Education has been a constant emphasis for us here on The Drunken UX Podcast. It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to the industry, or a seasoned vet trying to pivot into a new skill, success hinges on learning. Google, StackOverflow, Medium, YouTube – all of these can be a great resource, but over the last few years people have been turning to coding bootcamps by the thousands to learn and develop new skills. In this episode, we’re joined by Meg Gutshall and Alicia Barrett to talk about their experiences at bootcamps, and to help others understand how investing in yourself is one of the most surefire ways to set yourself up for success in the future.

Followup Resources

Transcript

The following is a machine-generated transcript of this episode. It will contain errors until it has been reviewed and edited, and we apologize for the difficulty that may cause for screen readers. Do you want to help us speed up our transcribing process? Consider sponsoring an episode.

Hey, everybody, I’m glad you could be here. I am your host of the drunken UX podcast. My name is officially Michael Fienen.

I’m your other other host. My name is unofficially Aaron Hill.

What? But that raises an important question of what is it officially?

Let’s have the listeners right in until

that’s a bad idea. That’s how you end up with McDonald’s hamburgers that are made out of nothing but lettuce. Folks, you’re listening to the UX podcast. This is episode number 46. We’re gonna be talking about coding boot camps and what they can do for you as a developer, or somebody looking to change careers or all kinds of things. If you enjoyed this episode, if you enjoyed the last episode, if you enjoyed the next episode, I don’t really care. Just make sure to stop by our kind sponsors over at pork bun.if you run by their website, check them out. If you’re interested in getting a design domain name for free for an entire year. Just use the coupon code drunken UX when you check out and you get free stuff. And I like free stuff. If you can’t remember that if you’re in your car, doing whatever, in we’ve got a link in the show notes to that makes it even easier. So go check them out. It’s a very kind thing to do because they are supporting the show and we enjoy knowing that we can be here for

you. Be sure to also connect with us on Twitter and facebook.com slash joking UX and on instagram.com slash trek NUX podcast. And the link works again. It did not work before drunken ux.com slash slack going to come and connect with us on there and tell me what my name is officially. I fixed it. It’s not mine. I

fixed it. I fixed it. I made it. I met I guess so when slack says hey, this link doesn’t expire. That’s a lie. It does. I don’t know after how long but it does expire. Apparently. Yeah. Currently after a year or so. But yeah, let’s see. I am drinking this evening Aaron and I know that will be a shock to you and everybody at home not drinking scotch am drinking whiskey using my fancy little tilted ice glass.

Hold that to the camera.

Well, the ice is now starting to slide down so it’s less. Now it just looks like a bad ice cube.

I’ve got I’ve got some head product case of this from a BJS membership. Some Blue Moon gotta get some blue moon tonight I spilled like a third of the bottle on my desk and narrowly missed shorting out my whole computer when they dropped off the back onto my on the on the My surge protector.

To right, we’ll get you next time. Yeah. Folks, we’ve got not one but two guests joining us this evening for the drunken UX podcast. We brought in a couple folks that we thought were talking about boot camps and I’m currently in a boot camp. I know Aaron does some work with other boot camps. But we also wanted to get some other perspectives. So we’ve brought in Meg, Gotshal Meg is a current boot camper. She’s a companionship enthusiast, and quite frankly, an all around badass. And then we also have Elisa Barrett, who is a bootcamp grad and is currently working as a support engineer. And she’s also a writer and conference speaker. Ladies, thanks for joining us. Let’s start off by telling all the kind people what you’re drinking with us.

I am drinking Sam Adams Oktoberfest. I sent a message to you to earlier let me know it’s calling in the fridge.

Hi, I have some dear pop order.

Nice. Hey, that says 100% natural spring water.

I always run with my water bottle next to me as well. Especially depending on what I’m drinking out. The makers is all right. But the martinis and stuff they I need the buffer them. So

I still remember that episode we did with Gregg Popovich, where like, I there was like a five minute period when I was just completely zoned out with, I forgot what I was drinking, but

I was gonna send somebody to give you CPR, and then I thought better of it. So here’s the deal, folks, we’ve talked a lot over the last two years about different educational opportunities and different ways to go about getting into our industry and how important it is to kind of chase what you want and not worry about the different ways to get it like find the way that’s right for you. And that may be coming back to, you know, finding courses online picking up a book watching YouTube videos. But boot camps play, I think, a really important role in our industry right now. And it was something that we’re all I love this because we’re all kind of at different steps in our journey. And so I’m really excited to kind of talk about how this helps all of us, what we get out of what the challenges of it are, and what other people can think about as they get into this. So I’m going to start Alicia with you. You have graduated from your boot camp. Give us just like that sort of bite sized snippet of you know, what was your boot camp? Where was it? What did you learn? And how long was it?

Yeah, how long.

And so my boot camp was six months long, I did a program that was part time. So it was on Tuesdays and Thursdays from like six to 930. And then on Saturdays from I think it was time to to in person. Yes. Yeah. And they did give you the option to like remote and but only a certain number of times. And so this this boot camp was put on by trilogy, education services, it’s hosted at Georgia Tech, here in Atlanta. And we covered HTML, CSS, JavaScript, react, express and node and Mongo and YS. And it was all very fast.

That will be a recurring theme in this discussion.

So yeah, it was a whirlwind. And so I I started the program, I think it was July 27. Teen and 2018.

Yeah, I make Where did you go? Or are you going rather?

Yes, I’m still a student. I did not foresee this when I started my boot camp, but life happens. I am currently a student at flat iron schools, online, software engineering boot camp. And they have different tracks. I’m in the self paced boot camp. Because I work a lot of jobs. And I started in June of 2018. I’m the curriculum I’ve been learning we learn get HTML and CSS basics, and sequel action record. And we learned Ruby with the Sinatra and Rails framework. Nice. And I’m about to jump into JavaScript. And we’ll be learning react and Redux as well. I’m super excited for that.

That’s awesome.

What other questions I forget.

