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I did a bootcamp in 2016. I went to DecodeMTL in Montreal. (decodemtl.com/)
Prior to doing the bootcamp, I had some knowledge with HTML/CSS from a complimentary course I took in college, and I built a static website once upon a time. That introduced me to the world of coding, and I had a fond appreciation for it and a desire to learn more. However, due to busy schedules, and life, I didn't make it a priority and so didn't go any further with it.
At the time I was living in Montreal, and I found a few programs that were interesting. One of them was a traditional college program (called CEGEP in Quebec) that took 2 years, and the other option was a coding bootcamp that was only 10 weeks. Both programs seemed to be the same thing, but there was an obvious difference...the time! 2 years vs. 10 weeks! That was kind of alarming to me. Not only that, but the 2-year program was $22,000 CAD and the 10-week bootcamp was $6,000 CAD. At this point, the bootcamp is clearly more appealing than the 2-year course. So, I decided to meet up with the person that runs the course at the college, and the person that runs the bootcamp.
I met up with the person that runs the 2-year course first, and he gave me the whole rundown. He explained to me the curriculum as well as all the other courses that I had to take (like history, gym class, etc.) which I was not fond of. I already did CEGEP and they were not crediting any of my previous courses which meant I had to retake lots of classes. I also didn't like the idea that my time would be diluted with courses that I have already taken. I really just wanted to focus on computers and programming. They also did not offer any kind of post-graduation support or career advice.
At this point, I was quite turned off by taking the 2-year course but I was on my way to meet with the person that ran the bootcamp at DecodeMTL so I was still hopeful.
When I got to the bootcamp, I found out that it was at a WeWork in Montreal. It is a beautiful co-working space, with like-minded people, and a great place to network. I was already very impressed. When I met with the owner of the program, he as well explained to me the curriculum, which was a very similar stack to the 2-year course, but compressed into 10 weeks. The main thing that he said that really made me decide was when he mentioned how quickly technology changes. He said it's very possible that whatever I learned at the beginning of the 2 years, would not apply at the end of the 2 years. Boy was he right! He also told me that at the end of the program we would be building an application and presenting it to what he called "Demo Day" where a bunch of employers would come to see your presentation and speak with you, and hopefully get some interviews for jobs! And the following week, after the bootcamp was over, he urged us to come back in to practice interview questions, help build our resumes as well as make our LinkedIn page appealing to future employers.
Long story short, I liked that the bootcamp was designed to shape you into a developer quickly, efficiently, and offer support post-graduation. I also counted how many hours of coding I would be doing in the 2 year course, and how many hours I would be doing in the bootcamp, and the bootcamp was actually more hours of actual coding as opposed to the 2 year course.
Decision made, I was set on doing the bootcamp!
I started the bootcamp on July 4th 2016. I was in a class of roughly ~20 other students, all with very different backgrounds and all different ages. Over the course of the next 10 weeks we learned the following:
The course definitely moved quick, so I highly recommend that during the 10 weeks (or however long your bootcamp may be) to not have any other things you need to do. I quit my job for those 10 weeks. So prepare yourself financially, because given the short time frame, you do not want any other distractions. It is important that you do not miss 1 day of the bootcamp, as that is the equivalent of missing like a week in traditional schooling.
We would have a teacher (who was absolutely amazing and very knowleageable) that would teach us in the morning (we started around 10 every day) until lunch time. Then we would have a lunch break, and in the afternoon we would be working on a workshop in teams. Around 5 o'clock people would start leaving to go home, but the people that stayed until 9-10 oclock working and reviewing what we learned in the day, are the people that truly got the most out of the bootcamp and were immediately hired post-graduation. I can't stress enough how important it is that when you do a bootcamp, you need to fully commit, dive in head first, and study and review all the time. If you truly love it, it's really not that hard to do. So if you find yourself struggling to find the motivation to keep going, that might be an indication that this maybe isn't for you right now.
Anyways, after the 10 weeks, Septmber 2nd 2016, me and teammates built and app and got to present it at Demo Day. There were lots of potential employers, slightly intimidating, but also extremely exciting that these people were here to hire us (!!) who a mere 10 weeks ago could not make an app.
After the presentations were over, I immediately had someone come up to me asking me when I wanted to start. I thought he was joking, he was not. I immediately was offered a job, and I said yes. It might not have been my ideal first job, however, seeing as this course was so short, it would only be fresh in my mind for so long, and i did not want to lose every thing I jsut learned while I look for a job for a few weeks. Personally, I preferred to start a job right away in order to keep learning. It was only a 3 month internship anyway so worst case, in 3 months, I would be even smarter and more knowldgeable for my next job.
I am now into my 2nd job as a developer, I finally shed my "junior" title and loving it!
I still have accesss to the Slack channel from my bootcamp, and at any time if I am stuck with something, all the alumni is there to help as well as the teachers and the teacher assistants. That to me is super important, to always have someone I can go to that knows where I've come from, it's like a big group mentor.
I also loved how the bootcamp opened my eyes to how easy it is to learn something new and so quickly. It really taught me a lot about myself and my capabilities and I got to learn how to teach myself and find the resources I need.
This is such an awesome write up! Thank you!
I LOVE that you touched on the college program vs the bootcamp program. One of my friends was asking me if he should go back and do a longer degree program at a university. I told him given that I have seen lots of successful people come out of bootcamps that it was probably better to skip the long and expensive degree program. Your write up just validated my assumption 😊
You're welcome! 😄
Best of luck to your friends!
Hey Katrina! I enjoyed reading your feedback. I have one question. Do you feel that if you hadn't quit your job that you wouldn't have made it through. I know for me either way I choose would be a struggle. Thx!
Hey Ben! I definitely think that if I had been working while doing the course, I would not have had the success I did. I really didn't have time to do anything but my course. I didn't even hang out with friends for the entirety of the course. I told my friends beforehand that they would not hear from me for 10 weeks 😂I completely committed all my time to the course and only the course. I wouldn't recommend any other way since it is such a short amount of time. And since I wasn't going out or doing anything, I wasn't spending any money.
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