Code Fellows


Code Fellows

Avg Rating:4.15 ( 112 reviews )

Recent Code Fellows Reviews: Rating 4.15

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  • Code 102: Intro to JavaScript

    In PersonPart Time15 Hours/week1 Week
    Start Date
    Rolling Start Date
    Class size
    Tuition Plans
    Tuition due at registration.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill Level
    Placement Test
  • Code 401: Advanced Software Development in ASP.NET Core

    C#, .NET, ASP.NET, Data Structures, Algorithms
    In PersonFull Time40 Hours/week10 Weeks
    Start Date
    Rolling Start Date
    Class size
    Financing available through Climb Credit and Skills Fund.
    Tuition Plans
    Tuition due by the first day of the course.
    Diversity Scholarships are available for Code 201, Code 301, and Code 401 courses:
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill Level
    Intermediate to Advanced
    Placement Test
  • Code 401: Advanced Software Development in Java with SpringMVC & Android

    Data Structures, Algorithms, Android, Java
    In PersonFull Time40 Hours/week10 Weeks
    Start Date
    Rolling Start Date
    Class size
    Financing available through Climb Credit and Skills Fund.
    Tuition Plans
    Tuition due by the first day of the course.
    Diversity Scholarships are available for Code 201, Code 301, and Code 401 courses:
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill Level
    Intermediate to Advanced
    Placement Test
  • Code 401: Advanced Software Development in Python

    Python, Django, Data Structures, Algorithms
    In PersonFull Time40 Hours/week10 Weeks
    Start Date
    None scheduled
    Class size
    Financing available through Climb Credit and Skills Fund. 
    Tuition Plans
    Tuition due by the first day of the course.
    Several Diversity Scholarships are available for full-time Code 301 and Code 401 courses:
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill Level
    Intermediate to Advanced
    Placement Test

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Our latest on Code Fellows

  • Become a Developer at these 31 Summer Coding Bootcamps!

    Imogen Crispe5/7/2019

    33 best summer coding bootcamps

    Oh Summer, one of the best seasons of the year! While it’s a time to relax, bask in the sun, and plan trips with family and friends, summer is also an awesome time to learn. If you’re a current student, teacher, or professional looking to learn to code, a summer bootcamp is a great opportunity to learn to code in a short time frame. Various coding bootcamps that offer summer courses to help you launch a new career in tech. Check out the following courses to help you #learntocode this Summer 2019. 

    Continue Reading →
  • November 2018 Coding Bootcamp News Podcast

    Imogen Crispe11/30/2018

    This November has been super busy in the immersive coding education world, and at Course Report! We read about how Amazon’s new headquarters will impact the coding bootcamps in New York City, we celebrated successful coding bootcamp grads, we were sad to hear that a school is closing, we heard advice for being successful at bootcamp, and found out about new initiatives to improve diversity in tech! Plus we look at new schools and campuses around the world and discuss our favorite pieces on the Course Report blog.

    Continue Reading →
  • How Does Code Fellows Get Grads Jobs?

    Lauren Stewart9/12/2018

    Code Fellows boasts an 80% in-field placement rate and $70k average starting salary, but how exactly is Code Fellows getting graduates into developer jobs? We chatted with their Director of Partner Relations, Elizabeth Scutchfield, and Head of Instruction, Brian Nations, to learn more about the Code Fellows Career Accelerator program, their hiring partner relationships, and how they help grads land roles at Microsoft, Amazon, and Expedia!


    Elizabeth, you’re the Director of Partner Relations at Code Fellows – does that mean you work with a lot of employers?

    Elizabeth: I do work with a lot of employers, in fact in the last six months 65 industry partners have engaged with the Career Accelerator program by either hiring our grads or engaging in our various Employer Services. My background is in recruiting and human resources and I’ve also worked in higher education. I've learned about the skills gap between what universities are producing and what the industry needs. So when I moved to Seattle two years ago, I intentionally wanted to work at an immersive software development training program. Coding academies meeting a real need from an economic and skill development standpoint.

    And that's what led me to Code Fellows. I really resonated with Code Fellows’ mission and vision to help underrepresented populations make that pivot into tech. My job is about building strong relationships with the community at large in Seattle, which includes industry partners. We ensure that our graduates’ skills align with the needs of the local job market. We see ourselves as a steward of the Seattle tech community and iterate on our curriculum to meet industry needs.

    Brian, you’re the Principal Instructor at Code Fellows – how did you learn to code? Tell me about your journey to becoming Head of Instruction at Code Fellows.

    Brian: I'm a product of the nontraditional coding path. I worked mostly in the customer service space for roughly 15 years after I graduated high school. In 2011, I took a basic web course that introduced HTML and CSS – within the first 30 minutes of class, my mind was blown and I thought, "I'm doing this for the rest of my life." I took a low-paid apprenticeship with a small development company in Charleston, South Carolina. Then I moved into a senior developer role at a larger enterprise level ecommerce agency.

    Three years into my career, I started teaching, which turned into a new passion for me. I’ve taught beginner, intermediate, and advanced JavaScript at a community college. At Code Fellows, I've taught the 101, 102, 201, 301, and 401 level classes, helping with curriculum development along the way. Now, I’m the Principal Instructor at Code Fellows, and I manage the instructional stuff.

    How large is the career placement team at Code Fellows? When does the job search process start?

    Elizabeth: Our Career Transition Services Team consists of myself and Rachel Burke, our campus manager. Rachel gets students ready to find a job during the time we have them in classes. Post-graduation, I connect graduates to our industry partners through our Career Accelerator Program. Rachel equips students with the right soft & professional skills and then I'm putting them in front of the right people that open doors for them in the market.

    Code Fellows follows a modular curriculum: a 201, 301, and 401 level. We used to start the career coaching workshops in our 401 (advanced level) course. But we recognized that to build out their narrative and personal brand, students needed to start really reflecting on that as early as our 201 level course. This year, our 201 and 301 classes have a variety of assignments built in for people to start that professional job search orientation. In our 401 level course, there are three different career coaching workshops.

    Do Code Fellows students all have the same career goals? What are they?

    Brian: Generally, the goals for our students vary. Most students are looking for a career and lifestyle change – "they found that technology skills have empowered their friends and family members, so a lot of students are interested in making that pivot themselves. On the other end of the spectrum, a lot of our students are just interested in learning to code.

    Regardless, we position our curriculum so that graduates can find jobs in tech. From my perspective as an instructor, most students are looking to change their lifestyle overall. They want an open and free lifestyle to do something more interesting versus the jobs that they had in the past.

    Tell us more about the Career Accelerator program – how does that help students?

    Elizabeth: First, we equip students with the tools, resources, and strategies they need to conduct their own job search through the Career Coaching provided in the curriculum. The post-grad Career Accelerator program is designed to help students find jobs and build connections in the industry. The reality is that 70% of available jobs actually never make it to a jobs board. It's a very competitive market for junior developers, and we have to get students in front of the right people to tap into that hidden job market. To do this, we invite our industry partners to events like behavioral and technical mock interviews.

    Students have opportunities to engage with industry mentors weekly at our Community Programming Night, where graduates and project teams build out their portfolios and work on projects to enhance their coding skills post-graduation. Also, our recruiting contacts do portfolio reviews, give feedback about how to best present as a candidate. All of these activities build a network for these individuals who can advocate for Code Fellows alumni in the industry.

    We also host networking events where students go on site to different employers like Google, Ratio, and Avalara. We also have software testing workshops, where our grads get to poke and prod on a certain product or feature that a company has. Companies and industry contacts sponsor some of our demo day projects, which is a really great way for us to facilitate connections. We get our grads in front of the right people so that they can demonstrate their capabilities and continue to help the industry embrace nontraditional talent.

    How does Code Fellows teach technical interview prep? How would you prep a student for that type of interview?

    Brian: Since whiteboarding and interview preparations start as early as 201, we have students focus on fundamental programming concepts that can be utilized and discussed in a whiteboard interview. In 301, we take that up a notch and make it a code challenge scenario where we give real interview questions that a lot of junior developers may receive.

    At the 401 level, courses have a huge integration of computer science and algorithmic fundamentals built into them. We teach brand new data structures every single week and have a ton of challenges that are utilized individually, as pairs, and then in mock interview settings. In order for someone to pass our 401 level course, and actually make it into the Career Accelerator program, they have to pass a rigorous final whiteboarding exam. We use a pretty detailed rubric, and if they pass that exam in addition to the Qualifying Interview, they make it into a Career Accelerator program. So the interview prep phase starts really early on in our classes and that cascades all the way through the end of the Career Accelerator program.

    Elizabeth: We host on-campus mock interviews with our alumni who have transitioned out into the industry as well as our industry partners, which includes whiteboard interviewing. In addition to that, we also allow companies to host mock interviews on-site at their location. This allows our industry partners to conduct their existing interview loops, with our grads and provide the participants with feedback on how they perform. We allow those companies to do whatever their existing interview process is – sometimes that's pair programming and sometimes it's whiteboarding.

    When graduates are job searching, what’s most important – an online digital presence or networking? How do you recommend graduates spend their time when trying to find a job?

    Elizabeth: There's nothing that takes the place of an in-person connection because ultimately it is really not about who you know, but who knows you! This is how I tell students to prioritize and direct their energy: "Get out to networking events and meetups and connect with people who are passionate about the same thing you're passionate about. Then leverage online tools to manage that relationship."

    If certain people are really adept at social media and want to use that to get their brand out there and engage with thought leaders – it's always a useful tool. We actually had a speaker today who talked about a candidate who reached out directly through LinkedIn, and they ended up getting an interview as a result of that. So certainly, that helps. But there’s so much noise online to make the best impression that you need to make. It often really benefits most students to meet others in person.

    What type of advice do you give students who are considering multiple offers? Does Code Fellows help with salary negotiations?

    Elizabeth: Rachel covers salary negotiations very heavily in the career coaching curriculum. She gives students great tools to research the job market and using that as a mechanism to tell an employer, "Based upon my research, this is what the market is saying the value of somebody with my skill set is." We empower students to have the information they need to advocate for themselves in that conversation.

    Brian: We have modularized our career coaching sessions, so concepts like offer and negotiation discussions happen multiple times in each course. In the 401 level, there is roughly a full day where Rachel works with students on a one-on-one basis and as a group to go over the process of offer negotiations.

    What types of jobs would your graduates be qualified to apply and thrive in? Can graduates of Code Fellows apply for a job listing that requires a computer science degree?  

    Elizabeth: We find our grads land in positions like Software Engineer, Associate Software Engineer, Web Developer, Front End Developer, and Full Stack Developer.

    The tech industry often says “CS degree required,” but we still encourage our grads to put themselves in consideration for those types of opportunities. Networking can really help to overcome any bias against a nontraditional candidate.

    Brian: We know that some companies are primarily looking for computer science grads, so we've done a lot within our curriculum to really counterbalance that and make sure that our graduates are well-prepared not only for the interview process but also for the day-to-day work.

    Our graduates have a lower level understanding of those computer science fundamentals, which could be a barrier to entry into the job market, but we work with them intently to make sure they can go up against that barrier. In terms of generic whiteboarding skills, our graduates are generally on par with other computer science graduates in the area.

    What companies have hired Code Fellows graduates? Why do employers like hiring from your graduates?

    Elizabeth: We have over 400 hiring companies that have hired Code Fellows grads. We've been around since 2013 so there are about 1,000 Code Fellows grads working in the market. Graduates are evenly distributed between startups, midsize and enterprise companies. Some of the bigger hiring partners include Microsoft, Amazon, and Expedia – they’ve each hired around 30 Code Fellows grads. Our grads work as Software Development Engineers at Amazon; Software Engineers at Microsoft; an Associate Software Development Engineers at Expedia; Software Engineers at Nordstrom. We have grads working at Zillow, Zonar, Alaska Airlines, and Avalara.

    Are employers looking for specific programming languages and soft skills from your graduates?

    Elizabeth: It’s interesting – at the 401 level, students can specialize in JavaScript, Python, .NET, and Java – but when I'm out having conversations with hiring partners, a lot of them indicate that they're not as concerned with the language, but with people's sheer ability to code. When you're hiring at the junior level, companies are used to hiring people who don't necessarily have a specialized stack, but demonstrate strong problem-solving skills. Employers look for people who demonstrate that hunger, passion, and grit. Also, Code Fellows grads bring a sense of humility and openness to feedback, as career changers who are an average age of 30. Employers value that sense of maturity and professional experience since our graduates know how to be part of a team, contribute to an organization and figure out where they fit within the broader company ecosystem.

    Is Code Fellows still active with CIRR? How does it help keep your team accountable at all?

    Brian: We're a big fan of CIRR, and use some of the foundational elements of the CIRR standard in our placement tracking processes.

    How long does it take Code Fellows students to land a job after graduation? How long do you continue helping your graduates after they graduate?

    Elizabeth: According to our most recent job placement figure, it takes 11 weeks. Code Fellows graduates see an average starting salary of $70,000.

    Brian: Our support for students is ongoing. Once they graduate, they go through a qualifying interview process, then they make it into the Career Accelerator program. That's when we give them detailed support – working with them on a daily basis, checking in on them, doing mock interviews, connecting them to events, and so forth. That support is really integral on our end and on their end post-graduation.

    Even after our graduates are working, we still have a family vibe at Code Fellows – if you're a student here, you're always going to be supported in some way, shape, or form. We have done a number of things to build the community among our alumni, and our Career Accelerator services are available to this population as well. Ultimately, we now have the infrastructure to support graduates three or four years into the industry.

    Read more Code Fellows reviews on Course Report. Check out the Code Fellows website!

    About The Author

    Lauren is a communications and operations strategist who loves to help others find their idea of success. She is passionate about techonology education, career development, startups, and the arts. Her background includes career/youth development, public affairs, and philanthropy. She is from Richmond, VA and now currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.

  • Alumni Spotlight: Caleb Wells of Code Fellows

    Imogen Crispe6/29/2018


    Caleb Wells enjoyed solving problems as the manager of a tech support center, but he wanted to be solving deeper technology problems as a software developer. He considered teaching himself, or studying for a computer science degree, but eventually decided to enroll in Code Fellows’ 20-week coding bootcamp in Seattle. Caleb tells us how Code Fellows helped him land a job as a full stack Software Engineer at Alaska Airlines, how supportive his new team is, and how he learned numerous new coding languages on the job.


    Tell me about your career and education background and how your path led to Code Fellows.

    When I was eight or nine, I learned HTML and CSS and always figured I would do something with computers in the future.

    Before Code Fellows, I managed a Tech Support Center in Seattle. It was quite basic tech support using software fixes and patches that a manufacturer would provide. Someone would come in with their phone, tablet, or laptop, and we would just apply whatever fix, method, or update that we were instructed to. So it wasn't anywhere near as deep as you get as a software developer.

    I started off as a technician and then became the manager. It was interesting, but it wasn't the same as being able to actually solve the problem that people were coming in for, so I started looking into how I could get a little deeper with my knowledge. In my research, I found I could go to college and do a four-year degree in computer science. But then I started seeing some articles and reports about coding bootcamps, and what subjects they focus on in preparing their students for the workplace.

    Since you already knew some HTML, did you consider teaching yourself the rest of the skills you needed to become a developer?

    I considered it. Over the years I bought a couple of books about coding, but I never really committed to sitting down and learning it. I needed to commit more, and have a good learning structure.

    I worked with a freelance software developer who introduced me to some JavaScript. He said, "You can learn everything by yourself if you can be extremely focused, hold yourself accountable, and make a job out of learning.” But he said if I didn’t know specifically what I wanted to do, it was easier to take a course and have someone else give me an idea of what technology is best to learn first. I realized taking a course was the best option for me.

    There are a few different coding bootcamps in Seattle. Did you compare a few options before you settled on Code Fellows?

    I looked at Galvanize, and at online courses at Team Treehouse. After doing some research, I heard about Code Fellows. I knew someone who took an introductory course at Code Fellows and liked it a lot. I also talked to several people in the tech industry, who had heard good things about Code Fellows, and a few people who had graduated from there. I went to an information session there one evening and decided to go ahead and do the program.

    What was the application and interview process like for Code Fellows?

    I did three Code Fellows courses; 201 (four weeks), 301 (four weeks), and 401 (10 weeks), all of which had their own entrance requirements.

    Before the entrance exam for 201, I received pre-work to learn about loops, declaring variables, writing functions, creating classes, and stuff like that as an introduction to programming languages. The entrance exam was 30 or 40 questions with some multiple choice, and some required me to evaluate functions to find out what's wrong with them. I also had a brief call with a Code Fellows staff member who asked me what I was looking for, and whether I could commit to the Code Fellows format.

    Around halfway through each course, I had to indicate whether I was intending to enroll in the next course. To get accepted into 301, I took an exam at the end of 201 where I had to build a basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript website. To get accepted into 401, at the end of 301 I had to build a website using an API, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

    Could you take all the courses one after the other?

    I took all the courses full-time, back-to-back, but some of my classmates took a month or two off in between. In total, including a week off in between, the program was 20 weeks from start to finish for me. It’s tough, it's a lot of time, and it's a good challenge. I liked it a lot.

    What was your cohort like in the 10-week 401? How many people were there and was it diverse in terms of backgrounds, gender, and race?

    It was around 25 people, and it was pretty diverse. It wasn't exactly equal in the ratio of men to women, but it was close – there were about 11 women and 14 men. There were all sorts of backgrounds – people who already knew how to write code and were trying to get back into it, people who had never written code at all before Code Fellows, veterans who had tech backgrounds, and others who didn't. Some people had been to college, while others had not.

    What was the learning experience like in the Code Fellows 401 class?

    Teaching style depended on the teacher because they're given a lot of leeways. They have certain subjects and technologies they need to hit. The main goal of Code Fellows is to get you industry ready, so the instructors continually work on the coursework to make sure they're keeping up to date with the newest technology concepts.

    In a typical day, if we had a morning lecture, we’d arrive around 9am, and lecture would go until noon. Then we would have a lab from 1pm to 6pm. There is a teacher assistant allotment of one TA for every six students. TAs were either alumni or people with backgrounds in technology who work with Code Fellows students. I actually worked as a TA for a few months after I graduated.

    The speed of the program is a blessing and a curse. If you like what you're learning, and you like being challenged, then a bootcamp can offer a lot. You learn technologies pretty quickly, so you never feel like you're stuck on something that's too elementary for too long. You’ll study a certain topic, and its surrounding technologies, then you'll move on. It was nice.

    What technology track did you choose to learn for 401?

    I took the full-stack JavaScript 401. I learned the MEAN stack, which is Mongo, Express, Angular, and Node. The courses have since shifted to MERN stack, which is React in place of Angular. All of the 401 courses are full stack, and Code Fellows teaches the most common demands from the industry.

    What was your favorite project in the 401 program?

    We created an application for structured round-robin style writing. Someone can start a story, then allow someone else to continue it. All the projects are in small teams, similar to what you do in an Agile development team. We divided up our team of four, and had students pair off or work solo on certain tasks. We created profiles and multiple dashboards for users so they can see what stories they're writing, following, and contributing. We used Mongo, and Express, and Node for that. We used Git-flow to organize the process, and to commit changes etc. There's a lot more trial and error with displaying meaningful clean UI to a user, so I really enjoyed back-end development a little bit more than front end.

    How did Code Fellows prepare you for job hunting?

    Code Fellows has career development days where they coach us to sell ourselves as a product when we’re interviewing for a job, whether it's in the tech industry or not. Code Fellows covers how to show your strengths when you're interviewing, and how to present yourselves to potential employers. The instructors would make themselves available to help us practice for interviews, and advised us to go to meetups because Seattle has a very active tech industry meetup scene.

    There's a lot of push for Code Fellows to connect us to people in the industry, and also to dispel any awkward feelings that companies may have about interviewing bootcamp graduates, as opposed to computer science degree graduates. Code Fellows invited companies to speak in a course, and hosted a job fair. The last course I teacher assisted before I started working at Alaska Airlines was a .NET course, and they had some Microsoft folks come down and sit with us. Each person in the class was invited to go through an interview loop for positions at Microsoft.

    Congratulations on your job at Alaska Airlines. How did you find that job?

    I found my job with Alaska Airlines at a Code Fellows event where they connect students with companies for mock interviews or job interviews. One day I got an email saying, "Alaska Airlines is looking for people. Are you interested in interviewing?" I did some research on Alaska Airlines and thought it sounded pretty cool. That's how I was introduced to the company, and then I just went through Alaska Airlines' normal interview process.

    What is your role at Alaska Airlines?

    My role is a software design engineer. At Alaska Airlines, pretty much everyone is a full stack engineer. They don't really hire for front end or back end, and everyone on the team is expected to be able to do full stack development. I work on one of the checkout teams in the e-commerce division, and we're responsible for quite a bit of the website – a lot of the stuff that has to do with purchasing your ticket, choosing and changing your seat, etc.

    Tell us about the learning curve when you first joined Alaska Airlines. Did you have to learn new technologies on top of what you'd already learned at Code Fellows?

    It's actually pretty common that you get trained in one set of technologies, and you might get a job in a completely different one. Alaska Airlines is a .NET shop, so a couple of days before my first interview, I started learning C# and .NET. I don't know how to use everything yet, but I'm comfortable in the technologies in our environment. We use Azure and other technologies in .NET. The code base at Alaska Airlines is vast. There's a lot of logic and different factors that go the systems that actually manage tickets and stuff like that.

    It's a continual learning process that comes a day at a time, but I'm confident in pretty much any work that I'm given. I know I can get to the code and make the change. One thing I learned early on at Code Fellows, is that if you don't know it, that's normal. You need to learn it, and you shouldn't be afraid to ask questions and do research; that’s just part of the job.

    Did Alaska Airlines have an onboarding process? How does Alaska Airlines make sure that you and the other engineers continue to learn and grow as you go?

    When I first started, my team was expected to help bring me up to speed. My mentor was someone who had been on the team for a while, and was comfortable in the technologies. They worked with me, did check-ins, helped answer any questions I had, and found the right documentation for study.

    Alaska Airlines has “personal development time” which is about 20% of all the time spent at work. For my team, we do coding for about six to seven hours a day, and then the other hour or two is either meetings or personal development. The company also has internal training on relevant technologies and will cover conference expenses. This year I went to Microsoft Build.

    You were working in high-level tech support – has that background been useful in your current job?

    To be honest, the technical aspect of the job didn't really help. With troubleshooting technology, more than anything else, it's basically “turn off and turn it back on.” It's not that technical. What was useful was building my leadership skills, working with a team, and being able to resolve conflicts in a professional manner. People think developers are shut in a room by themselves, working on code all day and not interacting with the outside world. But it's very much a collaborative experience. You work with a team, they rely on you, and you communicate regularly with your teammates.

    What has been the biggest challenge in your journey to becoming a software developer?

    All developers have a lot of struggle when you're first learning. There will be times when you're not sure if you're going to be able to grasp the concepts and worry you’ve made the wrong decision. It's imposter syndrome – something that pretty much everyone's going to feel at some point.