And so you said you started in June of last year? Yes. And when when will your program wrap up, then

it’s so since it’s self paced, it’s basically when I get done, I’d like to be done at the end of this year. Um, but what, what I’ve been doing is, I don’t really move on until I understand the topic until I feel comfortable with it. That’s good. And I think that’s why I’ve been held up. That’s part of and also, at the end of each section, they break them down into different sections, we have a project for the section, and the projects I’ve reached a little further than I’ve had to, but they’re so fun to do that. Yeah, I get a little carried away. But regardless of where I am, at the end of this year, I have to get a job, because I will be scraping the bottom of the barrel. I’m just really hoping to at least be through react by the end of this year, because I think that’ll make me horrible and the Philadelphia market, but Philadelphia doesn’t really like Ruby for some reason. It’s hard to find rails jobs around here.

It’s it’s they are, it seems to me that there’s a bunch of different pockets around the country. But thankfully, a lot of them are starting to trend towards offering more network. So that’s always an option. If, if that’s the direction you want to go in, but I agree that getting in on the JavaScript stuff would definitely make you more marketable.

Yeah. And so that’s two vantage points. And I’ve got a third that I’m going to throw in. Of course, I’ve been building websites, since almost the Dark Ages, not quite, maybe medieval time, when you

when you started building websites, you literally use the Gutenberg press. Well,

that’s terrible. Let me tell you. I am also in a boot camp right now as we are recording this. And so this is something I want to reinforce that, you know, this isn’t always for getting into the industry, it can be for learning new things as well. But some, what I’m doing right now is taking a JavaScript boot camp. It’s a three month program that Zack Gordon hosts at it’s a very nice country pressed program, it’s extremely affordable. It’s good for somebody like me, who does already work full time in the industry, but needs to kind of brush up on other things. So in this case, it’s the JavaScript and WordPress course, specifically. So it’s going to get into a lot of the React stuff with Gutenberg and the WordPress API, and how to build stuff for that. Since we’ve got a lot of that in our infrastructure, and could I learn it on my own gap, but I also really like having somebody to check my work a little bit, you know, and, and as we talk about this, I’m going to kind of get into some of that to this idea that, you know, everybody learns differently and stuff. But there’s a lot of value to being next to people who are doing what you’re doing and having somebody who can look at what you’ve done and actually just tell you, yeah, that’s good. But if you do it this way, maybe it’s a little bit better.

But I actually did a week long boot camp, about eight years years ago, down in Atlanta at the Big Nerd Ranch. Have you heard of that?

Yeah, yeah. Nerd ridge.

Yeah, it was fun. It’s not nearly as comprehensive as the boot camps, both of you are doing we were just doing rails, I think they also have like iOS and cocoa and some other like, contemporary, mainly Mac oriented ones. But, um, it was like, two days of like, just Ruby. And then five days of, of like rails, and think CV Quinn was our, as our instructor, it was really cool. I learned a lot of it was difficult to like, take whatever, and then like, immediately apply it to my job, I had all this knowledge in my head, and I wanted to use it right away. But like I couldn’t.

It’s tough, right? Because everybody kind of alluded to the same thing. Like, there’s a lot, there’s a reason we call them boot camps, right? That you are getting immersed into something very quickly, I made a joke earlier in the program I’m taking now I’ve got some JavaScript experience, more than most people so that the start of this has been very kind of like, I know this, I’m just getting through the exercises. But as we’ve jumped into week three, and they progressed to now Katie, you’re going to do this project and build this stuff. I likened it to how to draw an owl, first draw circle, then draw the rest of the owl and it was like, Oh, so we really are getting right into that that’s why these are phrase that way. And, and you can call them whatever you want to in terms of programs, you know, some of them are hosted at university, some of them are done independent school, some of them are done by individuals. But this idea of them being a boot camp is designed to reflect the fact that you are going to go intensive very quickly and cover a lot of ground because there designed to get you turnkey, so that you can get into your industry and start making money afterwards. And it’s one of the reasons why colleges are lagging behind I think in this idea, because colleges, even you know, let’s not talk about community college, necessarily, but like a university level program is designed to keep you there for four years. And what I think about what has changed in the industry since 2015. Holy crap, Unknown Speaker yeah. That that’s a huge

amount of ground to cover. And because a lot of these programs, a emphasize computer science over programming, which I think is an important distinction. Computer Science is a very academic approach to you know, how you think about logic and how you think about systems and things like that, as opposed to writing code and learning conventions and object oriented processes and things like that. And then universities 10, and this isn’t a knock, I worked at universities, I respect people, universities, I would love to teach at one someday. But the reality is a lot of professors that get in that are teaching some of these programs. They’re teaching courses on things that now have tools that never existed when they were professional field, you know, when you start thinking about, you know, tools like web pack and parcel, if you’re looking at gold, grunt yarn in PM, all this stuff, all these build tools that we have now, all these tools change all of these resources, a lot of those didn’t exist for these guys, when they got their PhDs back in 1984. And even the difference between things like GitHub, and let’s say, SVNSVN, similar idea, but very different toolset. And if that’s what you’re getting taught, that’s a little problematic, because most places are using get at this point and variations thereof. So that’s one reason why boot camp cropped up, because they said, you know, what, universities can’t produce a worker that has the skill set and the experience, we need to hire them.

I had an interview at a local company, and I didn’t have my portfolio site up. So I just, I just brought my laptop. And I showed them some projects that I like, is

Mike is cheering, cheering on my video.

I just brought my laptop. And I showed them a project that I just finished. And at the end of the interview, the gentleman who’d asked me to come in, I spoke with him. And he said, You know, I’m just really impressed that you brought in something and showed it to us like, we’ve had college grads that come in here and don’t have anything to show any projects. And that’s like, I don’t know why they don’t build something like that into a college curriculum. That’s a lot more than a boot camp.

Think, Michael. And I know why.

There are Yeah, there are a lot of reasons why that’s true. They’re all unfortunate. I think universities could fix it. But it requires logistical changes to the system that they aren’t prepared for. And it’s great. Like Alicia, you mentioned your program was done in coordination with Georgia Tech through their learning partner. That’s where I think a lot of this is going to end up kind of going because it allows a school to offer that program, but also not have to think about it from an accreditation standpoint.

Mm hmm. That’s a really interesting scenario. And I said, hop off of life. You said, Meg, I had an interview earlier this week, and my interviewer actually asked me about keeps and stacks and how, yes, and how, what are the like the pros and cons of them, of using them?

