When to throw the towel?

I got out of a coding bootcamp in december, honestly, I felt like I struggled till the end and that I learned poorly, the program manager insisted that I had “imposter syndrome” and didn’t allow to move to an UX program, I decided to move along with the bootcamp since I had no choice, and I now I feel stuck,with no job, broke and unable to do even a simple seed object list into a MongoDB database, I feel I got ripped off and ashamed that most of my peers got jobs and I´m sitting on my ass still figuring stuff out after three months.

The most hurting feeling is that, I´m stuck between a rock and a hard place , I cant give up since I already spent money on the camp and my portfolio is practically shit, and it figures since I can’t develop a REST api on my own and …also that, I can’t build anything, I have a hard time figuring stuff out and the amount of help I got comes from either people who look at me like I´m an burden or like if they´re talking to an idiot.

I´m 32, I don´t really have all the time in the world so to speak,nor I have the recruiters looking to back me up without giving them the idea that I´m just gonna end up becoming a dead weight on a team,I just, hoped I wouldn´t be struggling this bad or even had to admit that I made a bad decision, but, well you can`t fool anybody at a certain point ayou´ll be only left with the option to admit it and suck it up,tell yourself you´re a fucking idiot,try something else in life, but, again, that´s not gonna help me either way, my question is, when should I give up and stop trying to fool myself?


If and when you choose to stop pursuing a programming career is up to you. Whenever you no longer value that goal, I suppose. Is it possible that you will need to do other work to sustain yourself while you are working on this goal? Absolutely. Those of us who aren’t independently wealthy often have to work while learning.

Portfolios and resumes can be improved with time.
There are free and/or inexpensive resources (including, but not limited to freeCodeCamp) to help you fill out the skills that you don’t think you developed during your bootcamp. There are communites like this one where people will be happy to give you as much help as you want, as long as you treat them with respect and are making good-faith efforts to learn.

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Never give up if you want it. Sometimes bootcamps are too fast. Sometimes the instructors aren’t good teachers. I’d do the free build a website tutorials on the codingphase youtube channel they look great and it’s slow paced. Next apply what you did there to your portfolio and It’ll look great. You should feel good about html and css afterwards. Then you’ll need to review json since mongoDB is based on that. Probably be good to find some study partners to talk over concepts.

I started Free Code Camp at 47 and got my first job at 49. #ymmv

Only boring lives travel in a straight line. I’m on my 4th career right now.

The most important question is: Do you enjoy it? I mean coding, not the struggles of learning and getting a job: Do you enjoy coding? If you enjoy it then you should fight for it. If you don’t ever enjoy it, then you know it is not for you.

Imposter syndrome is a real thing. I would say that 95% of beginners have it. The beginners that don’t have it - in my experience they are often insufferable d-bags.

It sounds like you have a lot of knowledge and you’re just having trouble hooking it all together.

I would make a list of things that you feel you need to know better and then start working on them, one by one. Google things (the most important skill a developer has), find blogs, tutorials, videos. If you still can’t figure it out, ask here. Keep in mind that this is mostly MEREN stack and a little Python here, but it’s worth a try (since it’s such a friendly and helpful forum) and then places like Stack Overflow.

If you feel like there are too many holes, maybe find a tutorial in whatever stack you use. It wouldn’t hurt to go over it again. Sometimes it doesn’t stick the first time. And remember that you don’t have to memorize all this stuff.

Hirers don’t care where you learned or how long it took - they just care if you can do it. Granted, getting that first job is very difficult, regardless of where or how you learned.

But it’s up to you, if you can muster the discipline to push forward.


My intuition is that you’ve put a lot of pressure on yourself and are under a ton of stress. This has a huge impact on your ability to learn. I also suspect that maybe you just learn at a different pace than others, or learn differently.

“Imposter Syndrome” is a misused term in this industry. If you actually have it, it’s worth investigating and maybe talking to a therapist because actual imposter syndrome can be a very toxic quality to have. 90% of developers joke that they have it but it’s usually not an accurate term to describe what they’re feeling. Over preparation, working longer hours than everyone else and procrastination are just a few symptoms of imposter syndrome. You don’t want it.

Luckily for you, it’s probably more that you just haven’t gained your confidence in your abilities yet which will come with time once you feel like you’re happy with a project you completed on your own. You likely just need that one project (even if it’s pretty simple) that you feel really good about after completing.

I assume the reason you pursued this career in the first place is because you enjoy coding right? If that’s true you need to spend some time getting back to that enjoyment. What got you into it in the first place? Maybe start there, and try pacing your learning. From what I know about boot camps they are incredibly fast paced and I don’t think that kind of environment is suitable to everyone.

It also sounds like you weren’t getting great mentorship and I’m sorry that happened to you. It’s extremely challenging to learn when you feel like the people you’re collaborating or pair-programming with are frustrated by you. I don’t think anyone can learn much in that kind of environment.

My advice, if it wasn’t clear, is to slow down. Identify the specific pieces you’re struggling with and take your time learning them properly. Don’t rush through.

Good luck!



Bootcamps are super fast-paced. I’m three and half months into a year-long program right now at a technical college that is slower than a bootcamp but still feels really fast paced to me.

I’ve met with discouragement again and again while in my program. My learning curve has been steep. For example, I still feel like I don’t comprehend what a for loop in JavaScript is doing, like what does “i” stand for? I’m a very visual learner and I want something like a function diagrammed for me so I can understand what variables are pointing to what, etc.

I’m 47 and hope to have a junior front end web developer position by the time or shortly after I finish my program (end of 2021, beginning of 2022). You’re still young at 32, even though you were probably older than most people in your boot camp class. I’m sure I’m the oldest student in my cohort.

About 3 weeks ago, I reached out on a slack channel to ask for mentors. I had about 5 replies. 2 of those people have flaked or are flaking out on me. 1 doesn’t really have the time. 1 is lackadaisical about reaching out to me and the 1 I’m keeping has a great track record (he’s helped 10 out of 10 people get dev jobs) and is very patient with me and breaks things down into simple pieces for me.

I reached out to get a mentor because I was really struggling in my program, my instructors work full-time and while they are willing to help me, they have limited time. I knew I needed outside help, so now I have a very good mentor that I’m willing to pay and am going to pay for mentoring me. Although you’ve had help in the past and you feel people have thought of you as an idiot who will never get it, I would encourage you to reach out to find a mentor and keep trying mentors out until you find one that actually cares about helping you, is upbeat, and is very knowledgeable.

Go back to the basics. Figure out what concepts you struggled with during your bootcamp and focus on really understanding what’s going on in the code. That’s been my hurdle learning programming. Maybe that is the case with you.

Build an app or website that you really want to build. You’ll find that if you’re really interested in creating something and have a real purpose behind it (solving a problem), that that will carry you through to completing it. If you are not really interested in tackling a challenge and don’t find a real purpose behind it, you will likely give up on it.

Keep at it. I’m confident you will reach your goal of getting a job as a web developer or whatever your goal is.

Sometimes bootcamps are too fast

I, along with most folks here, can understand your frustration. Getting a rewarding career in the tech industry is more of a marathon than a sprint. I truly believe you’ll succeed if you don’t give up. Comparing yourself to peers that are more successful and feeling like an impostor is very common in the tech industry. I personally feel “the more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know”. Truth is, we’re all impostors and everyone fakes it until they make it.

Work on something that you find interesting. Or work through a freeCodeCamp class to build out your portfolio. Hang in there. This is a long term investment even if there’s not an immediate solution. Keep at it!

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