Written By Liz Eggleston
Coding Temple now offers a Self-Paced Bootcamp for students that need flexibility while making a career change. We talked to Brandon from Coding Temple about the differences between the Immersive Bootcamp vs Self-Paced Bootcamp, why Coding Temple teaches Python, and how to get the most out of a self-paced learning environment.
Brandon, what is your job at Coding Temple?
I'm the Lead Software Engineering Instructor at Coding Temple for the Self-Paced Bootcamp. I used to be a public school teacher and I have tons of education experience. I picked up coding in my spare time and after learning to code, I found my way to Coding Temple. My education background allowed me to take a strong approach to self-paced videos to ensure we had a high quality of instruction.
Coding Temple is well-known for immersive coding bootcamps – why launch the self-paced option?
There’s a lot of instability in the world right now. It’s valuable for Coding Temple to have the flexibility to work with your schedule and spread the load out a little differently.
I’ve taken a lot of Udemy and YouTube courses. We wanted to match that flexibility while maintaining the personality and interaction of the immersive course.
Who is the ideal student for the Self-Paced Bootcamp?
We market this program as “zero to hero” and if you know the difference between a mouse and a keyboard, we’ll go from there. What we want to see in an applicant is diligence and that’s more personality than background. We want someone who is going to work at a problem until they get it.
We also emphasize mastery at Coding Temple, which means that students understand why they’re doing something. It’s not as important to turn in perfect assignments if you can understand the language and why you do something. Even if the details aren’t right, you can understand how to replicate something later. That takes discipline and we want applicants who will be energetic and work at it every day.
Is the application process different for self-paced applicants compared to the full-time immersive?
The application process is exactly the same. We are trying to learn as much about you in the application process as we can from your technical and personal background to your cognitive abilities. As an entry-level bootcamp, we are looking for passion and motivation as driving forces versus prior programming experience.
How long does the Self-Paced Bootcamp take a student to complete?
There is a three-month and six-month option. In the six-month bootcamp, you get a casual pace to work through the program. The two options are there to meet individual needs. If you have the time and can dedicate yourself to the program, the three-month option is your best bet. If you want a more casual pace the 6-month program is there for you as well. If you sign up for the 3-month program and find that the program is a lot more intensive than you originally planned - then rolling into another 3-months is an option as well. We try to be as flexible as possible with students and their individual needs. We feel that 3 and 6 months is the ideal amount of time for the majority of individuals looking at the self-paced product offering.
I have a few students who are moving through this course as blisteringly fast as possible and they’ll probably finish this twice as fast as we’ve allotted. However, they’re the ones who quit their jobs and threw themselves into this.
What kinds of support will students have from instructors?
Slack is one of the main ways we interact with students. One of the cool things about our self-paced content is that students get to form a relationship with me in addition to having access to the course material.
Students get Zoom calls once a week and we can help debug. The closest parallel would be to a cross-country team where everyone understands the instructions are to run. I, as the coach, don’t have to tell you where to run, but I’m still coaching you and making sure the team is on the same page.
I’m making sure students can keep up and perform their best. You might have a question about something outside of the core content and if you have an interest, I can give you additional resources. It takes no time for me to do that and it allows you to grow in whatever direction you want.
With a lot of bootcamps and college courses, if you don’t keep up in the first couple of weeks, you’re toast. That wasn’t good enough for me and I wanted to see every student that puts in the work succeed. If you’re struggling to pick up the basics, I can meet with you to work through this.
What's your advice to someone balancing a self-paced bootcamp with a full-time job?
Plan ahead. You can’t just launch into this. You can use a calendar and plan to do two hours a night on weekdays and 6 hours on weekends. You can still have a life, but it’s important to plan ahead. Tell your friends and family you’re going to be busy for the next little bit and it would be nice to have a little encouragement and help.
If you’re someone who can’t focus unless you’re in the front row with someone waving their hands in front of you, then the Self-Paced Bootcamp probably isn’t for you. If you need a lot of structure and someone to check in on you every day, it might not work.
What type of learning portal should students expect? How do they stay on track?
We use Google Classroom and the first video explains that the people in the 3-month course need to be averaging two or three videos a day as well as the work associated with them. I won’t tell them they need to do it that way, they can absolutely put in 14 hours and do all the work on Saturday.
How does the curriculum compare to the full-time bootcamp?
We strived to follow the same successful curriculum that has been paramount to our student's success over the years. The self-paced program does include all of the same technologies and frameworks from our full-time program. Now with Self-Paced, there are some challenges in replicating the curriculum exactly as there are fundamental differences in asynchronous learning vs live instruction. We strived to cater to a different learning style that has been very successful so far. Our full-time curriculum is constantly evolving to keep up with industry trends and new technologies as will our self-paced offering.
The beauty of the Self-Paced Bootcamp is that students aren’t bound to a schedule like a full-time course. For some of the topics that are traditionally harder like React and Flask, students can take longer to get through it. Our assignments help provide scaffolding for students to help them gradually become independent.
Why is 2022 a good year to learn Python?
Python is easy to learn and a lot of the concepts are easy to learn. It’s a flexible language that can handle functional programming and object oriented programming, there’s a lot of space where it can operate.
It’s a great introductory language that’s used in all kinds of data, including blockchain. Python is great for students who are looking to get their feelers in many industries. Almost nobody joins our courses with a specific role in mind.
Python is a fantastic launch pad because you can walk out of the bootcamp and go right into something like blockchain and Web3 development. We give you the tools you need to understand how it works if you decide to read up on it. You would understand what was going on even if it was a different language.
It’s the same for something like data analysis, you can pick up extra tools like Pandas. Python touches on a lot and even if you decide not to go into web development, you can branch-off into something else.
Is there any synchronous learning in the self-paced bootcamp? Do students work with other classmates on projects etc?
Not formally, but we do have a class-wide Slack channel. We’ve told students upfront that they’re allowed to talk about assignments on the slack channel. I will sometimes put two students in touch with each other if they’re moving at the same pace and experiencing different bugs. They’ll notice the other person’s bug and learn more because they’re getting a chance to teach. It isn’t formal, but there is a community.
How is Coding Temple Self-Paced Bootcamp different from a Udemy course?
Coding Temple has been around for a little bit and having it on your resume says more than just saying you watched a video on YouTube. Coding Temple also makes sure that you’re job-ready. We have alumni networking, career coaching, and everything else that comes with a bootcamp.
You also get help from instructors like me, which is different from a typical self-paced course. The coaching is a big part of it and so is having your assignments graded. A lot of courses come with assignments and practice quizzes that are absolutely no help at all. Our assignments are specifically tailored to give students a project-based portfolio to make sure they’re ready for the job.
Does the self-paced option give students good job prospects?
Absolutely it does! As we talked about earlier, the self-paced program is based on the same award-winning curriculum we have cultivated since 2015. While this is a self-paced option without live instruction, you still do get access to our post-graduation career services. Your career coaches and technical instructors are there for you every step of the way from salary negotiation/deflection, to mock interviews. The same post-graduate services we give all of our alumni are accessible to self-paced graduates.
Any tips for students who are about to embark on a self-paced program?
Actually do it. We have students who show up and choose the 6-month program and do three assignments before never touching it again. We cannot support you if you aren't doing the work and putting in the time, you are the X-factor. Take it seriously and we’ll take you seriously.
The rockstars of this course message me every day to ask for clarification and more resources. This is a great way to ensure your success.
Liz Eggleston is co-founder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students choosing a coding bootcamp.
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