What kind of job was it?

This was a junior software engineer role.

language

was like, now they’re using.net. And something else? I don’t remember. But

her and I are both like, Oh,

yeah, I am. So that interview wasn’t a great experience, because I didn’t know the answers to those things. And I was like, really like.

But I know, it’s, it is tough. And it’s something that I think, though, you get experienced in very quickly, at least, you know, through the boot camp process, you get out there and you’re doing those interviews very fast. You know, if you’re in a university, and you’re four years into it, maybe you get an internship in your third year or something along those lines, which I think is also incredibly beneficial in those cases. But if you’re four years into an academic program before you’ve gotten in front of somebody or been asked to whiteboard a problem, or something along those lines, like those are challenges that if you’re not ready for them, like I’ve never, I’ve never had to interview for a job where I was asked to whiteboard something. My first jobs that just was never even a thing that existed at that point. And I’ve been at my current company for seven years now. So obviously, that when I’m whiteboarding, I’m actually whiteboarding. But those techniques, I think that’s one of the next kind of natural avenues for a boot camp in general to is to kind of prepare you for what some of that will be getting. And what’s going to get asked of those things because they can do pretty quickly.

That’s a good segue, because I was going to ask, did they, like Did either of your boot camps give you interview coaching or anything beforehand? As part of the curriculum?

I don’t think that there was interview coaching from what I remember. But we didn’t have like a career counselor. So that was someone who like, helped connect us to two opportunities, basically it to me that the career account counselor sort of served as like a recruiter,

like a reverse recruiter.

Yeah. Like, hey, there’s this opportunity. What do you think about it?

when they when they would find that opportunity? And if like, hypothetically, if you said, like, yeah, this looks interesting. Would they then help you kind of strategize on how to approach how to approach the employer or push their recruiting tomorrow?

Uh, no, at least at when I was in the program. It wasn’t that thorough. And I think for me, at the time of the program was very much lacking in that capacity in terms of like, preparing you for, for interviewing. Okay. So luckily, I think what helps me was, was using some resources outside of Atlanta, like, those groups, other people have really helped me prepare for these verses, actual bootcamp.

To be fair college doesn’t help much with that either. So

yeah, you could say that again. At flat iron, they actually have a really good support system that I’ve heard, I am not at that point yet. We’re, I’ve been so each student gets assigned a career coach, and I haven’t been assigned one yet. From what I understand, it should happen like any day now. But they help you with going over your LinkedIn profile and your resume, they try to task you with going to this many meetups a month and making this many connection new connections a week. And from what I hear some of them, like, they give you a lot of stuff to do. And it’s that on top of the work you’re doing with actual program, and it’s like, okay, I don’t know, I can get all this time. But I can’t speak from experience, it’s just what I’ve heard from other students.

We talked to several episodes back up about learning and and some of the programs that are out there from, you know, Code Academy, you to me and all these things and why people go and one of the other reasons I see boot camps is they give you a quick way to do a career pivot. And so if you are somebody who’s older, who is interested in learning how to become a software developer, there’s an article, I’m going to have a link to it in the show notes. From Kyle fair, it’s over on medium. And it’s what I learned from researching coding boot camps. And the whole article is amazing. He actually did a bunch of research and talked to a couple dozen boot camp graduates and got a bunch of information from them, you know, what their career track was, before and after, and all this that the whole article is great, go read it. But there’s, it’s opens with a quote that I want to read to you guys, it’s a year and a half ago, my wife, Kristen was an English teacher. Now she’s a full time software engineer at Microsoft. Wow. And it kind of underlines this thing that our industry is wide open for anybody willing to put in the work. And that’s the thing about a boot camp is because it is so intensive. And because you are going to do a ton of work in a short period of time. If it’s something that interests you, and that you think you can be good at, there’s a lot of opportunity there to kind of latch into this and say, you know, what, I’ve enjoyed, you know, selling houses for the last 10 years. But now I’d like to build tools to make that better for other people. And, you know, I’ve I’ve edited our website forever. And I think I couldn’t handle this. And so if you want to take a boot camp, and try to pivot, there’s a huge opportunity there for that kind of stuff. And it’s not limited. Kristen was an English teacher. Now she’s a full time software engineer at Microsoft, I was a theater major, and I build websites. So I get it, like I understand that, you know, that kind of what you know, isn’t necessarily what you have to do. And you know, in that way, what’s interesting, too, is that these boot camps, to kind of go back to this idea of you know, how colleges are trying to keep up and build some of these programs. Boot Camps as a thing, generally speaking, like semantically at a high level, didn’t really exist until about 2012. There were programs, there were some of these hackathons and things that would crop up from time to time, but boot camp as a thing you could go to and learn how to be a web developer really caught on about seven years ago. And it’s kind of been off to the races ever since then. That makes it a huge challenge, because there’s a lot of them out there. So finding good ones and finding one that’s right for you is hard, because everybody learns differently. Whether that’s if you’re if you’re good at teaching yourself stuff. That’s one thing, if you need to sit in a classroom with other human beings, that’s something else and find finding a program right for you, I think is one of the hardest parts of this process. Meg, I’d love to ask you because flat iron, I know is a great school. I think of it kind of in the same breath as schools like full sail, in terms of like a US there there a school, but they have kind of specialized themselves and they know their mission. How did you come to the conclusion that you wanted to take the program at full sail?

Yeah, what what you said definitely resonated with me. Cuz when I did a lot of research, when I was deciding about the boot camp I wanted to do, like, I took a course through Coursera, before I even decided to do boot camp, because I was like, Well, you know, I’m not going to go headfirst into this, I’m going to test the waters and the waters are really good. Like, yeah, okay, let’s do this. So I’m located in suburbs of Philadelphia, and I researched a whole bunch of different schools, and there weren’t too many. close by, at the time, there was it came, it ended up coming down to the New York code and design Academy that was located in the city. And I could have done their full time in person boot camp that was three months, or a flat iron online, and do that self paced and work at the same time. And the one thing that really had had me worried was I’m a very interactive learner. So I’m the kind of person that likes to be in a classroom with other people human being. And I was just like, I don’t know about this online stuff. Because I have taken an online class before through a community, the local community college and they use Blackboard. And I mean, yeah, you don’t get that interactivity, flat iron uses slack and zoom, and they have the study groups, their section leads is what they call the teachers for each section that they have, will hold office hours and different study groups. And the leads for each project do as well. So I go to those. And it’s like, it was at first kind of weird, but then you get used to it. It’s like, you’re right there right next to the person. And the community in their slack is really strong. I just, I got in there and just kept chattering away and talking. And, um, I actually accidentally started like, 100 days of code cohort that ended up being like, 75 people strong.