    For me, one of those times was the first week of my 401 course. The assignment was really tough and I wasn’t expecting that. For the first couple hours working on that assignment, I thought, "Did I make the right decision here?" But pushing through it, taking a break, getting back to it, pushing through that is something I had to get used to as a developer.

    How have you been able to stay involved with Code Fellows?

    My classmate, whom I was coding with last summer, became an instructor at Code Fellows so we're still in touch. I also go to discussions about how Code Fellows can improve for alumni, and I've signed up to be an industry speaker, where I’d come in to tell students what it's like being a professional developer and answer some questions.

    What kind of advice do you have for people making a career change through a coding bootcamp?

    It's important to understand what you're going to be committing to and make sure the bootcamp is going to support you. Everyone at Code Fellows is really supportive, but you should know what pace is going to work for you. There are night classes that are slower than full-time day classes which are more accelerated. Try the coursework – if you enjoy that, take the first course.

    You're going to have a lot of struggles, but it gets more interesting, and more fun to write the code. You're definitely going to have moments that are like, "This is insane. This is really frustrating and very stressful.” But, it's really worth it when you see something that you built with your own two hands work – it's a great feeling.

    Find out more and read Code Fellows reviews on Course Report. Check out the Code Fellows website.

    About The Author

    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.

  • 14 Alternatives to Dev Bootcamp

    Imogen Crispe7/25/2017


    With the closing of Dev Bootcamp (slated for December 8, 2017), you’re probably wondering what other coding bootcamp options are out there. Dev Bootcamp changed thousands of lives, and built a great reputation with employers, so we are sad to see it go. Fortunately, there are still plenty of quality coding bootcamps in the cities where Dev Bootcamp operated. Here is a list of coding bootcamps with similar lengths, time commitments, and curriculums in the six cities where Dev Bootcamp had campuses: Austin, Chicago, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle.

    Continue Reading →
  • Am I the Right Candidate for a Coding Bootcamp?

    Imogen Crispe10/11/2016


    Should I do a coding bootcamp? This is a question we hear all the time, and for good reason. As more coding bootcamps launch (not to mention the rising media coverage), you’re probably wondering, “should I jump on the bandwagon and learn to code?” A recent TechCrunch article implored you not to learn to code unless you’re ready to put in the work to be great, whereas President Obama wants every student to learn computer science in high school. So what types of people are opting for coding bootcamps? And should you be one of them?

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  • September 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe1/18/2018

    Welcome to the September 2016 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month, we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to big fundraising announcements, to interesting trends. Of course, we cover our 2016 Outcomes and Demographics Report (we spent a ton of time on this one and hope everyone gets a chance to read it)! Other trends include growth of the industry, increasing diversity in tech through bootcamps, plus news about successful bootcamp alumni, and new schools and campuses. Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast!

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  • Learn to Code in 2016 at a Summer Coding Bootcamp

    Liz Eggleston7/24/2016

    See our most recent recommendations for summer coding bootcamps here!

    If you're a college student, an incoming freshman, or a teacher with a summer break, you have tons of summer coding bootcamp options, as well as several code schools that continue their normal offerings in the summer months.

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  • Coding Bootcamp Cost Comparison: Full Stack Immersives

    Imogen Crispe4/1/2019

    How much do coding bootcamps cost? From students looking for free coding bootcamps to those wondering if an $18,000 bootcamp is worth it, we understand that cost is important to future bootcampers! While the average full-time programming bootcamp in the US costs $11,906, bootcamp tuition can range from $9,000 to $21,000, and some coding bootcamps have deferred tuition. So how do you decide what to budget for? Here, we break down the costs of coding bootcamps from around the USA

    This is a cost comparison of full stack (front end and back end) in-person (on-site) immersive bootcamps that are nine weeks or longer, and many of them also include extra remote pre-work study. We have chosen courses which we think are comparable in course content – they all teach HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, plus back end languages or frameworks such as Ruby on Rails, Python, Angular, and Node.js. All schools listed here have at least one campus in the USA. To find out more about each bootcamp or read reviews, click on the links below to see their detailed Course Report pages.

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  • Instructor Spotlight: Beth Adele Long of Code Fellows

    Liz Eggleston1/12/2016


    Beth Adele Long was an actor, author, and writer – not to mention an experienced developer – when she moved to Portland and began working as an instructor at Code Fellows, and as a developer at Planet Argon. Beth tells us about the biggest changes to the Code Fellows curriculum this year, how diverse classes are strengthening the Portland tech community, and her favorite meetups for beginners looking to break into tech!

    Tell us about your background before teaching with Code Fellows.

    I have worked in web development full-time for the last 10 years, but for the last two years, I worked in a small consultancy in the Tampa Bay area.

    I really enjoyed that, but I was itching for a change of scenery and just a few months ago, I relocated to Portland. I work with Planet Argon, a local agency that develops Ruby on Rails apps. At this point in my career, I’ve worked through the entire stack – front end, back end, database and more.

    Did you get a Computer Science degree as an undergraduate?

    No; my undergraduate work was in engineering. I only took one Computer Science course, but I was able to parlay that into an internship. I did an internship with a defense contractor, so all my work experience was in the software realm.

    Did you have any teaching experience before Code Fellows?

    Yes; I taught acting techniques. I did community theater and have always been interested in acting and psychology. My business partner and I taught several courses around those topics, which were both popular and a lot of fun.

    I knew I liked teaching so when I connected with Code Fellows, I was really excited to be able to combine my lifelong love for software and web development with teaching.

    How did you find you about teaching at Code Fellows?

    I went to a tech event in Portland called ACT-W , which is for women in the tech industry. I connected with Stephanie, an instructor at Code Fellows’ Seattle campus, and Jordana, Campus Director of Code Fellows’ Portland campus. Jordana connected with me a few months later when they were looking for instructors. I remembered how much I enjoyed my time with them so that was one of the things that drew me to Code Fellows as opposed to other bootcamps in Portland.

    Did you have to be convinced of the coding bootcamp model at all?

    Not long after I graduated from college, I went to a six-week workshop for fiction writers, the Clarion Writers Workshop, which actually follows the bootcamp model. I had a fantastic teacher there who said that she felt a lot of people got more out of that 6-week writing workshop than an MFA program at a university.

    I was sold on the bootcamp model because I had seen it work so effectively in a completely different field. As critical as it is for us to have Computer Science degrees and engineers with that level of understanding, if you want to get out into the workforce and get a job, bootcamps are really effective for getting into the industry.

    What courses do you teach at Code Fellows?

    I teach the Code 101 course, which is our introductory course. I really enjoy it because I get to work with people who have never seen a line of code before and help them figure out if web development is for them.

    Starting January 4th, I’ll be teaching the Code 301 course, which is Intermediate Software Development. That takes students through front-end development and prepares them for the Code 401 course where they’ll delve into a specific language.

    Code Fellows has recently changed the curriculum and course format. Did you help develop the new curriculum?

    I contributed a little bit, but I wasn’t involved at a deep level. As strong as the curriculum was before, when I saw the revamped curriculum, I was blown away. The team took all the lessons learned over the last three years of teaching and revamped it into something that was much more effective—focusing on what people need to know and at what level they need to learn it. The curriculum is well-organized, while still retaining the flexibility to adapt to specific student needs.

    What was the biggest change that you saw in the curriculum revamp?

    There were two things that leapt out at me. One was the way that they sequenced the material. In the past, sometimes students were frustrated with the pacing of the course. I feel that they got the sequencing and the pacing nailed down beautifully in the new curriculum.

    The other thing is the depth of preparation for the instructor. The instructor doesn’t have to focus on creating code samples or exercises; everything is in place. This frees up the instructor to focus on teaching the material and fine-tuning it to their class, rather than spending energy developing materials.

    Do the students also have access to that curriculum ahead of time?

    Yes, which suits my learning style because I’m the person who wants to look at everything in advance, and get a sense of the lay of the land. In class, I’m actually refining rather than being introduced to it. I find that to be really important.

    What’s the end goal of the Code 301 course?

    There’s an internal and external goal. The internal goal is to thoroughly prepare a student to go into the Code 401 course. Code 401 is where students choose to specialize in iOS, Python or JavaScript.

    The external goal is that by the end of Code 301, a student is prepared for an entry level front-end development position.

    Are job placement services available for Code 301 graduates?

    Yes, definitely. Campus Directors work directly with local companies, recruiters and the students to find out about job openings and make introductions. There’s also a huge network of Code Fellows alumni and Code Fellows instructors. Both of those resources are available to alumni.

    Are the courses project-based or do you find yourself doing a lot of lecture?

    Code Fellows is very much based on doing. From day one students are writing code. There is some lecture time devoted to theory and explaining a conceptual framework. A lot of the “lecture time” is also devoted to live coding.  We write code together, show some pitfalls and things to avoid, answer questions, and allow the students to write some code themselves.

    What have you found is your personal teaching style? What do you do when a student isn’t really getting it?

    My favorite mode of teaching is when I get the opportunity to work with one or two students. I’m a pretty enthusiastic teacher so I try to get everybody awake and involved.

    If there’s a student who has a question or is struggling, I’ll do my best to carve out some time and sit with them one-on-one and dive into what specifically isn’t “gelling.” I love doing that kind of deep dive with one or two students. One of the great things about the Code Fellows model is that there’s a lot of time and space for that to happen.

    One student might be struggling with the basics and another trying to power ahead and learn advanced topics – you get to tailor your interactions to both of those students.

    Do you have Teaching Assistants in the class with you?

    It depends on the class size. Portland has smaller classes and a more intimate feel. If we have more than nine or 10 students, we have a Teacher Assistant (TA). The TA is a working developer who’s available to students during and outside of class, and online via Slack, Skype or email.

    Are there assessments or tests at Code Fellows?

    The bulk of the point value goes into actual projects that students work on. There are also quizzes that evaluate ability and check understanding. Quizzes serve as formative assessments for the instructor to determine whether a topic needs review or more depth. We always give people room to retake quizzes. We give people every opportunity to succeed, but we also want to make sure they’re succeeding because they’re grasping the material.

    If somebody fails a quiz or a test, do they get kicked out of Code Fellows?

    If you fail a quiz, the instructor’s going to ping you and say, “Hey, what’s going on? Let’s sit down and talk.” We’re going to work out a plan for you to get caught up with the rest of the class. Basically, the only way you can fail is if you stop trying.

    Students have not graduated in the past, but that was because they weren’t showing up. This is a very self-selecting group. If you sign up for a bootcamp, you’re probably motivated to succeed.

    Have you noticed an ideal type of student that does best at Code Fellows? Does somebody need to have a certain type of background in order to do really well?

    There is by no means a background that you need to have. We’ve had everyone from people with Computer Science degrees to artists and coffee roasters do great at Code Fellows

    To succeed, you need to know how to buckle down and study. You need to be motivated. You also need to have an idea of what a job in tech encompasses and if it suits you.

    We’ve had people who were enamored of the idea of a development job, but who didn’t evaluate whether it suited their abilities and interests. When they actually had to do the work, it wasn’t clicking for them. That is a lot more important than background.

    We need people with diverse backgrounds to infuse the tech industry with more diverse viewpoints, so I’m always excited when someone joins us from a completely different field.

    Have you found that the Portland classes that you’ve taught are very diverse classes?

    The Portland classes, I’m happy to say, tend to be more diverse. We have age and gender diversity.  The majority of Portland is white, so we don’t have a lot of racial diversity, but it isn’t as homogenous as it could be. We are actively encouraging diversity.

    It’s been fun to work with people who don’t fit the young white guy in a hoodie profile – and at the same time, to work with young white guys in hoodies who believe in diversity and are acting as allies.

    Do you have some favorite meetups or beginner tech events in Portland that you recommend people start with?

    The Portland tech community is so wonderful and there are so many great ones that I haven’t had the time to explore. I always enjoy going to the New Relic Future meetup; they’re very open, welcoming, and well-suited to a newcomer. They give an overview of which topics are hot.

    There are a ton of great meetups for women in the tech field; Women Who Code and ChickTech are both fantastic. For any type of job that you want to do, there are two or three meetups that you can go to. I would say those are the ones that stick out in my mind for newcomers.

    Is there anything else that you wanted to add about Code Fellows, your experience or bootcamps in general?

    It is exciting that the bootcamp model has risen recently. Looking back, it would’ve been great if it had been around when I got my start in web development. I’m honored and excited to be part of the action.

    Interested in learning more about Code Fellows? Check out their Course Report page!

  • Alumni Spotlight: Steven Stevenson of Code Fellows

    Liz Eggleston12/26/2015


    Steven Stevenson had a Computer Science degree and years of freelance web development before deciding to transition into iOS development at Code Fellows in Seattle. He credits Code Fellows with the teamwork and collaboration skills that inspired his startup, Elevator, a team-based hiring platform. We chat with Steven about the differences between a bootcamp and his CS degree, how his time in the iOS Development Accelerator impacted his startup, and the rewarding lessons he’s taken from the experience.


    What were you were up to before you went to Code Fellows?

    I graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Applied Computational Mathematical Science. My degree was essentially mathematics and computer science focused on building algorithms (which is the basis for Artificial Intelligence). I've been working on some iteration of websites since I was in middle school- using HTML in Yearbook class.

    A lot of what we hear about a Computer Science degree versus bootcamp is the tradeoff between theory versus practical training and knowledge. Is that the experience that you had?

    When I was in college my actual degree had very little to do with any sort of building websites or tools to actually use. It had more to do with theoretic algorithms and finding to solutions to made up problems. A lot of it might not have been writing code; instead, it was just studying a hypothetical solution, unlike at a bootcamp, where they teach you to build something cool starting from scratch. The essence of the bootcamp was very much like a startup, which I loved.

    How did you find out about Code Fellows?

    One of my friends from the Lindy Hop dance community (I was teaching dance at the time) had heard about Code Fellows. He was learning iOS development, which I never really considered before—it just wasn't on my radar. But I had been freelancing in web development, and the idea of being able to build tools that are actually designed as tools just really excited me. I got excited as soon as I heard about the opportunities that they were providing at Code Fellows.

    What was the Code Fellows application like for you?

    Code Fellows knew that I had some experience beforehand, and they knew that I would do well in the iOS Development Accelerator. I still had to go through the normal application and submit a video and interview.

    Did you have to do a coding challenge that was technical?

    The only thing that was technical was they wanted a video of me explaining some sort of development process.  I described one of the algorithms that I was taught in college. But I don't think they needed an actual tech interview.

    How did your teachers at Code Fellows compare to your professors in college?

    The professors that I had in college were very focused on meeting standards; teaching theories you should know as opposed to how they’re applied. When we were getting into actually practical uses, it was very theoretical. The difference between that and the Code Fellows class was that we had specific projects that we were building to teach certain techniques and theories.

    Can you tell us your favorite project that you built at Code Fellows?

    I went into Code Fellows already with an mind an app that I wanted to build. I’m a swing dancer and instructor, so I built a calendar management tool so that people who are running dances could input their scheduling information and then it could be viewable anywhere in the world. I called it Swing Local.

    It was a fun exercise to link my real expectations of a real world problem and then building a user platform that got people excited.

    Another project we built was a media streaming app—the idea was a podcast app called Popsicle that helped a user record, manage, and automatically stream podcasts to iTunes.

    What were your career goals when you started the iOS Development Accelerator?

    At that point, I had just told my family that I wanted to build websites and mobile apps as a career. I was open-minded but my main focus was to continue building user-centered, tool-based applications.

    When I started Code Fellows, I very much wanted to do something entrepreneurial or work at a startup, but when I graduated, I was more open-minded about my career. Eventually, we started Elevator!

    Did you immediately launch your startup, Elevator, after you graduated from Code Fellows?

    Just before launching Elevator (, I was TA-ing for Code Fellows. Mike Anderson, who worked at Code Fellows at the time, asked me if I wanted to work on agency-style web development with him at an agency called Belief Agency. We built tons of websites—a couple of them won awards. My main takeaways there were learning how to build out a development team on my own, starting from scratch for most of the projects, working with other developers, and connecting people.

    Between Mike and the CEO of that agency, Jesse Bryan, they had shared a common question: "Why is it so hard for companies to hire teams of employees who work well together?" We started working on this problem on the side, until it made sense for me to transition to co-founder and run Elevator as a separate business.

    Can you tell us what Elevator does?

    Elevator is the world’s first team-based hiring platform. We want to give power back into the hands of the people, instead of all the power with the company. We aim to match great teams with great opportunities with some of growing list of partners. One of the long-term goals is to analyze how to formulate good teams using data. Then we could go to a large company and say this is the information that we have for all the teams that we have on our platform, and we can tell you which teams are going to be more efficient.

    In your current role at Elevator, are you able to use what you learned at Code Fellows?

    My official role is CTO. Right now, I have a VP of Engineering, so I'm managing all of the development and project management, as well as building the app with him. We leverage many of the same principles that were reinforced when I was at Code Fellows.

    The thing that I learned from Code Fellows that I think was the most valuable was the importance of teamwork. The structure of the bootcamp was so nurturing and encouraged us to work together, learn together, and succeed together. In working on Elevator, everything we’re doing is about building effective teams, so I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for that feeling of successful teamwork I got from Code Fellows.

    During Code Fellows, we roughly followed Agile Methodology. For example, we did standups during project weeks. Not every company implements Agile by-the-book, so it was more of a realistic implementation of what Agile could look like in a smaller team.

    Are you ready to hire more developers for Elevator? Would you hire from Code Fellows?

    It really depends on our scale. Right now, it will depend on our the growth of the company and the direction of our initial investment needs. We have many directions we can take for the next set of developers; utilizing iOS engineers to focus on mobile devices as our next platform, or growing the backend of our current site. We’ll definitely look at Code Fellows grads!

    Was Code Fellows supportive of you starting your own business as opposed to getting a traditional junior developer job at a company?

    After graduating Code Fellows, I was dragging my feet on applying to jobs because I was looking for the right company, not necessarily a specific role. I had a conversations with Will and Brooke about what they see as good paths with someone with my skillset. Having an entrepreneurial focus, I gravitated toward large ideas and building understanding on how they are to be built and supported. Everyone at Code Fellows was great for research, ultimately I had to decide which was right for me.

    Do you think that Code Fellows was worth the money? Do you think that you could have learned everything that you learned in the iOS bootcamp on your own?

    I could have learned how to code on any of the online code websites, but that wasn’t my goal. My goal was to meet people and to get pushed as I learned. Technically, if I had a question, I could spend hours and get frustrated or I could just ask someone else at Code Fellows. Having those resources gave me encouragement knowing that I could do it. But ultimately, it’s more than just the technical aspects that you take from an immersive bootcamp. It’s the relationships that you build.

    Want to learn more about Code Fellows? Read reviews on Course Report or check out the website here Want to know more about Elevator? Check out


  • Alumni Spotlight: Kasim Siddiqui of Code Fellows

    Liz Eggleston12/10/2015


    Kasim had a strong engineering background, but was finding it difficult to nail a software engineering role. So he enrolled at Code Fellows to learn the MEAN Stack and open up his job options. Kasim made a promise to his wife that he’d have a new job the Monday following the end of the course, and that’s exactly what he did! Kasim shares his job search experience and what you need to do to succeed at Bootcamp.


    Tell us what you were up to before you went to Code fellows.

    I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Materials Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. It’s the study of materials, the process of finding new materials and understanding how they interact. It was mostly chemistry and material subjects, but I was forced to take one CS class. I took Intro to Java. Although I didn’t do well in the class, I liked it, so I kept it in the back of my mind.

    After I graduated, I started working at Intel in Portland. I did circuit editing, which is more of an electrical engineering job. At my previous job at Intel I did have to look at code once in awhile; that was probably one of the most exciting things I did. While I was there, I thought studying electrical engineering would be a good idea, so I took a year’s worth of Electrical Engineering classes. My goal was to go into a master's program. After a year’s worth of classes I had bachelor’s level knowledge in Electrical Engineering but realized I didn’t really like it.

    What made you think about a software development career?

    I’m originally from Seattle and I wanted to return home. I started looking at the job market, but the type of job that I was doing was pretty centralized in Silicon Valley. I thought software development would be a good thing to try because I liked it.

    Did you know about Code Fellows when you made that career decision?

    The first thing I did was quit my job to travel with my wife for four months. Before I left, my brother-in-law told me, “When you come back, you should look into Code Fellows; it’s a coding bootcamp.” He works at OfferUp and they were going to let him do a course there. I checked it out, but tried to get a job on my own first. In the back of my mind, I knew that I wanted to code, but I thought that I could get an entry-level job without any training. I interviewed at a few places and one place said I was close but they went with someone who had more experience. Most of the jobs I interviewed for only involved working with a bit of code. I tried to get a job for two months and nothing worked out, so I applied to Code Fellows after that and got into the Bootcamp course.

    I told my wife and she said, “You’re putting so much money into this!” And I told her “I promise you if I finish this, I’ll get a job the Monday that I’m done with the class,” which is what I ended up doing.

    What classes did you take at Code Fellows?

    The names of the courses have changed since I was at Code Fellows, but I took the Bootcamp, which is one month, and the Development Accelerator, which is two months; I did both of those. Luckily, I got a 70% scholarship for both of them. It was the Diversity Scholarship. That really helped because it pretty much depleted our savings.

    What level of coding skills did you get to in the Bootcamp?

    Because I was coming from a non-coding background, the Bootcamp prepared me for the Development Accelerator. I don’t think I could’ve gotten a job before that.  A lot of people started in the Development Accelerator and didn’t take classes before that, but I don’t think I could’ve done that.

    Was there a coding challenge to get into the Dev Accelerator?

    Yes, it's pretty hard to get into the Development Accelerator because they want you to take a second course called Foundations 2 (now Code 301), but I didn’t have the time. I needed a job as soon as possible. I did pretty well on the code review. They said I was probably the only person from that Bootcamp to get into the Development Accelerator right away in that cohort. I took the MEAN stack (JavaScript) accelerator.

    Was learning the MEAN stack important to you?

    I was originally leaning toward Python, but the Python course was delayed so I decided to take JavaScript and it ended up being a good choice.

    What was the cohort like? Did it feel like a diverse cohort in terms of age, gender and race?

    There were 18 or 19 people. It wasn’t very racially diverse. There were one or two Asian people, mostly white people. There were three girls. It was on the younger end of the age spectrum. There were some people younger than me but mostly people in their late twenties.

    Was everybody on a similar technical level? Did you feel like you were ahead of people because you had done the Bootcamp course?

    For most of the people there, this was their first experience with a Bootcamp or Code Fellows. I felt like everyone was really smart. It’s a lot more difficult to get in if you haven’t taken a Code Fellows course before because they really test your skills before they admit you.

    I felt in between the middle and bottom of the cohort. One thing that really helped me in the course was that I understood the Code Fellows structure due to my previous experience in their Bootcamp. I didn’t feel like a stranger on the first day, whereas my first day at the Bootcamp, I was really nervous.

    Who was the instructor in the JavaScript class?

    Tyler Morgan. He is basically a genius. He is the typical coding type: long hair, long beard. He is really funny and kind of blunt. Basically, he would just project his computer on the screen and code. It worked for me because he’d record his lectures and post them on a private YouTube channel.

    Did you do projects every day?

