Author Topic: Should I go to coding bootcamp?  (Read 3601 times)

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2987
Should I go to coding bootcamp?
« on: June 01, 2017, 11:02:18 AM »
m
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 01:56:27 PM by mozar »

Cwadda

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2182
  • Age: 25
Re: Should I go to coding bootcamp?
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2017, 11:12:13 AM »
Posting to follow

omachi

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 719
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Should I go to coding bootcamp?
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2017, 11:44:20 AM »
You can find companies where you can write code with about as much diversity as you go looking for. Do one thing really well or write in a few languages doing all sorts of different things. It'll depend on what the company offers its customers and how well they think you can handle the work. Also, you only have so much time to learn, so you'll have to pick deep or shallow. Some general knowledge will work everywhere, but knowing the quirks of one framework isn't necessarily going to transfer to another framework that's meant for another task. The coding bootcamps I'm familiar with target a certain depth with specific tools that a stable of companies (like those recruiting at the bootcamp) want people to know how to use.

Also, the coding aspect of most decent software jobs is a fairly small portion. How much do you like writing documentation, fixing broken code, gathering requirements from people, fixing more broken code that you didn't write, and maintaining old code so it will continue to work with updates to the specific technologies used in it? How much do you like writing code to test whether the code is actually doing what it should? Having the requirements changed and your last few days of code thrown out because it doesn't support the new requirements? Getting this stupid third party tool to work like it should? A lot of people are less than thrilled about the amount of support tasks that go into coding. People that look on them as drudgery generally don't stay very happy.

If your answer to the above is at least of the "eh, I can tolerate all that crap" level then you may have what it takes. There are a lot of resources available for free online that you might try before jumping into thousands of dollars worth of training, especially if you have the free time. Even what most consider the fun part, coding beyond just the "put this stuff on the screen here" sort, doesn't agree with everybody. Get past HTML/CSS and at least try out one of JavaScript, Python, Ruby, or Java and see if you still like it.

Lady SA

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 461
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Should I go to coding bootcamp?
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2017, 12:11:10 PM »
Agreed, there is a lot more to front-end coding than html/css -- and with a lot of new frameworks that are emerging, html/css is quickly becoming obsolete in favor of things like react/redux, bootstrap, etc. Html/css is good for beginners and building base knowledge though, but don't hang all your hopes and dreams on practicing in this one language.
Lots of front end coding also involves interaction with backend databases and systems and consuming various services, so do a bit more practice and develop more breadth of knowledge and learn a few applicable languages to see if the full expectations for front-end coding are a good fit for you.

Coding, in my experience, is in one of two camps: the old guard who are specialized in older languages and stick with that. They get hired by companies to keep their ancient systems running and can make bank doing this because newer developers don't even want to touch it and its getting harder and harder to find people familiar with these older, niche skills.
The other camp is where language isn't really important; the ability to QUICKLY LEARN any and all languages and technologies and understand their intricacies is what really sets these developers apart. New technologies are always changing and emerging so setting your hat on your skill with a particular language might leave you out in the cold because that technology could very well be completely obsolete within a year. It changes that fast. If you can instead keep your eye on the ability to quickly onboard and apply new technologies as they emerge, you can maintain relevance.

Additionally, like omachi said, a significant portion of your work life will be fixing things that are going wrong. There is a lot of pressure involved. It isn't all you going in and making something new and perfect, most entry-level positions will be maintaining an existing, shitty, poorly written application or website. Other jobs will have constant requirement changes in the name of being flexible and adapting to emerging needs. If those situations aren't hideous and dealbreakers to you, great! But if that sounds like a big problem to you, having your day be 89% frustration might not be the best for you.

I dont' mean to warn you away, as if you get into development you have a lot of job security and good pay waiting for you. But do go in with your eyes wide open, I would hate for you to invest yourself into a field that might not end up being a good fit.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 12:13:34 PM by LadyLB »

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2987
Re: Should I go to coding bootcamp?
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2017, 12:40:58 PM »
Quote
Do you have a college degree?  What's your major?  What is your job history?  I think a web design bootcamp may be a good idea for you given you have experience in it already and enjoy it.

