blog article

Cracking the Code School Interview: Dev Bootcamp

By Imogen Crispe
Last Updated February 23, 2016


As of December 8, 2017, Dev Bootcamp will no longer be operating. Course Report attended the “How To Ace Your Interview” meetup at Dev Bootcamp New York, to find out the inside knowledge on what happens when you apply for Dev Bootcamp’s immersive web development program. Here we outline the whole application process, from submitting your online application, to your interview, and coding challenge. We’ve even included some links so you can do extra practice before you take the leap and apply to Dev Bootcamp.


What is the application process at Dev Bootcamp?

  • Submit an online application
  • You’ll get an email back with links to schedule an interview, plus the interview prep materials which include:
    • Tutorials on Ruby on Rails
    • A video about Engineering Empathy
  • Schedule an interview
  • Complete the interview where you’ll complete a logic puzzle and coding challenge with your interviewer during the Google Hangout.
  • Within 24 hours, you’ll get a response saying you were rejected, accepted, or that Dev Bootcamp wants to schedule a second interview.
  • Then, you’ll choose a cohort (which starts every 3 weeks in New York, San Francisco and Chicago) and get started on Phase 0, the 9-week, part-time, remote prep phase.

How long does the whole application process take?

Depending on how quickly you complete the prep material tutorials, and when you schedule your interview, an applicant could be enrolled within a week of applying online.

What goes into the online, written application?

This usually takes about 30 minutes:

  • Fill out an application form with your personal details and select which city you want to study in.
  • Answer short essay questions on why you’re interested in Dev Bootcamp and becoming a web developer.

What are in the interview prep materials?

After you submit your online application, you will receive an email with prep materials including coding tutorials and a video about engineering empathy

  • The coding tutorials are videos which walk you through various lessons about basic coding in Ruby, then you’ll have exercises to complete that relate to each lesson. Dev Bootcamp is geared towards beginners so they don’t expect you to be a master software developer
  • You will also get a video on engineering empathy (e.g. TED Talk about empathic civilization)
  • Dev Bootcamp says it takes a couple of hours to get through these materials, and then you’ll be ready for the interview.

How do applicants know they’re prepared for the Dev Bootcamp interview?

Dev Bootcamp recommends you give yourself several days to go through prep material tutorials.

  • Complete all of the coding tutorials and make sure you understand them
  • Watch the Engineering Empathy video and think about it how it applies to you and your life. In the interview you will be asked to talk about how it applies to yourself and how you connected with it. Dev Bootcamp teaches soft skills and team dynamics – this is separate from the technical curriculum – so think about how empathy will benefit you in this journey.
  • Review the material a few times to make sure you know it well.

What should applicants expect in the interview?

The interview is a chance to get to know you, and for you get to know Dev Bootcamp. The exercises – the logic puzzle and coding challenge – are not about getting the right answer, but about communicating so your interviewer can see how you think. You and your interviewer are getting to know each other rather than assessing you.

  • The total interview time is 40 to 45 minutes, and held on Google Hangouts
  • It starts with a Q and A session, where your interviewer will ask you about your learning style, your goals, and your interest in coding, and you should be prepared to ask questions about Dev Bootcamp.
  • You’ll get a coding challenge, and you talk your interviewer through how you are working it out
  • You’ll get a logic puzzle, and you talk your interviewer through how you are working it out
  • You’ll discuss the engineering empathy video with your interviewer
  • In 24 hours you will hear back if you’re accepted, declined or require a second interview.

Dev Bootcamp says the interview is a non-judgmental conversation. Expect to be asked to elaborate on your answers.

Where and what time is the interview?

Every interview is conducted through Google Hangouts. Dev Bootcamp does not hold in-person interviews. This is to make it fair for people who cannot attend in-person interviews.

Interviews are held all throughout the day including up to 10pm or 11pm ET, because some of the interviewers are based on the West Coast.

What sort of questions are in the interview?

  • Your interviewer will ask you about
  • Your coding experience
  • Your life and career goals
  • Your learning style
  • The logic and coding challenges
  • Engineering Empathy

What happens with the logic puzzle?

