“That’s the most fun and exciting thing about the Challengership; at first it all seems like it’s very difficult, but after studying you just understand how it works.”


A few weeks after the final interview, the time has come; my Challengership at Young_Coders begins! The bootcamp starts as a group, so it took a while to get the group big enough to start. Because we already briefly discussed the components of the traineeship during the interview, I was really eager to start with the bootcamp!

The purpose of the boot camp is to learn a lot of theory in two months, combined with practical work. Young_Coders offers training to both front-end and back-end developers. By doing practical assignments in groups, each group member can “shine” by taking up what they want to become good at. That sounded very nice to me!

Exciting Questions

The first day of my bootcamp dawned. I live in Rotterdam and the training location is in Amersfoort, so that was a bit of a drive. As the train takes me to Amersfoort, one question after another pops into my head. I have no background in IT, would I be able to handle it? What would the group be like, what if they did have an IT background? How would the coach feel about it? And – not unimportantly – is there good coffee?

Around a quarter past nine, I arrived at Young_Coders. I was there first. The coach for our group is Eric Smalley, with whom I am briefly introduced after which I am handed a cup of coffee. Eric seems to be enjoying it too, explaining the program and after the first sip of coffee, two of my four questions from the train have been answered. Eric is confident and the coffee is prepared with fresh beans in a machine that I wish I had at home. #goals

The other Challengers have also arrived.

The first week

The first day consisted mostly of installing software and getting everything working properly. You don’t expect it, but this also takes some time. We log into Workplace to communicate among ourselves, get our Young Coders email address, and install PHPstorm to learn programming with. Getting this behind us, Eric gives us some examples and applications of what we are going to learn. The day actually went by quite smoothly. We are given our ‘homework’ in terms of e-learning and we will meet again on Friday. This is because the training is a mix of on-site course days, e-learning and practical assignments for the client.

I like the e-learning homework. The tracks you follow do take a bit longer than indicated, but are clear. Most consist of a number of videos, after which you do one or more challenges and answer quiz questions. Many tracks also have different instructors explaining it. I personally liked the fact that I quickly got my preference, one instructor may suit you better than another (#TeamHampton!). And if explanation falls just short, you always have Google. “What is the point of an array?” was the first question I googled. Now that I think back not such a strong question, but fortunately Google does not judge and you only learn from it.

Having said that, it turned out to be true during the last day of work on Friday. We picked up where we left off, and with some home study behind us, it didn’t seem like another language Eric was speaking. The e-learning is intensive and takes a lot of time, but when you see its effect you only get more motivated. Especially since it removed the doubt of the first train ride on Monday morning. ‘Of course I can handle it, look: I’m doing it right?’ That’s the fun and exciting thing about the Challengership; at first it all seems incredibly difficult, but after studying it you just understand how it works. Step by step, but it can be learned. And is well worth learning too.

Friday also goes by smoothly, we learn new applications of php and on the weekend I also pick up a few hours of e-learning. That is the effect of the course days; they clarify what you have learned before and raise new questions that make you want to go further.

Duvet-align: center

Works quite addictively, enough to even dream of it at night. ‘Quilt-align: center,’ haunts my mind as I take back a piece of bed linnen from my wife.

I, as well as the rest of my team, are looking forward to everything else we will learn during the bootcamp!