    There were homework assignments, basically mini-projects, assigned every day. And if you attended the lecture, they were somewhat trivial. I didn’t like taking my work home because I’m married and have a life outside of school. They’d give you three hours after lecture to work on it. I finished within the three hours every single time.

    How much time did you spend there each week?

    I had to get there an hour early every day because I carpooled with my wife. I would get there at 8:00 and I would leave at 4:00 and that was just enough time for me to finish all of the work.

    It seems like you maintained a good work-life balance.

    I was already pretty stressed out by not having a job. My wife was working. We commuted together so when we were home I just wanted to spend time together instead of studying.

    Do you feel that your electrical engineering role aided in learning web development?

    There were some concepts that were useful, but they’re pretty different.  There are different branches of electrical engineering and some engineers focus on coding. The logic still works the same so that helps with coding.

    What was the feedback loop like at Code Fellows?

    Tyler was definitely good with feedback. I didn’t offer a lot of feedback because I was just fine with the way things were. Some people thought that the explanations were too fast at times. Sometimes it seemed like you would watch him do something and do the same thing for homework. There’s a little bit of handholding. If you asked him for help, it was a little bit intimidating. But if you use his code as an example, you should be able to do all of the assignments.

    Tell us about the projects that you built at Code Fellows.

    The project week was definitely a time when you actually had to apply everything you had learned—and that’s when the real learning happened, I think.

    The first group project I did was called Node Help. It was a command line program. In the command line you have a feature that allows you to test out your code. The default REPL for JavaScript isn’t as good as the one for Python.

    We added some functions in the JavaScript REPL to make it more similar to the one in Python. It allows you to learn more about JavaScript functions and see what functions you can run on a variable.

    Did you get to choose your group and did you get to come up with that idea on your own?

    We came up with the idea. For the projects Code Fellows usually mixes two classes together so that Python students will work with iOS students, for example. One group will work on the front end. That’s what we did for the final, but not for this project.

    What was the second project when you collaborated with another class?

    We collaborated with a front-end class and made a carpool app. They made our website look nice and we made the back end. I thought there were too many people working on the project. There were three people from our class and two from their class. There were just too many people. For our other project there three people so everyone had to do a lot of work, which kind of made the rhythm easier. When it was five people, there wasn’t enough work for one person to do sometimes.

    Cool. Was it an app built with MEAN stack?

    Yes, it was a web app. Sometimes you work with iOS classes and you actually end up with an iOS app and a web app, which is really cool, but we didn’t get to do that.

    When did you receive a job offer?

    In the beginning of the seventh week.

    How did you get the job?

    Before I started at Code Fellows, I interviewed with K2 over the phone. They said, "Come back when you have more experience.” In between the Bootcamp course and the Development Accelerator I talked to them again and they were interested in the stuff I was doing. They said, “Let’s talk again after you finish.”

    I wanted a job before I finished so I interviewed with them towards the end of the course.  The interview lasted about 10 minutes and they told me that I got the job.

    So it wasn’t directly through the Code Fellows job network.

    The Code Fellows job network is really good, but I didn’t end up getting a job that way. I got some calls after I had already started.

    What’s your role like at K2?

    I’m a software engineer and work with a team of four to five other people on a product called Control Pack. K2 makes smart forms. Someone who buys the software can drag and drop different controls onto a form or make their own form. It’s more advanced than the typical forms you can make from scratch. We maintain some of the form controls. I fix bugs.

    You started that job the Monday after you graduated from Code Fellows?

    Yes. It’s exactly what I was hoping to do.

    What has the first month been like for you ramping up? Does K2 offer a lot of mentoring?

    The first week was training, then they gave me a tutorial on making my own control. They give me a task and I can ask for help, but they want me to try it by myself first. There’s not a specific person assigned to help me but everyone on the team is very helpful and I can ask anybody for help.

    Had they hired a Bootcamp graduate before?

    No, I think I was the first person. They basically heard about it because of me.

    Did you have to do a technical interview at K2?

    It was a technical interview but it wasn’t a whiteboarding interview. Luckily, I was able to answer all of those questions from things I’d learned at Code Fellows.

    You did an interview with K2 before Code Fellows and then one after. What was the difference?

    The first one was a phone interview and they just asked questions like, “How many different things can you make with a paperclip?” I don’t think it was the interview itself that affected whether I got the job or not, I think it was more the lack of experience. They told me they ended up hiring a Computer Science grad. That was for a junior role.

    Are you happy with your career change?

    I think so; I like it better than what I was doing at Intel.

    Did you think that Code Fellows was worth the money?

    I was willing to pay the full price, but I would’ve had to borrow it. It would’ve been worth the end result, but there’s also people in the class who haven’t got a job yet. It is really expensive so it’s hard to say. I thought it was pretty expensive with my scholarship.

    Do you think you could’ve learned what you learned over those three months on your own?

    I feel like the things I studied on my own weren’t as solid as what I learned at Code Fellows. That’s what made it worth it.  Some people in the class were really smart and I think they could’ve done it without Code Fellows, but for me, I needed to sit down eight to nine hours a day to get it done.

    You could learn all of this on your own, but not everyone has that capacity. You also miss out on the guidance when learning on your own. I can sit down and read a medical school book but I’m not going to be able to do surgery.

    It sounds like the project weeks were where you really solidified your learning. Is there anyone you would not recommend the course to?

    If you’re going to half-ass it, it’s not good for you.

    Interested in learning more about Code Fellows? Check out their Course Report page.

  • Code Fellows vs Coding Dojo: Breaking Down the Differences

    Alex Williams1/11/2019


    Code Fellows and Coding Dojo both have several locations across the US that teach more than one tech stack, from Python to iOS to MEAN Stack. Whether you are looking for a structured classroom environment, job placement focus or project-based learning, both Code Fellows and Coding Dojo offer more than your average bootcamp. We break down the differences between Code Fellows vs Coding Dojo:

    Continue Reading →
  • September Coding Bootcamp News Roundup

    Liz Eggleston10/7/2015


    Welcome to the September News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Do you want something considered for the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!


    This Week on Course Report:


    Aquisitions, Fundraises & Regulation


    New Campuses + Courses:


    September Must-Reads


    Have a great October!

  • Student Spotlight: Sarah Hermanns, Code Fellows

    Liz Eggleston9/3/2015


    Sarah Hermanns spent years in "the black hole of retail" after graduating from University of Washington before starting free tutorials and completing two Code Fellows programming bootcamps. She fully committed to a career transformation by applying to the Code Fellows iOS Dev Accelerator, where she is currently a student. 

    Tune into this Live Q&A where Sarah tells us:

    • Why she decided to learn Mobile Development (over web) and which technologies she's learning at the Code Fellows iOS Development Accelerator.
    • The group project she's about to present at Code Fellows Demo Day—spoiler alert: it's a pretty cool scavenger hunt app!
    • How Sarah is fitting into the Seattle development community (and how she interacts with other students Code Fellows' many tech courses).
    • The application process for Code Fellows' Diversity Scholarship, which covers 70% of tuition to the Bootcamp!

    Tell us what you were up to before you started at Code Fellows.

    I graduated from the University of Washington back in 2008. I got a BA in the compared history of ideas. It was interesting but wasn’t super applicable.

    Then I ended up falling into the “black hole of retail.” But I moved up and I’ve been a store manager for the last three years but I just didn’t know where I wanted to go with it. I was looking to do something different, a lot more challenging and I eventually found Code Fellows.

    Even though your undergrad degree wasn't technical, it does sound very critical.

    Yeah, that’s what I enjoyed about it. It really helped me think outside the box which is also why it was painful to be in retail for so long because it really didn’t challenge me at all.

    Did you ever take a computer science class or an intro class in your undergrad?

    I didn’t for computer science. I just took a ton of math. I started in college training to be a nutritionist, but then I ended up switching gears. I think I was only a couple of classes away from being able to minor in math, so that’s why I figured this would be a good fit also.

    What was the push to start looking at coding bootcamps from being in retail? What made you start looking at coding as a career?

    I have a friend who works for the Nordstrom mobile team. She was a scrum master. She didn’t have very much of a computer science background but she always told me that there’s a lot of opportunities and she thought that I could probably pick it up really easily. That’s how I started trying free tutorials and what not and I found Code Fellows. It’s close to where I live, too.

    Where is the Code Fellows classroom in Seattle?

    It’s right in South Lake Union, so where Amazon is, right in the center of that.

    Which online coding tutorials did you use before you actually decided to take the plunge?

    I did some Codecademy; I paid for a couple inexpensive Udemy courses. To be honest, anything that I could get my hands on that was free or close to free.

    Did you look at any other bootcamps in Seattle or even think about leaving Seattle?

    I found out about Code Fellows and knew nothing was going to be more convenient for my current lifestyle. I think a lot of it was timing-based for me; I would’ve been willing to go down to their program in Portland. And then some other all-female code school got in touch with me from California but I was already accepted to this bootcamp so I didn’t even look at it.

    Which classes have you done at Code Fellows?

    I did the Bootcamp, so that’s HTML, CSS, JavaScript basics. It was really, really fast-paced. I think a lot of people in there had already been teaching themselves to code for years, and for me it was like, I didn’t even understand what the terminal was. All the online stuff that you do, you don’t really have to understand how your computer really works. You’re doing these tutorials where you’re just typing things into their portal and it works.

    It was a steep learning curve. Then I took the Foundations II for iOS specifically. I really enjoyed the visual elements of Xcode, to be able to see the design part in the same interface that you’re building functional code; I really enjoy not having to jump around all these different programs.

    So you did a bootcamp, a foundations class and then an iOS Development Accelerator?

    The foundations one wasn’t full time, it was just evenings for like a month.

    When did you decide to quit your job and do this as a career transformation?

    I decided right after I took the iOS Foundations evening class. I kind of already knew I was going to do it but I wanted to make sure I could get into the Development Accelerator and that actually wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be. I picked the course that was a couple of months out, because financially I needed to save some more money and what not. So I started in August.

    What appealed to you about iOS and developing for mobile?

    I felt like that’s what I’m always using. I’ve obviously been back on my computer but generally speaking prior to that, anything I was doing was usually off of my phone. I really was interested in working on a mobile platform.  I switched to an Apple phone at least eight years ago. I know they still have their faults but they’re my preferred to other brands.

    Was your goal in doing the Development Accelerator to graduate and get a job as a junior developer?

    Yes, definitely. I also have such a strong background in retail sales management, I would actually like to be able to be a developer but then work between developers and people who are trying to drive business results. I think that I’d be really valuable in that world. I can talk to people, I’m very outgoing so I would like to possibly utilize that in the future.

    What was the application like for you? Did you have to do a technical interview or a formal since you’ve already gone through that foundations and Bootcamp class?

    I still did have to do an interview but because the same instructor was going to be teaching a Development Accelerator and I had just finished, I feel like he was familiar with the level that I was at and was comfortable. It wasn’t as intense as it would’ve been if he never met me before.

    Did you have to do a coding challenge during the application?

    I actually did not. But I also think that that was because of what I produced in the class. I think he verbally asked me a couple of questions to see if I could recall something that we had just finished but I don’t think I actually had to do anything on a whiteboard.

    You got the Diversity Scholarship (women, minorities, veterans) for the Development Accelerator?

    Yeah, I had asked a couple of times if there was anything you could do to get a discount or whatever, but the answer was no until they’d started on this scholarship program. I think it was only a month before the program started. I’d already been admitted before I applied for it.

    How much of the tuition did it cover?

    About 70%, so a lot. I wasn’t counting on getting it. I was so excited. It was awesome.

    What was the application process for the scholarship like?

    You have to answer five question but you could answer them in any way you wanted, I guess. It’s interesting because you fill it out online, almost like a survey. But of course I didn’t just start typing, I spent a lot of time editing and what not. I really treated it like a merit scholarship.

    How long did it take to find out?

    A couple of weeks or a month because I applied right before a deadline.

    When did you start the Development Accelerator?

    We’re exactly a day out from being halfway, so the 3rd of August.

    How many people are in your cohort?

    Just shy of 20. It’s funny because at the beginning I had heard that I thought we’re only going to have 12 people but I know that there’s at least 16 or 17 of us now.

    Does it feel like a diverse cohort in terms of age, gender, and race?

    Definitely; it’s really interesting I would say age and experience wise. There’s actually a lot more people in my class with quite a bit of experience than I would’ve expected. And it’s not from that platform but from other languages; but there’s some pretty experienced people.

    Have the skill levels evened out over the last month?

    It felt more like we were even at the beginning. I was more comfortable in the homework weeks because you’re learning how to do something and you’re implementing a similar application of it in the homework. Project week, all bets are off—you can work on anything.

    I’m in a group; we chose to do something where it involves some of the things we already knew but I’d say at least a 50% of the stuff we haven’t learned yet so we’re having to teach ourselves.

    While you’re working on the project?

    Yeah, it’s like learn as you go and we’re lucky; there’s one of the people in my group who is phenomenal with this stuff. But I would say without his assistance I feel like I wouldn’t be able to know where to go with it. But we get to learn from each other and really enjoy how we work.

    How much of a foundation do you think the previous courses you took gave you before you started the Development Accelerator? Would you have been able to jump into this iOS Development Accelerator without having gone through those?

    I probably would have been able to. iOS is just different. I’d say without the JavaScript part of the Bootcamp, probably it would’ve been rougher. But all the CSS and HTML are great to learn but we don’t use any of that here. So I think if somebody had taken just the basic foundations class and then done a little extra on the side, I think that they would’ve done okay in this class.

    What are you learning? Can you give us a quick rundown of the technologies?

    Yeah, I’d say that big things that we use constantly, you really need to understand how to use Table Views, Table Views are in every app that exists and there’s obviously lots of different forms but I think you need to be comfortable with that. In the first week we started to get familiar with how to parse data, which means anytime we need to scrape web API for any information, you need to be able to parse through what they give you, to get out what you need. And we’ve used that in every app since that one, with a little less guidance.

    We’ve learned how to do the map kit, the core location which you use a lot in different applications.

    Do you know the curriculum from week to week or day to day?

    Our assignments are posted at the beginning of the week and you’re able to see “today I’m probably going to learn about these five topics.” I’d say probably in a day we cover four major topics and then you’re asked to implement that in the homework. But as far as like what order we’re going to learn these things in, no. It just depends on how he wants to do it and every week there’s a different example.

    The first week we built an iteration of Twitter and then we did one that we parsed the backend service and then we did one for Github too. You never know what we’re going to do.

    Who’s your instructor now?

    His name is Brad Johnson.

    What’s his teaching style like and does it work with your learning style?

    Yeah, absolutely. He’s really laid back and I think that he goes at a really nice pace and with a lecture it’s a perfect balance of learning concepts on slides and he’s talking about them and then he goes in and does a demo so that you actually get to see it in action. I know for me, I like the way it works because I don’t have to try to keep up with what he’s doing. I can just watch and then later on I can access all of the code to look at it or look at the slides again.

    Does he do traditional lectures?

    Our days are broken up. We’re here for eight hours. Half a day you spend working on implementing features that you learned how to create the day before and then the second half of the day we spend in lecture, so usually we don’t spend more than three hours in lecture and we take breaks.

    How many hours are you committing to Code Fellows per week?

    I’d say for me, I’m here between 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. every day. I always stay until at least 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. but I also need a mental break so I usually go home and then spend another couple of hours either in the evening or early the day before working on it. So I’d say you spend at least 10 hours a day.

    In project week that’s not even close. We should be here all night but we don’t stay that late.

    Can you tell us about the projects that you’re working on right now?

    It was actually my idea. We’d go through ideas and then vote. We’re actually creating an app where you can build your own scavenger hunt. Anybody could use it. Essentially, you come to a screen first where you can search through hunts that other people have created. We would like people to do this anywhere they want to; you can make a hunt about anything.

    It sounds like a cool idea, I would use it.

    It would be really cool if we could actually get people to use it for team building. We’d like to make hunts either public or private too, so if you wanted to create one for your birthday and invite all your friends and try to find special breweries in Seattle, you could do that. We also think it would be really nice for people who are new to a city, if you’ve moved somewhere new you could access hunts that locals have put together that aren’t so generic.

    We’d love to give some sort of incentive to people who do it too, so if you’re in a business that was included in a hunt maybe if you checked into that location you’d get a dollar off something. We like the idea but it’s got a long way to go.

    Tell us about some of the functionality. You mentioned there’s login; what does the user do?

    The screen, your initial view controller is just a collection view of a whole bunch of hunts. I think we might have time to do it before tomorrow but I doubt it—we’re also going to have a rating underneath it. And that’s actually a tab bar controller so you can see hunts that you can search through. They’ve already been created and there’s a tab that you can go to: there are your hunts. When you’re in the “Your Hunts” tab, it’ll show you any hunts you’ve created previously or any hunts that you’re partially done with. Let’s say last week you started a hunt but you haven’t had time to finish it; it’ll show those.

    Then you can segway another view controller when you can create a hunt yourself. You essentially name your hunt, describe it briefly and then you scrape the Google Places API for you to add places to your hunt and then you add a clue. Then you jump back to the same view controller that you were on and it shows a list of all the clues you created.

    Was it difficult to use that Google Places API? What was the most difficult part technically?

    Well, the whole thing. We thought we could just use Map Kit but then we realized that we really needed to be able to get an image for the location that you were pinning. And the problem is that people would have to take those images themselves and then upload them from their gallery. You’re not going to have time to walk around and take a picture of everything you want in your hunt, you need to be able to gather that someway, so we decided that Google Places would be an easier way because they give an image of whatever you’ve typed in. I think it was a wise decision but we were already a ways through the Map Kit part.

    Tell us about the group that you’re working with. How many people are in the group?

    There are four of us.

    What have you noticed about working on a dev team?

    I think it’s really hard to get started, because you have to have a roadmap of where you’re going but you also don’t know. You don’t really know how far you’re going to be able to get, so you try to scale it down into the lowest basic features and see if you could get there and then add from there, which is what we’ve done. I don’t think we realized how much of a project we were getting ourselves into.  It sounded simpler on paper than it actually is.

    You have one week to finish?

    Yeah, we really have four days because we’re presenting tomorrow at 1:00 p.m., so we have tonight and tomorrow morning to finish it off.

    That’s exciting! Will you deploy this to the app store? Is that a part of the project?

    It should go on our resumes at least, as a project in progress and we would like to do that but you have to have it perfect. I’d say that we’ll continue to work on it in our free time and possibly you might see it. I’d like to see it happen.

    So you are halfway through this class; has Code Fellows started with job prep or doing interview practice, resume building or they don’t think about those until the end?

    No, we do stuff every week; every Friday except for project week. We usually have an hour-long presentation but I think the first week it was on networking events and how to be better at that. The second week was on updating any of our social media platforms to accurately convey who we are. And last week was resume tips. There’s something every week.

    What do you think about the Seattle dev community? Is it a community that you like? Have you gotten involved in other ways other than Code Fellows?

    I have gone to some meetup events and I think Seattle is an interesting place. I think that Code Fellows, I’m more excited about it because we’re not just here in class all the time. I’m meeting people that are from all these different platforms, those are going to be very similar to a lot of people that I’ll be working with out in the real world; I think that’s pretty reassuring.

    But I do think especially being down here on the Amazon campus, it’s a little bit weird. I think it’s a harder community to break into, until you’re actually a developer.

    Since you were saying a lot of other classes in Development Accelerators even at Code Fellows and web and a lot of other technologies, do you all overlap? Do you ever work with other classes?

    I think they would like us to. It depends on the core schedule but I think they like to pair the iOS Development Accelerator with either Python or with JavaScript but it would have to be at the right time, so it’s possible we might partner with a JavaScript class.

    Is there anything that we haven’t touched on that you think would helpful to future bootcamp students in general or at Code Fellows?

    I would just say I wish that I would’ve exhausted more free resources, and I’d say to take anything that you can do or watch for free and just stretch it as far as possible—anything you can build to give yourself more experience prior to doing this, because the more you have going in the more you get out of it. So not just scraping by to get the basics; you’re getting to dig for information that’s deeper than what’s taught in the homework.

  • Scholarships We Love: Code Fellows Diversity Scholarship

    Nick Toscano9/1/2015


    Code Fellows offers professional development courses in web and mobile development with campuses in Portland, OR, Seattle and Chicago. Along with their four-week Bootcamp in computer science and web development they provide Accelerator programs in all popular web dev technologies including JavaScript, Python and iOS Development. They also hosts foundation building courses for beginners and intermediate students. Code Fellows prides itself in delivering top-tier training from industry professionals which includes job prep services and flexible course schedules.  To help ease some of the financial burden of enrolling at Code Fellows they offer scholarships that cover 70% of tuition.

    The Challenge

    Code Fellows is a strong advocate for increasing diversity in the tech field. They acknowledge that there is a significant deficit in the amount of women, veterans, and African and Hispanic American professionals in the tech field.  

    “The percentages of coders who are women (less than 20 percent), black (less than 3 percent), or hispanic (less than 2 percent) are shockingly low in comparison to their place in the general population. The low number of veterans moving into tech-related jobs is also surprising considering the leadership and problem-solving skills they can bring,” stated Code Fellows.

    The level of engagement amongst these groups in STEM fields is staggeringly low all the way from high school to the workplace. At the high school level, in 2013, of the 30,000 students that took the AP computer science exam “less than 20 percent of those students were female, about 3 percent were African American, and 8 percent were Hispanic,” reported Liana Heitin of Education Week.  

    Companies understand the importance of diversity in the workplace and are investing heavily to balance the scales. In January, Intel announced it was investing $300 million on diversity improvement fund. Last year Google put $50 million into their Made with Code initiative to help increase the number of women in technology and this year they have earmarked $150 million for  increasing diversity in tech.

    By the same token, the Code Fellows Diversity Scholarship Fund was created. Code Fellows understands that proper training can kickstart a career in web development. Their brand of expedited and immersive learning can be the key ingredient in turning ambitious dreaming into a reality for those without any access point to the tech field.

    Details & Eligibility

    “The Diversity Scholarship Fund will award scholarships of up to 70 percent of full-time course tuition to women, U.S. military veterans, and minorities underrepresented in technology (black, hispanic, and Native American, including Alaskan and Hawaiian).”

    Once accepted into a full-time course all a student has to do is forward their course acceptance email to (with the subject line "Scholarship Application"). They will then receive a scholarship application which then must be completed and submitted no later than three weeks before the first day of class.

    The Application

    Sarah Fischer of Code Fellows explains the application process, "Once students have been accepted into a advanced, full-time course, they can request a scholarship application. The application consists of five essay questions. Our team evaluates the applications, and then notifies all applicants to let them know if they received a Diversity Scholarship."

    According to Sarah Hermanns, a Code Fellows scholarship recipient in the iOS Development Accelerator, “You answer 5 questions in an online survey; I spent a lot of time editing and treated the application like it was a merit scholarship.”

