Student Success and Skills
Coding is just one piece of the puzzle to becoming a great developer. In this lesson, we will dig into the practical skills that will help you be successful at Epicodus and beyond. This includes skills like time management, organization, meeting assignment objectives, and building positive habits.
First, we'll take a look at the Career and Code Review Submission Schedule for both full-time and part-time classes. You've seen this information previously, but we have found that repetition helps reduce confusion as you begin to complete code and career reviews in class. Take a look at the example calendars below:
Full-Time and Part-Time Day-Time Career & Code Review Example Schedule
If you are in the full time program, or in the part time day-time program, your code and career reviews will always be due on Fridays at 5pm. You will always have time to work on career services assignments during class on Thursday (full or half-day) if a career services assignment is due that week. This is dedicated time that should only be spent on career services. Similarly, each Friday will be dedicated to working on your weekly independent coding project and the project will be due that same day at 5pm.
If you are in the part-time program, submissions work similarly but on a different weekly schedule.
On Fridays: Your independent code review will become viewable on Epicenter at 8 AM. It will be due at 5 PM that same day. In the sample calendar above, the initial submission is due on Friday the 8th. Your instructor or advisor will grade the assignment and return it to you with feedback during the following week.
On Monday 10 days after the code review prompt is available on Epicenter: The resubmission is due at 8 AM. This is the due date for any corrections and updates to your code or career review that your advisor or teacher requests. This is also the last day to submit a late assignment without an Academic Warning. The code review in the above example was made available on the 8th, and the first resubmission is due on the 18th. If your code/career review is still not passing by 10 days after the initial due date, you will receive an Academic Warning.
On Monday 17 days after the code review prompt is available on Epicenter: This is the final deadline for this code review, due Monday at 8 AM. If your assignment is passing by this deadline, your academic warning will be cleared. If your assignment is not turned in and passing by this point, you will likely be too far behind to continue with the program. The code review in the above example was made available on the 8th, and the final deadline is the 25th.
Keep in mind that for full time students, you will have an independent code review each Friday. So while you are in the process of resubmitting your initial project, which was made available on the 8th, you will have new projects on the 15th and the 22nd. Each project will follow the same pattern for due dates, resubmission dates, and academic warnings. Keep careful track, as it can be easy to fall behind.
Part time day-time students have an independent code review every other Friday, but the resubmission schedule remains the same.
The full-time track career services assignment schedule is available here:
Part-Time Evening Career & Code Review Example Schedule
If you are in the part-time program, submissions work similarly but on a different weekly schedule.
On Thursdays, every other week: Code review prompts are made available on Epicenter at 8 AM. In the example above, that is the 4th and18th of March.
On Sundays: The initial submission of the code review (that was made available the Thursday prior, March 4th) is due at 8 AM. In the example above, the initial submission is due on March 7th.
On Sunday 10 days after the code review prompt is available on Epicenter: the resubmission is due at 8 AM. The code review in the above example was made available on the 4th of March, and the first resubmission is due on March 14th.
On Sunday 17 days after the code review prompt is available on Epicenter: This is the final deadline for this code review, due Sunday at 8 AM. The code review in the above example was made available on the 4th of March, and the final deadline is due on March 21st. On this same day, the next code review is due! In the example above, this next code review was opened on Thursday, March 18th at 8 AM.
For career services, assignments will follow the same due date structure, and you will have dedicated time in class to work on each career review. This usually takes place on Wednesday evenings or on Sundays. As with the full time classes, this time should be reserved for working on career services only.
You can find the part-time career services assignment schedule here:
Meeting Assignment Objectives
Each assignment will have the objectives laid out clearly in Epicenter. Review the objectives prior to starting the assignment. Knowing exactly what is expected for each project will help you to make sure you have achieved each piece that instructors and advisors will be grading on. Then, use the objectives like a checklist before you submit your project to double check that you have met all of the requirements.
- Pay close attention to details! The more attention you pay to the details of the assignment now, the less likely it is you'll have to fix something later. This saves your future self time and effort!
- Note: all career services coursework and objectives are available under the Internship class in Epicenter, not the current coding module. It's good practice to check this page regularly! Each assignment will have the objectives laid out clearly in Epicenter.