Wow. Yeah. I’m familiar with hundred days ago, yeah.

January, I just on a whim, I was like, okay, for my new year’s resolution, I’m going to do 100 days of code. Join me, and people just kept joining on. So I mean, the Slack channel, and we got so many people join, it was so fun. So it can be an online school can be really inactive if you make it that way. And I’ve talked to students as well who, or like, I haven’t used any of this stuff until now, like, I just been working, going through the lessons and, and it’s just like such a, you, you lose out on so much by not using your classmates I call. I call my classmates, my code canyons. I’m going to trademark that don’t steal it.

Just registered the domain design.

But yeah, I’m like, hey, my companions, you got to use each other use your resources, you know. So, yeah, that’s basically how I decided as like, you know, this school has a great reputation. Um, there are ways to be interactive. Yeah, that’s kind of and I’m glad I went with that decision, because that Code Camp is gone and wiped off the face of that now. The other one, so.

Yeah.

And Elisa, how did you come to the Georgia Tech program,

my decision to enroll in that boot camp was due to like, I had recently moved to Atlanta. I used to live in DC. And so I moved to Atlanta, and my parents were in the area. And I knew I wanted to make this career transition. I had taken some online courses, and it just didn’t really stick. And so it at the time, just to like, paint a full picture. I moved to Atlanta, and I was living with my parents. And I was also working full time. So I had the extra money to pay for boot camp. And, and so it, it just worked out for me in that way like it. Logistically it worked out. Actually, I could have worked it at the time. And so I decided to turn on a boot camp, because

how did you like I saw earlier, you had written that you did? The the one at Georgia Tech was three days a week. How did you like having? I guess, like, what, what did they do in class? Is it like a traditional classroom kind of thing? Or do you do a lot of pairing? Like how do they do? How do they do that?

Yeah, I would say it’s mostly traditional in the sense that class starts at like, six o’clock. There’s like a main teacher who will who will basically sort of give a lecture. And of course, you can interact with questions, then there’s a break. And there’s another like, time for lecture, and then you have time to, like in between there are pockets of working on exercises. So there’s that. And then at the end, after 930, I think from like, it’s either nine to 930, or 930, to 10, where they have like, a little bit of office hours. But by the by that time that late, everyone’s like, ready to go home now on screen is

that’s a long, that’s a long time to be a class for four hours is I

do my best coding at midnight, I’m just saying. So, a step one, obviously research programs, find something that’s right for you, if you are a good online learner, fantastic. Find yourself an online program that’s got a good Slack channel and and community and run with it if you need to be in person, proximity may influence your decision, depending on where you are in that situation. What matters a lot in this discussion is taking the time to understand how you learn, and how you grow. And choosing a program that reflects that process. Because only you know that everybody learns differently. And that’s one of the reasons why I fight against, you know, this idea that kids are like, well, I’m gonna I’m in school, I’m going to take all my classes online. No, you’re not. It’s like working from home. Because everybody, it sounds great, right? When you say, Oh, I work from home, or, or Yeah, I will lovely or whatever. Yeah, that. Try it. It, it takes a very certain mental space and skill set to pull that off. And that’s not to say that that person is better or anything than another person. It’s just, some people work better when they are in a work environment. Some people work better when they are at home distraction free. And learning is the because learning is work. Learning learning is paying somebody to have a job, you’re somebody else to teach you. And that that effort that you’re expelling is still very much work. And it will reflect you know how you can grow. So make sure you look into that there’s a website. I don’t know a whole lot about it. So I’m going to caveat this before I say it and because somebody is going to come up and say Oh, don’t don’t use them. I don’t know. He bombs world calm it. Whoa, no. This is the this is off the rails before I’ve even started. That’s all. And you can thank him for that. No its course report.com. Report. And what I will do is that the reason I caveat This is because when you go to their site, they are there. They’re an organization that provides information on coding boot camps. Now, I don’t know what their vested interest is in the industry, if they’ve got, you know, they may have interest in certain programs over others, I don’t know. But they do have a lot of information. And they’ve got a ton of reviews available that you can read on different, especially like the established programs from different places, things that kind of run regularly and things like that. It’s a starting place, at the very least, go there, look up programs, look up things that are in person or remote, whatever. And you know, you have three months, you have 18 months, do you have a Jeff $2,000 you have $20,000 like that the options are huge here. So find something that fits and take that time. Don’t do it impulsively. Don’t don’t think I’ve got 500 bucks burning a hole in my pocket. I’m gonna do this. Yeah, yeah, no, that’s

that don’t do it impulsively. best moment in time and money and energy.

And in yourself. It’s you know it when you take a boot camp, you’re spending money on you, and your future, and you want to get the most out of that you can and there is no better investment that not to get philosophical. But some warnings on that, when you do read about programs don’t take their numbers at face value. They’re all because they all are going to say, Well, we’ve got a 95% placement rate and our graduates make $90,000 a year. Don’t assume that’s true, or at least don’t. Don’t assume it’s representative.

caveat on that two people who I know though some coding boot camps will have like quotes from graduates and stuff, check to see like, if they feature graduates who are like, Oh, I had such a great time, and I started this job afterwards, see if they graduated from college with a computer science degree, because some people will go to boot camp like that for the development aspect. And but already have that kind of a background. So they’re going to have a leg up on someone that’s coming from a completely different background. And that’s not included, and their advertisement on their website, obviously.

That Yeah, you know, a good way to kind of get around that is get on Twitter. Go, you know,

did you just recommend people go on Twitter intentionally?

I mean, I still do. I’m sure there are other options. But you, you you you boo, go on Twitter, go on Reddit, go on counter social, go on Facebook, if that’s your thing, go find somebody who’s taken the program that you’re looking at and and ask them don’t don’t ask the program. Don’t ask for references. Because, you know, references are always the best.