I have a college degree and a masters degree. My job history is in accounting.

Quote
How much do you like writing documentation, fixing broken code, gathering requirements from people, fixing more broken code that you didn't write, and maintaining old code so it will continue to work with updates to the specific technologies used in it? How much do you like writing code to test whether the code is actually doing what it should? Having the requirements changed and your last few days of code thrown out because it doesn't support the new requirements? Getting this stupid third party tool to work like it should?

I'm in the eh, I can tolerate all that crap category. I have a high tolerance for being frustrated around work. I struggle with things like office politics, working 80 a week, that sort of thing.

Quote
the ability to QUICKLY LEARN any and all languages and technologies and understand their intricacies is what really sets these developers apart
This is what I'm most scared of. I'm up for learning it, but I'm worried about how fast I can learn. I've been trying to get my coding tolerance/ focus up but I haven't been able to focus more than 6 hours a day. But I just started learning a week ago. I do have self motivation in spades.
I've watched javascript and ruby tutorials and while it's no barrel of monkeys, it's seems fine.

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses.

humbleMouse

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 297
  • Location: Minneapolis
Re: Should I go to coding bootcamp?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2017, 01:23:29 PM »
You admit to not knowing many software devs in real life, and also never have worked at an actual software company.  Then you make lots of assumptions in your post about what software jobs are like.

Software jobs vary wildly.  Sometimes as a developer you might only be talking to stakeholders in meetings for months on end before any actual coding happens.  Other jobs you just sit around maintaining a giant codebase without actually programming much new functionality.  Some jobs you get run into the ground and have to code non-stop all day. 

From your post you seem somewhat hesitant to jump in.  I would encourage you to stay away from the profession unless you're ready to commit a few years to busting your ass and learning new things.  The best software people know to keep their ego and expectations out of their job and learning.  You need to be open to change and adaptation and approach every day with an open mind.

Getting kind of meta here - but like I said, don't try to be a software dev unless you are ready to devote a lot of time and energy to learning the trade.  The first few years will be rough but if you're willing to put in the time you'll get there. 


omachi

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 719
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Should I go to coding bootcamp?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2017, 02:01:54 PM »
Getting kind of meta here - but like I said, don't try to be a software dev unless you are ready to devote a lot of time and energy to learning the trade.  The first few years will be rough but if you're willing to put in the time you'll get there.

Aww, c'mon. There are tons of terrible developers out there happily employed who have never devoted much time or energy to learning the trade. Somebody willing to go through a bootcamp and learn almost has to come out at least as good as somebody who only got into the field because there's decent money in it.

Not that I want to encourage anybody to get into the field thinking it is easy or isn't a bunch of work. It certainly is and the constant attention you need to pay to the breakneck pace of change if you want to stay on top doesn't help. It just doesn't have to be as scary as you put it and learning the foundations well does mean that you're a step ahead of those that only learn the specifics of a few technologies and have to re-learn everything once they change frameworks.

Lady SA

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 461
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Should I go to coding bootcamp?
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2017, 02:20:20 PM »
Quote
the ability to QUICKLY LEARN any and all languages and technologies and understand their intricacies is what really sets these developers apart
This is what I'm most scared of. I'm up for learning it, but I'm worried about how fast I can learn. I've been trying to get my coding tolerance/ focus up but I haven't been able to focus more than 6 hours a day. But I just started learning a week ago. I do have self motivation in spades.
I've watched javascript and ruby tutorials and while it's no barrel of monkeys, it's seems fine.

What I was trying to say was that if you focus on getting the fundamentals of coding down, this will make learning new technologies/frameworks much easier. You need logic and analytical skills and the ability to visualize/plan how you get from a --> z. The specific commands and languages don't necessarily matter because it can change, but if you are good at figuring out what needs to be done to a variable to end up an the expected result, then you should be fine.

