Skip to main content
How to Succeed in a Boot Camp hero image

How to succeed in a boot camp: Seven tips for boot camp success

For most learners, the goal when you sign up for a boot camp is to acquire new skills that will help you make the leap into a new position. It could mean more income, a safer work environment, or better work-life balance for you and your family. Whether your goal is to switch careers, enter the workforce for the first time, or move up in your organization, it’s important to keep in mind that completing the boot camp curriculum is just one aspect of your career success strategy. 

Boot camp best practices

If you’re asking yourself, “Is a boot camp worth it?”, that answer is dependent on your level of engagement. To get the most out of your boot camp experience, you will need to take advantage of the multiple resources available to you to help you become a competitive job search candidate post-completion. In addition to completing boot camp prep work, there are a number of other best practices that can help ensure that you succeed in your coursework and in your professional life.

Checklist for making the most of your boot camp experience

1. Create a sustainable schedule 

Before your boot camp begins, it’s important to make sure your schedule can accommodate the hours necessary to be successful. Whether you’ve signed up for a part-time or full-time option, you will also need to set aside time to complete weekly live classes, homework, group project assignments, and Career Services material submissions.

2. Set up a dedicated distraction-free learning space

Once you’ve nailed down your schedule, create a dedicated environment for your boot camp work to help you stay focused. Choose a quiet and well-lit area with minimal distractions, such as a specific corner or room. Try to make it comfortable and ensure that there is enough space for essential learning materials to create an organized and conducive environment for focused studying. 

By creating the time and place to develop your new skill, you can keep your learning on track. 

3. Focus on mastering the curriculum and demonstrating your knowledge with portfolio projects

Leverage the benefits of a university-backed curriculum. The first two weeks of the boot camp will require you to dive into that curriculum and set yourself up for success. This extends beyond the instructor-led discussions and includes coursework, where you put the ideas you learn into practice. You will also build your professional portfolio throughout your time in the boot camp, so spending time developing your projects is equally important. 

This is a great time to connect with and lean on your instructor and classmates, as they are a vital part of your success. Forming study groups will help you stay on task and give you an additional sounding board for your questions and concerns along the way. 

It’s common to experience imposter syndrome at this stage as you navigate new topics and fields of study. You may feel that others in your cohort appear more familiar with the material. When that happens, ask yourself these questions to help you shift your perspective: 

  • What is the actual problem?

  • What is controllable?

  • Can I create micro-goals to solve it?

  • Who can help?

Keep in mind that throughout the boot camp, there is always someone in your corner. From the advising team to the Student Success and Career Services teams, you will be set up for success before, during, and after your boot camp.

4. Connect with the Student Success Team

In the first few weeks of your boot camp experience, you will be connected with the Student Success Team, who will ensure that you have all of the information and support you need to successfully complete the boot camp. They are available to answer your questions about everything, from balancing the boot camp workload with everyday life, to tackling specific academic challenges.

A Student Success Manager will be there to ensure you are supported as a learner and you have what you need to complete the boot camp successfully. Their goal is to create an experience that energizes you and keeps you engaged throughout the process.

Support from Student Success also includes: 

  • Connecting you with instructional staff.

  • Setting up virtual study groups.

  • Introducing guest speakers.

  • Supplementing with in-class resources.

The Student Success Team can also help you cultivate good habits, such time management skills, creative problem-solving, and effective study strategies. 

5. Complete Career Services material submissions

edX believes that career support is an important part of boot camp success. Career Services will help you throughout the process of becoming a competitive candidate on your post-boot camp job search. You can contact them anytime for support as you create professional materials. 

Beginning two weeks into your boot camp, you can start submitting professional materials to Career Services and working toward career milestones. Material submissions include items like résumés, portfolios, and LinkedIn profiles.

As soon as you gain access to Career Services milestones, you will also receive information about upcoming networking opportunities with potential employers. This would be a great time to look at the roadmap and mark important dates on your calendar. 

​Once you complete the Career Services Preference Survey (sent around weeks five after the class start date) and mark yourself as “job seeking,” you will be assigned a Career Coach, who will offer one-on-one support. 

There will be other career service touch points throughout the boot camp, such as workshops, industry events, and activities that are designed to make you a more competitive candidate during your job search.

6. Take advantage of one-on-one coaching sessions

One benefit of enrollment in this learning path is that boot camp support services continue through the program into your professional career. As you near boot camp completion, you will need to prepare for the job interview process. By the final month of your boot camp, respond to the outreach email from Career Services to begin one-on-one coaching. 

Usually, during your first call with your Career Coach, you share your career goals and a timeline for when you would ideally like to secure your next position. Then, your Career Coach will help you set actionable SMART goals and check in on progress toward those goals in subsequent calls. 

During this time, you will also focus on career search activities which include

  • Submitting applications

  • Researching industry trends

  • Networking (in-person or via LinkedIn) 

You will have the chance to participate in mock interviews, portfolio reviews, and Demo Day. Demo Day is an interactive networking experience that gives boot camp learners the opportunity to present their portfolios to industry professionals for valuable feedback.

7. Become a competitive candidate 90 days post-program

Boot camps can help prepare you for a career if you engage in all of these steps while you are completing your coursework. Once you finish your boot camp, it can also be helpful to transfer your dedicated class time to your job search. Up to 90 days after you have completed your boot camp, you will be able to receive feedback on all of your career materials to make sure you are ready to effectively compete in the interview process. This is the time to engage with your Career Coach during coaching calls.

It is also the time to explore the Career Engagement Network, which provides proprietary career tools and resources, employer workshops, and recruiting and networking events. As a successful boot camp participant, this network will be made available to you throughout your professional career. 

There are a wide variety of edX boot camps to choose from. Regardless of which boot camp you sign up for, the ultimate goal is to master the curriculum and successfully transform your career. The connections you make with faculty, peers, and industry professionals along the way can help you succeed.

Last updated November 2023