What is the program be like, you know what, we’re not great. You probably shouldn’t spend your money.

But go out and ask her and send out some hashtags and things like some folks go Yeah,

LinkedIn, fantastic wall that have the, the camp listed and their education and see where they’re working now.

Absolutely.

Yeah. Oh, that’s, that’s a good, good idea.

Go ask them go find out because again, that extra 30 minutes worth of research is going to be worth its weight in gold research, the teachers. You know, that was one reason why I picked my program. I was familiar with Zach. I knew his work. I had taken some of his other stuff. So I knew like the from it. I knew he knew his stuff. I knew he wasn’t just some fly by night. Go Go figure out who’s teaching your programs, you know, what their background is? Do they do conference talks? Have they written anything? Have they, you know, been active on YouTube with tutorials? What? Or are they somebody with no background that it’s like, know that because that’s the thing, right? A boot camp should be taught by somebody that’s a drill sergeant. That’s what you want. That’s what you should be looking for. That’s the background that that you should hope for in those situations. And find study groups, ask them what their study group structure is like, and how they do that and use those study groups. Because that is so important. When you are floundering, and you will, you need to know what the support system in the program is like. And that support system is generally besides just the teacher and the GA or whoever is the teaching assistant, whoever’s involved? How do they facilitate students talking to each other and looking at each other’s work? and things like that? I don’t know. May, you said that you had study groups involved with flat iron? At least? Yeah. What was your setup? Like there at Georgia Tech?

Yeah. So there was a Slack channel. They also have mentors, or teachers that are there in class with you. And, and before the course or the class starts every evening, there’s like 30 minutes before the class starts where TA is available to talk about an assignment or anything like that. And there are also mentors available remotely. So request to have a mentor and they’ll assign you a mentor, and help you out

with a pretty responsive for your program.

Yeah, they were. They were definitely responsive. Their resources. Were there, honestly, you asked for it.

You know, I, it makes me think of like exorcism. I like exorcism a lot. I think it’s

EXERCISMIO.

I’ll link to it in the show. No,

not not like, not exorcisms, like removing evil spirits from person.

I’ve had very successful versions of that, too. So it’s okay. exorcism is cool. It’s not a boot camp. It’s just a learning system. They have courses on all kinds of everything from JavaScript, to Ruby to Python, PHP, whatever. But it’s all self guided. And they have a like a mentor review stage for your code. But because it’s free, and it’s self guided. I, I liked the program. But when I ran into some different things, I’m like, I would like I would like somebody to look at what I wrote and tell me, if I’m doing it in the best way possible. I found that in that situation like, there, you know, because it was free, you get what you pay for. I didn’t have somebody just on tap that was going to answer my question, even though it is kind of part of that system. They’re all volunteers, and they may not be awake when I’m awake, and whatever the case may be, so that that support system, I think is one of the most important parts of this process, you’re going to learn, you know, what is going to amount to a shit ton of information over you know, 12 months, you need people there to help you along. Otherwise, you’re going to lose two days of learning while you’re waiting to get information. And that can that can really slow a person down. It’s, it’s like taking a summer class, right in college, when they say you can’t miss more than two days of class and you laugh. And then you miss two days of class and you realize this is a Russian class, and I didn’t I signed up for Spanish.

On that note, I do like about flat iron. Students can create their own study groups as well. So another student had approached me about trying out this idea she got from lambda school who camper at a local meetup, they to a daily stand up meeting where they talk about what they’re working on. And she’s like, we don’t do that here. We shouldn’t try to do something like that maybe once a week. So we started this code talk series. And it was like, just people really liked it. And we’d have students come and they could like talk about their something they’re working on present it just to like practice talking about code. And but after a while, like people started not wanting to volunteer or not having anything to talk about. So we started working on code challenges. And it just facilitates working together and pairing up thinking about things in different ways. And you build this community. So then, when you’re actually working on curriculum work, you can be like, Oh, I know. So and so from Kotaku, let’s see if they’re up CY. So it’s really cool that you have that other way to like, virtually meet other classmates, even though you might not be because there’s definitely people I’ve met who have been way ahead of me in the curriculum, and they’re nice enough to take some time out to help out with something. And like, now I pass that along to, like, you know, pay it forward type thing.

You know, what I love about that is, there is never a job that you’re going to have where you don’t have to collaborate with co workers. And that entire process of, I’m going to learn, I’m going to work with my mentors and my assistance and my peers, and get feedback and ask questions and get information. And then once I’m better, I’m going turn around and do that for other people. That that process, that learning process and sharing process are that those may be almost as important as the actual hard development skills that you come out of a boot camp with. Because it’s if you can’t do that, it makes it hard to be an employee. And it makes it hard to be a manager of an employee like that, that you know, people need to be able to collaborate and listen and understand and stop, help people stop, collaborate and listen, stop, collaborate. And listen.

I was as we said, You keep in touch with a name. But if we were cohort since you’ve finished your boot camp,

I’m a couple. So there’s a couple folks who also became part of the like Women Who Code Atlanta community. And really, it’s by through that I stayed in contact with them. Okay, cool. 30 of people I was in a large class. I think there may be like 30 to 40 people. Oh, Unknown Speaker that’s good. sighs Well,

yeah. Yeah, I don’t keep in touch with a lot of them. Just maybe like,

maybe Unknown Speaker five to 1040 people,

I keep in touch with 10. It’s only a quarter of the class. Okay. I talked to three people I went to high school with Come on. So I want to go into the, the uncomfortable part of this talk. Because boot camps are great, I recommend them, I think they are a great way to get into this industry and learn stuff and learn new skills. I don’t care if you’re new if you’ve been in it for 20 years. But that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. And one of the first and foremost issues is the cost. And I said the phrase earlier, it’s an investment in yourself. It’s not an investment in yourself in the way. University is, let’s say so. At least you I’m going to look over at you for a second because I actually went to a school in Atlanta when I graduated high school for a brief period at the school and I were not a good fit. But I went there. Georgia Tech as a university, not a cheap school. If you wanted a four year bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech, you’re probably banking What? I end this may show my age. I don’t know. 150. Somewhere in there. Really? Is that high low? I don’t know anymore.