    Why We Think It’s Awesome

    Scholarships like this are necessary to invoke change in the tech field. Code Fellows is taking the initiative to make a true impact to the communities in which they operate as well as the national tech landscape. Plus, the Code Fellows diversity scholarship is funded by companies that want to invest in Code Fellows students. According to Code Fellows, "We have a program called the Pay It Forward Initiative that gives our partner companies a chance to improve diversity in tech and invest in future developers. The fund is facilitated by the Washington Technology Industry Association's Workforce Institute (WWI), and all donations are tax deductible." We look forward to hearing about the powerful life-changing experiences that these scholarships will surely ignite.  


    About The Author

    Nick Toscano is a writer, GIS specialist and aspiring web developer. He has been covering the swelling coding bootcamp industry since 2014.

  • Alumni Spotlight: Kate, Code Fellows' Youngest Graduate!

    Liz Eggleston5/21/2015


    Kate Fleming has a pretty amazing story, filled with supportive mentors, smart decisions, and lessons learned along the way. After deciding college wasn’t for her, Kate took two Foundations classes at Code Fellows and the Web UI Development Accelerator. She graduated with three job offers and took a Solutions Engineer position with digital analytics consultancy Pointmarc. We talk to Kate about why the bootcamp model suits her better than traditional education, collaborating on projects at Code Fellows, and the power of a supportive network.


    You have a pretty unique background for a bootcamper—tell us about it.

    I graduated high school in 2013, so I didn’t have a professional or educational background before I went to Code Fellows in February 2014. I was the youngest graduate that they have ever had.


    Did you try college after you graduated high school?

    I went to South Seattle Community College for about a year and it just wasn’t for me. I was studying to go pre-med, which is something I’m still passionate about. I didn’t feel I was getting value out of the classes in college so I dropped out after my third quarter.


    When you were in high school did you ever take a computer science class?

    No, actually, not at all. I had a couple of months of what I had taught myself online before I went into Code Fellows, but I had no technical or programming background whatsoever.


    What online resources were you using? Codecademy or Treehouse?

    I was on and I’d watch tutorials and that was really helpful. Then I’d follow up on that with Codecademy and try to code up some solutions.


    How did you find out about bootcamps and Code Fellows specifically?

    It’s actually a funny story. I was interning at a company called DevHub, who has partnered with Code Fellows as a corporate partner. DevHub is a pretty small startup so we all work closely, and they were helping me learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript. Mark, the CEO, told me about the Code Fellows Foundations classes.


    Did DevHub offer to pay for the Code Fellows class?

    Yeah! The CEO actually offered to pay for that class—I was incredibly lucky and it was a great opportunity so I took it.

    I took Foundations 1: Computer Science & Web Development, then I followed that with the Foundations 2: Web UX Design. Then I took their Web UI Development Accelerator.


    Tell us what you learned in the Development Accelerator—did you learn a particular technology stack?

    We started off slow, getting into the fundamentals of how to make a website and write good code. That was one of the biggest lessons I took from Code Fellows: good design of my code and using the right code in the right places.

    Halfway through, we had a midterm project for one week. We were allowed to have partners on that, which was awesome. The class focused primarily on HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Neither my two partners or myself had ever programmed in Ruby before. We decided to push ourselves and make something really cool. I would probably never have pushed myself to go that far out of my comfort zone if I hadn’t gone to Code Fellows.


    What was that Midterm Project?

    It’s called Ask Now and it’s actually live. We were thinking “Yelp-meets-Craigslist,” so users get local answers from their community to questions that pertain to their location. For example, a user could ask “Hey, what was that loud explosion in downtown Seattle?” and get answers that they wouldn’t get in a Google search. We also worked on that project for our Final Project.


    How did you get matched with your group for that project?

    We all got to choose our groups and we were encouraged to not work with the same partners every week.

    For our final project we actually combined classes with the JavaScript Development Accelerator. We all came up with about 20 projects written on a whiteboard, narrowed it down to 7 or 8, then we all divvied up into those groups. For that project we ended up making a searchable online Bible app that read to you.


    Tell us about the makeup of your class. Did you find that it was a diverse cohort in terms of age, gender, race?

    We had about 12 or 13 people in our class with myself being the youngest and our TA who was probably in his late fifties. For the most part I would say the students were in their twenties.

    We actually had a really great mix of guys and girls. I was expecting to go in and be in a class with a lot of men. We were slightly outnumbered by men but it was pretty even for the most part.


    Who was the instructor for the class?

    Dale Sande and Dexter Lesaca.

    Dexter and Dale are both front-end designers. Dale is really into Sass, and it was cool to get firsthand experience on that topic from one of the world’s biggest contributors to it.

    Their teaching style was awesome. They were two really fun guys who always made the material interesting and engaging. They were always available and no one got left behind in that class. We were all on the right track and they made sure of that.


    Did everybody in your cohort graduate with you?



    How many hours a week were you putting into Code Fellows?

    Definitely more than a full time job. Probably 60-70 hours a week.


    Now that you’re finished, did you think it was necessary to do the Foundations courses before the Dev Accelerator?

    Absolutely, at least for someone like me with very little experience. People with a programming background or someone who understands some basic web and browser concepts might not need a Foundations course. But to come in and have very little experience, it was extremely helpful.


    What was Code Fellows’ approach to getting you ready for interviews and job prep?

    Every Friday we had a career development day, which would either be prepping our resumes, updating our LinkedIn, learning how to speak professionally, practicing mock interviews. Sometimes we’d have companies come in and talk with us.


    Did your Development Accelerator do a demo day with hiring partners at the end of the course?

    Two weeks before we graduated, Gina (of Code Fellows) sent out our resumes to their hiring partners so they had access to them first. There wasn’t an official day where a bunch of hiring partners came in, at least for my class. We did get feedback on those resumes.


    Tell us about the job that you have now and the company that you’re working for.

    I took a job with Pointmarc, a digital analytics consultancy. I was hired as a Solutions Engineer, which is essentially writing the JavaScript code to track a user’s behavior on a website. I do absolutely no UX/UI design but the concepts that I took from that class helped me immensely, like understanding semantic HTML and even understanding some CSS concepts.

    I’m also doing some architecture while I ramp up on JavaScript.  I’d been offered two other jobs that were for Front-End Design roles but I felt like I wanted to expand my knowledge more into JavaScript and I’ve actually found that digital analytics is incredibly interesting. I’m really happy that I didn’t jump into the first role I was offered.


    Did you get all three of those job offers through Code Fellows?

    One of the jobs was through Code Fellows. The other one contacted me directly. I found the job with Pointmarc through a friend.


    Since DevHub had paid for this course, did you go back and work for them before you took the job at Pointmarc? What was the transition like there?

    DevHub was actually super supportive. They encouraged me to take the best job I was offered to further my knowledge. They were my biggest support system when I made the decision to drop out of college, and are continually rooting for my success in life; I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them. I’m incredibly grateful.


    That’s kind of amazing.

    Yeah; it was totally shocking that they were so willing to help me get to the next level. I still talk to them almost every week and we hang out outside of work.


    Are you planning on going back to a university for a traditional degree?

    As of right now, no. I grew up in West Seattle in a culture that said I had to go to a four year university to be successful (and to be really successful, get a PhD). It was so frustrating to be sitting in classes, reading books that I’d already read three times and having a teacher who just handed out A grades.

    But if I’ve learned anything thus far, with Code Fellows and my current job, it’s that I learn way more when I’m not confined to this traditional way of learning.


    Did you think that Code Fellows was worth the money?

    It was totally worth it. Once I had taken the Foundations I and II courses, I actually wasn’t sure if DevHub was going to pay for the Development Accelerator because it’s substantially more expensive. But I remember thinking, “I’m going to find a way to pay for it if they aren’t able to.”


    Is there anything else you wanted to say about Code Fellows?

    Their job offer guarantee. I think only 3% of students actually get their tuition refunded. At my age and with the little experience that I do have, hearing that I would be ready for a professional job was crazy. Their confidence in the ability to teach really restored my faith in schooling.


    To learn more about the Seattle Coding Bootcamp, visit the Code Fellows website

  • Learning to Code with a Humanities Background: Is it Possible?

    Liz Eggleston7/18/2018

    "Can I be a programmer if I'm not a math genius?"

    Continue Reading →
  • Alumni Spotlight: Jeff Adelman, Code Fellows

    Liz Eggleston3/24/2015


    Jeff Adelman worked in the television industry in L.A. for over 10 years doing video editing, and his work exposed him to the tech world and furthered his interest in programming. He attended meetups around L.A. and studied basic web development with Codecademy, but eventually Jeff realized that it was time to make a full career change, and he chose a Code Fellows Development Accelerator in Seattle. Now a developer at Expedia, Jeff shares about deciding when he was ready for Code Fellows, working with TAs (and then becoming one), and how Code Fellows helped him find his new career.


    What were you up to before you started at Code Fellows?

    I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Telecommunication Arts (a fancy word for television production). I worked in the television industry for over 10 years; for the past 7 years I was in L.A working freelance in the television industry.

    In 2009 I got hired at a large website producing streaming video.

    That gave me my first glimpse into the tech world and I’d always been interested in computers. I kept freelancing in television, but this interest in tech grew and I started attending meetups and workshops in the L.A area.


    What kind of meetups did you go to?

    General tech meetups. I remember I went to a tech meetup specifically for people who wanted to transition from entertainment into tech. I was going to workshops at General Assembly in L.A.


    Had you tried online learning at all?

    I definitely started teaching myself. I was on Codecademy learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and then started doing Treehouse with their build-a-website track.


    What was the impetus, after doing those workshops and online learning, to take it offline and learn to code fulltime?

    It was a combination of a few things, the most important being that my roommate in L.A. was a UX designer who worked for a firm in Santa Monica. One day I overheard him talking about a magical place where you could go to learn and it would give you a $60,000 a year job-offer guarantee.

    He was talking about Code Fellows. I had been teaching myself and it was a slow process, even with the help of Codecademy. There are so many resources online right now, and I needed focus and direction. That was what Code Fellows gave me.


    Did you research any other coding bootcamps on the West Coast or beyond?

    I did. After I heard about Code Fellows, I started to look at the other bootcamps. I looked into Coding Dojo in Seattle and a little bit at General Assembly. I needed to get out of L.A. so I made that decision and the decision to go to Code Fellows at the same time.

    What pushed me over the edge was Code Fellows itself, along with the job-offer guarantee. It was reassuring to me that Code Fellows was that confident in their ability to teach that they could put a guarantee on the line.

    Code Fellows was also just very professional and seemed to have their act together.


    Was it important to you that Code Fellows taught JavaScript?

    I liked the format of Code Fellows. Coding Dojo at the time—I don’t know what they’re doing now—was giving you a broad overview of many languages. I actually liked that Code Fellows gave us a broad overview as far as data structures and algorithms and computer science fundamentals but then they focus on one stack and you get a little more expertise on that stack.


    Tell us about the application process for you.

    I started applying in 2013. I actually applied once and didn’t get in. At the time, the first step in the application was a video submission application and then we did a short 10-minute Skype interview. I did the interview and they sent me three coding challenges. When I got those coding challenges, I knew I was in a little over my head. I continued to learn on my own and when I got up to Seattle I enrolled in some of the introductory classes at Code Fellows.


    Were the coding challenges technical?

    I think they give the coding challenges to applicants specifically to challenge them and see how much they know. When I got those I had a really hard time with them and I realized I needed to keep learning.

    They expect you to come in with a certain level of experience—you should have done your homework and have been working on your own; you’re not just looking for Code Fellows to teach you everything about coding so you can get a job. They want people who are motivated ahead of time.


    Which intro classes did you take at Code Fellows?

    I did both of the foundational levels: Foundations I: Computer Science & Web Development gives you a foundation in basic programming, syntax, data structures, and algorithms. Then I moved on to Foundations II: JavaScript.


    What did you think of the application the second time around?

    The second time around I was ready to go! I already had a relationship with Code Fellows so they looked at the work I had done in the Foundations II class and took that into consideration. I did another in-person interview with them where they gave me some whiteboarding questions, and I got in.


    How many people were in your JavaScript cohort?

    15 or 16, I believe.


    Did you find that it was a diverse cohort in terms of age, gender, race?

    Yeah. I would say the age was generally on the younger side but we had some women and diverse backgrounds.


    Did you feel like everyone was on a similar technical level?

    There was definitely a diversity. There were some of us who had learned on our own and there were some who had professional experience. There were a few students who were taking a class in the local community college while they were going through Code Fellows.

    I think it was good to have that diversity. I started out as one of the less experienced developers in my cohort and it was nice to have classmates with more experience so that they could share knowledge and help us with questions.


    Who were the instructors for your class?

    My instructors were Ivan Storck and Tyler Morgan.


    What was their teaching style like?

    I think they try to keep an open style; there’s room for people with different learning styles. We had lab times in the mornings where we worked on projects and could work in pair programming. If we had questions we could go to the instructors. Every afternoon we had lecture, which consisted of live coding on the screen and lots of questions.


    Were there TAs in the class also?

    We had a TA as well. He was a student who had graduated the previous session and he was there to help us; he was great. It was nice to have somebody who had been through the program. I actually TAed for some of the lower-level classes and for the next Full-Stack JavaScript Development Accelerator as well.


    What was it like to TA for the class you graduated from?

    It’s good for the students to have a TA who has been through the course and understands the experience. I tell the students that, for me, there was a point during the first week where I completely felt overwhelmed and I thought there was no way I would ever finish.


    How did you get through that overwhelmed feeling?

    Take it one day at a time. When you take it one day at a time and learn what you have to learn that day then move on to the next day, I think that’s the key.

    And you have to know that you will get through it and that everyone feels in over their head at first.


    How many hours were you spending at Code Fellows when you did the Development Accelerator?

    I would guess around 60 to 70 total, including studying at home. I was actually on campus probably about 35-40 hours a week.


    Were you satisfied with the actual curriculum you learned in those eight weeks?

    Yeah, for sure. One thing Code Fellows really does—and I know the bootcamp world in general tries to do this—is tailor their curriculum to what the market needs.

    For example, when I went through the JavaScript Development Accelerator, we did a week of Backbone and about two days of Angular. The very next accelerator after ours spent a week on Angular and one day on Backbone because they were seeing that shift in the market and what companies were looking for was Angular developers. Now, if I’m not mistaken, they’ve actually added in React as well.


    Did you give feedback throughout the course?

    Oh yeah, for sure. We had a questionnaire that was sent out every Friday asking us how we felt about this week and our struggles—what did we like, what would we change, etc.


    Did your class have final exams or assessments or final projects that you were graded on?

    We had two projects; a midterm project and a final project that were a large part of our grade. In order to graduate, we also had to pass a whiteboarding exam.

    Part of the curriculum is actually specifically tailored towards giving you a foundation in data structures and algorithms, and how to use them in a whiteboarding interview. We did white boarding sessions once a week where you’re up at the board and you have to solve problems. You have to pass a whiteboard exam just like a job interview where you go into the room and they give you a problem, and you have to work through it on the board.


    Did you pass that whiteboard exam?

    I did—with flying colors!


    Tell us about the two projects you worked on at Code Fellows.

    The midterm project was assigned. I liked that because each group was doing their own version of the same project, so you got to see how people took the assignment and made it their own. Each group came up with a subtly different version of the assignment.

    One of the cool things that Code Fellows has started doing is combining Development Accelerators to work on projects together. For our final project we worked with the Web UI Development Accelerator that was going on at the time, so our team had three people from the JavaScript class and two people from Web UI.

    I thought that was pretty cool because you get the experience of collaborating with developers who aren’t writing the same language as you because that’s a whole other difficulty. Once you graduate, you’ll be working with developers who are building a different part of the app than you’re building—it’s great real-world experience.

    Our project was called Go Outside and it was an app for outdoor activities. Basically it geolocates you and gives suggestions based on the day and activity. If it’s Saturday and you type ‘hiking,’ it tells you hiking spots within a certain distance of where you are.


    Did you ever feel like your background in video producing helped or influenced you while learning JavaScript and becoming a web developer?

    I think so, for sure. People are always commenting on what a big career change I made. In a lot of ways, that’s true, but to me, I’m still building and making a product for people. That’s the thing that appeals to me about web development and software engineering; it’s building a product that people actually use.

    I considered doing the Web UI track for a while, then I decided that JavaScript was the way for me.


    How did Code Fellows incorporate Job Placement into the curriculum?

    Mitch, who runs Business Development at Code Fellows, is really doing a great job of increasing the profile of Code Fellows among the companies here in Seattle, and making sure that more companies know about Code Fellows.

    I keep hearing from companies who hire from Code Fellows who say, “Oh man, that’s the fastest onboard we’ve ever had, they’re so great. We hardly have to do anything and they’re up to speed…”

    Halfway through the course you have to submit a resume and Code Fellows reviews it and goes over areas where you can improve your resume and things you could do to make yourself more marketable. They work on LinkedIn profiles and they tell you how to be confident in your interviews.


    Did you have a final science fair/job hiring day with hiring partners?

    We didn’t. We had a final presentation day but it was just for our classmates and the instructors. As far as I know, the process at Code Fellows is that our resumes go out a few weeks before graduation to preferred partners, so they get our resumes directly. Then when we graduate the other partners get our resumes.


    Tell us what you are up to now. Did you get a new job?

    I did. I am an Associate Software Development Engineer at Expedia. I am working on a team that builds the APIs for flight search—the main part of the website. I am working in Java and C-Sharp.

    The fact that Expedia works in an entirely different language is actually a testament to Code Fellows because Expedia had the confidence in my education that I could learn new technologies quickly.


    How did you get that job? Was it through your own networking or Code Fellows?

    Code Fellows has a really good relationship with Expedia so that didn’t hurt. But I still had to build relationships and show what value I could bring to the company.  


    And you were a TA with Code Fellows before taking that job?

    I was TAing while I was looking for work. It took me about six months but I think it was because when I first graduated, I was trying to target specific companies and they weren’t necessarily companies that had hired people out of Code Fellows before. Code Fellows’ reputation is growing but not everyone knows about it yet.


    Do you feel like there are more senior developers who are helping you ramp up?

    Oh yeah, for sure. I’m still learning C#, and I learn mostly on the job but I’m teaching myself and reading a lot of books.


    How did Code Fellows help you with the job search? Was there support for alumni?

    They continue to give you a questionnaire to fill out every week to tell them about your job applications and interviews and how things are going.

    Since I was still at Code Fellows as a TA, it helped a lot to keep coming back and to stay involved. Helping teach other students kept me fresh and kept me up to date on my skills.


    Want to learn more about Code Fellows? Check out their School Page on Course Report or the Code Fellows website!

  • Learn iOS at These Mobile Developer Bootcamps

    Harry Hantel6/19/2017

    Apple’s newest, beginner-oriented programming language Swift has made developing for the iPhone a possibility for new and experienced developers alike. iOS developers earn over $100,000 on average, so it's a perfect time to learn to program for the iPhone. With the help of one of these iOS bootcamps, you could find yourself developing mobile apps utilizing Objective-C, Cocoa Touch, and Swift. 


    Continue Reading →
  • Learn iOS at These Mobile Developer Bootcamps

    Harry Hantel6/19/2017

    Apple’s newest, beginner-oriented programming language Swift has made developing for the iPhone a possibility for new and experienced developers alike. iOS developers earn over $100,000 on average, so it's a perfect time to learn to program for the iPhone. With the help of one of these iOS bootcamps, you could find yourself developing mobile apps utilizing Objective-C, Cocoa Touch, and Swift. 


    Continue Reading →
  • How to Learn Python – Find the Best Python Bootcamp

    Harry Hantel7/20/2018


    Python is often hailed as one of the best programming languages for first-time coders to learn as they break into programming. It’s the main technology powering big data, finance, and statistics, and its clean syntax reads like English. Python developers are in demand, not to mention the average Python developer in New York City earns $140,000 per year! Companies like Amazon, Dropbox, and Dell are built on this powerful language, making it a great time to learn Python bootcamp. We’re breaking down Python bootcamps, across the country and online, for a range of price points and time commitments.

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  • Employee Spotlight: Jordana Gustafson, Code Fellows

    Liz Eggleston2/2/2015


    Jordana Gustafson started following coding bootcamp education when Dev Bootcamp launched in California. After meeting Code Fellows instructor Ivan Storck at a startup in San Francisco, Jordana joined the team as Campus Manager at Code Fellows’ newest campus in Portland. She tells us about meeting the demands of Portland’s job market, what convinced her of the bootcamp model, and trying to increase diversity in web development.


    Tell me about your background, your experience with education and programming, and how you got into this world.

    My background is primarily in public radio. I worked as a freelancer for various public radio stations and programs for 12 years. I focused on issues of immigration and minorities and poverty. Before moving to Portland, I had been working as a producer at NPR in Washington DC. Prior to that, I reported for a documentary radio program that focused on US foreign policy. That job sent me all over the world.


    That’s a pretty different career than working in coding bootcamps—what motivated you to make the switch?

    It is completely different, but a lot of the things that I enjoyed about being a freelance reporter and producer are the same things that I enjoy about being at Code Fellows. As a freelance journalist you’re essentially running your own small company: you’re responsible for everything from researching, pitching ideas, setting up meetings, conducting interviews, editing, mixing, and promoting yourself and your work. I’m using the same skill set but for a bigger company. And then, I have always been very interested in education—I come from a family of teachers, and I taught English for a little while.


    How did you get introduced to Code Fellows?

    I wanted a new career that felt exciting to me, and I knew I wanted to work in tech in Portland—maybe as a tech writer or a programmer. Shereef Bishay, who founded Dev Bootcamp in San Francisco, is a friend of mine. I was really excited about what he was doing, and so I followed the progression of code schools over a couple of years. Soon I heard from a friend of mine, Ivan Storck, that the code school he helped start was expanding to Portland. Ivan and I had met years earlier when we worked together at a green media startup called SustainLane.


    What is your role at Code Fellows now?

    My official title is Portland Campus Manager, and my position includes a bit of everything: recruiting, marketing, operations, business development, furniture assembly. I’ve been here since November.


    Did you have to be convinced of the bootcamp model? What convinced you that it was a good space to get involved in?

    I’m convinced by the numbers, the outcomes, and by the quality of people who I know in the industry. These schools are producing real results. Code Fellows published our alumni stats, and we keep them updated. So far, 81% of our Development Accelerators graduates are hired within three months, earning an average of $75,000.


    Can you tell us about why Code Fellows expanded to Portland, and why it’s an important market?

    We’re excited to start expanding and meeting the needs of multiple markets. Portland is a tech center in the Northwest, and here, like everywhere, companies can’t find the talent they need. They don’t even post their open jobs because they know they can’t fill them.

    Choosing to expand to Portland first was also a matter of proximity. Having the Seattle headquarters close by meant our full staff could support the new campus and ensure that the quality and standards remained high.


    When will you first have students in the space?

    Our first class in the new space was a Unix and Git workshop on January 31st.


    When does the JavaScript class start?

    Our Computer Science & Web Development Bootcamp started on February 2nd. Our first Full-Stack JavaScript Development Accelerator starts March 16th.


    Could a student who completed a Foundations II: JavaScript then be ready to start a Development Accelerator?

