Author Topic: Code School or Just Start Small  (Read 5044 times)

melluvia

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Code School or Just Start Small
« on: April 27, 2016, 05:35:21 AM »
Before you question my inner mustachian compass in this post- just KNOW that EVERYONE I've met that graduated a coding bootcamp now makes anywhere from 60-90K with no prior experience in programming (and I've met a ton of 'em) and I have yet to meet even one developer who is self taught. That being stated I need everybody to give it to me strait.

I've been teaching myself to code for free for the past 6 months or so while staying home with my daughter, my husband's an E4 in the Army makes about 40K-

Here's the situation: My husband is getting out of the army and he wants to move to Waco (TX) while I want to move to Austin for obvious reasons (web development career) I know there's telecommuting, but I really want to work in a more team-oriented environment. The only thing is Austin is more expensive, a lot more. So here's what I'm not sure on: should we:

move to Austin so I can attend a coding bootcamp so I can automatically get a kick ass job after, but be in some debt,

move to Austin only once we both land jobs (I probably am not at the level to get a developer position right off the bat, but I could probably land a lesser-earning graphic design job and try to work my way over to web dev over time), or

just move to Waco and be financially conservative (btw my husband has greater job options in Waco but I have far less) and just try to get a telecommuting position?

What I want to do is attend a coding bootcamp, but we have only about 5 grand in savings (only debt is our mortgage but we can easily pay that off once we sell), so I'd still have to take out a loan. Also I have a 3 year old daughter so paying for daycare for her in Austin when I don't yet have income would be almost 1000 a month on top of bootcamp tuition (13,500). I'm feeling like even though that's what I want to do, it might not be the smartest choice for where we are financially but I'm not sure. Does the higher salary possibilities outweigh the initial debt?

MMM says that debt is the result of bad decisions, but is it true in all cases?

Felicity

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Re: Code School or Just Start Small
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2016, 07:22:33 AM »
MMM says that debt is the result of bad decisions, but is it true in all cases?

No, not always. Debt for school and mortgage debt (when the math makes sense) can be good.


(1) move to Austin so I can attend a coding bootcamp so I can automatically get a kick ass job after, but be in some debt,

(2) move to Austin only once we both land jobs (I probably am not at the level to get a developer position right off the bat, but I could probably land a lesser-earning graphic design job and try to work my way over to web dev over time), or

(3) just move to Waco and be financially conservative (btw my husband has greater job options in Waco but I have far less) and just try to get a telecommuting position?

These aren't your only options - there are quite a few online programs that offer job placement as well that may be a viable option. You could potentially take classes online while also taking care of the little one (or at least not need to spend as much on daycare) while your husband works to pay the bills. http://www.skilledup.com/articles/online-alternatives-coding-bootcamp https://www.udacity.com/nanodegree/plus I can't vouch for any of these programs personally.

Once you graduate, if you get a job offer for 60-90k, it might make sense to move again. This is obviously something you'd need to talk through more with your husband.

hoping2retire35

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Re: Code School or Just Start Small
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2016, 12:00:24 PM »
FOLLOWING. I have thought about switching careers/telecommuting.

jjcamembert

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Re: Code School or Just Start Small
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2016, 12:20:19 PM »
I think the value of coding schools isn't just the information, but the networking opportunities to be "placed" into jobs after you graduate.

I work in IT, and I think it's more important to show what you can do than what you know. (But you have to know it of course) Regardless of if you decide to do code school or not, creating a portfolio of projects is what will make you stand out. Volunteer while you learn, put together a cool website, start a coding blog, whatever. Ask some non-profits if they need some technical help.

WildJager

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Re: Code School or Just Start Small
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2016, 06:15:49 PM »
I think the value of coding schools isn't just the information, but the networking opportunities to be "placed" into jobs after you graduate.

I work in IT, and I think it's more important to show what you can do than what you know. (But you have to know it of course) Regardless of if you decide to do code school or not, creating a portfolio of projects is what will make you stand out. Volunteer while you learn, put together a cool website, start a coding blog, whatever. Ask some non-profits if they need some technical help.