He’s out state too.

Oh, yeah. out of state makes it even higher. Sorry, Georgia Tech. I don’t actually know what your tuition is, I don’t know. boot camps are significantly cheaper. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re affordable for everybody. And when I said earlier, you know, research programs and find one right for you. I think cost does come into that. Uh, the boot camp I’m taking is a three month course. We do two classes a week with chickens on Mondays and Fridays. It’s $500. Very affordable. It’s basically a college course, right? It’s like a three credit hour college course for lack of a better reference. But some of these programs when you get into the 12, month, 18 month programs 10,000 15,000 even $20,000 isn’t unheard of. But that is also treating it much more like saying associate degree at that part. If you if you’re familiar with networking, like CCE, you know getting CCI certification, like Cc Cc IE certification is basically a master’s degree in Cisco equipment. Like it’s, it is a hard core and it is an expensive certification to get. And so boot camps kind of fall into that. I’m going to ask the question, and I’m going to give both of you the opportunity topped out of this, but I would be interested to know, you know, from your programs, because you’re much longer than mine. It’s much more intensive. What the programs you’re taking right now are costing

the free to use a range of here. Yeah,

yeah, I’m not gonna

The Big Nerd Ranch thing I did. That was a week long. I my employer paid for it. But I think it was a few thousand dollars. And but that included like room and board and everything. Separate was like, yeah, basically. Yeah.

So my boot camp was at the time it was 95. Wow.

But that was for? What did you say it was? full year? Six months? Six months? That’s right.

Okay. So

the one thing I want to caution people on a little bit with this. When it comes, especially the boot camps, you’re seeing it more in higher ed in general. And I’m not going to go in this in depth. If you want to know more you go just google the phrase ISA income sharing agreement, and I don’t know Oh, so lambda school does this right. Yeah. And I don’t know, maybe early CID Did either of your programs. Are you on it? Or did they offer it? Does that sound like a thing that is familiar? Now?

I’m know they had? Sorry, I just I forgot how much mine costs. So I just looked it up. I actually, I just remembered to when you brought up the money issue. That was another reason why I went with flat iron over the New York code and design Academy because they flyering had scholarship opportunities and other one didn’t. So I applied for the Facebook breakthrough scholarship. And I got it. And so flat iron. Since it’s self paced, they like charge monthly for self paced, but then they cap it. So my cap, half price is 9000. So I guess it’s 18,000 total. Wow. Yeah. And they had like, these sponsored or like long partners or something, but it wasn’t an income share agreement. Like, we get x percentage of your first year. Unknown Speaker Yeah.

Bullshit. It’s

for it for what it’s worth. I mean, even though like that is is a lot of money, and you are investing in yourself, but I mean, it’s a lot of money. But it really sounds like you’re getting a lot of Well, I mean, first of all the skills that you’ve all mentioned that you’ve been training in, I mean, those are all very current. So you’re getting marketable skills, at least. And it sounds like you get a lot of like intense education, but over an extended period of time. So I would think that there’s better retention,

there’s always value when you’re paying for something, I mean, it’s natural that there’s a higher buy and higher engagement, as a consequence of that. There are those, like, to megs point, do your research, there are a lot of different, you know, grant programs, Google’s got a number of programs they offer, Facebook’s got a number of programs they offer to help, especially if you’re in you know, any kind of group that would be considered like a minority type group or anything like that, or an underserved group. There are a lot of opportunities out there, if you do a little bit of research in that area. That the risk is and this is why like research is key to all of this. And I’ll go out on a limb and say if you’re listening to this, and you’re interested in and you’re researching, and you’re not sure you are welcome them to send us an email or a message, and we’ll help you on this and try to help sort out whether or not you’re getting a good deal, because the risk you run is some of these programs, you know, they’re there for profit, they are for profit schools. And there’s always that chance to make you mentioned like loan partners. That’s a scary term that is frightening like that. That’s the kind of thing I don’t like that phrase, you have to look out for that I essays look good on the surface, and they can be good. I’m not saying avoid is a at all costs. But you do have to know what you expect to spend, and how you expect it that to impact your income. A lot of universities are starting to test this program in different areas as a means of helping students fund education outside of loans. It can be good, it can be bad, you know, when you start talking four plus percent percent of your income alone actually makes more sense, in some cases, depending on what kind of interest rates you get. So all I’m saying is, if that’s an option, don’t assume it’s the best option. Do the math, do your own research on it. And just be aware.

A lot of people don’t have the credit to take out. Yeah, that that’s their only option. Like some I essays are designed, because they know, well, some people, these people are going into these programs, like a lot of people are going into these programs for career changes. They don’t like their job. And they’re just sick of it. And they somehow got into programming, and anybody who’s had this magical epiphany of like, Oh, my God, this is awesome, I need to do this for my rest of my life. They’re like desperate to do this career switch, and boot camps and banks know that people will do whatever they can to get out of a situation. Like if you’re, for example, if you’re working as a chef, you’re working nights and weekends. And if you have a family, you’re not seeing your kids on nights and weekends, and they’re in school during the day. And you’re like, I’m making not that great money. I love coding, I could be making a lot more, but I don’t have the money to fund it right now. I’ll just do this program. Like that’s, that’s what this is targeted at. And there’s so many situations where that’s the only option. And that’s how these people save business?

