Written By Liz Eggleston
Nick Kulway spent four years in a professional kitchen while being mentored by a chef, and he applied that same work ethic while learning in the Part-Time Bootcamp at DigitalCrafts. After graduating in February 2022, Nick got a job as a Junior Software Developer at Amesite. Find out how expectations met reality for Nick, whether he needed a college degree to succeed at a bootcamp, what surprised him about DigitalCrafts, and whether the part-time bootcamp was worth it.
And watch the full alumni panel here for advice from 4 other graduates:
Where did you expect your career to go when you enrolled in bootcamp?
I enjoy building things! Part of my experience being mentored by a chef was constantly creating things and learning a method. I wanted to find a different career that would allow me to do that and started exploring my options. I have friends in tech, and after spending some time on free resources online, I realized that the best way to learn would be to have someone teach me, so I gravitated towards going to a bootcamp. After doing diligence, I decided to enroll in the DigitalCrafts bootcamp and it was a great decision! But I spent a lot of time utilizing free resources prior to actually making a decision.
Was it easier or harder to get accepted to DigitalCrafts than you expected?
After doing my research, my expectation was that a bootcamp is a product that you pay for and you get what you put in. That lived up to my expectations. A bootcamp is a service you're paying to have someone to teach you and what you take from that will be up to you. I didn't go in thinking it would be too difficult to be accepted into DigitalCrafts, and that ended up being true.
Did DigitalCrafts ask about your college scores or SATs?
I don’t have a college degree, no one at DigitalCrafts ever asked me for a college degree, and it hasn't hindered me from getting a job as a software engineer.
Now that you're working in the tech industry, are there any book or online recommendations for future DigitalCrafts applicants?
What surprised you about the learning style?
I learned a lot at DigitalCrafts about how to operate in a real work environment. Typical school and jobs assign tasks to complete but a coding bootcamp requires an entirely different, abstract way of thinking. Learning how to teach yourself while having guidance from someone else is a huge aspect of a bootcamp.
Did you work full-time while you attended bootcamp?
I was working full-time, at least 40 hours a week at a men’s clothing store in Atlanta. It was a fast-paced, emerging company, and I was constantly moving on my feet and solving problems while the company grew. I was able to balance the two, and I think that most people can.
I took DigitalCrafts’ 26-week part-time bootcamp. We had classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30pm - 9:30pm, and Saturday mornings from 10am-2pm. I actually liked taking the bootcamp over six months since they were such abstract concepts, it allowed me time to sit with them and let them sink in. I was able to hold a full-time job and attend a bootcamp at the same time, and I think that probably anyone could.
What’s one thing that surprised you positively about DigitalCrafts?
My positive takeaway was how to work and communicate effectively in the environment. I was also surprised to realize how much research is done as a software engineer. You have to communicate constantly with people in order to finish a task and reach a deliverable. I think that was one of the biggest learning curves for me, but also one of the most rewarding. So I'm thankful for the experience I had.
What would you warn a future bootcamper about?
Not everybody is going to communicate the same way as you, so be prepared for that.
Be prepared to ask questions that might sound stupid because there might be someone else who is having the exact same problem, but is too afraid to ask, or they think they're gonna figure it out on their own and burn out spinning their wheels. Communication is one of the more pivotal skills to work on in a bootcamp.
How much did DigitalCrafts tuition end up costing you?
How did you actually get your first job in tech?
The network at DigitalCrafts is fantastic. I’m now a part of an alumni Slack channel where people are constantly posting job opportunities, for more than just junior developer roles, but all kinds of different positions in the tech sphere!
My instructor was one of my references that got me the job I have now. I learned things outside of the cohort with them as well. I definitely have a very strong relationship with my instructor and a couple of my cohort-mates, which surprised me since our bootcamp was online and entirely remote!
I came from blue collar jobs, dropped out of college, applied for over 130 positions in seven weeks. I got three or four interviews, two of which lasted almost two months! One interview process lasted seven weeks and included very long, in-depth interviews – the last one was 4.5 hours with five different people. I didn't get that job.
The Amesite interview included a take-home project that took me 9 days to complete and required me to learn new technology outside of what I was taught in my bootcamp, Angular. That process took 6-7 weeks and five short interviews, between 45 - 90 minutes each. I did get this job as a Junior Software Developer!
Would you do it all over again?
Attending a bootcamp has been a really positive experience. I live a completely different life than I did a year ago, and it's because of the decisions that I made and the bootcamp that I went to. I'm grateful for everyone at DigitalCrafts. I still keep in contact with many of them.
I knew that I wanted to be a software developer or software engineer, but there were several people in my cohort that got positions working as project managers, solutions engineers, and other roles outside of software engineer. All thanks to working in the environment and learning methodologies that are applicable to a tech company that you're taught in the course. I would 100% do DigitalCrafts again.
Find out more and read Digital Crafts reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with Digital Crafts. Summer cohorts for Web Development, UX Design, Cybersecurity, and Data Analytics are starting soon. See which may be right for you.
Liz Eggleston is co-founder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students choosing a coding bootcamp.
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