Back to all articles

February 12, 2024 - 6 minutes

Peer Collaboration: Leveraging Teamwork for Enhanced Bootcamp Learning

Group work doesn’t have to be a total drag, even in a bootcamp.

Ironhack - Changing The Future of Tech Education

All Courses

You’re eager to join the tech industry and learn all you can in your bootcamp, putting everything into practice as soon as possible. But you quickly see that you’re in a class with lots of other eager techies and the syllabus outlines a good amount of group work: how are you going to learn and get enough hands-on practice if there’s a good amount of group work?! 

Don’t stress: group work and peer collaboration are key aspects of the bootcamp experience and parts that will actually enhance your learning journey and prepare you for the tech workforce. But just in case you don’t believe us and are unsure about group projects in the bootcamp sphere, we’ve written this article to alleviate your doubts and show you the new heights your bootcamp learning can reach with help from your peers. 

Before we dive right in, however, let’s review the basics of why peer collaboration is so crucial to your learning journey and how working with your fellow classmates can help you make the most of your bootcamp experience. 

The Benefits of Peer Collaboration 

Listen, we get it: you’ve chosen to take a bootcamp to accelerate your tech career and land a job as soon as possible. The idea of group work or working with a classmate may be frustrating, especially if you’re a career changer who’s been working on their own for a while now. But in a field like tech, where new ideas and fresh perspectives can make or break a project, you’ll find that learning to work on a team is not only a great way to learn, but a realistic preview of what your future tech job will look like. 

Although there are many, we’ve put together a list of just some of the biggest benefits of peer collaboration: 

  • Better problem-solving skills: especially in the tech industry, projects require new approaches to find the right solution and by working as a team, techies will be able to consider different ways to solve the problem and even test a few out, figuring out the best possible solution for that specific issue. 

  • Increased socialization: even if it may seem largely unrelated to tech itself, increased socialization is key for overall mood and development and by working with a group of people who may have differing personalities, experiences, and backgrounds, you’ll be prepared for the challenges of collaborating with others once you’ve reached the workforce. 

  • New learning opportunities: if you’re consistently working by yourself and doing things in the way you know how, you’ll be creating a hole that’s tough to get out of. Working with others, even if you think you already know how to solve the problem, can help you open your eyes to new ways of taking on problems and, who knows, you might even find a better solution! 

  • Better prepares you for the tech world: in today’s tech world, there are an incredible number of professionals working on the same project; from designers to developers and lots of other techies in the middle, a crucial part of your experience as a tech professional will be working on a team. And what better way to get prepared than by starting during your bootcamp? 

Bootcamp Learning & Collaboration 

A crucial part of preparing yourself for bootcamp learning is understanding that bootcamps differ from traditional methods of education–you won’t find some of the identifying factors that you’d see in university education and this is what makes the bootcamp experience so valuable and unique. 

We’re sure you’ve had an experience at one point with a group project where someone didn’t carry their weight or, on the contrary, someone who took complete control and micromanaged every step. It’s completely normal to be a little turned off to the idea of group work, especially once you’re an adult, but peer collaboration in bootcamps is different from what you’ve experienced and here’s why: 

  • Bootcamps have people from a wide range of backgrounds: because bootcamps bring together people that are just starting off their careers or switching their career, you can expect to meet students with a wide range of experiences, knowledge, and ideas that can totally transform what you’re able to accomplish. 

  • Students may have previous knowledge in the field: since bootcamps bring together people who are interested in the field, you might have a classmate who’s taught themselves the basics already or someone who studied a related topic in university and is looking for specialization, giving you the chance to learn from them. 

  • Group work helps you start off strong: starting off in tech can be intimidating and if you get to start by bouncing your ideas off of others, you’ll be able to gain more confidence and get more comfortable when it comes to doing work on your own. 

  • Bootcamps can expand your network: as you’ll be surrounded by like-minded individuals all wanting to get their start in tech, it’s the perfect time to make quality connections and maintain these bonds once you all join the workforce, which can help you down the road during your career.

  • There’s nothing like the feeling of being on a team: bootcamps are fast-moving and intensive and with people by your side who are experiencing the same thing, you’ll find that you create a close bond and provide support to each other. 

Now that you get why group work is so valuable, especially in bootcamps, let’s give you some helpful tips and tricks for mastering the art of group work–and making the most of it, even during those tough moments. 

Mastering Group Work in Tech Bootcamps 

You may feel that you have little to no option when it comes to assigned group work, which could leave you feeling dejected or even dreading what’s to come. And while we can’t predict how everyone in your group will work, you can try to employ some of these tips and tricks to ensure you make the most of the situation. 

Choose your group carefully 

Some instructors will insist on assigning students to groups and in this case, there’s not much you can do. But if you are given the opportunity to choose your own group, keep the following tips in mind: 

  • Choose people your personality meshes with and avoid those who have different communication/confrontation styles.

  • Don’t gravitate towards those with the same experience/background/knowledge as you; try to pick a diverse group. 

  • Include those with different skill levels than you (both higher and lower) to ensure you’re giving others to learn from you and you from them. 

Prioritize diversity and inclusion 

You’ve heard us stress the importance of diversity and inclusion in tech and there’s a clear reason why: it’s incredibly important and a major part of creating effective and successful products and designs. When you go to pick your group, make sure you take all forms of diversity into account: cognitive and physical abilities, skills, behavior, race, and culture are all aspects that can help you design for an even bigger audience.

Be clear about roles, deadlines, and rules 

Throughout the entire project timeline, make sure you prioritize clear expectations to avoid any possible misunderstandings or problems down the line. Even if your instructor has already laid out the ground rules, try to clearly set out the following: 

  • Who’s doing what: clearly setting out what everyone’s individual responsibilities are helps separate the different tasks and ensure that everyone’s contributing equally to the project. 

  • When things are due: to avoid any possible late nights or stress later on, make sure you have your group deadlines before the instructor’s, giving you the chance to correct any errors or deal with any problems that have arisen since you last met before it’s due. 

  • Check-in meetings to evaluate the project’s progression: depending on your specific project and how many individual tasks there are/things to combine later on, scheduling periodic check-ins to see everyone’s progress and flag potential issues can be a lifesaver. 

  • What to do in the case of unforeseen circumstances: problems will arise–with group work, that’s practically a given! To ensure you’re up for the challenge, have a back-up plan in place so that the project isn’t totally derailed if something goes off track.

Discuss how to give and receive feedback 

One of the easiest ways to cause problems amongst a group is mishandling feedback or commentary, especially about someone’s work. A great and easy way to tackle this head on (before it becomes a problem!) is to have everyone share their preferences–some prefer to be taken aside before feedback is given or others prefer an extremely direct approach.

It seems simple, but this one step can eliminate lots of problems down the line and contribute to a better environment within the group.

We completely understand if previous group projects have left a bad taste in your mouth, but given that bootcamps are specifically designed to mimic the life you’ll have once you officially enter the tech sphere, there’s truly no better way to prepare for the real world than with a bootcamp. 

If you know that a bootcamp is the next step for you, check out our remote and in-person courses and find the one that best fits your career goals. We can’t wait to see you in class!

Related Articles

Recommended for you

Ready to join?

More than 10,000 career changers and entrepreneurs launched their careers in the tech industry with Ironhack's bootcamps. Start your new career journey, and join the tech revolution!