewards was the huge monetary gains you can achieve from being a problem solver and this was the opportunity I needed to better myself, community and family. I grew up in the Myspace era and thought web coding was as difficult as adding img= “insert URL” tags to update some badly pixelated pictures to your webpage like in the early 2000s. I couldn’t have been more wrong and if you consider yourself moderately intelligent as I did it can be a huge blow to your ego. Learning something as complex as web development can only be achieved with a growth mindset or you will mentally psych yourself out and quit before you get good at it.

What the heck is a growth mindset? How can a fixed mindset limit you?

The first few weeks of boot camp kicked my butt. Actually every day of the bootcamp did, to be honest, the pain just kept getting more familiar lol. Between struggling to learn git commands, javascript language, algorithms, and debugging solutions without being told what to do or how to do it my fixed mindset reemerged. I was ready to give up. It was like being tossed in the ocean while your swimming coach shouts from the shoreline to tread water. I thought I hit a ceiling of learning I could not get past. Then I attended a mandatory soft skills course teaching about harnessing your growth mindset. Stack Education’s coding boot camp was unique in the aspect it taught technical skills but also innovation and soft skills. A growth mindset by far is the best innovative soft skill one can learn and its a way of thinking tech companies are looking for.

“Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts).”

I had to quit complaining and just adjust to juggling coding boot camp, a part-time job, and life’s obstacles while utilizing the power of a growth mindset. It took weeks to retrain my thoughts of how much I hated losing or not grasping information as quickly as my peers in the boot camp. I started to embrace the process of challenges by constantly trying to learn new things and grow to better myself. Over time I got better, faster and more efficient at coding. Mind you I had no tech experience at all prior to attending this boot camp. As human beings, we monitor events and challenges that occur in our lives. Our mindset is the final determination of how we perform the tracking of these situations and how we react to what takes place.

boot camp (ˈbo͞otˌkamp/) — a short, intensive, and rigorous course of training.

The fact of the matter is boot camps are meant to be challenging. If your nature is of the cantankerous sort towards big ideas and learning new things every few months or years careers in technology may not be for you. I cannot say a boot camp will fully prepare you for the vast world of computer science or web development but it most definitely will get your foot in the door to a rewarding career full of possibilities. A few tips to live by if your thinking or currently attending a coding boot camp. These tips are going to allow you to get the best out of your boot camp experience before, during and after. Define your goals. Take an introductory coding class. Learn from free coding resources online. Mentally prepare yourself to “learn by the ABC method. This means Always Be Coding” Leave your ego at the door and be open to obtaining a growth mindset. Don’t compare yourself to others in the classroom just go at your own pace. Notify family and friends that this boot camp is a serious business and you cannot be distracted. Explore coding examples on your own. Learn from your fellow students.

Image Credit: warriormindcoach.com

Thanks to countless boot camps across the country some better than others. A new generation of students is reprocessing how we think about problem-solving and using technology to make the world a better place for all communities that requires growth. You quickly realize this when you’re going through the gauntlet of most boot camps. Whether you land a job in tech or not a boot camp will at minimum teach you to process challenges with an open mindset of optimism and interest never acquired before. Bootcamps are deeply rewarding because you get to build your tech ideas into “stuff” that works in the real world. Now I look at failure, challenges and new skills I have not learned as an open invitation for growth and not a stumbling block. Accomplishment has been put on the back burner and now I yearn for failure because that means I’m learning while making intelligent mistakes. Once you have accomplished the success of a goal you have plateaued and must learn and fail at something new to keep your goals and aspirations at doing something bigger going. A growth mindset allowed me to understand this philosophy and every day it is a challenge to maintain it but what is a mistake without the lesson.


About The Author

Dawdu Mahama Amantanah STEAM Boston
Photo Courtesy of Dawdu Mahama Amantanah

Dawdu M. Amantanah is the author and freelance writer of several books and articles that is passionate about travel, hip-hop, technology, banking, radical entrepreneurship and whatever else he finds interesting at the time. You can connect with him on TwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram. Have questions about entrepreneurship, writing, investing, music, tech or any various forms of social currency? Get in touch at Dawdu or [email protected]

Originally published at medium.com on September 25, 2019.

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