When it comes to technical skills like this for an established market, you'd frankly be doing yourself a favor to get formal training.  Unless you're a hobbyist that has been coding for years, and all you need to learn is the administrative side, I would suggest training so you get both pieces of the puzzle in one fell swoop.  As you're finding out though, this requires a financial commitment.  So while the cost is high up front, if you're diligent and talented you should be able to come out on top.  However, if you're going into this without a passion for coding and you have just heard that it's a lucrative career, I would stay away for now.  Dabble into the hobbyist stuff, such as websites, apps, and games and see if this skill set is really compatible with you.

AZDude

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Re: Code School or Just Start Small
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2016, 09:15:05 AM »
I think the value of coding schools isn't just the information, but the networking opportunities to be "placed" into jobs after you graduate.

I work in IT, and I think it's more important to show what you can do than what you know. (But you have to know it of course) Regardless of if you decide to do code school or not, creating a portfolio of projects is what will make you stand out. Volunteer while you learn, put together a cool website, start a coding blog, whatever. Ask some non-profits if they need some technical help.

Agree with these points. Just do not think you will graduate a coding camp and instantly find a job making $90K. I'm sure the people who did not find a job do not brag about it. You will probably need to build up a portfolio before you can snag that job. That said, engineers are in high demand right now, and salary goes up exponentially once you have some experience(I made $30K my first year, $50K my second year, and this was a decade ago).

Lots of contract jobs will probably take you, or... *shudder* ...local government, without much experience.

WSUCoug1994

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Re: Code School or Just Start Small
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2016, 10:24:53 AM »
I think it depends on the kind of work you want to do.  Computer Scientists are becoming harder and harder to find because of the ease of the tools and lack of a computer science foundation needed to build web/mobile applications.  The more CS theory and foundation you have the better IMO.

I also think there is a lot to learn in the Open Source ecosystem as well but that is a completely different flavor of experience.

TheMCP

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Re: Code School or Just Start Small
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2016, 12:35:36 PM »
Take this for what it is worth, my opinion may be somewhat biased because I have a CS degree.

IMO, the main benefit of coding-bootcamp types of programs is that you will get to figure out pretty quickly if you hate writing code or not.  I suppose that's worth something, but considering you stated you had 5k saved and that wasn't going to cover it, it must cost more than that.  I'm not sure what the specifics of this particular program may be but to me anyway that seems like a ton of money to spend on something to find out if you like it or not.

The other thing that doesn't square with my experience is the money thing.  This isn't just your comments, by the way, this is something I read on the internet a lot.  I realize that salaries in certain specific areas or industries can be through the roof, and obviously I don't know the situation of the individuals you cite.  Depending on specifics, maybe that's all true.  What I can say, however, is that I've been doing this for 15 years, and worked for a number of different companies ranging from startups to fortune 500 size, in a bunch of different industries and in both HCOL and LCOL areas and I know this:  If someone came to an interview at any of the places I have worked, asking for 90$k with coding bootcamp as their sole experience, they'd be laughed out of the building.  It is true that the market is hot right now (I actually just changed jobs, my resume was on Monster for about a week, and I still get calls almost daily), but the fact of the matter is that earning big $$$ is a lot harder than people who are not in the industry make it sound.  Companies that hand out 100k+ jobs to relatively inexperienced developers... I dunno, I'm sure they exist but not anywhere I've ever been.  It's a tough job and people who earn that kind of money (for any extended period, anyway) provide a lot of value by knowing a ton of stuff.

None of this is meant to be discouraging, by the way.  It is absolutely true that there are many different ways to get into this industry, and I don't know that one is more "right" than any other.  It is a more egalitarian field than most.  I hope you end up enjoying writing code, because it can be a great career and frankly we need more developers that know what they're doing.

I guess my advice would be to forget about money (salary) entirely for now.  Try and get your foot in the door by landing a low level development position somewhere, and when that happens try to absorb as much as you can from the people around you.  That experience will be worth far, far more than any class you are going to take anywhere and the things you will learn will help push you towards the numbers you are talking about.  If coding bootcamp is the way you find your way in, that's great but for 5k+ I'd want to be pretty sure that was going to end in employment.  For me, that'd be a tough call... I would think 5k would get you pretty far taking normal classes at a local / community college (and by the way, if you end up with a CS degree, after your first job nobody is going to care where it came from unless it's MIT or Stanford or something like that).