    Applicants need to have a good amount of experience to get into the Development Accelerator. So we won’t say it’s impossible, but generally we tell people who graduate from our introductory courses to wait before applying to the Development Accelerator so that they can put their new skills into practice, partner with someone, and build something. We work with these students to create a personal growth plan, so that they know what their strengths are, what their gaps are, and what kinds of things they should work on before applying to a Development Accelerator. Some of our students could be ready to dive right in; others may need some time to apply what they’ve learned.


    Code Fellows in Seattle offers a ton of different classes in different languages. Why did you decide to start with JavaScript in Portland?

    All of our decisions on course offerings are market-driven. This means that when we talk to VPs of engineering and CTOs and recruiters—and when we look at jobs available in Portland—what we’re hearing and seeing is: We need JavaScript developers.

    JavaScript is also what you could call a great “starter” language. It’s a good jumping-off point, sort of a base language, for people getting into coding.


    What’s the next language you’d like to teach?

    We are busy meeting with tech companies in Portland to find out more about what they’re looking for. What they tell us will drive our course offerings here.

    In addition to JavaScript, we have curricula for Ruby, Python, iOS, and Web UI, any one of which we could easily deploy here.


    What is the hiring network like in Portland? Have you had to build it from scratch?

    Within Code Fellows, we have a very solid network in the Northwest and across the country. So we’re working right now on leveraging those relationships. We’re learning about where the pain points are at Portland tech companies and where we can add value. We’re meeting with a lot of the big companies here; last week we met with folks from Jive, Urban Airship, Simple, and Metal Toad.


    Have you already started to get interest from students and applicants in the Full-Stack JavaScript Development Accelerator?

    Definitely. We are working through the applications right now. It’s selective, so this takes a bit of time. We have a lot of applications, a few students enrolled, and a whole bunch in process.


    How large will the first class be?

    We typically keep the class to about 20, and we’re expecting it to be full.


    As you’ve expanded, has Code Fellows kept uniformity between the Seattle and Portland campuses?

    From furniture to curriculum, it’s the same Code Fellows as in Seattle. But, of course, Adron Hall and I are Portlanders, so you can expect our campus to have a little Portlandia flair. We bike to work. We’re morally opposed to disposable containers (we’re looking into GO Box subscriptions for our office). We want our building to compost, and I’m working on that!


    Who are the instructors for these first classes?

    Adron Hall is teaching the Computer Science & Web Development Bootcamp that started February 2nd.


    Have you made any efforts in Portland to get more women and underrepresented minorities involved with Code Fellows?

    Yes—this is something that is very important to Code Fellows and to me, personally. I am actively reaching out to organizations that work on these issues to find out how we can support and partner with them, as we have in Seattle. I have a meeting next week with Girl Develop It, and we’re hosting an event for ChickTech in March. We’d like to partner with iUrban as well. We’re also giving away a scholarship at HackPDX’s hackathon at Nike in April with the goal of encouraging and increasing the accessibility of accelerated learning education in coding.


    Is there anything else you wanted to include about Code Fellows Portland?

    The fact is that the need for programmers all over the US, including in Portland, is vast, and we—code schools, non-profits, mentorship programs, and internship programs—are all working to solve the same issue: the huge gap between supply and demand in the tech labor market. We’re super supportive of our peers who share the philosophy that a lot can be accomplished in an intense, immersive format. The more they succeed, the more we succeed, and vice-versa. We’re all approaching this differently, but in the end, we have the common goal of putting skilled programmers into the market to help meet a need that is bigger than any one of us.


    Want to learn more about Code Fellows? Check out their School Page on Course Report or the Code Fellows website!

  • Alumni Spotlight: David, Code Fellows

    Liz Eggleston1/30/2015


    David Davidson started his career in copyediting with a humanities background; after learning HTML on the side and working an internship at a startup in Seattle, he decided to make a permanent move into web development. David completed the Full-Stack JavaScript Development Accelerator at Code Fellows and, within six weeks of graduating, landed a position at Formidable Labs. David tells us about his experience, explains the appeal of the Code Fellows job-offer guarantee, and tells readers what makes a personal portfolio website so important.


    Tell us what you were up to before you started learning at Code Fellows.

    I came out of my undergrad with a background in humanities: I was an English and Spanish major, and I worked as a copywriter and copy editor for a couple of years after graduating. During that time I started dabbling in HTML on the side. Eventually I took a part-time internship with a startup here in Seattle (Zipper Computer), caught the code bug, and realized I’d like to make this career switch.

    When Zipper closed up, I was looking for a good next step. I’d been hearing about Code Fellows for the past year, and I was finally at the level to take that plunge.


    What were you doing at that internship?

    It was almost all web development, mostly front-end stuff. I did my fair share of online learning (tutorials, etc.), but mostly I learned a ton from the developers there.


    Did you ever take a CS class in your undergrad or did you stick to humanities?

    I took a class in Java my freshman year, and I did terribly! I don’t think I was really ready to focus yet—at the time, I was more interested in college’s social life. I wish I could do that over.


    Why did you choose the JavaScript bootcamp?

    When I interned at Zipper, we used more than just JavaScript; in fact, it was more PHP than anything else. But one of the last projects we did there was all JavaScript/AngularJS, which can do some amazing things, like automatically refreshing a display as data changes. I was blown away by how quickly and easily you could do that, so I started self-teaching pretty heavily in that direction. Between having seen that magic in action, and knowing that JavaScript is huge right now, JavaScript seemed like the natural choice.


    Why did you choose Code Fellows? Did you consider any other bootcamps in your research?

    I only spent a little time looking at other schools. For one thing, Code Fellows widely publicizes their job-offer guarantee—you know, it’s a marketing tool at the end of the day, but it still gives them a real incentive to make sure students succeed.


    What is the Code Fellows Job-Offer Guarantee?

    Within nine months, anyone who doesn’t get a job offer will get a refund. Code Fellows publicizes alumni salaries and average hiring rate; being able to look at that data and see that the program is working for most people was reassuring.

    I also looked briefly at General Assembly, but I liked Code Fellows because I felt like they had a more detailed, well-rounded syllabus—I just felt I had more information in hand.


    What was the Code Fellows application process like for you?

    It was a three-part process, as I recall. First, I sent in a very short video about why I wanted to pursue programming. Second, and most substantially, there was a set of three coding challenges to do at home. Finally, there was an in-person interview in which we talked about why I was interested in JavaScript, how well I knew the language, etc.


    Were those code challenges language-specific?

    Yeah—they were all JavaScript, and they were pretty nontrivial; at the time, it was a big stretch for me. I don’t want to give away too much about what they entail, but I had to pick up the basics of the Ember framework just to complete one of the questions.


    Were you allowed to use online resources?

    Well, I certainly did use online resources, so I hope that was okay! That’s how it is with programming in general—If you understand the problem well enough to Google it, go for it, but you have to have put some thought into it before you can even get that far.


    How long did the whole application process take from when you applied till when you got in?

    I think it took three weeks for me. I sent the short video in early on, and soon after that, I went in for the face-to-face with the JavaScript instructor. At the same time, I was doing those sample problems. It maybe took closer to two weeks, really—I was rushing through because the course was about to start.


    How big was your cohort?

    It was around 20 folks.


    Did you feel like it was a diverse cohort in terms of age, gender and race?

    It was somewhat diverse in age. Most of us were early in our careers, finding out what we wanted to do, but there were definitely some folks pivoting away from previous careers. Gender- and race-wise, though, it was not that diverse. Two female students, I think.


    Did you feel like everyone was on the same technical level or did you feel like you were ahead or behind the majority of the class?

    No, not everyone was on the same technical level. I’d say there was a split right down the middle: One side had substantial programming experience, but in a different technology stack. I worked closely with someone who had been writing PHP for like five years, for example. The other half were folks who were starting from square one in terms of professional coding experience, so obviously they didn’t have quite the same level of technical experience.

    I was the exception, actually, in that I’d say I fell right in the middle. I wasn’t starting from square one, but I certainly wasn’t coming from years of writing production-level code elsewhere.


    Did everybody graduate in your class?



    Tell us about the instructors and their teaching style and how it worked with your learning style.

    We had a pair of instructors. The head instructor was named Ivan Storck, and his assistant was Tyler Morgan. Ivan has been a teacher and a programmer for decades. He’s worked with the University of Washington for a long time and was kind of the capital-T Teacher of the pair; he was into holistic educational philosophies, etc. Tyler was maybe the more purely technical of the two. He is in fact a Code Fellows alum himself.

    So we ended up with this pair of instructors where one excelled in education and one excelled in code—obviously, that’s a good combination for the task at hand. The two of them would share teaching duties during the day’s lectures, often with Tyler coding and Ivan instructing. Both were available, of course, for questions and more informal discussion during late hours.


    Aside from the teaching style, were you satisfied with the curriculum and the actual material that was taught? Did you think that you covered everything in JavaScript that you wanted to get through?

    Yes, I would say so. Code Fellows was very good at changing the curriculum in response to changes in the JavaScript world. The cohort before mine learned mostly Backbone and spent a day on Angular. My cohort spent equal time on Backbone and Angular; the next cohort, I believe, is going to focus on React. Those changes correspond pretty directly to industry mood toward certain frameworks. Code Fellows is just watching what the hiring partners want and adjusting accordingly.

    It’ll be interesting to see what that ends up looking like for students, you know, five years from now. The downside of that approach is that there’s the risk of a sort of “flavor of the month” curriculum. If a core Code Fellows technology fizzled out next month—which doesn’t seem likely, but with JavaScript, change is a constant—that could leave a bunch of students scrambling to adjust. I’m curious to see if they ever settle down the curriculum at all. Maybe they don’t plan to.


    Did you learn other frameworks on your own after you graduated?

    I knew some Angular going in and I’m learning some React right now. My work at Formidable Labs emphasizes Backbone pretty heavily, so I’m learning a lot there as well.


    Did you do assessments or exams throughout the course?

    The way we were assessed was almost entirely project-based. There was a whiteboard interview that we had to pass before graduating, but compared to the projects, it required very little effort. Of the eight-week curriculum, two entire weeks were devoted to individual projects and group projects.

    In our case, one project was assigned to us and the other project was based on our own idea.


    Can you tell us about the project that you came up with for the group assignment?

    Yeah, it was essentially a scaled-down clone of Google Analytics that was designed to work a little better with single-page apps built in Angular.

    Our project found a way to listen in on Angular events on the client side and post those back to an API. We also set up real-time updating between the server and the dashboard with web sockets. We’re not tracking many metrics yet, though—basically just page-view count and navigation between views.

    I worked on that with a four-person group. We got a bit of a head start on it, but it took about one week. We had three people from the Javascript cohort and one from the Web UI Development design cohort.


    That’s cool; I didn’t know they blended the Web UI and JavaScript cohorts.

    Yeah, and I think it’s worth mentioning because they’re doing it much more now. For me, only one of the two projects was blended like that. I think for the most recent cohort most were blended: the JavaScript students wrote Node back-ends for iOS apps, for example. That’s super awesome; I wish I’d done that.


    How many hours a week would you say you were spending on Code Fellows?

    Honestly, I expected to spend more. I was putting in somewhere between 40 and 50 hours; 40 is the minimum you would expect to put in, of course, at a 9-to-5 school. I know there were folks who did work harder than that, but I felt pretty comfortable with maybe 10 hours of homework a week.


    Did you ever feel burned out with the course or was it a good pace?

    Before Code Fellows, I had worked that internship alongside a full-time job, plus personal code projects on the side. I think because I’d been working that intense schedule before, Code Fellows felt surprisingly non-strenuous.


    Did Code Fellows do a good job with job prep in your class?

    They definitely did a good job. Every Friday was careers day. One Friday we would focus on LinkedIn, one Friday we’d have resume prep, etc., and we spent a whole week on data structures, algorithms, and whiteboarding.

    The prep kind of progressed through the life cycle of job applications in general, so it began with cover letters and resumes and LinkedIn and finding a personal brand, and from there it moved to the interviewing and whiteboarding. The only thing I thought they might have emphasized more might’ve been making sure everyone graduated with a portfolio site ready to go. I had that and I found it to be a big advantage.


    What would you suggest to future students about making that portfolio site?

    Well, we were putting everything on GitHub—big projects as well as tiny meaningless projects, so your profile ends up just a mess. You’ve got to clean that up and emphasize the projects you care about. I found that having a portfolio site was the ideal solution for cutting through the clutter, because it’s a way to link to the projects you really care about and talk about why they’re interesting.


    What are you up to now? Tell us about your job now and how you got it.

    I got a job as a developer at Formidable Labs, which has become a pretty big hiring partner with Code Fellows. There are six Code Fellows grads working here now out of 20 or 25.

    The Formidable team is almost entirely developers, plus some designers who also code. Formidable has a reputation around town as being a company that focuses on continued education and in-house training; in fact, they’ve taught lessons at Code Fellows before. They run both the Seattle JS meetup and the Seattle Node.js meetup.


    How did you get connected with Formidable Labs?

    A previous Code Fellows alum named Dale talked to my cohort, and he explained that his philosophy was to treat the first year after Code Fellows as an extension of the program. He said that Formidable Labs really optimized for learning, which made them a top pick for me.

    I went to a Seattle JS meetup and met the CEO. Two weeks later I sent in an application. He responded within about half an hour and said he remembered me from the meetup, which felt nice.


    Did you feel like you could get through the technical interview with the information that you had learned at Code Fellows?

    Yeah, I went in for a technical interview first, which I felt pretty well prepared for by Code Fellows. It went pretty well for me. Honestly, it was a little less pure data structures and algorithms than Code Fellows had prepared us to expect. It was more deep knowledge of JavaScript fundamentals and code style. I also got a take-home code challenge before the technical interview, which gave them a chance to see if I could write code that not only was bug-free but also readable.


    How long did it take you to get that job after you graduated in September?

    It was pretty quick; within around a month. I sent in my application more or less immediately after I graduated.


    You may not have any experience with this since you got a job so quickly, but was Code Fellows doing alumni follow-ups throughout that job application process?

    They would send an email every week, actually. They wanted to make sure we were doing enough work to qualify for the job-offer guarantee, but it wasn’t just a self-serving impulse. They did go out of their way to help you. When I was applying to Formidable, for example, I emailed my cover letter to Gina at Code Fellows and got her feedback. They would get in touch with us to see what we were up to, and they would make it clear that we could get in touch with them for specific help.


    Would you recommend Code Fellows to a friend or someone was looking to learn JavaScript? Did you think it was worth the money?

    Yeah, I think it was. On the one hand, I think it’s absolutely possible to learn all the content on your own; on the other, it’s just a question of whether you’ll actually do it. I could in theory have learned all that stuff on my own, but I don’t think I would have done it, or if I did, it would have taken longer. For me, it was worth it to move quickly and have that communal learning environment, that sense of accountability.

    One thing: I would recommend that before you go into it, you make sure you know you really enjoy programming. You hear about more and more folks moving into the field from square one, which is great, but I also know that leaves people at risk of finding out they don’t actually like this work.

    Overall, I absolutely recommend Code Fellows, especially go if you’ve done enough independent work to know you’re in this for the fun of it.


    Want to learn more about Code Fellows? Check out their School Page on Course Report or the Code Fellows website

  • Alumni Spotlight: John, Code Fellows

    Liz Eggleston12/20/2014


    Although John Shiver had a stable job as an underwriting lawyer, he turned to Code Fellows when he was ready for a career change. We talk to John about his initial skepticism of a bootcamp education, instructor Cris Ewing's teaching style, and how he landed a job as a Python Developer at OfferUp!


    What were you doing before you started with Code Fellows?

    I was working as an underwriting lawyer. I majored in biology, and then I went to law school.


    That’s a pretty stable job. What made you want to switch careers?

    Well, it is definitely a stable job and overall it wasn’t a bad experience, but it didn’t allow for the kind of freedom I needed. In that industry there can be a very defined career path and you get pigeonholed pretty quickly. The day-to-day work rarely changed. I spent a lot of my free time on programming and, after some time, realized it was a better fit.


    Did you have a technical background at all?

    I was programming just for fun initially. Last October, I found an online Intro to Computer Science course run by MIT. It used Python and although it was challenging, I enjoyed every minute of it. After I took that course, I started researching bootcamps.


    How did you find out about Code Fellows? Were you in Seattle?

    I was actually living in Philly at the time. I found out about bootcamps on Hacker News, generally speaking.

    I wanted to continue learning Python, because of its broad application and excellent community. I could see that most of the bootcamps were Javascript, Ruby or iOS. Code Fellows was the only bootcamp I liked offering Python, and they offered the job guarantee.

    To be frank, it all sounded like bullshit initially. I was skeptical of moving across the country and paying all this money. So the guarantee made me feel more comfortable. I also contacted a few Code Fellows alumni and everyone only had great things to say, so I was convinced.


    Did you end up applying to any other bootcamps or just Code Fellows?

    I think I just applied to Code Fellows, actually.


    What was the application process like for you?

    I had a three-part interview. At the initial one I answered a bunch of essays, to see if I could answer these basic things in an interesting way. One of the questions was something like, ‘To you, what is the coolest thing in the world?’ or ‘How would you build an elevator?’ and those sort of open ended questions.

    I didn’t have a formal technical interview. I had a phone interview then I had a video interview with the CEO and one of the other folks there.


    What was your cohort like? Did you feel it was diverse and people were on the same level and able to learn together?

    I think we had 16 students in that course, which is apparently big for Python. A lot of the students actually had a computer science background and were looking for a change. I know one of the students had a master’s degree. Another had worked at Microsoft for a while as a project manager, though not as a coder.

    I probably was one of the least experienced students there, but I didn’t feel like it ever limited my ability to work with other students or learn the material. Most of the assignments we had were in pairs. I always felt like I could contribute equally.


    Who were your instructors?

    Our instructor’s name is Cris Ewing. We had two TAs. They were former students; now they have jobs.


    Were those TA’s helpful to you?

    Oh yeah, totally; Cris only has so much bandwidth. I guess my favorite part about the class was that Cris was there as long as I was every day—10 or 12 hours. You’re not going to sit there banging your head over something stupid. You want to progress and get your assignments done every day; and the TAs and Cris would make sure that happened, but they didn’t just hand-feed it to you. Even with their help, you had to work very hard to finish every assignment.


    What was Cris’s teaching style like?

    We had lectures in the morning for about two hours, and then we would do whiteboard exercises in groups of four and work through technical interview questions. One person would write code while the others would comment or make suggestions. Cris would go around and tell us if we were on the right track, and if we got the answer too quickly, he would modify the problem to make it harder.

    In the afternoons we would have projects, all of which were assigned. The four-week course was really two four-week courses and at the end of every four-week segment, you had a full week to work on a larger, self-directed project with a group of three or four.


    Can you tell us about one of the projects that you did?

    Sure. My project was called Rhetorical. I actually worked on this project for both project weeks; we just made it better and added more features the second time. It was basically a website that mined Twitter data, analyzed it, and visualized the results in real time. We found that using the free Twitter stream, if you narrowed your search scope enough, you could get every tweet for a specific area, not just a subset. So we monitored various programming languages to discern how popular they were on twitter.


    Were you satisfied with the curriculum and the actual material you all were taught?

    That’s a good question, especially since Python is used for so many things and has a really broad, diverse community. We covered a number of areas, a lot of breadth, not too much depth, which was great but at the end of the course, you really needed to choose something in order to be more marketable to employers.

    We learned two web frameworks (Flask and then Django), some machine learning, and the material essentially covered an introduction to algorithms course, which is really important for technical interviews.

    Overall I thought it was a really good course. It will consume your life for eight weeks but you will learn an incredible amount.


    What are you up to today? Where are you working, what have you been doing?

    I am a Junior Software Developer at which is primarily an iOS / Android app that makes buying and selling your stuff online simple and safe. Think Craigslist meets Pinterest. I do the back-end work, and we primarily use Python with Django as our framework.


    How did you get the job?

    The project manager from Microsoft, who I mentioned before, worked with me on the Rhetorical project; we were partners for a bit. He was hired at OfferUp a month after we graduated, and he put in a good word for me when I applied.


    Did you feel like you were able to get through a technical interview once you were done with Code Fellows? How did the interview go?

    At OfferUp they didn’t do a typical interview. Rather than white boarding for a few hours, they assigned a tech project that you demoed to the engineering team, after which you had a number of one-on-one interviews. That said, the tools I learned at Code Fellows were 100% responsible for me succeeding.


    When did you get that job?

    I signed the contract on October 22.


    What were you doing between graduating and accepting that job offer?

    First, I had just moved to Seattle so I didn’t have a network at all, so I was going to a lot of meetup events and hackathons. I also worked on my portfolio. I figured Django was the most marketable skill to have, so I tried to expand my Django skillset and made a few apps.


    Is there anything else that you wanted to add about Code Fellows or even advice for future students?

    My advice for people is to be super proactive about everything. You can’t just let it come to you. I think the problems I’ve seen with other graduates, and not just Code Fellows but other people I’ve met, is a lack of understanding for what technical skills are most likely to get you a job, especially if you come from a non-CS background.

    The reason why Code Fellows exists, or the way I saw it anyways, is because there’s a gap between computer science graduates and what the market needs. From what I could tell, one of those unmet needs is junior engineers who are very familiar with one of the major backend frameworks, like Django or Rails. A lot of people didn’t understand that mastering Django or one of the other major web frameworks and understanding the architecture of a web app is one of the most marketable skills you can have.


    Want to learn more about Code Fellows? Check out their School Page on Course Report or the Code Fellows website here!

  • Alumni Spotlight: Perry, Code Fellows

    Liz Eggleston12/11/2014


    A former coffee roaster in Seattle, Perry Hook realized that he needed to put his Computer Science degree to work. He was familiar with CS theories, but had never learned a programming language, so he enrolled in the Code Fellows Python Development Accelerator to get experience building real web apps. We talk to Perry about his diverse cohort at Code Fellows, why he chose an accelerated learning program over a Master's degree, and how he landed a job as a Software Engineer at SubmitNet!


    What were you doing before you started at Code Fellows?

    I got a liberal arts degree in college, where my major was computer science. After college, I didn’t pursue Computer Science — I was a coffee roaster. I managed the roasteries at a couple of companies and I was doing the green coffee buying at one. My most recent position was with a Portland-based coffee company called Stumptown, running their Seattle roastery.


    What was missing from that computer science degree? Why did you not pursue that after college?

    In college I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do after school. I fell into a computer science major. I enjoyed it and found it very challenging, but I didn’t ever have this notion that I was going to go become a programmer or a software engineer. I got lucky enough to turn a hobby of mine, coffee roasting, into a career, so I followed that as far as I could.


    Did you know anything about Python before you did Code Fellows?

    In my college background we encountered various languages but I actually had not programmed in Python in college; it was almost all in Java.

    In the years leading up to my decision to switch careers, I had been dabbling here and there in Coursera classes, some of which I completed. But in one of those classes I got familiar with programming in Python and really enjoyed it. This past winter, I found out these bootcamps existed and I started researching what I could find.

    I didn’t really want to leave Seattle for a bootcamp; my girlfriend and I had plans to move to Portland, where I am now, but Code Fellows initially seemed like it had – and still has – a great reputation. When I looked at the courses they offered, I wasn’t terribly interested in UX design, iOS, or Javascript. Python is a widely-used language and could be used in different applications, so it sort of fit that range of what I wanted to do. I applied to it and I think my CS background really helped me to skip all their intro courses.