Well, and I mean, the flip side of it is that it, it can work. And it though, the good part about AISI is that it does incentivize the school or the organization to help you be successful, because if you don’t get a job, they don’t get paid. True. So that is at least one advantage. Now, student loans can be very similar, though, if you aren’t employed, you can defer student loan payments, that still also applies. But there is some incentive there. And a lot of it does come down to making sure just doing your due diligence is all a lot of places and people wanna hear and to me,

to be honest, I’d rather have an is a than a student loan. If I had the choice, I mean, at least with an is a you know, like, you have to have

the money. It’s just coming right out of your paycheck. It can be you don’t have

it’s like anything, right? It, it makes sense in the right circumstances for the right people. But for the wrong people in the wrong circumstances, doesn’t even if it sounds like it may and so that’s that’s the only thing anytime money’s involved. And $500 is one thing. $20,000 is another so that’s why I hedge myself a little bit. Time is another part of this, though, because my program is three months. Alicia, you said yours was six months, maybe you’re at 18 was 18 months. Yeah. Everybody’s pacing is different. But you have to be committed during that time frame. It’s not like oh, three months, but I’m going to escape. I figured out real quick, even through the part of the program that I was comfortable with. I’m like God, I need to set aside a couple more hours this week, like you have to be it is boot camp. And I said early on, the reason it’s called that is because it’s intensive. And it’s you know, it’s hard core. And so you have to make sure that you’ve got that time to commit, and the ability to focus on it and take time out of your evenings or your weekends or, you know, if you’re doing it full time, your full time, whatever the case may be. But that can be hard, especially if you are in that cohort that saying, I’m changing careers I’ve got a full time job is, you know, I’m managing a hotel, but I want to build websites, well, that’s tough, because you are going to balance a full time job with a full time class. Basically, if you’re taking something that’s quick, be aware of that and be aware of the difficulty associated with it. That’s, that’s something that I think a lot of people underestimate with these programs. Elisa, you started and I love the way you described your program, right? Because you said you started with some HTML and some CSS. And then you started getting into read react Redux and stuff like that. It’s like, that’s, that’s a huge leap, right?

It was very hard. And I luckily had, like additional support outside of the boot camp. So I keep mentioning Women Who Code Atlanta because they were like, crucial to me. And I still are. But I happen to work in the same building as someone who was in that network. And he was already a software engineer. And so during the day, like during my lunch breaks, we would meet up and work on homework assignments. Oh, nice. And that’s awesome. Yeah, so it, even with that hope the program was still really hard, it was a lot of material. And then you have to manage, like, once you start working in a group, like, okay, who you have to assign work, and then make sure everyone’s on the same page. And that when it’s time to present like you have something that’s working and presentable. There’s so many factors that come into, you know, I guess, managing all of the things that come with a boot camp, but I mean, it is it is possible, people do it, and they make it through and come out winning. So

I would have to ask a side question here, just since you brought up Women Who Code is that related to? What does it rush most? I never say her last name. So Johnny. She’s got Girls Who Code I’m familiar with girls, who code are those related? You know, even offhand? Are those two separate things? I think those are separate are? both great. program. So

do you either if you work on, like you practice the skills that you’ve been taking class, like on any like fun projects, like I know, Meg, you said you had a bunch of new laptops that you showed during an interview? We say Do you have any, like fun things you work on? or?

Yeah, and so I’m, I recently like, volunteered to move a site over to Gatsby JS. And so I got to use react, and graph to L. And those are things that I hadn’t touched in a while since leaving the boot camp. So it was nice to like, refresh myself in that in that arena. Yeah, and then I didn’t learn Ruby and my boot camp, but I’ve been learning in at work. And attending Ruby for good was like a really great way to, to like, put things into practice for project as well.

Please. Yeah.

Yeah, Ruby for good was awesome.

I wasn’t gonna bring it up unless you brought it up.

I think that was my first hackathon type. And it was really intense, but really fun. Because all my projects have been for my curriculum. So that was neat to work on something that I just, I like the idea of working on projects that are for social good, too. And I also built to celebrate my 100th day of code. I built a small Sinatra app to tell you whether or not it was Tuesday.

Make you just sent me Mike’s first website, make front end shit again? party?

Yeah, check it out. It’s pretty great. It’s like the 90s threw up in the internet and all ended up there.

Well, I had to click it while I’m sitting here listening. But I’m looking at this website. And I went, that that is something this is are familiar in a way that I don’t think it should be familiar.

It’s funny, because I mean, I know it’s supposed to be kind of a parody. But to be honest, like this is pretty much what the sites looked like back then. But again, yeah, yeah.

So outcomes, and I’m going to bore you all, and feel free to skip ahead about five minutes. If you don’t want to be bored. I want to read some outcomes from this, because this is why I argue that boot camps are worthwhile. They’re worth the effort, the time, the frustration, and everything that comes with it. And this comes from that side, I mentioned earlier course report. So take some of these findings with a grain of salt. I was not throw in my background checking of the data. So maybe it’s self serving, I don’t know. But I’m going to use it anyway. Because they were the only one who had this data out there that was relatively thorough. If you go to a boot camp, the amount of change in your salary generally comes out to about 50%, the average person came out of their boot camps making about $70,000 and change from up from 47,000. So, boot camps, generally, if you spend $20,000, on a boot camp, in theory, you make that back in your first year. The employment right? People who were employed full time before boot camp was at 58%. People who are employed full time after boot camp was 75%. So you know, you’re looking at making yourself more marketable. from a standpoint of how quickly you get a job, a third of people had a job within a month 80% of people had a job within four months. And it within they say 120 plus days was 85%, had accepted a new job as a consequence, like the end. Also here, let’s see the, I’m just gonna read this word for word, the outcome report also finds the average student paid $11,874 in tuition, the typical attendee had six years of work experience, has a bachelor’s degree, but had never worked as a programmer. So I will say that, like that’s a caveat. And it’s something actually I like that point, because it’s something I’ve made to so many people that as somebody, and I’ve said it in the show, and I say a lot because I do think it’s valuable. I was a theater major. I enjoy my podcast, because I have a radio background, I’ve worked at two different radio stations. My background when I was in school, before I was a professional was not web. And so I tell folks that I care if you have a bachelor’s degree, I don’t care what it’s in.

I was a chemistry major.

Because it shows right it’s it’s that the commitment piece of it, it’s like it shows that you’ve committed to something for four years. And that’s important to me. But I hired a music major once like, I don’t care if you can show me a that you commit and make you talked about you showed up. I stress portfolios, not just for designers, but for developers, developers can have portfolios. And if nothing else, you showed up with your laptop, and it’s like, that’s beautiful. I don’t care. You showed up and could show your work. And if I’m hiring somebody that matters,

yeah, I will never not bring my laptop to an interview again. Because the way I think about it, you know, I hear I hear just on slack from all these weird interview questions and stuff. I don’t know, I’m going to Google the answer. Because that’s what I’m going to do when I’m working. I’m going to Google it. So you know how, using the resources, you have a hand. And also, by the way, as a Spanish major,

nice. We were joking just today at work about that. That medium has an article for everything now.