That is the "art" of developing. There is a difference between knowing what needs to be done and in what order, and then actually telling the computer to do that. If you can do the first, its relatively simple to figure out how to do the second. If you can't do the first, the second will always be a struggle. I hope that makes sense.

edit: I'll give you an example. I am in the software industry but I'm not an engineer. I took a few coding classes in college but struggled to execute them. My engineering friends said that I was actually really, really good (better than them even!) at the fundamentals, the basic understanding and logic of what needed to be done to get from a to b. My struggle stemmed from translating that basic plan to a recipe the computer could read, that part was a bit beyond me. The commands, the language quirks, the structure of the code itself, just never stuck in my brain, and I honestly didn't really apply myself to learning the "grammar" of particular languages or specific practices to actually get going. But if you have a bit more motivation than I do, you can bridge the gap that I didn't.
Essentially, having that ability to "plan" your route from a to b sets you up to translate that plan into whatever language best fits the project. Arguably this skill is more important than simply knowing a few languages.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 02:32:57 PM by LadyLB »

bacchi

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3868
Re: Should I go to coding bootcamp?
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2017, 03:31:12 PM »
I'm skeptical that learning the fundamentals of coding can be accomplished in a 10 week bootcamp.

However, bootcamp, done right, is intense and you'll learn the interview-type questions you'll need, like what's the MVP pattern and what does Ajax do and how to use them. You can learn that on your own, sure, but you'll come out of bootcamp having inhaled it for months.

Working for a smaller company (but not a startup) can expose you to both front-end and back-end dev.

You probably won't get the true job flexibility you want until you have some experience and cred.

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4595
  • Age: 11
  • Location: USA
Re: Should I go to coding bootcamp?
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2017, 03:53:24 PM »
Continue coding on your own for now. Find out if you like it before plopping down 10k on a career you may not be suited to or may not even like.

Find medium-sized problems, and implement them.

Example:

Write a program that runs once every hour, goes on reddit.com/r/churning and sees if there's any new post since the last visit that's reached the 50 point threshold. If so, send yourself an email with a link to the post.

This is a real life example of something I implemented for fun & profit. It took me about 1-2 hours to get it to work, and maybe another hour or so to polish. It will probably take you much longer. If you can do this without pulling your hair out, you're good to go.

Ocinfo

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 313
Should I go to coding bootcamp?
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2017, 05:12:14 PM »
My wife is currently in a boot camp in DC that cost $15k. She doesn't have any programming background but has done very well so far. I went to several overview sessions and was happy with what they have to offer (I'm an engineer that doesn't do much professional coding anymore but have coded since I was a kid). I would highly highly advise against doing a 1.5 hour commute in DC. It really is a 60+ hour per week commitment to do well and the 5 minute bike commute makes things much easier for her.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2987
Re: Should I go to coding bootcamp?
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2017, 09:32:40 AM »
Quote
Continue coding on your own for now.

I'm going to go with this. If I get to the point where I am creating workable code then I'll look into it again. Thanks all.

thisisjeopardy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 51
Re: Should I go to coding bootcamp?
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2017, 02:02:48 PM »
These aren't bad, a friend of mine spent $8k in Chicago for a period of time, weeks, maybe a couple months, can't recall. Before pulling the trigger I recommend you go on over to codeacademy.com and spend the $20 for one month of Pro. In addition to the free lessons, you get quizzes. projects, and access to an advisor for help.

If you find yourself making use of that one time $20 expense, continue with it as needed, or reconsider going to a bootcamp. Most bootcamps will help with job placement, I think my friend was offered a jr/entry level position for $40-$45k to get his foot in the door, some of these guys go on to making 6 figures not to far after completion.

Also consider free youtube videos. I learned Python going the Youtube route in addition to Code Academy. good luck.

yourusernamehere

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 167
Should I go to coding bootcamp?
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2017, 02:45:36 PM »

Also, the coding aspect of most decent software jobs is a fairly small portion. How much do you like writing documentation, fixing broken code, gathering requirements from people, fixing more broken code that you didn't write, and maintaining old code so it will continue to work with updates to the specific technologies used in it? How much do you like writing code to test whether the code is actually doing what it should? Having the requirements changed and your last few days of code thrown out because it doesn't support the new requirements? Getting this stupid third party tool to work like it should? A lot of people are less than thrilled about the amount of support tasks that go into coding. People that look on them as drudgery generally don't stay very happy.

