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April 10, 2023 - 8 minutes

Facing Uncertainty: How to Keep Your Cool

You have a ton of concerns heading into your bootcamp and that’s completely normal. 

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We’ve all been there and it’s not fun: feeling uncertain about a decision, especially when it carries the weight of a career change or another major decision, can be quite the challenge. And making the decision to change jobs or even change industries isn’t one you’re going to take lightly--and with reason! In fact, we recommend leaning into that uncertainty and trying to determine where it actually comes from; after all, you know what’s best for you and if you’re feeling doubt or concern, there’s probably a reason why. 

We’re going to explore the specific instances where you might be feeling uncertain when either choosing to take one of Ironhack’s bootcamps or once you’re enrolled and in the midst of the course. But first, even though we all recognize that sense of uncertainty and anxiety, let’s dive into where that comes from and what possible causes could be. 

Uncertainty: where does it come from? 

Uncertainty can be a lot of different things to different people and you might be tempted to conflate its definition with risk, anxiety, or doubt. And while those are all feelings associated with uncertainty, they’re not quite the same. Uncertainty specifically comes from five sources: 

  • Missing information: no matter how the information we need is missing, whether we simply don’t know the answer or can’t find what we need, missing information causes that sense of uncertainty. 

  • Unreliable information: even if we do have the information we need, it still causes uncertainty because we can’t be sure it’s true and trustworthy. 

  • Conflicting information: we might have the information we need and trust it, but if it’s inconsistent with other information, it will be hard to believe it. 

  • Noisy information: if there’s a lot of information out there--but we don’t know what’s right--it can be difficult to get a straight answer.

  • Confusing information: you might have everything you need in front of you: you’ve found reliable, trustworthy, and consistent information in your search. But if you can’t understand it, it’s practically useless.

These main causes of uncertainty can manifest themselves in anxiety, self-doubt, pessimism, and more harmful behaviors. And we know that changing careers or taking on a new challenge like a bootcamp can be intimidating, which is why we’re going to address some situations that our prospective/current students feel and discuss how to tackle them:

"I've been job hunting forever...will I ever get a job?"

Of course you will and the tech sector is a great place to look for jobs right now. But finding the right role for you might take a bit of time and there’s nothing wrong with that. Stay mentally strong and look for actionable items you can do to make a difference. 

  • Is your CV outdated or not catching the eye of recruiters? Give it a revamp

  • Are you leaving your interviews thinking they could have gone better? Talk to professionals and seek out advice for things to do differently. 

  • Are you having trouble finding the right role for you? Use LinkedIn, your Ironhack alumni community, or any other tools available to you to network and talk to seasoned professionals who can give you practical advice. 

“I don’t know exactly what I want to do professionally. Is a bootcamp still a good idea?” 

Maybe the only thing that’s clear is that you don’t want to stay in your current role, but you have no idea what your next step should be. Well, that’s actually great news. Tech is an industry with a wide range of career paths and no matter what field you choose to study, you’ll be able to try out different roles until you find the perfect one for you. 

“I have NO experience in tech. How will I succeed in the bootcamp?”

Don’t worry! The great thing about our bootcamps is that we bring together people from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences to help them find their path in life through tech bootcamps. In addition to your fellow Ironhackers, you’ll have dedicated teachers and teaching assistants to help you if you get stuck and your pre-bootcamp module will ensure you have sufficient foundational knowledge before the course even begins. 

“How do I know tech is right for me?” 

You might think tech is an industry where you need a calculus level knowledge of math and years of experience coding to be successful. And we’re not saying that wouldn’t help--in fact, it would probably be awesome! But most tech roles require knowledge of tech concepts that change and evolve so frequently extensive educational requirements are being left behind and employers are instead focusing on hard skills. So no matter your background, if you master the tech skills that are so needed within the industry, you and tech will be a great fit. 

"I've accepted a job offer...what if I don't like it?"

Before anything else: congratulations! Getting a job in tech is no small feat, especially if you come from a different background or industry. And the truth is that no matter how well your interviews went, you won’t know what it’s actually like to work at the company until you’re on the job and have been there for a bit. 

But keep this important tidbit in mind: you are just starting out and you may have to shop around a bit before you find the perfect role for you. If you don’t like the role at first, stay positive and give it a chance. It could be a valuable learning opportunity and provide you with the skills you’ll need to land your next role. 

“How do I know the bootcamp will teach me what I need to know to get a job?”

Our course content is constantly being updated and renewed to teach you exactly what you need to get a job in tech. We know that tech’s dizzying speed means that the skills you need might change drastically from year to year; we look at what tech companies are requesting from applicants and apply what we’ve seen to our syllabus. 

"Will my bootcamp actually get me a job?"

One of the best things about tech is that the traditional four-year university education is going out the door, meaning that online learning and bootcamps are legitimate and good ways to get into tech. However, getting your dream job is a challenge you’ll have to overcome through hard work and dedication; your bootcamp can open doors to success, if you’re willing to make the effort. 

"I'm working for a small startup and things are looking dicey: what happens if I'm made redundant?”

Like we mentioned above, these doubts will circle in your head and make your head absolutely spiral. Try to stick to what you do know: you already got one job and you can use the time you have at your current job to hone your skills, learn new abilities, and become a better applicant for future roles. 

“Is AI going to take my job?!”

Oof, you’ve been reading Reddit again, haven’t you? While quite skilled and advanced, artificial intelligence is not going to decrease the numbers of jobs in tech; in fact, more jobs will actually be created. Why is that? Well, at the end of the day, artificial intelligence will revolutionize the tech sector and new jobs will be needed to harness the power of it.  

Combating Uncertainty 

Even the world’s most confident and secure person is going to face uncertainty at some point and that’s totally fine. The most important thing is that you have tools available to you that will help you overcome your uncertainty and we have some helpful, albeit challenging, tips to help you achieve peace with uncertainty:

  • Focus on things that are in your control: this seems quite obvious, but it’s actually one of the biggest causes of stress in most people. And although we’d like to have full control over the majority of things in our lives, we simply don’t--and never will. So the next time there’s something stressing you out that’s out of your control, try to break the problem up into smaller issues and tackle the aspects you can control. 

  • Find things that help you feel better: uncertainty can trigger some intense feelings and if you can’t control that uncertainty, you will need to learn what helps you feel better in that moment of stress. For example, if exercising helps you let go and focus on something else, try going for a run when you feel that uncertainty rolling in. 

  • Think about why you need certainty: it’s clear you’d rather be certain about things, but it’s not always an option. So instead of thinking about the uncertainty of the moment, reflect on times when you weren’t sure about something and it turned out totally okay. Then once you feel a bit more confident, remember that everything works out and this too will be completely fine. 

  • Learn to accept uncertainty: this might be the hardest tip we ever give you! Learning to accept uncertainty is quite the challenge, but it’s a part of being human. Try to identify your triggers and what tends to set you off, getting yourself ready to combat it when the time comes. 

We know that times of uncertainty can bring around strong anxieties and concerns but we’re here to remind you that the most important aspect to remember is that you’re making this career changing decision to meet your goals and better your life, in whatever way fits your dreams. And we’ll be here every step of the way to make sure you reach success.

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