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Doing Le Wagon's bootcamp remotely

Batch #374 started in January just like any other part-time batch, and in just two weeks, they had to switch completely to remote. Teachers duo Sy and Nico can confirm it: it is a challenge, but there's a lot to learn from it!

Doing Le Wagon's bootcamp remotely
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"It's important to keep that sense of positivity and joy in learning, because right now is one of the best moment ever to learn something new."

Hello! Can you introduce yourself to our community? 

Sy: My name is Sy Rashid, I'm from the United States. If you do Le Wagon in Melbourne, you will probably have me as a teacher or a teacher assistant. I started working in tech because you can make exponential changes in people's lives through technology. I decided to go to Barcelona to do Le Wagon, where I met Nico. We are now teaching, working as developers in a freelance agency and doing a bit of innovative work.

Nico: My name is Nicolás Proto, I'm from Uruguay. I worked for several years in marketing and business, and then I knew that I wanted to change career and to start to code. I went to Barcelona to do the bootcamp and met Sy there. I found another passion on the way: teaching and making people grow, which helps me grow a lot as well. Now we are in Melbourne working on projects, teaching and also learning!
Sy and Nico - MangoTree website, the agency they created together

How did you handle the switch from on-campus to remote?


Nico: It was a big change to go remote as the batch is halfway through the bootcamp. Many things work just the same: Students still have their lecture to watch and then a series of challenge they do in pairs and they still have live codes at the end of the day, that we all do together. During the challenges, they can then ask us questions directly on Zoom, just like they could on-campus.

The most important thing is that 
we still get to be together.

Sy: It differs slightly because we are not in the same place so it changes our way to interact together. We check in with everyone every hour to see if people are doing well or just to talk with them. We take breaks together, too. It's really important to stay all together often to maintain the energy and excitement in these weird circumstances! We also do random stupid things to make it more exciting, like competitions of who has the best Zoom background.

Nico: The most important thing is that we still get to be together. The students know we are here to answer coding questions but we also want to hear how they feel at that moment. We want to make sure they have this social space instead of just learning.


What are the challenges in following the bootcamp, day after day? How can we overcome them?

Nico: The most complicated thing is that it takes more effort to be committed to the course every day. When you're at home, you get way more distracted. The key is to deal with the frustration that can build up from not learning as much as you would like to. It's important to let that frustration out. That's the biggest challenge. As for us, the most challenging parts are also connecting with them, making them work together and making them feel comfortable expressing how they feel. It pushes us to ask for feedback to know what to improve and to make sure everyone is growing.

Sy: One of the challenges with being locked inside is to stay engaged and to keep up with the day to day, especially with a course that is so fast-paced. What helps is keeping rituals: for example, every morning, I still wake up at the same hour, I still do my hair, dress like I'm going out, do whatever I would do on a regular day. Rituals help a lot.


What are the challenges and opportunities when it comes to coding?

Nico: It's a challenge to help debug someone's code. When you're here in person, your explanation goes through your body language, and even with the video, you can't really do that remotely. 

Being remote gives them the opportunity to learn the best practices 
as developers right away.

Sy: Exactly, we can't really communicate as we used to. Personally, it helped me refine my own communication skills. The benefit for the students is that they learn how to de-bug themselves as we take them to do exactly what you would do, step by step. It takes them a couple of weeks to do it very well but it gives them the opportunity to learn the best practices right away. Debugging is one of the most important skills to have as developers. I think that's one of the best thing that comes out of this remote bootcamp.


How do you make sure to keep a sense of community remotely?

Nico: We make sure to have life spaces and to do activities together. It's our job to keep a fun attitude to light up the mood, to keep that sense of positivity and joy in learning, because right now is one of the best moment ever to learn something new.

 It's not a competition against anyone else. 
We are stronger together!

Sy: The idea of building a community is a passion for both of us, so we think a lot about that. One of the most important things when doing the bootcamp is realizing that it's not a competition against anyone else. What matters is whether or not you're improving, and as long as your code is a little better than the day before, it is ok. It is really important to remove that sense of ego to feel part of the same tribe. We are stronger together!


Any word of encouragement for current and future students?

Sy: As Nico said earlier, feel the joy of being a student! Take that time for yourself, have fun with it, try to make yourself better today and accept to be vulnerable. And one of my favorite exercises to do with the batches is 'taking off your cool hat': there's no one here to impress - we are all here to learn together!


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