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Coding bootcamp?

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sedj

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Oct 12, 2018
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Hey guys,

My name is Sam, I'm 19 and live in Canada.

I have always had an interest in coding, and recently have been taking some programming courses online and have been enjoying them. (React, NodeJS, MongoDB, etc.) I want to keep learning, and found some different coding bootcamps that seem interesting. Each course varies, but most of them are around 3 months and cost about $10,000 -> $15,000. These courses seem like they could help me really get a good knowledge of programming, but at the same time I think I would be able to learn everything the course would teach online for free, or next to free.

What do you guys think? Have any of you had any experience with any of these coding bootcamps?
Thanks!!
 

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peterb0yd

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Dec 30, 2019
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Think carefully Sam! Only do a coding bootcamp if you want to get a software development job. That is their main purpose - to get people jobs as software developers. Even then, I would hesitate.

Why do I say this? I'm a software developer that took CS in college and has been building apps and websites for the past 6 years professionally. A few years back I decided to take a six month Machine Learning bootcamp with Thinkful. The structure was this: they set you up with a mentor and give you access to their online course. That's it! Granted, I didn't do the in-person version, but I presume it's the same material. The online course was no better than the Udemy courses I had taken in the past. When I went to the monthly social, I quickly realized that all of other students were doing the course to get a job in the field. They weren't entrepreneurs. That's when I realized I was paying way too much to learn material I could easily learn from a textbook for $100. I dropped out of the course and saved over $8k.

If your goal is to build a software product or start a software contracting business, I would advise against doing a coding bootcamp, unless you're balling and can easily afford $10-15k. Being that you're 19, I doubt that is the case.

Better alternative? Online coding courses and textbooks are really good! You're already doing these, so you obviously have the discipline to continue learning this way. I would say without a doubt, some of them are the highest quality courses on the internet. I've learned more from Udemy courses (most of which are $30) than I did in all of CS undergrad. You have to be committed to learning.

One thing to note, you should develop a deep understanding of CS fundamentals before learning a framework. In CS undergrad, typically you learn Java and C/C++ first, then Python, JS, etc. You should know object oriented concepts like the back of your hand. Classes, interfaces, static methods, instance methods, constants, variables, data structures, etc. Learn some advanced algorithms. Know them by heart. Know why some algorithms are faster than others. Learn what memory leaks are and how to debug for them. This will take a year or two of study and practice. Just because you can look something up on StackOverflow or Wikipedia doesn't mean you understand it!

The only benefit that these bootcamps give you is this:
  • Accountability - if you're paying $10k for something, you're going to make damn sure you take it seriously
  • Job offers - the more reputable companies (GA, Thinkful, Flatiron) have a network of companies that they can get you interviews at. It's part of their business model.

That being said, if you're looking for a software engineering job, then it's a decent idea (if you're okay with the $10-15k of debt or loans to pay off). It'll be the fastest way to get interviews at good companies.

If you are not looking to get a software job and decide to take the bootcamp, you might as well get a software job afterward, because you're going to need to figure out some way to pay off all that debt!

Hope that helps.
 
Last edited:

GoodluckChuck

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Have you considered looking for jobs?

I'm currently interviewing for a front end web developer job with zero JavaScript experience even though one of the requirements is Vuejs.

They straight up told me that they are looking for attitude and willingness to learn over coding knowledge. They don't mind teaching the right kind of person. That's good cause my 4mo of Python/Django is all I got under my belt, besides a few years of making WordPress websites where I only use CSS when it comes to coding.

With a few months of practice it should be possible to get an entry level job. It might not pay a whole lot but getting paid to learn > paying to learn, am I right?

When they gave me the take home coding test it was supposed to take me 3 hours but it took me about 8. In two days I went from knowing zero JS to being able to deliver the app. I learned more in those 8 hours than 24 hours of any course I've taken. It's totally different when you HAVE to deliver something.

So that's what I think. Find a job. If they all turn you down, go put another 80 hours in and go back and hit them up again. Don't take no for an answer. That's what I do and it has worked well so far. There are tons of remote jobs too.
 

Val Okafor

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Hey guys,

My name is Sam, I'm 19 and live in Canada.

I have always had an interest in coding, and recently have been taking some programming courses online and have been enjoying them. (React, NodeJS, MongoDB, etc.) I want to keep learning, and found some different coding bootcamps that seem interesting. Each course varies, but most of them are around 3 months and cost about $10,000 -> $15,000. These courses seem like they could help me really get a good knowledge of programming, but at the same time I think I would be able to learn everything the course would teach online for free, or next to free.