Incorporating Teacher and Advisor Feedback
Treat any CR resubmissions as a learning experience and an opportunity for growth. Mistakes are human, and we learn best by correcting them. As with the initial submission, pay close attention to each piece of feedback given by the instructor or advisor. Use feedback like a checklist before resubmitting the project.
Try to be as detail oriented as possible when reviewing any missing objectives. If you have questions or need clarification about the feedback you received, please ask!
Tips, Tricks, & Tools to Stay on Track
There is a lot of material to cover in a short amount of time, and it can be easy for things like resubmissions or deadlines to fall through the cracks. Using all of the tools at your disposal (like calendars, planners, and reminder apps, etc.) rather than just relying on memory means one less thing for you to have to keep track of. This allows you to focus on completing the task at hand, rather than trying to remember if you got everything done. It also helps you avoid burnout, since you're using less mental energy on juggling tasks.
Here are a few tips to stay organized at Epicodus:
- Set up recurring reminders on a calendar application (Google Calendar, iCalendar, etc.) to check Epicenter.
- Use a physical pen and paper planner, or a digital task manager (Google Keep, Notion, Trello, etc.).
- Check your inbox regularly for emails/reminders from instructors and advisors.
- Prioritize tasks and be proactive, but also be flexible.
- Build a routine. Set aside specific outside-of-class time each week for studying/working on any resubmissions you may have, as well as for self-care.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help! Sometimes life throws us a curveball, so please reach out to your instructor or advisor if you need anything.
Success at Epicodus and Beyond
We find that students are most successful long-term when they build good habits early on while still in the structured, supportive Epicodus environment. Time management, organization, attention to detail, and staying self-motivated are vital skills for coding and, eventually, for your job search and first developer position. Think of the positive habits you are building now as the foundation for your transition into the tech industry. These habits extend far beyond the classroom:
- Incorporating instructor feedback = integrating client feedback on a new software feature.
- Keeping a detailed calendar for assignments = meeting deadlines on the applications and projects you work on as a junior developer in your first role.
- Building a routine = understanding how to structure your time in a way that works for you when pursuing independent work, like your job search or independent projects.
Learning and working remotely can be really convenient and flexible, but there are some challenges that come with it too. If you haven't worked or studied remotely before, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance at first. Here are some tips and tricks to help you adjust to remote learning at Epicodus:
- As much as space allows, try to create a space for yourself that is just reserved for work.
- If you have a separate room to work in, that's amazing! However, you can also pick a specific corner of your room, a specific chair, or whatever is available that helps you create some mental separation between “work” and “home”.
- Have a space where you can speak and listen while pair programming, without too much background noise.
- Try to minimize distractions as much as you can. This isn't always possible with kids, pets, partners, and housemates, but do your best to carve out an intentional space for work.
- Set boundaries around what is work-time and what is down-time. Even though you will need to study outside of class, it's still important to give yourself structure for that time and to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
- Make your workspace pleasant! Keep it fairly tidy. Make sure the things you need are easily accessible. Little things like being near a window or having house plants nearby can brighten up your day, too.
- Take breaks. Every 20 or 30 minutes, take a quick 5 minute break to get up, move around, and take care of yourself.
- Practice good remote communication skills. When we're not all in the same building it's easy to lose track of each other and things can fall through the cracks. Communicate promptly and regularly with your pair, your dev group, instructors, and advisors.
- As much as possible, create a routine like you're actually getting up and coming in to work. Some of you will likely have remote jobs after you graduate, so it's great to get into these habits now. It can be nice to work some self care into your morning routine, too.
- Use your blur tool whenever you have to appear on video and there's something in your background that wouldn't feel appropriate in an office setting. This can be things like laundry, shared spaces, art or photography that feels more personal than you are comfortable with sharing, etc. This helps create a bit of distance and discretion when we're working in a way that allows us to see into each other's living spaces.
- We dress casually at Epicodus, but don't wear anything you wouldn't feel comfortable wearing to an in-person class. Keep in mind that getting dressed for the day as though you were headed to work can have a positive impact on your mental state.
- It's fine to have snacks and drinks while on camera when you're not speaking, but please refrain from smoking, vaping, or drinking alcohol on video chat as this would not be appropriate in a workplace setting.