3 Ways to Support Your Loved One During their Coding Bootcamp

Friends hanging out around a computer.When considering a coding bootcamp, it’s important to think about the experience holistically. This includes how your time as a bootcamp student will shake up your current routine and how it might impact your friends, family, and other loved ones.

We encourage incoming students to discuss the bootcamp schedule and expectations with people in their support system so that everyone is on the same page about shifts in availability, upcoming demands, and everything else that comes with this intense, rewarding learning experience.

Today, we’re flipping the focus a bit. This post is for anyone who has a loved one considering or about to start a coding bootcamp. Read the top three things you should know about the experience, including ways you can support and encourage your loved one as they embark on this exciting new career path.

1. The time commitment will be significant. Help them with small tasks when you can!

We offer two types of coding bootcamps at Tech Elevator – full-time (14 weeks) and part-time (30 weeks). They are demanding in different ways. While both prepare students for careers as software developers, the schedules are quite different. (Read a more detailed program comparison here.)

The full-time program schedule is very rigorous. Instructors have likened the experience to having the bootcamp become a student’s new full-time job and new favorite hobby. Because of this, we encourage students to take time to prepare their lives accordingly ahead of their start date.

That’s where you come in.

Hopefully, your loved one has discussed the program with you to some degree. If you’re able to, family members and others who make up support systems can help students navigate the rigor of the program by lightening their to-do lists. Examples include helping with meal prep, small errands, caregiving, and other activities that will be more difficult to focus on, especially during the week and during class hours. This is not about doing everything for them, but more about keeping an open line of communication and being willing to help and pick up some slack when possible.

As for those with loved ones in the part-time program, Tech Elevator instructor Tom Medvitz noted that your support will revolve around consistency and understanding over a longer period. Whereas the full-time program requires endurance, the part-time program requires building good habits that can last longer.

“Part-time students are more like marathoners than sprinters, and they need to train a little every day, with understanding and support from the people around them,” he said. “Of course, a huge part of that is setting expectations with family and friends. I once overheard a student tell her kid, ‘Remember, we don’t bother mommy on Monday and Wednesday nights!’”

Understanding and supporting those boundaries can help your loved one succeed in their program of choice.

2. Some weeks will be harder than others. Be ready to hear them out!

There are weeks in the program when some concepts are harder than others, and students might feel like they’re straining to overcome a mental barrier. In these times, students can even feel like they can’t do it, and imposter syndrome will rain down. When this happens, we encourage students to step away from the code and take a walk, perhaps solo or with a loved one. We want them to get away from the computer, chat with someone nearby, or do something totally unrelated.

Here, communication is key. We recommend that you stay open to hearing about the difficulties and challenges of the program. Be a sounding board, if you can. Ask your loved one about the code they’re working through, and maybe even ask them to show you how it’s done and where they’re getting stuck. Sometimes, when imposter syndrome is loud, it can be reinvigorating to show somehow outside of the program the new skills they’re learning. It helps them see how much they’re learning, even if they’re struggling.

You can also encourage your loved one to talk to some of their classmates, academic fellows, or instructional staff. Sometimes they just need a concept explained in a different way for everything to click.

3. Your loved one is rewiring their brain. It’s a lot, and your encouragement can make a huge difference! 

For students, as well as friends and family, it’s important to know that our admissions process is proven to recognize underlying skills that make for successful software developers. So you’re in the program for a reason – and if you work hard enough, you can do this. 

That message can get lost when times are tough, so having a support system around to remind students of this truth is very important. As your loved one moves through the coding bootcamp, they’re rewiring their brain to learn a new language and new set of technical skills. It can be stressful, all-consuming, and infuriating, but it’s a rewarding challenge.

The best thing you can do is tell them what they should already know: they can do this, they belong here, and they will be a developer. 


How does Tech Elevator support students during the bootcamp? 

While outside support systems are important, we know that internal program support is vital. Our experienced instructors and academic fellows are present every day to help students work through challenges and overcome imposter syndrome. On the career preparation side, explore our Pathway Program to learn more about how we support our students and set them up for career success.


Written by Kalyn Breneman,
Director of Admissions