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Discussion on: What Bootcamp did you attend and would you recommend it?

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Spencer Taylor

I attended Holberton School.

Here's the meat and potatoes

  • 2 year program (most get jobs after the first 10 months)

  • No tuition upfront 17% ISA (income share agreement) for 3 years instead

  • 4 campuses (SF, New Haven, Bogotá, Medellín)

  • Languages: C, Python, Javascript, HTML/CSS. We also do Devops

  • Peer & Project based learning model

I had a great experience at Holberton School. I attended at the SF campus. It was a tough program, but I was able to secure a job before I finished the 1st portion of the program. I've been working for about 6 months now.

Holberton is modeled after the actual working environment in tech. We do standup everyday. Our projects have deadlines that they need to be completed by. Communication is a large part of the program. Since there are no formal instructors we learn to collaborate to solve problems. There are mandatory review days every week where we recap that weeks projects to solidify what we have learned and to help those that are struggling with concepts.

We start with C to learn programming fundamentals. If you've ever worked in C you know how lightweight it is. We had to do everything from scratch. We weren't even allowed to use putchar() at first. If we wanted that function we had to build it. We had to build printf() from the ground up after the first month. I'm not sure you appreciate how complex a simple print function is until you have to recreate that functionality including the manual memory allocation. Our final project in C was creating a simplified Thompson shell. I swear to you this project changed how I think about the current state of tech. I left that project with the utmost respect and appreciation for the people who laid the groundwork for what we do today.

After 3 months we moved to Python, which after C feels like becoming a magician. It's one thing to write Python code. It's a completely other thing to look at the built in functions that Python provides and completely understand how it works under the hood. Game changer.

The last 3 months is spent learning a bunch of different tools and focuses heavily on Devops. Managing servers, automating configuration, setting up monitoring, etc. All in all it's a very thorough program that gives you a strong foundation.

Lastly, social media and writing technical blogs is a required part of the program. I didn't appreciate it at first, but I got my job through the network I built on Twitter and blogs that I've written on Medium.

I would say the hardest part of the program was surviving San Francisco, since it's so expensive. I really wish I could have gone to the New Haven campus as it's much cheaper to live there. Besides that I was very happy with my experience. I changed my life in less than a year, and the community that the school has built is amazing.