I'm a systems product owner in the IT department of a large company (not an IT company, but one that does in-house design and development of its web properties and mobile apps for both external customers and internal employees.) This is a very accurate description of my experience with most projects. If you love solving puzzles, digging into problems, and being the person that others can count on to read between the lines of subpar requirements - you can not only make bank but get a lot of meaning and fulfillment out of it. If you think you'd only want to do it if you're the person creating something new and efficient and beautiful from scratch... Well I don't know what that job is like so I can't help you there.

I think continuing coding on your own is a pragmatic choice. As you gain a level of comfort with it, you might consider a business or systems analyst position in a financial or insurance institution as a stepping stone. Best of luck!

ETA: If you haven't already, you may also want to read "Deep Work." There are some good pointers for the whole "learning quickly" side of things.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 03:42:22 PM by yourusernamehere »

letired

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 823
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
Re: Should I go to coding bootcamp?
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2017, 03:47:58 PM »
I did almost this very thing a few years ago and it has worked out very well for me. That said, I hardly ever recommend someone do a coding bootcamp except under very specific circumstances, precisely because they are so expensive.

Year: 2013
Bootcamp cost: $7k, program unaffiliated with anything, program was just starting out, so a bit of a gamble.
Length: 10 weeks (probably too short but it worked out)
Focus: Full stack, Ruby/Rails
My background: BS and MA in biology
Circumstances: I worked in an academic research lab and the grant for my position was running out, so my timeline was pretty compressed. I also had the savings to pay for the camp plus a few more months of living expenses.
Time Commitment: I didn't do anything for three months except code and network. I was a lot of work, but less than grad school.
Outcome: I got a development job with a month of graduating (start date within 3 months of graduating, thanks holidays) and a ~$20k raise (showing how little I was making before or how much developers can make, ymmv) and have substantially increased my income every year since.

Circumstances under which I recommend a coding bootcamp:
- IF you are time-compressed
- IF you know you generally like the work
- IF the cost of the camp can be 'recouped' in close to a year (or whatever timeframe makes sense for you)
- IF you have the money, or a reasonable way of getting it, plus enough to live on till you get the job

Otherwise, I recommend working through at least some of the free stuff online. My current favorite to recommend to people is FreeCodeCamp, because they have a good roadmap with tutorials, exercises, and projects (I've done some of the material since I was looking to help a friend with how to learn some stuff), and what appears to be a good support model with their chat and forum for when you are just entirely stuck. (note that I've never used the forum or chat, but they looked reasonably helpful)

Also, just because most of the programming resources are focused on building web apps, that doesn't mean that's all the work out there. Despite all my 'training' being on web apps, I've never built a web app professionally. Also +1 to every job being different. My first job was a small startup, but minus the workaholism (granted, they weren't going anywhere fast), and now I'm at a reasonably sized company with an amazing product/project manager and have a ton of freedom in what I'm doing on a given day and minimal stress/pressure.

Also, there seem to be an increasing number of positions where you can combine knowing how to code with other backgrounds and skills and get something like data science. If I was doing it now, I'd be looking at data science or analytics positions because I have the background for most of the stats.

Good luck! It's a fun thing, if you like the problem solving and can handle the frustration!

TL;DR I think you are making a good choices to do some learning on your own first!

Lordy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 132
Re: Should I go to coding bootcamp?
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2017, 07:46:04 AM »
Hello,

like the previous poster I would agree that coding camps (or any professional course) are useful in specific circumstances.
They are expensive but they can pay for themselves in either employment opportunity or raises.

The "vibe" that I am getting from your post however is not one of real commitment. You seem to like the idea but are not really behind it or "on fire".
If you would be really into it, the 90 minute commute would be an inconvenience, not #1 on the cons list.

Why not take $100 and invest them on some good courses that really interest you on sites like Udemy.com ?
You could do them from home and at your own pace. Once you are through, you should have a better feel for what you want to do and if that bootcamp is still a way to get you there.

Best of luck!