Andrew is an army veteran who was working in the oil industry until he decided to search for a lasting and fruitful career. He packed up and moved to Atlanta to attend a full-time MEAN Stack/LAMP Stack bootcamp at DigitalCrafts. Read about what motivated him to make this change and how his military background is helping him at the bootcamp. Andrew also talks about the application process and why he ultimately decided to attend DigitalCrafts amongst the many bootcamps in Atlanta.
Tell us what you were up to before you started at DigitalCrafts.
Right before attending DigitalCrafts, I was working in the oil and gas industry. I was doing great until the price of oil fell and it was time to look for a new career. Before that, I was in the army and took classes at a major university as well as a community college for a number of years but didn’t graduate.
Did you ever take a Computer Science course?
I took Intro to Computer Science at the university, then I took a C++ course and a database course; just some basic intro courses because I’ve always been a tech guy and that always interested me.
When did you decide to quit your job?
I was looking for a new career, because I could see oil and gas was not going to be a lasting job. From a job perspective, the tech industry is only becoming more in-demand; this is an industry that is growing. I knew about coding bootcamps from researching them- actually on your site, Course Report! That’s where I found DigitalCrafts.
Did you look at other coding schools in Atlanta?
I looked at couple of others, but what really drew me to DigitalCrafts was that they’re teaching the MEAN Stack and LAMP Stack. The LAMP stack is a mature technology, a lot of companies still use it, and the MEAN stack seems to be rising in popularity. I thought it was cool to learn both technologies.
What was the Digital Crafts application process like?
How did your background in the military affect your education as you’ve been learning MEAN stack and LAMP stack at a bootcamp?
Sure. In the army, my role was very hands-on, and that’s similar to learning web development. My background fixing things, learning different technologies quickly, and researching problems has helped.
Also, this course is very focused. In the military we are trained to identify and achieve specific goals. The structure of a coding bootcamp can be appealing to a lot of veterans.
Were you able to use GI benefits for this course?
No, I wasn’t, but I think that’s something that should definitely be considered. These courses can be a really great option for veterans and military.
What does a typical day look like at DigitalCrafts?
In the morning we go over questions; interview questions but also questions about the technologies that we’ve covered because we go through technologies so quickly. Then, we discuss what we’re going to do with them. In the afternoon, we have labs and that’s usually for the final few hours in the day. It’s intense. I can definitely attest that this is all day long, every day.
Have you done projects yet, like a group project or a capstone project?
For the first few months of the program, we focused on frontend web development, and we’re just over the halfway point now. We’ve been learning Node.js for the last couple of days. When it comes to project work, we’ve completed projects individually, using paired programming, and we’ve completed projects as a class. We’re actually working on an e-commerce site now where we’re developing with Node.js, Mongoose, and Express.
What’s been the biggest challenge in doing the bootcamp?
The biggest challenge is coming every day prepared to learn something new, knowing that I’ll go home, try to digest it as best I can, and then start over the next day. It can get frustrating because the class does move very quick and you really have to be committed to it.
How do you keep from burning out?
I think the way the course is structured is keeping me from burning out a little bit, because we did front end for the first one and a half to two months and now we’re moving to the back end. I like servers and incorporating the database. That’s really cool to me. It’s a new direction now halfway through the course, and I think that helps out a lot.
What were your career goals going into the DigitalCrafts program?
I’d really like to work with servers and back end. If that opportunity presents itself, I’m going to jump on it. What I understand about technology is that how we work today with technology is not how we worked 5 or 10 years ago, so just having this background and learning these skills, I’m open to anything right now. While this is a web development course specifically, I think I came in with the understanding that this is technology in general, this is really cool stuff. I’m learning how to program, I’m learning to design websites. You can take these skills and apply them to a number of different jobs. It’s really cool stuff, and while I think some people are determined to become web developers, I’m open to using this in other ways.
Have they started bringing in employers?
We’ve met a couple of employers already. They’re in a process of building out their Employer Network now.. Even in our building when companies find out what we’re doing, there are employers here that don’t do web development but are looking for people who can learn and understand technologies quickly. There’s actually a guy in our building not involved in web development who would like to interview some of the graduates to see if they would be a fit for his company.
Is there anything we skipped over that you want to make sure our readers know about Digital Crafts or boot camps in general?
I think these guys are really something else. They’re really committed to not only teaching these technologies but ensuring that we’re successful, and on a personal level. I’m really happy I ended up here, they bend over backwards for us by doing everything they can. They’re working very hard to find us jobs and to get hiring partners in the door.
Want to learn more about DigitalCrafts? Check out DigitalCrafts reviews on Course Report or visit their website at www.digitalcrafts.com
Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students researching coding bootcamps. Her research has been cited in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and more. She loves breakfast tacos and spending time getting to know bootcamp alumni and founders all over the world. Check out Liz & Course Report on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube!
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