What do you guys think? Have any of you had any experience with any of these coding bootcamps?
Thanks!!
I enrolled in one of the earliest coding boot camps, it is called BLOC, nothing against, them. It was so early in the game, and I realized quickly that these were regular guys like myself trying to figure it out. I withdrew from the Bootcamp and have been self-taught since them. It took me much longer but I finally get going with development.

For your age, if money is not an issue I would recommend that you going through one, the environment will help you not to quit, hold you accountable and you will learn a lot. The two main benefits of structured learning are (1) that someone has thought and organized what you will be learning when learning on your own people tend to be scattered and learning things in a disorganized manner. (2) You get unstuck faster, as you learn to code, you will get stuck here and there and it helps to have a system of getting unstuck fast before you lose momentum or interest.

The next best thing to Bootcamp is building a project. However, if your development chops are still entry-level, it could be challenging to have a 360 view of what it takes to architect a digital product.

Either way, keep it at it. Learning to code once mastered will open a lot of doors for you. Good luck!
 

kelbs

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Feb 8, 2018
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Software developer here.

If your goal is to get a software development job (might not be a bad idea even if you have entrepreneurial goals because you'll earn a high salary and learn from coworkers), then I would only recommend one bootcamp: Lambda School. Their bootcamp is setup so it's risk free for the students. You only pay for the bootcamp after you get a software development job via an income share agreement (ISA). That means a portion of your software development paycheck goes to Lambda School until you've paid it off (I believe it costs 30k or 40k). If you don't get a software development job, you don't pay them anything, hence no risk. I believe their curriculum will be the most rigorous and thorough of all bootcamps because it has to be: they don't get paid unless their students actually get jobs. The power of having incentives aligned.

If your goal is simply to get better at programming, I wouldn't recommend a bootcamp. They are too expensive for the value they offer. The best way to get better at programming is to program. So, build a bunch of cool stuff. Give yourself deadlines. Push through the many obstacles (it will be hard). And you'll learn a ton. This requires a level of maturity, though, which might be beyond a 19 year old depending on what type of person you are. You really have to hold yourself accountable. But there are strategies you can use to stay focused and get it done.
 

sedj

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Oct 12, 2018
7
2
16
Think carefully Sam! Only do a coding bootcamp if you want to get a software development job. That is their main purpose - to get people jobs as software developers. Even then, I would hesitate.

Why do I say this? I'm a software developer that took CS in college and has been building apps and websites for the past 6 years professionally. A few years back I decided to take a six month Machine Learning bootcamp with Thinkful. The structure was this: they set you up with a mentor and give you access to their online course. That's it! Granted, I didn't do the in-person version, but I presume it's the same material. The online course was no better than the Udemy courses I had taken in the past. When I went to the monthly social, I quickly realized that all of other students were doing the course to get a job in the field. They weren't entrepreneurs. That's when I realized I was paying way too much to learn material I could easily learn from a textbook for $100. I dropped out of the course and saved over $8k.

If your goal is to build a software product or start a software contracting business, I would advise against doing a coding bootcamp, unless you're balling and can easily afford $10-15k. Being that you're 19, I doubt that is the case.

Better alternative? Online coding courses and textbooks are really good! You're already doing these, so you obviously have the discipline to continue learning this way. I would say without a doubt, some of them are the highest quality courses on the internet. I've learned more from Udemy courses (most of which are $30) than I did in all of CS undergrad. You have to be committed to learning.

One thing to note, you should develop a deep understanding of CS fundamentals before learning a framework. In CS undergrad, typically you learn Java and C/C++ first, then Python, JS, etc. You should know object oriented concepts like the back of your hand. Classes, interfaces, static methods, instance methods, constants, variables, data structures, etc. Learn some advanced algorithms. Know them by heart. Know why some algorithms are faster than others. Learn what memory leaks are and how to debug for them. This will take a year or two of study and practice. Just because you can look something up on StackOverflow or Wikipedia doesn't mean you understand it!

The only benefit that these bootcamps give you is this:
  • Accountability - if you're paying $10k for something, you're going to make damn sure you take it seriously
  • Job offers - the more reputable companies (GA, Thinkful, Flatiron) have a network of companies that they can get you interviews at. It's part of their business model.

That being said, if you're looking for a software engineering job, then it's a decent idea (if you're okay with the $10-15k of debt or loans to pay off). It'll be the fastest way to get interviews at good companies.

If you are not looking to get a software job and decide to take the bootcamp, you might as well get a software job afterward, because you're going to need to figure out some way to pay off all that debt!

Hope that helps.

Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it.

My overall goal would be to start my own software business, but more currently I am looking to move out and get my own place. So I wonder if maybe getting a software job would be a first step in that, I would be able to move out, save money, and then start my own business.