I wish you the best of luck... if you enjoy the work it is a great career.

joeh

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Re: Code School or Just Start Small
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2016, 01:09:36 PM »
Context: I've been in (smaller) tech companies since graduating college in '09 and am a self-taught developer (BS in math/econ, so technically inclined). I started more in project management but recently got my first full-time developer position (also have done a lot of freelance web development). I have quite a few friends & colleagues that have done bootcamps.

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move to Austin so I can attend a coding bootcamp so I can automatically get a kick ass job after, but be in some debt,

I'd urge caution here. Yes, a lot of bootcamp folks get offers but it really depends on the bootcamp. It will not be automatic. As others have said, bootcamps can often be more about networking than what you learn. If you are self-driven, you will learn much more on your own in the same period of time than in the bootcamp. But those networking opportunities are hard to get on your own.

I had one friend that got hired quickly in the $85k range (Denver) out of one of the top coding bootcamps. Another friend in NYC had an extended job search (about 5 months) and got a job at $40k (in NYC mind you). Anecdotal, yes, but also highly variable. This is probably the best/worst outcomes I know of. But it is not as easy as you seem to think.

If you do go the bootcamp route, look very closely at the curriculum, dropout rate, and placement rates. For placement rates, try to find alternative sources than the bootcamp itself. They have lots of incentive to inflate numbers (and do).

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just move to Waco ... and just try to get a telecommuting position?
Honestly, it's going to be pretty hard or impossible to get a remote development position with no experience in development or telecommuting work. You could improve your chances by building a portfolio of self-driven projects.

If there is some middle ground (perhaps the other option you suggested) that may be better.

Paying for the bootcamp, moving to much higher COL, having less job options for husband, and needing daycare sounds pretty risky to me. What happens if your husband doesn't get a job for awhile? What happens if you can't get a job for 6 months?


Jack

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Re: Code School or Just Start Small
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2016, 08:28:40 AM »
The other thing that doesn't square with my experience is the money thing.  This isn't just your comments, by the way, this is something I read on the internet a lot.  I realize that salaries in certain specific areas or industries can be through the roof, and obviously I don't know the situation of the individuals you cite.  Depending on specifics, maybe that's all true.  What I can say, however, is that I've been doing this for 15 years, and worked for a number of different companies ranging from startups to fortune 500 size, in a bunch of different industries and in both HCOL and LCOL areas and I know this:  If someone came to an interview at any of the places I have worked, asking for 90$k with coding bootcamp as their sole experience, they'd be laughed out of the building.  It is true that the market is hot right now (I actually just changed jobs, my resume was on Monster for about a week, and I still get calls almost daily), but the fact of the matter is that earning big $$$ is a lot harder than people who are not in the industry make it sound.  Companies that hand out 100k+ jobs to relatively inexperienced developers... I dunno, I'm sure they exist but not anywhere I've ever been.  It's a tough job and people who earn that kind of money (for any extended period, anyway) provide a lot of value by knowing a ton of stuff.

+1

$90K straight out of a bootcamp (or CS bachelor's program, for that matter) is very unlikely unless the job is in a very HCOL area, you're filling some sort of diversity hire quota, or both.

Ditto with telecommuting: any employer who's okay with hiring telecommuters for entry-level jobs... is probably already outsourcing to India instead. : (

melluvia

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Re: Code School or Just Start Small
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2016, 08:27:34 PM »
Just wanted to say thanks for the comments everybody! I do know this is what I want to do for sure- but still undecided whether to go the boot camp or self taught route yet. I'm looking into a variety of programs and will continue my due diligence while continuing to teach myself. I feel like I must move to Austin as so many have pointed out how valuable a network is. I may just try to get a lower paying job in Austin as some have suggested if I don't find a boot camp I'm 100 % about.