    I was able to really jump into the more advanced offering, the Development Accelerator. I never had any real introduction into developing web apps prior, which is what so much of the work out there is. I needed a course to get my confidence up and my skills more relevant to a career in today’s market.


    Did you apply to any other bootcamps or just Code Fellows?

    I only applied to Code Fellows.


    What was the application process like for you?

    There was a first round of short answer/essay questions. In the next round there was a short video that I made explaining something technical in a minute, and there was another minute-long video that I did explaining why I would be a great candidate for Code Fellows. I had a connection through a friend of mine to the then-CEO and one of the cofounders, Will Little.

    I didn’t have to do a coding challenge. I know that a lot of people that were in my Python program did, and I’m not sure if it’s because I applied super early and maybe it hadn’t been part of the process then or if they thought that some of my recent programming experience was enough proof. I’m not exactly sure why.


    How long did the process take from start to finish?

    I think I applied in March and it took three weeks or so. That was another thing that really appealed to me about these bootcamp programs. I had been thinking about grad school to get a masters in CS as a way to make a career switch. Even if I started the application process immediately, I wasn’t going to start school for at least another 9 months.

    When I found out about these quick accelerator programs, the time difference to make the career change was appealing.


    What was your cohort like? Did you feel you were more advanced than most people or on the same page?

    I was really impressed by the people that were in my cohort but I wouldn’t say everybody was on the same level. People had different strengths and weaknesses. There were some people who had come up through Code Fellows from Foundations classes who didn’t have a CS background; there were definitely people in the program who did have a CS background, some more recent than mine, and at least one person who had already been working as a software engineer. There was even a guy doing the program for fun before he went off to get his MBA at MIT in the fall.

    I was very impressed by everyone’s intellect and ability to learn new things. The people who were coming from a more thorough computer science background understood a lot more fundamentals, like data structures. But I found that for me, learning web development wasn’t exactly my strong suit right off the bat, and some people who didn’t have a CS background but had been dabbling in web development stuff had a leg up on me there.

    Overall, everybody in the cohort was really pretty impressive.


    How many people were in your class?

    I think we started out with maybe 15 or 16; we lost a couple of people along the way.


    Did they drop out because it was too hard?

    I don’t know any of the details – but I’m pretty sure one person just realized during that first week that they were in over their head. And because of the way that the refund structure works, there’s a time frame where you can get some of your money back.

    Code Fellows takes a lot of time. I would say it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I can't imagine dealing with family issues or other issues at the same time. I was barely keeping it together at times, so there were just individual challenges there.


    Who were your instructors during the class and how many did you have?

    There was one primary instructor, Cris Ewing, and there were a few TAs along the way. The TAs had been in the previous Python Dev Accelerator. They were looking for work at that point, so we saw more or less of them as some of them got hired. A couple of them got hired while they were TAing.


    Did you think that those TAs who were former students were helpful; that their experience having done the dev accelerator before was helpful to you?

    I felt like our TAs were very good and again, they had their own strengths too. I felt they were all great at giving us the help we needed.

    It’s just important that the person helping you is a few steps ahead of you. But I think some of us who did have CS degrees probably knew a lot more about various aspects of algorithms than perhaps the TA who hadn’t gone through that.

    I think that’s even true with Cris, the main instructor. He didn’t have a degree in CS, but his experience was way more relevant, so there are things you might learn as a CS major that aren’t necessarily directly relevant to many of the jobs out there too.


    Were you satisfied with the curriculum?

    I was. It’s not necessarily that any task or assignment we were given was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, although some of them were quite difficult. But the sheer amount of material you’re trying to get through is massive, so at certain points priorities shift and some things don’t happen exactly as they might have been planned.

    Overall, I felt like the curriculum was excellent and Cris did a really great job of covering a wide range of topics, to get our foundations of data structures, network programming, and Python fundamentals all on the same page. Throughout the entire course, we were coding data structures as well as web development and deployment… it was a good blend of all of these different things.

    One of the things that Cris preached about Python was that there’s all these different frameworks you can use. If you’re a Ruby programmer, you’re likely working in Ruby on Rails. But with Python there are many frameworks being used in the real world, not just Django. So I think one of the challenges was trying to get exposure to a range of frameworks but also getting deep enough into any given one in order to actually deploy something.


    What did a typical day look like at Code Fellows?

    Monday through Thursday, every morning was some sort of lecture, maybe a whiteboard challenge, then lab. In the afternoon lab, we tackled our assignments. And almost every single assignment was done in pairs or small groups. I think that was really valuable, because we got to work with a lot of different people with different perspectives and strengths.

    In the late afternoon/evening, we would either continue to hang out and work on stuff or take the work home. During project weeks we were all there pretty late.

    Fridays there was typically some sort of speaker or workshop aimed at helping us navigate the job search, and then most of us would spend the rest of the day working on our assignments and projects.


    You had mentioned experiencing some burnout — can you talk about that and how you pushed through it?

    I was trying to estimate at the time how many hours a week I was spending working on Code Fellows, and I think it could have easily been 80 hours a week. You could keep up with it for a while, but there’s two halves to the program and by the end of each month, things start to unravel.

    I was lucky that my girlfriend had just finished grad school and had July off, so she was just keeping me together, making sure I was getting fed. But still, there are times when you’re so fried and you have so little sleep — if you’ve been up really late working — that you feel you’re not able to keep going.


    What advice would you give somebody who’s about to go into the Python Development Accelerator?

    I think it’s really important that the people who are close to them in their lives understand what they’re going through. It’s not like they’re just going to class; it consumes your life for two months and you’ve got to be in a place where you can just focus on Code Fellows.

    The other thing is just try your hardest to stay on top of the work so that you don’t get too far behind, because that can be mentally challenging.


    What are you up to today? What is your job, where are you working, and what’s your position?

    I just started last week at a small company in Portland called SubmitNet, which does search engine optimization-related work. I’m a software engineer. I’m one of two for the company right now, so I’m busy getting up to speed. I feel like I want to be productive right away but there’s always a ton to learn. I’m working in Python and the Pyramid framework.


    Did you feel like you had support from Code Fellows to get employed?

    Yes, very much so. But the problem with that is that I moved from Seattle to Portland. And at the time, there was no real Code Fellows network in Portland. Code Fellows was able to connect me with a couple people here, but they didn’t have the same sort of connections with employers that they did in Seattle at the time. I’m sure that continues to change now that they’ve started up a program here. So I was doing my best to network with people here in Portland and just apply to jobs.

    Finding a job working in Python, while it was what I wanted to do, is not like Javascript or iOS where there’s an incredible amount of demand. The jobs are certainly there, but not to the same extent. One of my questions before I started was about the typical time frame to be hired. I had been told in one of the open houses that some people are hired right away but the majority are hired in three months and some take longer than that. So I went into it knowing that, and it was accurate, but the reality of being unemployed is very difficult.

    The other part of Code Fellows support in finding a job isn’t just after the program. There were a lot of great speakers and prior graduates to help us learn the interview process at tech companies, how to sell ourselves, and workshops to practice interviews or polish our resumes. That was one of the big selling points for me about the program and it definitely helped me.


    Did you feel like Code Fellows prepared you for the career change you were looking for? Was it worth the money and are you happy with your experience?

    Yes. I was looking for a quick career change and it worked for me. I think different people would find different programs valuable in different ways.

    I know a woman who went through the Ada Developer’s Academy in Seattle; I remember looking at how they did things and wishing that I had the time and felt like I could be unemployed for the 6 months before you do an internship, because I do think there’s a limit to how fast you can learn. The longer timeframe of Ada sounded appealing to me from that perspective. Ada is a women-only program anyway, so it’s not like it was an actual option for me, but it’s on one side of the spectrum when it comes to program length.

    On the other side, when you’re working so fast to learn things, you don’t feel like you absorb it all quite as deeply either. To me, the pace was part of what I was looking for, but it’s something that people need to take seriously.

    The projects we worked on at Code Fellows were really valuable for me, and being able to put them on a resume in a way that shows you have experience helped me get hired. I learned a ton there.


    Want to learn more about Code Fellows? Check out their School Page on Course Report or their website here!

  • Instructor Spotlight: Ivan, Code Fellows

    Liz Eggleston11/10/2014


    Ivan Storck has been teaching professionally and helping clients with web development since 2001. An early hire at Code Fellows, Ivan helped get the curriculum off the ground for the first courses. Now, he is helping expand Code Fellows into new markets, starting with Portland, Oregon. We talk to Ivan about his background, what goes into teaching a course, and why Portland was an obvious choice for a Code Fellows campus. 


    Tell us what you were doing before you started as an instructor with Code Fellows; did you have an education background, technical background?

    Before Code Fellows, I was teaching Ruby on Rails in the Continuing Education School at the University of Washington. I was a Ruby on Rails programmer for the Center for Commercialization, which is one of the entrepreneurship centers at the University of Washington where they have a lot of startup companies. The Center for Commercialization has the “W Fund,” which funds companies that were built at the university.


    How did you get involved with Code Fellows?

    I was connected with Andy Sack, the cofounder of Code Fellows, and also the managing director of TechStars in Seattle. I heard he was looking for teachers and I was teaching at night but I wanted to do it full-time. When I heard Andy was thinking of starting a full-time school, it was a natural fit.


    Were you a self-taught developer? How did you learn Ruby?

    I was very fortunate to grow up with my father, who was a programmer, so he would always have computer parts all over the house. I’m mostly self-taught. I did part of a Computer Science major but I didn’t really want to get into advanced CS topics, so I switched over to Geographic Information Systems, because I really love data visualization, especially maps.


    Did you have to be convinced at all of the bootcamp model, since it was so new?

    I worked with Active Technologies, which did 1-2 week trainings for corporations, and I realized that students at Active Technologies were doubling and even quadrupling on the week long courses. I also always thought that a bootcamp-style education would work based on my experience not being a computer science major. I knew that there was an opportunity to teach a very practical, focused curriculum.


    So you’ve been with Code Fellows since the beginning. Were you involved in creating the original curriculum?



    How did you decide what to fit into those 8 weeks?

    I already had some ideas from teaching at the University of Washington, so it was kind of a continuation and a deepening of those ideas. I thought, “If I had my own class for 8 weeks, what else would I add into this curriculum and how would I change the curriculum to be more of an immersive experience instead of a night class?”


    It seems like Code Fellows is constantly evolving and iterating on their curriculum. Can you tell us what you’ve learned since 2013 when you started those classes?

    We have learned a lot over the past year. One thing we’ve added is the job search curriculum — every Friday is focused on a job search. That’s separate from the technical training that we provide because people really are looking to go through a career transformation when they come to a Development Accelerator.

    We have continually improved and raised the bar in the Development Accelerators by adding in computer science topics, agile development, test-driven development; all kinds of topics that enable a student to professionally hit the ground running.


    Do you change the course during a cohort as you’re getting feedback or do you wait until you get feedback after the course?

    A little bit of both. We are in a startup world now so we have an agile approach. If something is not working, we may have to do some course correction in the existing courses.

    Now that we’ve done the course so many times — both Rails and Javascript — we now have a library of material we can pull from. So if one cohort needs a little bit more reinforcement in one area, I’ve got the material to give them.


    How is the Full-Stack Javascript Development Accelerator structured?

    It follows the same pattern as our other Development Accelerators: two 4-week sections with a final project week for each section. We do full stack from server to browser, but this time we’re going to spend 4 weeks on Node.JS and data structures and then 4 weeks on Angular and front-end technology. For example, this will allow us to build an API project and we’re going to work with the iOS class, so people will be able to be on cross-functional teams during the first project week. During the final week of the upcoming Javascript Development Accelerator, we will pair up with the UX class so it’ll have a lot more of a UX focus.


    How many teachers do you have per class?

    I teach with a co-teacher, Tyler Morgan, and he’s awesome. He is an expert and I really enjoy working with him a lot.


    Do you have TAs as well?

    We do. It depends on the number of people in the class. Frequently students will volunteer to be TAs after the Development Accelerator if they’re looking for a job. The JavaScript grads are getting snatched up so we actually have to pay our TAs now!


    What has been your experience expanding to Portland?

    Well, it’s definitely been a team effort; all of us have been working on expanding to Portland. My role has been trying to recruit instructors there and talk to the instructors about what the courses are like. I’m working on the foundations class which we’re starting with there; it’s a night class.

    Portland is a very exciting place. It’s not too far away. It’s close enough that all of us from Code Fellows can go down and make sure that we’re keeping the same high quality standards we have in Seattle; that’s the reason we were looking close by to expand. Portland has a very exciting startup scene as well as established e-commerce players like eBay and Nike.


    How are you recruiting instructors?

    The best thing to do is to connect person-to-person. That’s something that is important to everybody who works at Code Fellows. I go to programmers’ meet-ups and talk about code and see how things work from there.


    When will a full-time Development Accelerator start in Portland?

    We're going to announce our next steps in Portland by the end of November. I really can't be more specific than that.


    As Code Fellows expands into a new city, how uniform will you be keeping the courses?

    The curriculum is definitely not set in stone, although there are a lot of resources for instructors. We can’t just hand over slides to someone and expect them to catch on. We’ll be coaching any new instructors just like we would in Seattle. The experienced instructors will go coach the new instructors there so it’s more comprehensive than a formulaic franchise thing.

    I think Code Fellows has some pretty strong core values that drives a very cohesive training. I don’t think it will be all that different from Seattle, but it’s going to be responsive to our hiring partners in Portland, too. For example, if we find out that Rails is more popular than Java, then we’ll tweak the curriculum to emphasize technologies that are being requested by the hiring partners.


    Are there other cities that you all are excited about or are you sticking to Portland and Seattle right now?

    Personally, I’m sticking to Cascadia.


    Is there anything we didn’t touch on that you want to add?

    I’m trying to think of a non-cheesy way to describe how much fun it is to work with Code Fellows. We had an open house in Seattle last night and every single time, I’m so inspired by the students, the teachers, and the staff there. It’s definitely one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had.


    Want to learn more about Code Fellows? Check out their School Page on Course Report or their website here

  • Student Spotlight: Dale, Code Fellows

    Liz Eggleston10/27/2014


    With a nonconventional work history, Dale Bustad turned to Code Fellows to learn new skills and to get noticed as a developer. We talk to Dale about his experience at Code Fellows, how he got the most out of his time in the JavaScript Development Accelerator, and how he landed a job as a Front-End Developer at Formidable Labs. 


    Tell us what you were doing before you started at Code Fellows?

    A few years back, I was working as the director of technology for a startup in Seattle, focusing mostly on networks and systems administration. I did end up doing some programming, largely because it was a technical company with no technical employees; when things went wrong I had the opportunity to step in and make it work.


    Did you study computer science in undergrad or did you do any self-teaching?

    In undergrad I pursued a double major in physics and music. I actually got a job before I graduated so I don’t have an undergrad degree.

    After I worked at the startup, I left technology for a period of time. I worked taking care of a man who had quadriplegia for about a year. Later, I worked at a non-profit in the Philippines, working with kids who are impacted by HIV and Tuberculosis.

    After that, I needed a break from that sort of work — I was looking for something intellectually challenging, and found myself in a place where I had this nonconventional work history. I had some pretty solid tech background, but it was a few years back.

    Code Fellows was an opportunity to learn, but also an opportunity to be noticed — whereas before, I wasn’t compelling enough on the surface to get somebody to turn the page. I was looking for something that would give me the opportunity to talk about my skill set.


    That network is definitely valuable.

    Yeah! And also, I learn pretty quickly and I can be self-directed, but I also find working with other people to be really motivating. So while I feel I probably could have learned everything that I learned on my own in Code Fellows, I probably wouldn’t have.

    Those were really my two primary motivations: to get noticed and to have that accountability in learning. A third point I considered was the fact that I would have people to go to when I didn’t understand something. That was also a compelling reason for me.


    Did you look at any other bootcamps or only Code Fellows?

    I only looked at Code Fellows for several reasons. The reason I was excited about Code Fellows was even though it was expensive, they had the job guarantee and that meant something. If I didn’t have a job in a year, I would get the money back. That would not be ideal obviously; but it’s definitely an incentive for them to follow through and help me make it. That was the thing that convinced me and convinced my wife that it seemed like a worthwhile thing.

    I don’t think I considered any other bootcamps. I didn’t want to do something that was online because I wanted that in-person accountability, and Code Fellows was located in my city, Seattle.


    Why did you choose the JavaScript course?

    I originally applied and was accepted to the Python course. Something came up with the instructor, so they had to defer it for awhile. They gave us the option of waiting for the Python course, or entering into the JavaScript course.

    Considering how everything was lining up with my finances and how I had already planned to start Code Fellows at the end of October, I decided to jump into Javascript. In retrospect, I was really glad of that because I was already pretty strong in Python; it had always been my go-to language when solving problems, but I was pretty inexperienced with frontend development.  So JavaScrip was a solid complement to my existing skillset.


    What was the application process like for you?

    There were three or four stages. I think again in retrospect, I was more nervous about it than I should have been. All things considered, I was a pretty good candidate and just didn’t know that about myself.

    First, I submitted an application. It was a pretty long application with my work history, why I wanted to join Code Fellows, that sort of thing. Next, I got a coding challenge and then they wanted me to submit a video. It was a 2-minute video, and we were asked to explain something about programming, or with programming. My instinct was that it was intentionally left open-ended.

    Since I had been doing some travelling, I used the Google Maps API to get the geo-locations of all the places I’d been and programmatically calculated my average air speed over the two years, which had ended up being like 6 MPH. So that’s what I submitted.

    The final stage was coming in for an interview - that was with Will (at the time he was CEO). I enjoyed that conversation a lot. He had some technical questions in there but I think he was really getting a gauge for who I was and was I going to be a good fit because they’d already done a lot of technical screening; and maybe also to make sure that I didn’t get somebody else to send in the work for me. It was about a 20-minute conversation, and I got a good reaction from him. He said he might hire me there on the spot but he’d definitely hire me after Code Fellows and that was very encouraging for me to hear.


    How long did that process take?

    I think I was accepted 3 months before the program started, which I think is considerably more in advance than a lot of students; I’m not sure exactly.

    Before the course started, they had us do prep courses online. Since I’d already done a lot of preparing on my own, I was in a good place in terms of computer science knowledge, but I was pretty new to Javascript so the work was definitely worthwhile.


    When was your course? When did it start?

    Mine was the first Javascript course. It started at the very end of October 2013 and went through to the end of December.


    Once you were there, what was the cohort like? Was everyone on the same level?

    That’s a good question. I don’t think everyone came in with the same skill set or even the same capability. Also, because we were the first Javascript course, they were still developing the curriculum as we went. It ended up being really good but I would guess that subsequent courses and students had a leg up because there was a pre-established validated process for learning these things.

    I think there was maybe one person that dropped out part-way, and that was because something happened with his family.


    Was there a lot of support during the class for people who were struggling?

    I think for the most part, people got through it. There were definitely resources there to help people get through it. I think some people also went in with different motivations, so there were a few people that went in not even for the job guarantee. There were a lot who were there for that, but some people just wanted to supplement their knowledge or their pre-existing career or whatever.


    How many people were in your cohort?

    It was about 20. It was pretty big. And I think that was partly because there were several other people who joined from the Python course. So it would’ve been smaller but for the fact that we joined it.


    Who were the instructors? Was there a good student-teacher ratio?

    We had two instructors and they had different, complementary backgrounds. The first was Colin McGill; he’s not instructing anymore. He had a background in programming education. I think he actually started doing programming education with middle schoolers. He also was in the very early stages of his own startup and I think that’s ultimately why he left. He’s one of the cofounders of Polis and they’re doing some pretty cool things with machine learning, collaboration, and visualization. Colin didn’t have a heavy CS background; he was self-taught.

    Our other instructor, Dan Hable, had worked for several tech companies and had a lot more hardcore computer science knowledge than Colin did. Colin was better at design and solving problems from the front-end perspective, whereas Dan was maybe better at the hard math. We definitely had people to go to when we had issues and people who could answer the questions we came across.


    Did you ever experience burnout throughout the course or were you ever challenged in that way? And how did you push through it?

    I’m not sure how to answer that question because I think I was sort of atypical. I was super motivated going in. I didn’t have a lot of spare cash so if I was going to spend this money, I was going to take advantage of the opportunity.

    In the last two weeks, I slept like 4 hours a night, and worked basically the rest of the time.

    I was hired before we graduated, and I think part of the reason is because I was very ambitious in the projects that I chose and what I pursued while I was there. Some people were doing what they were told to do and going through the process – which is fine, absolutely nothing against that. But going in with the intention of taking advantage of every opportunity definitely benefitted me in the end because there were a lot of opportunities that presented themselves.


    Tell us about a project that you worked on that you were proud of during the class.

    In our course, we did two big projects; one after the first four weeks and then one after the second four weeks. The first project I did on my own, and for my second, I invited someone to join me partway through. I was eager for his help because I respected him and felt we worked well together.

    In my first project, I built an invoicing system where you could send out invoices to people and you’d see a printable invoice, and recipients could view, print, and pay for that invoice by credit card or bank transfer.

    My second project was a Google Voice clone. We got multiple-phone ringing, voicemail transcription, ability to reply to SMS through the web interface — more than I thought we’d get through in a week.


    Was the rest of the curriculum lecture-based or were you doing projects that were assigned?

    The last week of each set of four weeks was project-based. Both instructors would stay late and make themselves available; students could work and get help as we needed

    With the exception of our project weeks (the fourth and eighth weeks of our course), we could have lectures and new material in the morning on Monday through Thursday, followed by application of those concepts in the afternoon.  Sometimes that would be in the form of smaller one- or two-day projects, and sometimes it would be homework problems or additional reading. Instructors were available to answer questions and help people along if they had trouble.

    On Friday, they’d bring in someone to speak to us and answer questions: someone from Google, several from local startups, recruiters, etc.


    What are you up to today? Tell us where you’re working and what your job entails!

    Two weeks before I graduated, I got a job offer from Formidable Labs, and I jumped on it. They’re located here in Seattle in the Fremont neighborhood. They have a couple of large projects; one is an ongoing redesign of

    Our biggest customer is Wal-Mart, so I’m working on a big redesign.


    Did you end up working with Javascript or with other languages?

    I am working 100% with Javascript – well, maybe 95% with a smattering of things on the side. All entirely front end work right now.


    Do you work on a team?

    Yeah. When I started, there were like 5 or 6 of us (at Formidable) working on WalMart projects, and that’s grown a little bit since. Then there’s also a dev team that’s employed by Wal-Mart and we work with them pretty closely.


    How did you get that job before the program was even over?

    The CEO of my company came and visited Code Fellows once. He’s the co-author of Thorax, a JS framework built on top of Backbone, so he came to introduce us to the framework and demonstrate the problems that it solves. Later, Formidable was growing and he needed people and he must have felt good about the people he’d met at Code Fellows.

    He knew one of my instructors, Colin, and Colin recommended certain students for interviews, and I was one of those.  The first interview was with Ryan, the CEO, and was sort of informal. We discussed my projects, what I’d learned, what I’d built; I got to show off some of the things I was building. That led to a technical interview with the CTO, which also went well. Or, at least, it must have!