Would a bootcamp help me achieve this? Probably, but I can learn coding for free online. Not to mention if I got a full time software job I might get sucked into the comfort of it, and/or not have as much time to work on my own projects. But I don't have any real job experience (except high school jobs), so I'm not sure exactly what to expect.

Something I am thinking of doing is to keep working on my skills online, and start freelancing to bring some money in. I have already created a few websites for businesses and I know I can succeed at this.
 

sedj

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Oct 12, 2018
7
2
16
Have you considered looking for jobs?

I'm currently interviewing for a front end web developer job with zero JavaScript experience even though one of the requirements is Vuejs.

They straight up told me that they are looking for attitude and willingness to learn over coding knowledge. They don't mind teaching the right kind of person. That's good cause my 4mo of Python/Django is all I got under my belt, besides a few years of making WordPress websites where I only use CSS when it comes to coding.

With a few months of practice it should be possible to get an entry level job. It might not pay a whole lot but getting paid to learn > paying to learn, am I right?

When they gave me the take home coding test it was supposed to take me 3 hours but it took me about 8. In two days I went from knowing zero JS to being able to deliver the app. I learned more in those 8 hours than 24 hours of any course I've taken. It's totally different when you HAVE to deliver something.

So that's what I think. Find a job. If they all turn you down, go put another 80 hours in and go back and hit them up again. Don't take no for an answer. That's what I do and it has worked well so far. There are tons of remote jobs too.

Thanks for the help,

I have been thinking about applying for jobs but I'm not sure if I have the skills to do that just yet. I will keep working, and my persistence will pay off. My main goal is to have my own business, but a job will help me learn these skills in a professional setting, not to mention it will also get me some income.

I live in a relatively small area, so a remote job would be great. Or, once I have some more money saved up, I can move somewhere bigger.

Let me know how your interview goes, I wish you best of luck!
 

sedj

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Oct 12, 2018
7
2
16
I enrolled in one of the earliest coding boot camps, it is called BLOC, nothing against, them. It was so early in the game, and I realized quickly that these were regular guys like myself trying to figure it out. I withdrew from the Bootcamp and have been self-taught since them. It took me much longer but I finally get going with development.

For your age, if money is not an issue I would recommend that you going through one, the environment will help you not to quit, hold you accountable and you will learn a lot. The two main benefits of structured learning are (1) that someone has thought and organized what you will be learning when learning on your own people tend to be scattered and learning things in a disorganized manner. (2) You get unstuck faster, as you learn to code, you will get stuck here and there and it helps to have a system of getting unstuck fast before you lose momentum or interest.

The next best thing to Bootcamp is building a project. However, if your development chops are still entry-level, it could be challenging to have a 360 view of what it takes to architect a digital product.

Either way, keep it at it. Learning to code once mastered will open a lot of doors for you. Good luck!

Thanks for the encouragement, it means a lot.

If I were to go down the bootcamp route, is there any particular bootcamp you would recommend?
 

sedj

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Oct 12, 2018
7
2
16
Software developer here.

If your goal is to get a software development job (might not be a bad idea even if you have entrepreneurial goals because you'll earn a high salary and learn from coworkers), then I would only recommend one bootcamp: Lambda School. Their bootcamp is setup so it's risk free for the students. You only pay for the bootcamp after you get a software development job via an income share agreement (ISA). That means a portion of your software development paycheck goes to Lambda School until you've paid it off (I believe it costs 30k or 40k). If you don't get a software development job, you don't pay them anything, hence no risk. I believe their curriculum will be the most rigorous and thorough of all bootcamps because it has to be: they don't get paid unless their students actually get jobs. The power of having incentives aligned.

If your goal is simply to get better at programming, I wouldn't recommend a bootcamp. They are too expensive for the value they offer. The best way to get better at programming is to program. So, build a bunch of cool stuff. Give yourself deadlines. Push through the many obstacles (it will be hard). And you'll learn a ton. This requires a level of maturity, though, which might be beyond a 19 year old depending on what type of person you are. You really have to hold yourself accountable. But there are strategies you can use to stay focused and get it done.

I have looked into Lambda in the past, and the ISA seems like a great idea, however it is only available to US residents so I would have to pay it all up front, and $30k USD just doesn't seem worth it for what is mostly available for free online.

Thanks for the tips, I will keep working.
 

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sedj

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Oct 12, 2018
7
2
16
Have you tried a cheaper alternative like Codecademy?

I've used them in the past (middle school lol), I'll look into them again. At the moment I have been taking courses from code with mosh, and they have been great for a inexpensive price.
 

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