Software Engineer • Graduate • Full-Time Remote Software Engineering Immersive • Online
Dec 05, 2022
This is a long review, but I know how intense this process can be for those of you looking at attending a bootcamp. It has now been about a year since I decided to attend a bootcamp to change careers. I looked everywhere online when I settled on going to a bootcamp; I read every review, I watched every video on Youtube, I even messaged alumni of different bootcamps on LinkedIn, and eventually, I found my way to Codesmith. For the last 3 months since the program, I’ve considered myself lu...
This is a long review, but I know how intense this process can be for those of you looking at attending a bootcamp. It has now been about a year since I decided to attend a bootcamp to change careers. I looked everywhere online when I settled on going to a bootcamp; I read every review, I watched every video on Youtube, I even messaged alumni of different bootcamps on LinkedIn, and eventually, I found my way to Codesmith. For the last 3 months since the program, I’ve considered myself lucky everyday I made the choice I did.
Codesmith is without question, the best educational environment I’ve had the privilege to learn in. I’ve been lucky enough to go to good schools in the past, but I’m really proud, frankly, to say that this online bootcamp has really left them in the dust in key ways. I’ll make a note here that I was hired as a fellow by the program after my time in the immersive program, so if you need a grain of salt to start, there could be one.
- Admissions: It is worth making a comment right away that getting into Codesmith is not easy, but it is NOT an unjust process like I experienced in other programs. I speak from experience as someone who applied elsewhere, tried to go through admission processes at other places (everyone should have options), and eventually conducted the literal technical interviews for Codesmith myself, the admissions process is doing its job well. I won’t get too lost in the details, but I will say that if you can pass the Codesmith technical interview, you have what it takes to become a software engineer. They test on every quality and detail that I was tested on in a real technical interview for the job I have now. That all said, don’t rush into this process. It is possible, having seen both sides of admissions, to brute force your way through, with time. Do NOT throw $20k into something before you are ready. If you understand, for example, how to add methods to a prototype so they can be inherited by other objects, you could be ready. If you have no idea what I mean by that, do not stress even a little bit; just take your time to learn is my point (:
- Portfolio: Not a ton to say here, although a ton could be said. It is worth noting that you will have a better time job hunting when you have real open-source products on the resumé. And Codesmith focuses on making you build real, open-source projects before you leave. You don’t want to pay for a program that is tutorial style really, because why not just spend $2k (at most) in Udemy courses and be done with it? Codesmith makes you build in small teams of engineers (like in the real world), on projects that are technically impressive and that are REALLY challenging. You’ll hear “hard learning” thrown around a lot in and out of the program, and there is no form of better learning than solving a bug you’ve been stuck on for 6 hours with a team; this makes a good portfolio for sure.
- Hiring Support: I have so much love for the hiring support team answering every ridiculous, anxious question I ever hit them with, day or night. Codesmith really points you in a direction at the end of the program and teaches you how to carry yourself in interviews in the tech industry. Tech interviews and getting hired generally as a software engineer is honestly very formulaic. It’s almost entirely behavioral / very ceremonial, which was somewhat surprising to me. Codesmith guides you through all of these processes and really do their best to ensure you have support networks (during and after the program) to guide you through the idiosyncrasies of the tech industry. I would NOT have gotten a job as smoothly as I did if it wasn’t for their mentorship.
- Management/Team: This part could be a never-ending rant. I think what you will find, even will find just by attending the free workshops, is that Codesmith is a community of really passionate people that are putting in the work for the right reasons. I truly believe Codesmith only works because the instructors and the management of the organization are people who are passionate about seeing people change their lives. Will Sentance is the founder and owner, and not only will he give your cohort a lecture at the end, but you will get several chances to hear from him throughout the program; could not be any more apparent this person cares about fostering a space for people to change their lives. Eric Kirsten is a senior board advisor that will lead you through the hiring program. Eric is another huge element of the “secret sauce” of success at Codesmith. Takes a certain level of tailored mentorship to get an engineer to negotiate $15k in base salary after only 8-12 months of studying the industry, and Eric will take a hands-on approach to make sure you get that. Phillip Troutman, he’s the chief academic officer, is another key player you’ll hear from often. Let me tell you, part of the secret of Codesmith is convincing students every day they can do everything and anything so that they actually go out and attempt insane feats of engineering; Phillip is the key to that happening. Every program has different instructors, but in the central remote program — Katrina Villanueva and Jared Lewis are *the* reason students understand the core curriculum so well. Their compassion and attention towards student success is without question what makes the CTRI immersive so effective. For the sake of not making this piece of the review endless, I’ll stop here, but yes, there are that many incredible people in this organization.
- School / Life Balance: There is very little balance. This is my very real, very difficult con for the program that I would not hide from anyone. You will eat, sleep, and breathe Codesmith, which at times will be a lot to handle. This program is hard. You will watch your cohort go lows and highs of imposter syndrome almost daily. It can even feel a bit cult-like, I suppose, at times. But what can I say — you get a room of intelligent people together every day who want to change careers in a (seemingly) impossible time frame into a field that is really challenging and competitive. It isn't crazy to assume that process will be hard, but if you put the work in you’ll be so glad you did it one day. It took me about 10-11 months, from start to finish, from the day I decided to attend Codesmith, to the day I got a job offer.
There are other great programs out there for sure, but if I was to do this all over again, I’d be right back at Codesmith.