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Wisdom of the Alumni

Advice from past students

The advice here is directly from alumni at the end of various cohorts. Many of these students began the program just as you are, with little to no experience with software.

The prompt that generated these responses was: "What advice do you wish you received before starting the class, or on Day 1."

Take this advice to heart and it will serve you well during your cohort.

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

Taking your time with these projects is key to not getting frustrated. Also no need to stress for each assignment. Everything will workout at the end!

Manage your stress and your time.

Focus on developing stress and time management skills.

Pace yourself

I would advise them to be patient and pace yourself. It’s ok if you don’t get it right away, keep practicing and ask as many questions as possible.

I would advise them to pace themselves and not to feel overwhelmed if they fall behind. This course throws a lot of information at you in a short amount of time, so you need to give yourself the time and space to understand the information before you can get the assignments finished.

Take your time and do not panic if you start to feel overwhelmed. Just practice, practice, and keep practicing the techniques taught.

The advice that I would give to incoming students would probably be to not fall behind, don’t stress if you don’t understand something fully because at some point you will get it, and this program is designed to teach you a little bit of everything as it relates to building a full-stack app. It’s going to be up to you to continue learning once it all ends.

You are not going to understand concepts. Don't beat yourself up. Reach out and ask for help. If you still don't get it just keep following the lectures and it will make sense at some point. Oh also, make friends with your cohort.

Be mentally prepared for when you fall behind

Mentally prepare yourself. Keep an open mind and pay attention to details. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Being overwhelmed at times negatively effected my performance. Being confident in your ability to learn things like we did in this course is a key attitude.

Everyone is different

I’d recommend that the students realize that everyone is different, everyone learns at a different pace, learns in a different way, and will solve problems and write code differently. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and try your best to not feel overwhelmed and if you are speak on it.

Being frustrated is OK

I would advise them that being frustrated is ok. The course is intense for a reason and learning to work with the frustration can be very helpful. Everyone goes through it.

Ask questions!

Week 1 seems like the worst week ever, but just keep going! It definitely will get better! Reach out to your peers in the class, chances are they are just as lost as you and you may meet your buddy for the rest of the class! Read the Handbook!!!!!

Biggest thing is ask lots of questions, because you will have a lot of questions. And the only way you will retain anything is to be curious about everything and keep asking questions.

Don't be afraid to ask questions and make sure you understand the material. Rather than rushing through the homework to get it completed, fully understanding the concepts is crucial for your growth as a developer. Asking questions will also help you with understanding even better.

Also, learn to reach out for help when necessary, it will save you so much time and help you truly understand the concept of the problem.

For the next cohort, I would tell them it is a long process of learning that never stops. I would tell them to not think that they are leaving knowing everything, but they are leaving with the skills to keep going. I would also tell them they are not alone and to ask for help ASAP. I have spent many times suffering in silence because I wanted to “figure things out on my own”. That’s what everyone is there for.

Trust the process

As for advice, I would say, don’t question yourself! In the words of the Philadelphia 76ers and Sam Hinkie - “Trust the process!”

My advice to future cohorts would be to trust Gavin, your peers, and the process. It may not be readily apparent at the onset, but you are exactly where you need to be.


As for advice, I would recommend adapting PEDAC as soon as possible. I feel like it changed the way I looked at problems even though I've yet to master it myself.


Focus on sharing what you learned with others. It really helps reinforce what you know.

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