    Working at Formidable has afforded me continued opportunities as the company has grown. I’ve been able to take leadership roles for sub-projects, and I’m now part of the hiring team at Formidable.


    Since you now have a hand in hiring, have you looked to Code Fellows as a source for talent? Have you all hired anyone else from Code Fellows?

    Yes! I think there are now five Code Fellows graduates working here, out of a 20-person company.

    Really, the big qualifier for our hiring has not been “Do you know how to do this?” but “Do we think you could learn it quickly?” We’re looking for people who can demonstrate critical thinking and the ability to pick apart a problem, as well as strong communication skills.


    Have you continued your education further after you graduated from Code Fellows?

    I have not done any formal continuing education, but there’s been a lot of opportunity to learn here on the job.

    I think that’s one of the reasons why I’ve come pretty far in a short time. Actually, I spoke at Code Fellows the other day and one of my biggest pieces of advice was to view your first job as an extension of Code Fellows. Don’t go for the highest salary, don’t necessarily go for all the perks, but really try to find a place where you can continue your learning and continue developing. If you can approach it with the right attitude, that’s going to have greater long-term benefits than some of the short-term benefits that may be attractive now.

    That’s what initially attracted me to Formidable Labs. They do a lot of training; they literally wrote the book on front-end testing and they’ve written some of the frameworks that we use. I really wanted to learn from people who were smart and had done a lot and, hopefully, that would rub off on me.


    Is there anything you want to add that we didn’t touch on?

    I have been pretty happy with my decision to go to Code Fellows. I feel like it paid off better than I expected. My underlying advice would be to not be complacent and take advantage of your time there — don’t waste any of it.


    Want to learn more about Code Fellows? Check out their School Page on Course Report or their website here!

  • Code Fellows Expands to Portland

    Liz Eggleston10/20/2014


    We talk to Kristin Smith, CEO of Code Fellows, about the City of Roses and home to the newest Code Fellows campus: Portland, Oregon. Code Fellows' first Portland class will be the intro-level Foundations 1: Computer Science & Web Development. The 4-week night class grounds students in CSS, HTML, and Javascript. Class starts Nov. 3rd. You can apply online at

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  • Code Fellows Hiring Partner: Nick Soman, Reveal

    Liz Eggleston10/6/2014


    Nick Soman is the founder of Reveal, a social app based in Seattle, and has hired four Code Fellows graduates onto his team. We talk about his satisfaction with new hires, how he finds the most qualified graduates to join his team, and why he says that companies overlooking coding bootcamps are "missing an opportunity to find some tremendous talent that can really grow with the team."


    Tell us a little bit about Reveal!

    Reveal is a social app that gives you someone relevant to talk to any time. Our mission is to cure loneliness. The app connects people in anonymous chats where they can start an interaction based just on text, and if they decide that they like and trust each other, each has the option to reveal their name or photo or other information. Reveal is currently an iOS and web app, and Android is rolling out this month.


    How big is the company right now?

    There are 10 people on the team.


    How did you get connected with Code Fellows?

    I went through the Techstars Seattle program and befriended Andy Sack, who’s the Managing Director of Techstars Seattle. Andy ended up being instrumental to the beginnings of Code Fellows in Seattle and so initially, I paid attention to it because I knew it was something he was working on. But then a friend of mine recommended I check out some of the candidates and I’ve been a pretty big proponent ever since.


    Do you pay a referral fee or a recruiting fee to hire Code Fellows graduates?

    As a partner in the program, I get preferential access to candidates, so when there’s a new class of candidates coming out, I’m part of a small group of folks that get to schedule interviews with some of these folks and then they take a cut when we make a fulltime hire.


    Have you worked with other bootcamps in Seattle?

    No; Code Fellows is my first foray into this world. I guess this is philosophical, but I love Code Fellows because people took a chance on me early on when I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life and with my career. I certainly didn’t have any skill sets as employable as coding. I come from Amazon; there are lots of great organizations in Seattle that would like to hire strong technical talent, and one of the few undervalued resources in my opinion is these more junior folks, some of them younger, who are busting their butts; who are willing to learn and have the horsepower to go a long way.

    If you can figure out who some of the strong candidates are – and in a Code Fellows class we’ve got our own techniques for doing that - then you can have a fantastic success rate in hiring people that will be with the company for a long time.


    Do you feel like you’re taking a risk when you hire from a bootcamp?

    Hiring is always a risk, but I think there are ways to mitigate that risk. There’s no way to significantly slash the difficulty and the challenge of hiring senior talent in this market environment. Honestly, for us I’m so thrilled with the success that we’ve had. Every time we hire someone, we get a little better at knowing what signals we’re looking for. It’s just been great.


    What are you typically looking for when you look for a new hire for Reveal? Are you focused on a culture fit or a technical fit?

    It’s three things, definitely in this order. Culture fit is the absolute most important thing. And I think that’s particularly true with more junior people. Senior people have been around the block; they’ve been in different organizations and they may have developed certain adaptive habits that help them thrive in different environments. For junior people, if we’re going to make a bet on you, you have to be delightful to work with, we have to feel that you’re willing to get your hands dirty and bust your butt, and that’s really part of the bet that we’re making. So it’s definitely culture fit first.

    The second is we hire in positions of great need in the company. Right now as an example, we’re looking to hire a second Android developer. I was disappointed to learn that Code Fellows doesn’t have any Android classes coming up, although they may do that next year.

    And then the last thing is, if you fit the culture criteria and the need, we’re big believers in raw horsepower. We’re trying to find the smartest people we can. That really fits the Code Fellows profile well. Just as an example, we recently hired a couple of iOS devs out of a couple of Code Fellows recent classes. They’re both electrical engineering majors from undergrad, super sharp. One of them was a physicist and was working on laser weapons for a while, and the other one has a deep background in robotics. The intelligence level is really there and there’s an interest in the world and a passion that has led them to explore different areas of expertise. In our experience, that interest and curiosity is a really good predictor of success once they get trained up here.


    I think there’s a big misconception that bootcamp graduates are all completely new to technology and had no experience before.

    I totally agree. I think one of the challenges that boot camps are going to face is if you make the assumption that everyone who is willing to immerse themselves in something new and learn something new must be a super junior person who has no life experience, you’re kind of penalizing people for that desire to learn.

    Professionally, I’m okay with that because that means less firms competing to hire from that group. This is going to get more competitive when people figure out that Code Fellows is indicative of an intellectual curiosity that tends to bode really well for hiring.

    I think that companies are missing an opportunity to find some tremendous talent that can really grow with the team.


    How many people have you hired from Code Fellows?

    Four people. All 4 folks that started with us from Code Fellows are still here and all of them are doing fantastically well.


    What are their roles?

    Two of them are iOS, one is the new owner of Growth of our organization, and the other is working on critical back-end and scaling issues.


    Were those all people who came from an iOS development accelerator?

    No; the two iOS folks came from that. The other two came from the Code Fellows Ruby on Rails program.


    Do you have some sort of mentorship program within Reveal to make sure they’re ramping up appropriately?

    That’s a good question. I would say our whole culture is a mentorship program. Our CTO is experienced. He was the original lead for Amazon’s development efforts in Canada. He’s a little older; he’s an amazing leader in his own right and a great technical mentor. So I think that junior folks tend to really work well with him because he basically points them in the right direction.

    The other thing is, we have really high expectations when hiring. We let people know early on, we hire them as grownups. We expect a learning curve, but we will not tolerate immature behavior. Honestly, not all these people are coming right out of school, either. These are adults working to build a skill, which I think is really admirable. We make hiring decisions unanimously as a group, and I think we’ve just been really lucky and we selected well so far for folks who can learn on the job.

    We have a culture of asking questions and I think that works with junior people. I don’t think of them as having started junior and become more senior; our organization is very flat. They started with less experience and as they’ve accrued more dev experience as we’ve found the roles for them to be happiest where they can really help our company grow.

    Just as an example, the guy that recently stepped in to a growth role, we got to know him over the course of about 9 months of just being generally awesome on the development side. And we realized after launch that one of the next priorities needed to be to making Reveal grow quickly. These are real and important roles, and by the time we got around to figuring out who was going to own growth, I didn’t think of him as a Code Fellows grad, I thought of him as a member of our team. And it was just clear that he was the right guy.


    Do the people that you hire go through a technical interview process and were they able to get through it?

    Yeah, absolutely. We do interview for that. We have had candidates that haven’t been able to pass that test. Everybody who ends up working here does a short paid project for us first, so we have a chance to see real code.

    But I would say we are much, much more interested in how rapidly people learn, what questions they ask and how they think. I wouldn’t go to Code Fellows looking for senior leads ready to step into that role tomorrow. Instead, we have to find the ones that we can train to get up there as fast as possible. Our process reflects that.


    I was going to ask you if you were satisfied with the people you’ve hired but it sounds like satisfaction is high!

    Oh, yeah. It’s been great. For the folks in Code Fellows, my hope, even though it sort of works against me competitively is that people recognize that this is a group of generally talented and experienced people, who have decided to build a new skill. We’ve been sort of blown away by the quality we’ve been able to find.



    Want to learn more about Code Fellows? Check out their School Page on Course Report or their website here

  • Student Spotlight: Michael Kohen, Code Fellows

    Liz Eggleston8/20/2014


    Realizing that traditional university courses wouldn't do the trick, Michael Kohen taught himself to make iOS apps through books. But learning on his own had it's limits, so he decided to apply to Code Fellows for more structured learning and feedback. Read our Q&A with Michael to find out why Code Fellows appealed to him, the projects he worked on during class, and how he landed a job as a Software Engineer at Getty Images!


    Tell us about your experience with coding and programming before you started at Code Fellows.

    I didn’t really have any experience; I didn’t have any college education or any computer science degrees or anything like that. I basically started out on my own; I was interested in iOS specifically, around 2008-2009. My curiosity took over so I just started reading books and was basically self-taught. I released a couple of apps in the App Store and then I heard about Code Fellows and decided to apply.


    Did you use any online resources like Codecademy or any of those?

    Mostly books. When I decided to learn Objective-C, my first thought was to go check out community colleges or universities, to see if they offered any programs that would cover Objective-C. I visited Highland Community College, which is relatively popular in Seattle, and I talked to a computer science teacher. When I mentioned Objective-C to him, he didn’t even really know what that was, so I knew I would have to learn on my own. Objective-C is a relatively established language; it’s been around for a while but what made it super popular is actually developing for iOS and for iPhones. So when I was trying to learn it from the beginning, a college wouldn’t offer a course. That’s why books were my primary source of learning.


    Were you employed before you went to Code Fellows?

    No, I wasn’t. I’m self-employed and I’ve been self-employed for a while. I have a job now at Getty Images but I also have a small gig on the side. Because of that, it wasn’t as hard as for somebody who decides to quit their job to learn.


    So you largely taught yourself before you went to Code Fellows. What made you actually want to get a formal education in iOS?

    When you attempt to learn on your own, you don’t really know how good you are because you aren’t working on a team. You aren’t exposed to what it means to be an employee working for a company. You’re working in this isolation; you usually build your projects on your own; you don’t collaborate with anybody.

    I realized that first of all, I need to be exposed to more iOS developers; second, I need to learn how to work in a team environment; that was a big thing. Before I went to Code Fellows, I wouldn’t use Github at all. If I had a need for version control, I would just make snapshots of my projects, which is an option in Xcode. When I got to Code Fellows, the first thing the teachers, John and Brad, taught us was how to set up your Github account.

    There is just a lot of stuff that you’re not exposed to when you learn on your own.


    Did you only apply to Code Fellows or did you apply to any other boot camps?

    Just Code Fellows.


    Why only Code Fellows?

    A couple of reasons. I tried to take a course at the University of Washington a couple of years ago when they started to offer this iOS and Mac development course. It was a one-year program and you would get a certificate. I spent 3 months there then I quit because the teaching was very traditional. You would be given a problem to solve and they would want everyone to solve it one way. I didn’t really like that because for every problem, there are hundreds of solutions, and one solution might not be better than the other one. I didn’t really like that constraint of doing things a certain way.

    So when I was interviewing for Code Fellows I asked them about their teaching style and they said, “Here, as long as you solve it right and it works, that’s great.” Immediately, I was interested because I just didn’t like that idea of being boxed into a particular way of learning.

    Also, I really liked the length: 2 months. To be honest with you anybody can do anything for 2 months.


    What was the application like? Did you answer coding questions or technical problems during the application and the interview?

    I spoke with a couple of friends from my class and my interview was different from everybody else’s. That was because I already had a couple of apps in the App Store so I didn’t have a coding challenge. A couple of students had a coding challenge, and they did an application first then they would review the application and ask you to record a one-minute video about yourself. Then they would ask you to come over for an in-person interview. That was the extent of my interview. I went in and I met Will, the CEO at the time. We talked about a couple of technical topics. I showed him a couple of the projects I had done and basically, they just told me that I was accepted.


    So the application process for you wasn’t long; they pretty much told you during your interview that you’re accepted.

    Yeah, they told me the same day, I believe. They sent me an email and told me that I was accepted.


    Who were your instructors?

    We had two; John and Brad and they are the instructors for this current class, too.


    What was the course like for you?

    It’s relatively fast-paced. They covered important topics. On the first day we got the chance to write apps that would utilize UI table view, like populating table view with data and all that.

    I would say it was intense and we would write projects every day. The homework was relatively complex, too, and you had to do the homework.


    What was a project you worked on that you’re really proud of?

    On the 4th week everyone worked on a personal project. During the personal project I built an app that is currently in iTunes. It’s called in.notes. It’s a very simple note-taking app but the reason I was really proud of it was because when iOS 7 came out, they changed the design so we went from a design that was realistic to more of a flat design and we were concentrating more on the content, like making the navigation look real.

    I implemented a whole bunch of this stuff like user interaction, implemented a dynamic type which was a very important one; basically, when the user goes to settings and changes the font size, my app would honor that so that the text they enter, the notes they saved, it would reflect that. It was a relatively simple, but fairly thought-out app.


    I know that the Code Fellows class is 8 weeks as opposed to some of the longer ones, but did you ever feel burnout while you were doing it?

    No. Honestly, I enjoyed it a lot. I absolutely loved it. I was here early every day and I would leave late because I just enjoy these kinds of things. Also as I said, it’s two months; it actually feels about right.


    How did Code Fellows approach job placement? Were you doing mock interviews and resume building and things that were helping you prepare to actually get a job once you graduated?

    Yes, totally. They helped us with resumes a lot. They were giving feedback on what is important and what is irrelevant. It was great. We did a couple of mock interviews together, a couple of algorithm interviews.

    The teachers would help out with what they think are the most common questions that are being asked on interviews, so we would go over those kinds of things—data structures and all that.

    I really enjoyed my class and if I had the choice to do it over again, I would.


    Did Code Fellows do a demo day or hiring day or anything like that?

    Not officially but we had a couple of people that previously hired from the school. For example, Jeremiah Johnson; he is a software architect at Nordstrom. He was here for a couple of hours and his lecture was super awesome.


    What are you up to now?

    I’m a software engineer at Getty. I work on the iOS apps. I can’t really talk about it a lot because it’s under NDA, but I’m a full-time employee at Getty Images.


    Do you feel like you have a lot of ownership over the projects you do?

    I think so; I feel that way. My boss is extremely awesome; his name is {Raphael Miller} and he is probably one of the best people I’ve gotten to work for. He asks questions, he’s very understanding and on top of that he’s very tech savvy, too. He develops as well, so sometimes he will pitch in and do some coding together. I had a couple of times where I got a chance to actually pair up with him and code and work on the project together.


    That’s really exciting to hear. How did you find that job?

    Getty kind of reached out—I just got an email from a friend of mine that said they were looking and he told them I might be interested in a full-time position and they just started contacting me. That started this whole process where I ended up interviewing and being hired.


    Do you feel like you learned everything you need to know at Code Fellows to do your job today or are there some things that could’ve been included that you didn’t get to at Code Fellows?

    I’m pretty sure that I’m still learning. I don’t think that I was at the place where I felt I knew everything, basically. But Code Fellows did a pretty good job covering what’s important so that was great.

    I also think that previous experience of actually building something from scratch and having it on iTunes helped a lot, because it’s one thing to just have a theory and it’s another thing to actually go through the whole process of building something from scratch and seeing it on iTunes.

    I think that everything together, my previous experience then Code Fellows and then the connections that I’ve made here, it all worked out pretty well.


    Want to learn more about Code Fellows? Check out their School Page on Course Report or their website here!

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  • Student Spotlight: Lillian Ng, Code Fellows

    Liz Eggleston8/11/2014


    Lillian Ng had a background in electrical engineering, but wanted to work in computer programming, so she enrolled in the Code Fellows Ruby on Rails Development Accelerator in January 2014. Two months later, she had a new set of skills and a job with Simply Measured as a Junior Software Engineer. We talk to Lillian about a typical day in the classroom and how Code Fellows prepared her for a job in the real world. 


    Before Code Fellows, did you have any experience in tech? Had you taught yourself to code at all before you applied?

    I actually have have a degree in electrical engineering. A lot of times, people think electrical engineering and computer science are similar and they are in some ways. I did know the very basics- scripts and concepts like that. But there’s so much more to being a developer than that.

    I had taken two very basic computer sciences courses in my undergrad; CS 101 and 102, at Virginia Tech.


    Did you apply to other boot camps or did you just apply to Code Fellows?

    I only applied to Code Fellows.


    Why Code Fellows? What stood out to you?

    It was very convenient to where I was, actually. It’s just down the street from me.


    How was the application?

    I know that a lot of people have different experiences with the application than I did. I actually applied very, very last minute. I think I might have been the last person that came in—a week before the course started.

    I know other people who applied three or four months before and they had a really drawn out process, but I applied and then each step of the way there was a very basic application trying to understand your experience and then Code Fellows brings you in for an interview.


    Did you feel like the interview that you had was technical, and that you needed prior coding knowledge to complete?

    Yeah; we had questions that were technical in nature. We talked about my experience with different types of databases and how I would structure the class. It was pretty technical, actually.


    Tell us about the instructors for your class; how many there were and what was the teaching style?

    At the time, there was only one primary instructor. I know that this is something that is always changing because I talked to people from previous courses and there were two instructors. But when I was taking the class, there was one instructor and a lot of TAs—previous grads that were in the process of looking for jobs.

    In terms of instruction, the first hour of every class was spent reviewing the topics that we did the previous day and then we’d get about an hour or so of the new topics that we’d be working on.

    In the morning, we had about three hours of instruction and we also had talks about whatever topic we were going to dig into at the time. It was an environment where you would have a conversation with the instructor but everybody else would also be watching and learning.

    In the afternoon, we didn’t really get much instruction. At that point it was more like mimicking what you would do day to day as a developer. We would work with classmates, complete tests.


    Did you think that the teaching style matched with your learning style?

    I think it worked pretty well for me. It kind of depends on your expectations going into it. If you think that someone is going to spoon-feed you, that isn’t going to happen. You have to know that as a developer, you’re going to spend all your time working on these problems and you’re not going to know how to solve them all. You’re going to look things up and experiment.

    Basically the environment that they provided was something that was very similar to how you’d actually have to perform on the job.


    How did Code Fellows work projects into the class?

    Since the course at the time was divided into two halves, each half had a capstone, so the fourth week had a project and the eighth week had a project. But we also had things that we would build overnight.


    What was your big capstone project? Did you build anything that you’re really proud of while you were there?

    Yeah. I worked with a great developer who was a UX person. It’s really cool because you find people with complementary skills and that’s what I found in a partner on these projects. We actually built a note-sharing app for our first Week 4 project. Then we actually worked on it for the 8th week as well.


    Did you feel like there was diversity in the class—in age, race, gender?

    I would say there was a fair amount of diversity compared to other things that I’ve done—having been an engineer, I mean. I kind of expected there to be a very lopsided ratio in men to women, which is standard and typical.

    When we started out class we had 19 people and I think 5 of them were women so that was not unusual.


    Were there assessments? Did you take tests throughout the course?

    No, we didn’t really take tests.


    Would you suggest if somebody doesn’t have a strong CS background, that they should take one of the Foundations classes?

    The Foundations course or something similar to that, because it definitely makes a difference. There were plenty of people in my class with web development backgrounds, like HTML and CSS.


    How did Code Fellows approach job placement with your class?

    During the second half of the course, we started to work on the job search. We had events like Demo Days and we had employers that would come in and tell us about the job search process, but at that point, I don’t think they had that part built up as much.


    What are you doing now? What’s your role and what company are you working for?

    I’m a Junior Software Engineer at Simply Measured. We do social media analytics for marketers.


    How big is your team that you work with now?

    My immediate team has about 10 people.


    Did Code Fellows prepare you for your job at Simply Measured? Was it an easy transition?

    Yes and no. Yes in that I learned a lot about web development in general. That was really the piece why I wanted get a job like that, so that’s what I learned from Code Fellows. But there are a million things to know. Working as a dev you’re learning all the time anyway. It definitely prepared me for that interview so that when I got there, I was ready.


    How did you get the interview?

    Networking. I saw these people were going to certain meet-ups; I went to those meet-ups and would talk to them.

    And then of course, when you’re looking for jobs, I think you have to make a connection with a person who can connect you with a company.


    Want to learn more about Code Fellows? Check out their School Page on Course Report or their website here

  • Student Spotlight: Tim Hise, Code Fellows

    Liz Eggleston7/13/2014


    Tim Hise moved from Oklahoma to Seattle when he was accepted to the Code Fellows iOS course and now works as an apprentice at Liffft. We talk to Tim about his experience at Code Fellows and how the connections he's made have helped propel him into a new career!


    Tell us about what you were doing before you started at Code Fellows.

    Before Code Fellows I was managing a skating rink in Oklahoma. My wife’s parents actually own four locations in Oklahoma. My wife ran one, I ran another and her brother and his fiancée ran the other two. We were all in the skating rink business.


    Did you have any computer background or technical background? Had you tried to teach yourself to code before?

    Before you start at Code Fellows, they do require a basic proficiency so you should not be a complete beginner. When I was 15 years old, I learned to do a little bit of HTML and did some website design. I also built computers so I would take the hardware components and just put them together. In July, I started thinking that I wanted to learn programming and that’s when I started doing classes online like, Coursera, and Code Academy.


    Which class did you take on Coursera?

    I took the Intro to Programming class which focused on Python.


    What did you think about those online courses?

    I think they are amazing. I think the fact that they are free and high quality, especially Udacity, the one that was founded by Sebastian Thrun, the VP of Google, is amazing. For someone like him to make this available for free is fantastic. The hardest part with online courses, honestly, is knowing how to go from one course to the next. So you get done with the intro level programming and then what? It’s really difficult sometimes to figure out where to go next.


    Did you get your undergraduate degree in Oklahoma?

    I did, in Psychology.


    Did you apply to any other bootcamps or just Code Fellows?

    No, just Code Fellows for me. I got fixated on moving into Seattle; I really wanted to make that particular move happen. I would’ve considered others had I not been accepted.