I said Polly sigh major. so bad.

I get it. And I love it, quite frankly, because honestly, people who are doing development, whether it’s software engineering, web development, design, I don’t care. If you’ve studied something else, especially anything that is like a humanities related type thing. I thought I was a theater major, my actual degree is a communications degree with an emphasis in theater. But that piece of the puzzle is so important, because it teaches you to work with people and and talk, I can teach you people how to code. That’s why boot camps are so great. You can teach people how to be a developer, but I can’t always teach you how to communicate. You know, different people have different skills in that area, different anxieties in that area, that can be hard to overcome. And I respect that. But you have to figure those things out with folks. And sometimes that means men, the music major may be the one that’s the most important out of that group, because they’re so used to being in front of people. So they know how to write code, and they know how to, you know, present that code to people.

I know, at least he has to go in a couple of minutes. Was there anything? Um, did you have any final thoughts or anything? Or? You mentioned Women Who Code a couple times. Did you want to say any more about that?

Yeah. Okay. Um, I will say that they were they were really supportive throughout my program. And afterwards. And I think that to make the experience worthwhile, like getting involved with some sort of community is like, essential. So whether it’s learning to code or even Ruby for good, some community outside of your, you know, bubble lover, boot camp is really going to be helpful.

I put the link for Women Who Code into the show notes. So awesome. Yeah, it’s just it’s Women Who Code calm. Surprise.

Make, how about any advice, anything that like, that you’ve learned or that you think would be helpful to folks that are thinking about, maybe they should take a boot

camp? I think, first be absolutely sure that you want to do it. Like I mentioned earlier, I did take a course through Coursera first to kind of test the waters. And I say that because like you mentioned earlier, Mike, It’s you It’s a commitment, you give up a lot. I didn’t realize how much I’d have to cut out my life to do this, like, and my mantra has been, it’ll be worth it in the end. And compete tonight, myself when I’m having hard days. I’ve given up dating. I see my friends once a month if that, like it’s just a total paring back on life. You just don’t do anything except code and

work. Have you have you had an experience where you spent what say, longer than an hour working on trying to figure out why something wouldn’t work. And then you finally figure it out after grinding against it for a long time. Have you had that yet? Unknown Speaker Yeah. Many times.

Funny. You said longer than an hour. Yeah. Yeah, I’ve had that like longer than four hours.

I once worked against a Rails era was having for a little over three hours. And it turns out is because of turbo links. That’s why I was breaking.

Don’t stop. Oh, and one of my recent project I was trying to I was like, why isn’t? Why isn’t this redirecting to my delete page. It’s not going to my delete page. And I’m like, Oh my god, Meg, you don’t make a delete page. It’s a button. Like there’s no, that’s delete. Like, okay, I’ve been working too long. Like when you start making super stupid mistake.

Yeah, yeah, step away.

Your mind telling you Okay, you’re, you’re frying yourself all the time.

But you never make that mistake again. Right?

I’d like to say that.

After I don’t know, like, nine hours of coding, and Gosh, I’m like, again,

maybe Meg, thank you so much for taking the time tonight to sit down with us and just share your experiences and and why you decided to go into a boot camp and what you hope to get out of it. Hopefully everybody at home. This is helped you understand what boot camps are for and why you might want to go do one and what you might want to look for once you’re out there trying to hunt one down, sit tight kick back, we’re going to take a quick break and be right back. This episode of the drunken UX podcast is brought to you by something really cool. It’s an alternative to.com. It’s the dot design domain name. I’m a big fan of interesting unique website names. So if you’re a designer, and you’ve thought of the perfect name for your website, and it isn’t available under.com check out dot design, chances are the domain name you want is waiting for you and the Portland calm and use the coupon code drunken UX on the checkout page to get a free design domain name for your website. Face it, there are no good comms left years down the road. We’re going to care about cool, nice URLs that are relevant to the website you’re going to. And the fact that there’s so many to these to choose from, you really can get a domain name that’s right for you and right for your business. dot design is a great one. Visit Portland. com now and use the coupon code drunken UX at checkout and literally get a year of adopt designed domain name for free. It’s bundled with free email hosting who is privacy and SSL service. That’s a lot for nothing. Forget dot coms design is widely used. There’s Airbnb design, Facebook dot design, Uber design, Adobe design, and so many more. Google doesn’t care. It functions the same way as a.com or.org. It’s just more interesting. It’s better branding. It looks great on resumes or business cards, and it looks awesome on email addresses. Design reflects what you do as a designer. Did we mention it’s free and includes a year of email hosting, who has privacy, and SSL certs and all of that stuff? Just go to pork bun.com and use coupon code drunken UX at checkout.

Cool, well, thanks for listening. Thanks for port been Meg. You better go register with Park fun and get code code companion companion.

Code pen.

Design. Yeah, there you go register for free. Thanks for listening again. And so thanks to Megan to EC for joining us this evening. And this is really awesome. We pulled us together like literally like two days ago was like,

even though about our schedule. I know I’m behind I get it. Folks. If you have enjoyed listening to the drinking UX podcast, be sure to stop by Twitter or Facebook at slash drunken UX. Or you can catch us on Instagram at slash drunken UX podcast drop if you want to chat with us. Boot Camps have Slack, we have slack. And you can find this real fast and easy. It’s just drunken ux.com slash slack. If it works, there, it works. I guarantee it. If it doesn’t work, let me know. And I’ll fix it again. But it works right now. That’s all I know. If anybody listening has had experiences with their own boot camps and would like to share them with us positive or negative. I don’t care. I would love to hear those stories and share them with folks. So be sure to join us on Twitter, whatever. And let us know what you’ve done or what you’ve studied or when where what programs you found useful. Otherwise, there’s a lot going around right now. And I know that we’ve got a lot coming up with this is episode number 46. We’ve got about six episodes left in this season, before we get ready to start seasons, three at that point. And I’ve learned a lot last season. I learned a lot this season. I hope to learn a lot next season and learn a lot from my own boot camp that I’m in right now. But there’s one thing one piece of advice that I never cease to find useful and that is, folks I hope you keep your personas close and your users closer by later


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