Author Topic: Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?  (Read 2978 times)

RonMcCord

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Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?
« on: January 25, 2016, 12:56:58 PM »
I'm thinking of signing up for Bloc to get a full-stack web developer job.  The cost would be steep and would wipe out a big chunk of my personal savings, but because it's online, I'm living at home, and I can work a full-time or part-time job around it, I could rebuild my 'stache enough to move at the end of the program.  What appeals to me about the program is that they offer mentorships and job placement services, something my college did a poor job with (though to be fair, I should have been more ambitious about working on projects on my own time to supplement my education).  I've heard mixed things about bootcamps though and that you can figure all that stuff out on your own for far less, so I'm not entirely sure what the best course of action would be, so any input one way or the other would be great to hear.

GrowingTheGreen

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Re: Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2016, 01:03:14 PM »
I feel like there are already way too many free options to *not* take advantage of them.

It seems as though you're struggling a little bit with networking. I was once a non-believer in it. No more. It's essential for getting a good job or promotion. Hard work alone isn't enough. Heck, it's helped me with my blog more than any other SEO or advertising.

If you're trying to find where to start "networking", try looking for meet ups in your area that focus on your interests. Online communities work well too. The trick is getting involved. You can't just show up and hang out. Play a role in making the club, meetup, or forum better.

forestj

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Re: Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2016, 10:49:27 PM »
My advice? Don't pour your savings into something like that. What Growing Green said, getting out there and even just showing up, to clubs, meetups, etc, is a great way to break into the industry. I've seen it happen.

I spent most of my teenage years on programming forums, and at the end of it, I was getting cold calls from potential employers somewhat regularly because I was known to be a capable and friendly guy among the community. The field is getting a bit more crowded now-a-days, but the need is definitely still there. Employers are dying to hire someone with architecture skills, someone who specializes in a particular field, or someone who has a track record of producing cool shit.

I remember meeting a guy who coded an app that rendered a Julia set fractal on an ipad, with the fractal params set by the accelerometer. He would go around showing it to people and it was so immediately interesting, tangible, and cool looking, that I still remember him even though I only met him once for like 5 minutes. Something like that could be created in about 15 minutes if you know where to look.

The clincher, for me, was way back when I was  very young, and I Learned How To Learn programming. This may have been the most important moment of my life. I was playing around with the Unity Game Engine when it was in beta, and I reached "escape velocity" with programming. It was centered around one key command: the Unity developers had the genius foresight to integrate their API documentation with the custom-built text-editor that they were shipping at the time. It was a basic thing with no options and rudimentary syntax highlighting, but you could select any word or phrase in code, press ⌘-; and it would instantly spawn a browser window with the top hit for that phrase in the documentation. Forgive me for swearing, but it was a fucking miracle. Hypertext became like hyper space in starwars, and I blasted forward through a seemingly infinite maze of jargon, standards, concepts, and hidden gems at breakneck speed. Even though



I could at least look up every little thing and get some context or a basic explanation. I had learned how to learn. The code I could copy and paste from others wasn't mystical anymore, it was something I could fact check, index, examine, and explore.

I'm sure that the same thing applies in other places, I did the same thing a few years later with w3schools for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.  There are tons of free resources today that blow w3schools out of the water. Even if all you can do is manage markup in a web page and do some basic JS, there will still be a huge market that is dying to hire you. Media companies. Medical companies. Logistics companies. Ecommerce. Stuff you wouldn't expect. You just have to get out there, find it, and make yourself known. 

It definitely can't hurt to know your stuff, and it definitely can't hurt to produce something neat and original, but even just getting out there and meeting people will work wonders.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2016, 11:00:24 PM by forestj »

RonMcCord

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Re: Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2016, 07:27:12 AM »
I think I probably won't do one after all then.  Did some research and looked at reviews on Bloc and I saw quite a few that mentioned that you only spend a few weeks on coding and they just refer you to free resources like CodeAcademy when you get stuck.  So why pay $10k on a program that pushes you to a free resource?  I'll probably go with them instead.

So how do I network with people in programming and tech?  I don't live in a place where there's a bunch of programmers.  My local meetup site is full of inactive groups that never meet and no one RSVPs for except for the person who started it.  The closest professional groups in my area are a good 2-3 hours away and I would risk losing my job if I kept taking time off to attend them.  Online might be my only option besides maybe moving, but I have no idea where to look. 

GrowingTheGreen

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Re: Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2016, 10:12:15 AM »
I think I probably won't do one after all then.  Did some research and looked at reviews on Bloc and I saw quite a few that mentioned that you only spend a few weeks on coding and they just refer you to free resources like CodeAcademy when you get stuck.  So why pay $10k on a program that pushes you to a free resource?  I'll probably go with them instead.

So how do I network with people in programming and tech?  I don't live in a place where there's a bunch of programmers.  My local meetup site is full of inactive groups that never meet and no one RSVPs for except for the person who started it.  The closest professional groups in my area are a good 2-3 hours away and I would risk losing my job if I kept taking time off to attend them.  Online might be my only option besides maybe moving, but I have no idea where to look.

Definitely tougher if what your interest in isn't big locally. In that case though, wouldn't you need to move to find a position? Take a giant leap if you don't have any job prospects near by.  You could  find an online community. Start a blog about your projects and reach out to other bloggers about their projects. A logical progression for you may be to enroll in free classes to find out what the heck you're doing, start a websites ms blog that showcases your talents and projects, and reach out to others who are doing the same thing. You basically need to build a name for yourself.

If you want to talk more about this, shoot me an email at will@growingthegreen.com. I'd be happy to chat and provide whatever guidance I can.

forestj

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Re: Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2016, 11:05:57 PM »
Quote
You could  find an online community.

This is a possibility. It's what I did. It's definitely a lot of work. And I had a huge head start, because I did it when I was still living with my parents, and not going to school, so I had the time to make it work -- to help people with their problems, pour my life into it, and that helped me become well known among that specific community.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2016, 01:12:29 PM by forestj »

humbleMouse

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Re: Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2016, 11:56:14 PM »
Use your savings to not have a real job or work a super chill job extremely part time.  Then code all the time and do every tutorial and read about everything. 

As a fortune 500 programmer I will tell you right now I long for the days when I had time to just do tutorials all day and learn tons of new technology.  Sit around all day and do tutorials.  All of them.  Eventually things will start clicking (3-6 months of hard work)

Coding is actually pretty easy (web coding or "full stack").  The hard part is getting project requirements and satisfying the client. 
« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 11:57:55 PM by humbleMouse »