    Which course did you apply to and ended up taking?

    The iOS bootcamp (now referred to as the iOS Development Accelerator). I first started learning Python on my own at the beginning, but I quickly switched to iOS and started learning that.


    Have you worked with Swift at all?

    Yeah, a little bit. I’ve learned a few very basic things in it so far.


    Tell us about the application process. What technical level did you feel you were at when you were applying and did you feel like you were prepared for the application?

    Barely; in fact, when I was doing my interviewing, the CEO at the time was Will. Will had told me basically, “You’re barely there but I like your style.”

    The environment was what made me really ramp up. I worked beyond our classroom schedule quite a bit with my other friends who were in that class. The first few weeks were really difficult because I wasn’t as prepared maybe as I could’ve been. But having that motivation and mindset—and having a lot of money on the line—got me up to speed.


    Did you feel like everybody was at the same level or did you feel like there was a variety of experience in your class?

    I’d say I felt right at the bottom third, experience-wise, going in. But most of us were about on the same level. There were 2 people who had quite a bit more experience and maybe even knew other languages. Some guys had more design experience.


    Did you feel like your learning style synced with the teaching style of the class?

    Yeah, for the most part. It’s a new class—ours was only the second one taught at that time so they were still developing material and changing. My friend actually attended the following class and the improved instruction was fairly plain to see, so they’re still making improvements. I would say there were gaps that needed to get handled and they’ve been developing it.

    For me, it wasn’t the instruction itself; it was the environment of coming together with other people who are driven and working really hard all day, every day and getting a few of us together and pushing forward every day. That’s what made the biggest difference.


    Did anyone not graduate with your cohort?

    One person did because they basically quit. As long as you’re trying, you’re going to make it through. I think that’s part of the selection process, too; they don’t let people in here who don’t really care. When you put $10,000 into something, you’re probably passionate about doing it!


    Did you end up doing a final project or a group project?

    Yeah, we did. The goal was by the end of week 4 to have our personal app and by the end of week 8 to have a group app. Although I’m not sure that was the most valuable use of our time, especially the personal app in week 4. For week 4, we had a whole week of non-instruction so you could work on your app. Of course, you can go to the instructors to get feedback and help, but I feel like maybe a real world experience would have been more helpful.  My idea was to have something like a real life work experience where we use things like Jira and other tools to keep track of projects. If they had set those sorts of things up and had people work together to accomplish it, as if you’re doing a real job, I feel that would’ve been a better use of our week. But you do get that app in the App Store so you can show other people, which has value.


    What was the app that you built?

    I built an app that was for tracking social relationships. I was from Oklahoma so I kept thinking I’d really like to make sure I maintain these friendships with people that I don’t see very often. The app showed you how long it’s been since you last talked to people in your network.


    You ended up getting an interview and a job with Liffft, right?

    Yeah; Liffft was my mentor’s company. We had spent some time together and things went well so instead of doing an interview process, it was more of an apprenticeship. I’m working with them for 3 months at a reduced salary, and then the sky’s the limit.


    It sounds like the apprenticeship program at Liffft works well for you and for them.

    I totally agree with you there. You know, the interview process is sometimes archaic in the tech world—really deep computer science questions that aren’t really relevant anymore and don’t really show a candidate’s aptitude or skill. It makes you nervous and it’s wrong in so many ways.

    Even if I don’t get accepted at the end of my 3 months, I still would have this experience on the resume and a lot of learning at Liffft.


    Tell us about your position and what you’re doing now. What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

    We try to do almost all pair programming so I usually will synch up with one of the other team members. We work with a team in San Francisco as well, so I might remotely sync up with one of them.

    We have a screen-sharing app that’s great, which lets us work together on the same program. We use Jira to grab stories and we just try to solve each one as they come through.

    Everyone is an equal member of the team and everyone’s voice is heard. Pair programming is great because you get to watch and learn from somebody without feeling that you’re taking up their time or making them do something that they wouldn’t be doing otherwise.

    On Wednesdays, we get unstructured time so you can do anything you want, really; learn about something or maybe build something, work for yourself, for the company—whatever you want, as long as you’re improving.


    Do you feel like there are things that you’ve learned in your apprenticeship that you couldn’t have learned at a bootcamp?

    There are a lot of things—workflow, using Jira, getting acquainted with an unfamiliar code base, working with more experienced devs. We did a group project at Code Fellows, but that was us coming up with whatever we wanted to make from scratch. It’s not the same as working as a team on a larger project that is already in flight.


    Do you feel that you use the skills that you learned at Code Fellows every day?

    The most vital thing I got from Code Fellows is all the people I now know for support, whether that is my instructor, who I am pretty good friends with, or other classmates I can ask for support. Meeting my mentor and the other people at Code Fellows—that has been by far the most valuable portion of it.

    My buddy, who did the class right after me, and I discussed the value of him paying another $10,000 to do this course that I’d just done. It came down to the fact that the first learning curve is so difficult in programming that having that motivation given to you makes the class worth it; it’s going to make you buckle down and work that much harder.


    What has been your experience with the alumni? Do you stay in touch?

    Yeah, definitely. In fact, for the first month after it ended, there were about 6 of us who would just go and work from the Code Fellows space. There are places like WeWork popping up and you can pay $500 a month to work with other people, but Code Fellows provides an environment like that for free. I’m not sure if they’ll be able to continue that as they get more and more alums but for us, we were able to show up, use the internet and sit there literally 24 hours a day if we needed a work space.

    I feel like I could definitely email almost anybody there, even the marketing director, for example. So if I needed to market my own app, I could probably call him. I feel I can definitely reach out.


    I love hearing about how the alumni networks are developing in individual schools and across the entire bootcamp industry.

    That’s definitely one of the most valuable aspects of the program.


    Want to learn more about Code Fellows? Check out their School Page on Course Report or their website here

  • Instructor Spotlight: Cris Ewing, Code Fellows

    Liz Eggleston6/10/2014


    In addition to teaching a continuing education course in Python at the University of Washington and being an independent Python contractor, Cris Ewing teaches the Python Development Accelerator and the Foundations II: Python course at Code Fellows. Not only are we impressed with his experience in education and his time management skills, but we were also lucky to chat with him about Code Fellows. We talk with Cris about the differences between university students and bootcampers, the best learning resources for Python, and how Code Fellows is helping their students make meaningful career changes. 


    What were you doing before you started with Code Fellows?

    My day job, during the months that I’m not teaching at Code Fellows, is an independent Python contractor, so I actually make my living writing Python code for various companies and people. I have a background in music, and did a great deal of programming along my music career in pursuit of computer music. I came to the conclusion as I was starting a family, that music wouldn’t support a family, so I moved into computer programming. As a result, I’ve done a lot of teaching, starting with TAing classes and working up to teaching graduate seminars.

    When I left, I did some work teaching desktop software here in Seattle. I’ve also taught quite a few independent training courses, ranging from one- or two-day up to 1-week intensive sessions in various systems.


    How did you get involved with Code Fellows?

    Actually, Brooke and Ivan contacted me—I was doing some work for the University of Washington teaching a continuing education course in Python. They were interested in seeing if Code Fellows could offer a Python course, and if I would teach it. Eventually, we scheduled the first bootcamp last Winter (Feb-March 2014).

    We graduated 7 folks out of our first cohort. I’ve also been teaching the Foundations II class in Python, which graduated our first cohort of 19. We’ve also just kicked off the second Python Dev Accelerator with 16 students.  Four of the sixteen are graduates of the Foundations II course!


    Do you notice a difference between the students who take your University Python course and the students in your Code Fellows course?

    There are a couple of differences. From the student perspective, there’s a difference in what the students are after. Most of the students who approach the university for a continuing education certificate are already happily employed. A few might be thinking about a career change, but the majority are picking up an extra skill to help in their daily life.

    The students at Code Fellows are really there because they want to change their careers and get a job as a programmer. They’re quite focused on picking up as many skills as they possibly can.

    From a teacher’s perspective, there’s a difference in how you should approach teaching each class. The University course is one night per week and 10 sessions, so you have a short opportunity to lecture and get students’ hands on some code. You send them home with a homework assignment and hope they finish it. Whereas, with the bootcamp experience, they get 3 hours of classroom instruction each day, but also all this additional time working on projects. I get an awful lot of opportunities to interact with students on a day-to-day basis. I get to really see their progress in a much more direct way. The opportunities for assessment are far greater.


    Do you see a lot of beginners in the Code Fellows course?

    The first course was much more beginner heavy. The aim at Code Fellows is to have these Dev Accelerators be exactly what they say on the box, which is to take a developer (which implies that you already know something) and accelerate them into being fully qualified to take on a job as a full-time developer. There’s a difference between an amateur coder and an employed developer. Our aim is to get those professional level skills to people with some kind of experience. That being said, the first time through, we had quite a few beginners, including one student who had never written a line of code before. He now has a 75K job. I would love to say that’s because I’m the world’s greatest teacher, but that’s just not true. The reality is that the environment is very good at moving people along quickly and he was an ideal student for this situation. He was hungry for knowledge and information—he took everything an extra 10 steps further.

    The reason we have the Foundations courses is to try to provide people with enough basic programming experience so that we can bring them into the Dev Accelerator and really polish them up. There are a fair number of students coming out of the Foundations II: Python course and going into the dev accelerator. I’m feeling quite good about the level of the students.


    For students who go into the Dev Accelerator, do you give them pre-work before they start?

    For me, the pre-work mostly consists of pointing them at a number of learning resources for Python, and then having them type as much Python as they possibly can. The key to the Dev Accelerator is having some kind of facility in the language. There’s a lot of work and a tremendous amount of coding they do, so the less time they can spend thinking about basic API methods on core Python code, the better they’ll be.


    If someone is interested in taking your Python course, are there certain online materials or books that you recommend?

    There’s a tremendous amount of material out there; the hardest part is picking one of these resources. There’s probably 8-10 really well-reputed resources. I met a woman named Marta Maria Casetti at PyCon who has done a review of existing Python learning resources online, and wrote up reviews of each resource, focusing on what type of learner they might be good for. I point people to her blog posts and have them choose and follow one of her suggested paths.


    What is your teaching style? Have you ever run into a situation where your teaching style doesn’t mesh will the student’s learning style?

    The challenge in teaching is recognizing when someone isn’t understanding a concept in the way you’re saying it. Teaching is about communication, much like programming is about communication. Being able to recognize when the instructions you’re giving aren’t gelling with your students is hugely important. One of the tools I’ve picked up is that I give each student a red sticky note and a green sticky note. As we’re working our way through concepts, if they’re having trouble understanding me or having difficulties, they stick the red sticky note on their laptop. That’s a red flag. What I’ve found in using this device is that students are reluctant to raise their hands in class to tell you they’re not understanding; they’re far more likely to use this little flag that says “I don’t get it.” That allows you to circle back and talk about the problem in a new way or using a different approach.

    I run into situations all the time when students don’t get a topic, and it’s always because I haven’t found the right way yet to unlock that for them. The challenge and the joy of teaching, is figuring out new way to describe solutions to a problem.


    Did everyone in your first cohort graduate?

    No, we actually had three people out of ten who didn’t make it. One person dropped out after the first week. The workload was too much for him, and he wasn’t prepared to do what was being asked of him. It’s an interesting story, though: he dropped out of the class, went back and took our Foundations I class and Foundations II class in Python. As far as I’m concerned, I think he has the technical skill to take on the Dev Accelerator now, though he chose to delay entry in order to give himself time to build velocity. It’s proof positive that the approach of bringing people through a series of courses can prepare them in a much more profound way than having them teach themselves. Two other students did not complete the required coursework in the time allowed.


    Right. I think it’s cool that Code Fellows has a variety of offerings for different levels, so that if a student is falling behind, there are other options for them.

    Yes, it’s great for the students, because they get the opportunity to fill in the gaps. And it’s a fantastic thing for the teachers, because it means that we can approach the Dev Accelerator courses as a high-level finishing school rather than a ground-up bootcamp.


    In addition to teaching hard technical skills, do you focus on any soft skills at Code Fellows?

    Absolutely. On a day-to-day basis, all of our assignments are actually going to be paired. I didn’t do this the first time through, and I regret it. We’re going to be partnering each week, and the partners will pair program to produce each code assignment. People switch between driver and navigator, and both will get a chance to offer suggestions and ask questions. I think this will produce a higher level of learning.

    The course is 8-weeks long, and divided into two halves. At the end of each half is a project week. Students divide into teams and come up with an idea, spec out the idea, and draw up wire frames to create user stories, which they put into an agile project management system. During the project week, they build the projects from the ground up, and eventually demo it. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn the soft skills necessary for them to function in a team. Programming skills are one thing, but learning how to function really well in a team, divide up tasks, and work as a functioning system, is the skill that makes you truly employable. When I talk to employers about the skills that they’re looking for in Python programmers, the Python skills they’re looking for are desperately varied (big data vs. web vs. testers etc), but everybody is looking for a developer who can slot into a team effectively. That’s something we can help provide.

    Beyond that, four days per week is classroom instruction, but on Fridays, we have lectures from people out in the business world. They talk about interview skills, cracking the code interview, and whiteboarding. That’s one of the reasons I signed on with Code Fellows: there are a lot of places that teach you to code, but Code Fellows teaches you to get a job.


    Has everyone in your last cohort gotten a job?

    Out of the 7 people who successfully finished the class, we have three full-time employed graduates and one who is doing contract work.


    Have most of the graduates stayed in Seattle?

    Everyone but one.  That person was admitted to the Computational Linguistics program at Standford for PhD. work.


    What type of student do you see being really successful at Code Fellows, and what type of student doesn’t do well?

    In my opinion, students who are internally motivated and have a desire to learn something on their own do fantastically. The kinds of students who don’t do well are people who come in looking for someone to motivate them and kickstart what they see as something they ought to be doing.


    Anything else you’d like to add about Code Fellows?

    Speaking as a person who made a career switch, there’s something that Code Fellows does, which I had to find out along the way: Code Fellows helps you understand the degree to which your social connections in the world of programming are important to your professional career. The hard skills of programming are important, but it’s really important to make connections with people and communicate with others about what you love and are passionate about. I figured that out along the way, and I think I would have had a more accelerated development as a programmer if I had known that up front.


    Want to learn more about Code Fellows? Check out their School Page on Course Report or their website!

  • Instructor Spotlight: Brad Johnson, Code Fellows

    Liz Eggleston5/21/2014


    After graduating from the Code Fellows iOS Dev Accelerator, Brad Johnson decided to combine his interest in education with his new programming skills and join Code Fellows as a co-instructor. He's currently teaching his second cohort alongside iOS Developer and instructor John Clem, and took time to chat with Course Report about his ideal students, how the Dev Accelerators are structured, and how Code Fellows fits into the Seattle tech scene!


    What were you doing before you started at Code Fellows?

    I had a job doing Help Desk IT. I was miserable. So I began to look into ways that I could change my career. I had taken a few C++ course in college and really enjoyed them, so I decided to look into programming. I began teaching myself iOS programming using the vast resources online, but when I heard about Code Fellows and the opportunity they provided people, it seemed like a no brainer. Best decision I have ever made!


    Did you get other job offers or go through the job placement process before you decided to take the job with Code Fellows?

    Yes, I had a number of companies contact me about possible employment, but continuing what I had started at Code Fellows seemed like the perfect fit for me.


    What is your position at Code Fellows now?

    I’m a co-instructor in the iOS Dev Accelerator.


    Tell us about the differences between the Foundations, Bootcamps, and Dev Accelerators at Code Fellows.

    Foundations I is an introduction to computer science and web development, which gives students the groundwork they’ll need to think like a developer and understand the basic programming terms they will encounter in Foundations II and Development Accelerators.

    Each Foundations II class corresponds with a Development Accelerator (Foundations II: iOS Development and the iOS Development Accelerator, for example) and prepares students for the 8-week program.

    Bootcamps are 4-week, full-time programs that cover the material from Foundations I and some Foundations II material as well, and set students up for transition into a Development Accelerator. The structure follows that of the Development Accelerators (3 hours of lecture and 3 hours of project work/homework per day), but the material is geared more toward novice developers or people who are self-taught and want that computer science foundation.

    Foundations and Bootcamp students get a personalized growth plan that helps them grow in their knowledge of computer science, web development, and their chosen stack, and get the experience that will help them understand and retain material in a Development Accelerator.

    Development Accelerators are intense, 8-week programs ideal for experienced developers who want to switch stacks, studied computer science in college, or are advanced in their self-education. Of course, we’ve had students of varying experience levels do really well in these programs, but have found that students with a lot of prior coding experience have an easier time keeping up with the intense nature and work of the Development Accelerators.

    There’s also a night class for each stack we offer- Javascript, Rails, IOS. That’s also considered a foundations course, and it’s for people who have already had experience with computer science. You can start a Foundations class to get introduced to your stack. Then from there you would get into the Dev Accelerator.



    So somebody who has some past experience in tech can jump straight into the dev accelerator?

    They could, yes. It depends on their experience level and how hard they’re willing to work. We’ve had students with not a lot of programming experience take a Development Accelerator, work really hard, ask a lot of questions, and land a job at the end. We try to steer novice programmers toward the Foundations I and II classes because it can be frustrating to jump straight into the 8-week program only to feel confused and like you’re constantly behind your classmates. The instructors are great and work with everyone, but it’s easier on the students to have the proper practice and foundation in place. But Foundations I and II aren’t a requirement by any means, and if you get through the Development Accelerator interview process and are accepted into the program, it’s because we have confidence in your experience level and abilities.


    What does a day of teaching look like in the iOS course?  

    From 9 to 12 every day, John and I do lecture. John is the other instructor for the iOS class. We basically live code and constantly answer questions and explain each line we write, and everyone’s following along with their own laptops.

    Then we break for lunch; 1pm to 4pm is homework time and they’ll do the assigned homework. Students will work in pairs or groups or individually and the instructors are there to help them the entire time; everyone’s working together to get the homework done.


    How are the two months divided up into a curriculum?

    For the first month, we make one app per week. So for this dev accelerator, the first app was a class roster app. It’s functionality manages all of the students and teachers. You click on a student and it takes you to their bio. We thought it was a good way to teach the students fundamentals and also it’s a good ice-breaker because they have to ask each other their names, bios, what their dreams are, their Twitter handles, things like that.

    The second week, we built an app that you could use to relay Morse code with the flash on the iPhone. You could send in your message and then the flash would actually flash out the message in Morse code. Someone else could have their phone a couple feet away and they would receive it.

    The third app was a GitHub app. That’s where we focused on networking and using APIs. So you could log into your GitHub account and view your own repositories, other people’s repositories, search for users, things like that. Then in the fourth week, we have them create their own app and send it to the app store.

    The second month is a similar approach except that instead of one app per week, it’s more like two apps per week, and we hit some rapid-fire topics for all the different frameworks in iOS. So we hit game development, and we hit core data which is like a database-type structure. The final week, we do our group apps where they create an app in groups and submit that to the app store.


    How are you helping your students get jobs?

    We do demo days at the very end of the program. Also, the second month is when we devote the most time to actually get students jobs. We go through their resumes, we hook them up with a mentor, somebody in the industry. We have speakers come in and talk about technical interviews and culture fit. After students graduate, many (if not all) of them come back to work and apply for jobs from our coworking space. They’re also working on building their portfolios and continuing to process what they learned the last eight weeks. We send their resumes to our hiring partners as well.


    How set is the curriculum that you use? Do you feel like you can make fluid changes, or is it set in stone?

    It’s very fluid; it just depends on the speed of the class. Also, Apple changes their frameworks a ton so we need to be constantly adapting to their changes as well. So it is not, by any means, set in stone. Before the students start the Development Accelerator, we give them a layout of everything but we specify that the curriculum could change based on a number of different factors.


    Do you give students pre-work before they start the Dev Accelerator?

    We do. To get into the Dev Accelerator, you have to interview for it and there’s a coding challenge. If they applicant is accepted, then we send out an email with a list of things they need to touch on before the Development Accelerator starts. That includes checking out some of the online coding programs to cement your fundamental knowledge, and reading through Apple’s documentation.


    Do you help with admissions at all?

    The instructors don’t currently do any sort of admissions. Brook Riggio, one of the Code Fellows co-founders and our Ruby on Rails Development Accelerator instructor, is currently interviewing applicants along with our head of admissions. So specific instructors (except Brook) don’t currently do any sort of admissions.


    Can you tell us what the interview process was like for you to become an instructor?

    I was interviewed for it by the CEO, Will. He asked me how I would improve the Development Accelerators, because I actually was an education major in college, so teaching is another hobby of mine. I talked about that and talked about my experiences, and I was recommended by the other teachers. I had this great perspective because I had already been through it, so I could totally help out and make this thing great.


    Do you feel like you can stay at Code Fellows for a long time, or do you need time off to learn and stay fresh in the dev world?

    I think it’s viable to stay at Code Fellows for a long time. I get about a month off between Development Accelerators so I’ve got all the time in the world to work on my own things, study up on new technology, study languages; on my last break I learned C Sharp. I’ve got a lot of time; I love working here so I’m hoping I can stay as long as possible.


    Have you found the ideal student who will do really well at Code Fellows? 

    We do a lot of group work, so someone who is very easy to work with, very flexible, very accepting, and willing to try new things. When you work in groups, you don’t always get your way, and you can tell if someone is used to just having their way the entire time because it’s difficult for them to work with other people.

    The ideal students are ones who can go into any group and just immediately start participating; it doesn’t matter if they’re the leader or if they’re just taking orders.


    Do you see students who come from outside of Seattle to join?

    Oh yeah; a lot of them. And most of the students stay in Seattle afterwards.


    Can you describe the tech scene in Seattle for us, and how Code Fellows fits into that scene?

    We’re right in the middle of the Amazon campus. It’s in South Lake Union which is basically the tech capital of Seattle. Amazon and a bunch of startups are here, as well as a bunch of coworking spaces. So you go outside and you’re just surrounded by tech people.

    For lunch, we get a ton of food trucks, and when you go outside for lunch and you’re waiting in line, you’re going to meet people who are engineers. The opportunities you can get by just being in the area are amazing.


    From the students’ perspective and also as an instructor, can you tell us what makes Code Fellows unique from other boot camps?

    I don’t have any experience with other boot camps, but what I can say is that I love my job. I feel like I have the best job on the planet. Every day I get to come and do things that I love and teach other people how to do these things.

    One cool thing is that a lot of people come from out-of-state. They don’t come here having this group of friends, so Code Fellows is their network of friends. You get this camaraderie that’s built over these two months and friendships are made that are really lasting. I still hang out with people from my first bootcamp and I hang out with students from my last bootcamp and I’m making friends in my current Development Accelerator, too. Everyone has the same passion; we go to happy hour and social events all the time. One of the best things about doing Code Fellows is just all the friends you’re going to meet.

    Also, the people who run Code Fellows are very ingrained in the tech scene in Seattle; they’ve got a lot of connections. If you aspire to work at Microsoft or work at Facebook and things like that, Code Fellows can get your foot in the door; they’ve got a lot of connections.


    To find out more about Code Fellows, visit their School Page on Course Report or their website here