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Schuster Braun for Vets Who Code

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Before joining a boot camp program, start here

I work at Vets Who Code a programming bootcamp nonprofit and we get a number of folks who reach out and ask whether they would be a good fit for the course and what are some of the prerequisites. I would say that the prerequisite for any code boot camp is going to be a budding passion for coding. Boot camps are fast paced and teach programming syntax and job specific tools. Boot camps are good at teaching how to do loops in a programming language. However, students should know what the point of loops are and how they can be helpful.

There's a spectrum of skill that folks come to a boot camp with. On one side of the spectrum there are folks who want to get into tech, but have never done anything considered tech related before. On the other side of the spectrum are folks who have taken other courses and other boot camps with all the knowledge seeking the network and career services of the boot camp. Along that spectrum there are folks who've played video games, created myspace pages, built their own online stores etc.

The approach of this guide is to list a number of resources and what I find their usefulness is to help determine a learning path to prepare for a boot camp, university, or self learning journey.


Free Learning platforms

There are a number of free learning platforms to teach development. I think they're great at programming, but I feel they don't get students to a place where they're confident enough to start applying for jobs. I recommend students go through one of these curriculums to learn the basics of at least one programming language.

A few that I like.

What is Code

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  • Best for: Intro to coding as a career
  • Link: What is Code by Paul Ford
  • Description: A single story devoted to ­demystifying code and the culture of the people who make it. ~Josh Tyrangiel


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  • Best for: Planning out learning tools/skills
  • Link:
  • Description: List of road maps that outlines the tools/skills to become a developer in a specific field

Video Games

Students who enjoy programming have a distinct advantage to succeeding in a programming learning journey. If you have the ability to play video games. I highly recommend checking these out to help along your programming journey.

Code Combat

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  • Best for: Learning how to code
  • Link:
  • Description: Teaches programming concepts in the context of Javascript or Python programming languages.


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  • Best for: How to think like a programmer
  • Link:
  • Description: A game in which you build and maintain factories.

Else Heart.Break()

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  • Best for: Basic to intermediate coding
  • Link:
  • Description: An actually fun video game that has a story and creates a fake programming language gives the player the ability to change the world around them.


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  • Best for: Intermediate to advanced coding
  • Link:
  • Description: It's an open-source game for programmers, wherein the core mechanic is programming your units' AI. You control your colony by writing JavaScript.

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