[As of December 2017, Coder Foundry is now closed.] Charles Miller had studied computer science at a community college and was working in IT as a computer support technician when his mom told him about Coder Foundry (she saw it on the news). After visiting the campus and talking with founders, Charles completed Coder Foundry’s .NET bootcamp and has since been placed in a rewarding new job with Entrematic Amarr. Charles tells us about how seeing Coder Foundry in person was believing, the real-world assignments and projects, and who he would recommend for a Coder Foundry course.
Tell us what you were up to before you started at Coder Foundry.
When I graduated high school, I went straight to community college and worked part-time.
I originally started out doing IT, mainly computer technician support, as well as computer sales. I went on, working in retail for about two years until my mom told me about Coder Foundry; she saw it on Fox News.
I did some research and and contacted the Coder Foundry team. After I completed their program, they placed me in a job in less than a month and a half.
When you were taking classes at community college, were you taking any CS classes?
Yes, I was taking classes in computer programming and a little bit of game design. I started playing around with computer programming when I was about 14. I had also done some freelance work, but nothing too serious. So I did know quite a bit about computer programming and software development going into the Coder Foundry program.
Had you programmed in .NET before?
No, I had not; I had always worked with PHP and C++. I worked on some open source projects. I actually helped the KDE project and I worked on an online open source game called the Mana World online.
What was the application like for you?
To be honest, I was a little skeptical of a bootcamp at first because the course was expensive. I just wanted to make sure that this was something worth investing in because I had to borrow money to enroll. I actually went to see their facility before I accepted because I wanted to see if these guys were legit, and after meeting with the team in person, I felt really confident in them and the program. So I went ahead and applied and ended up joining their team.
How many people were in your class?
Our Master class started out with eight people, but Coder Foundry has two different programs: the Master Class and the Apprentice program. There was one person in my class that was smart, but was just not picking up .NET very well. He ended up moving into the Apprentice class.
Who was the instructor in your class?
Andrew Jensen. He had taught at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and was a PhD candidate.
The teaching style was completely hands-on. The school day was 9am to 5pm, so we were there for a good eight hours or so. We were assigned individual projects, and then we did a weekly update with Lawrence and Bobby where we had to present our work and they gave us constructive feedback.
Were you coming up with that project and executing on it, or was it assigned?
It depended. For some projects, Coder Foundry assigned it- for example, our first project was a Bug Tracker. We were free to expand on it however much we wanted to. The second and third projects were more strict in that they gave us very set guidelines. Honestly, since I’ve come back into the workforce, I really appreciate that method because it’s so similar to our work environment. It got me very used to taking criticism and using that feedback in a positive way.
Can you take us quickly through the actual technologies that you learned during the course?
We started with .NET, C-Sharp and from there we added SQL. Our next project we did WebAPI with AngularJS. Those were our three big projects that we did.
What was your favorite technology?
Can you tell us a little bit about Coder Foundry’s approach to job preparation?
The weekly presentations were done very interview-style. It was kind of like half presentation, half interview. They did go over interview questions with us and they gave us feedback. They also encouraged me to get a suit and tie!
Did they do a career day or a hiring day or anything like that with employers?
They set up the interviews for us. I actually went through six interviews in about a month and a half, it ended up being about one interview a week. Coder Foundry had connections in the local area, and all the way to Greenville. They tried to find good fits for different people.
Tell us about the company you work for today!
I’m working on a really cool project right now- a “door designer” that lets you preview your door on your house. You actually upload a photo and it uses image manipulation to show you what it will look like with a door on your house.
Do you feel supported by more senior developers at Amarr?
There are two other developers that I’m working under right now. I’m on my own a lot because they’re working on other projects, but when I do a presentation they’re both there.
They worked on the original door designer so their feedback is very important on this new one.
Is there anything that we didn’t touch on that you wanted to add about your time at Coder Foundry?
The only thing I can say is, it does what is says on the box. I am very happy with my experience with them; I couldn’t be any more satisfied.
Would you recommend Coder Foundry to somebody who is learning to code?
I would recommend Coder Foundry to someone who is having a hard time finding the job they want that also has a little bit of experience. You can’t go from zero to 100 with programming in three months. I came from the open source side of the internet, and this really geared me towards the business side of software development. So if you know your stuff but just need a push in the right direction to actually get a job doing what you love, then Coder Foundry is perfect for you.