  • Your interviewer will ask you to work through a puzzle, describing out loud your thoughts and process as you work through it
  • Dev Bootcamp wants to understand your thought process, analytical skills, and ability to communicate clearly when facing new material.
  • This is an example of the sort of logic puzzle you might get (make sure you try to work it out before checking the solution!)
  • More logic puzzles are available here and here.

What happens in the coding challenge?

In the interview, you’ll be solving actual coding challenges in the Ruby language. If you’ve thoroughly been through the prep material, you should know what to do.

  • Like the logic puzzle, you’ll be describing out loud how you are solving the challenge
  • You should know: variables, string, concatenates, array, integer, operators (computation and comparison), Method structure
  • Syntax is less important than your methodology – your interviewer is looking at how you’re explaining and showing that you understand the code.
  • The coding challenge is not necessarily about getting the right answer, but rather to see your communication style and how you learn and think

Dev Bootcamp admissions staff are looking for how you understand it and explain the code, even if you don’t write it out perfectly.

What happens in the Engineering Empathy part of the interview?

Dev Bootcamp’s philosophy is that good software is built by good teams. They believe you can be an excellent technical person, but without the personal skills to interact with others, you won’t be as successful as a developer. Engineering empathy is about feedback, communication, and interacting with others.

  • Your interviewer is looking for emotional intelligence/soft skills, self-awareness, and your ability to give and receive feedback
  • You’ll be asked questions about the engineering empathy video you watched from the prep materials.
  • You should be able to chat with your interviewer and ask questions of your interviewer about the video and experience.
  • Example question: How do you possess the qualities that you admire and how can you bring those to a space like Dev Bootcamp?

What other resources are there for preparing for the interview and Phase 0?

What happens after the interview?

After the interview, you will hear from the admissions team within 24 hours. There are 3 possible outcomes to the interview – accepted, not accepted, or a recommendation for a second interview. The second interview may be recommended if the admissions team seeks to further assess your technical skills.

How does Dev Bootcamp evaluate applicants?

Dev Bootcamp is geared towards beginners. They don’t expect you to be a master before you get to the interview. The program is rooted in pair/small group work, so the admissions team wants to work out if you suit this learning approach. They look at:

  • How much material were you able to pick up on your own?
  • Do you learn better on your own or with others? If on your own, Dev Bootcamp may not be the best learning environment for you as the environment there is really collaborative, rooted in group work.
  • Where are you at right now in terms of your learning, how does this fit with your learning style?
  • Is your investment in time and money a good fit for Dev Bootcamp’s teaching style?
  • Do you genuinely want to be a part of Dev Bootcamp’s “passionate and diverse community” of learners? The admissions team wants to talk to “self-motivated dreamers who are willing to take themselves out of any semblance of normalcy to chase a massive goal.”

Dev Bootcamp says that for most people who don’t get in, it’s not an indication you can’t be a developer, just that this program doesn’t fit your learning style. Dev Bootcamp is looking for students who can bring their “whole selves” to the Dev Bootcamp experience.

What happens if you’re accepted?

If you’re accepted you will be asked to choose a start date and cohort, and put down a deposit to reserve your spot.

Once you’ve paid your full tuition, you will start Phase 0, the remote pre-work phase of Dev Bootcamp:

  • 9 weeks with 20 hours of work per week
  • Work with a cohort lead who leads you through the process
  • Work with other students in your cohort to do pair programming
  • Complete challenges by certain deadlines.
  • Attend an optional Phase 0 study group on Wednesday nights.
  • The majority of students do continue to work at their jobs during Phase 0

Does Dev Bootcamp accept international students? Can you organize visas?

Dev Bootcamp does accept international students who meet Dev Bootcamp’s admission standards. But they cannot assist with getting visas.

Want to know more? Read reviews on Dev Bootcamp’s Course Report Page, or check out the Dev Bootcamp website.

About The Author

Imogen crispe headshot

Imogen is a writer and content producer who loves writing about technology and education. Her background is in journalism, writing for newspapers and news websites. She grew up in England, Dubai and New Zealand, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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