Recent DecodeMTL News
- Am I the Right Candidate for a Coding Bootcamp?
- Alumni Spotlight: Scott of DecodeMTL
- Canadian Coding Bootcamps
Recent DecodeMTL Reviews: Rating 4.75
Web Development Immersive
Learn the ins and outs of web development in this immersive course. You will master the fundamentals of Back-End Development, Databases, Front-End Development, Git, the Command Line, and much more. Job ready upon graduation.
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- Minimum Skill Level
- Basic computer skills
- Placement Test
- Prep Work
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Before I launch into a spirited review of DecodeMTL, a bit of context on myself will help reveal some important variables. First off, I come from by no means a CS background. Far from it, I have a Bachelors in Urban Planning and worked for several years as an infantry soldier.
Why this bears mention is that one of the most common fears about this industry is that it will be utterly beyond those without some sort of pre-existing CS experience. That is absolutely not true. Web development is far more accessible than you might think, but there are certainly things to ponder before you take the leap at a bootcamp...
I think the biggest question someone reading this wants answered: is DecodeMTL a legit bootcamp and will it get me an entry position as a Dev? Yes and yes; its a kickass bootcamp and I landed a job within two weeks. But there's more to it than that.
In my opinion, there is a way to experience this bootcamp to get the most out of it. These are your checks in the box to complete before day 1...
1. You've decided to do this for a reason. Its 6k. Its only 2 months. Do a soul search and make sure that this is what you want and you are ready to work your ass. The days are long and the info is fast and furious. You will need to dedicate 200% of your attention to this course in order to succeed, which brings me to my next point..
3. Don't expect the moon. DecodeMTL does what it claims to do and it does it well, but they cannot snap their fingers and turn you into Dan Abramov. This is merely the beginning of a career-long journey. It will be hard and frustrating but extremely rewarding. Dig deep and prepare yourself for this grind, only time and practice can make you a great coder. Have the patience to make mistakes and get lost. The right attitude will do wonders.
Everyone that attends this course will have the opportunity to emerge as competent, entry-level developers. The cirriculum is constantly updated to stay relevant (big emphasis on React here) and by the end you will have written some code that you probably couldn't imagine before hand. Some will squander this course by not abiding by the aforementioned points, but that doesn't have to be you.
The final day - demo day - will be the real shocker if you're someone like me. What surprised me is the sheer interest and attention (and propositions) you will receive from recruiters, employers and investors who will actually line up to speak with you. If you've done your research you'll know that the industry is always hungry for devs, and now I've seen it first hand. You will not want for job opportunities, its just up to you to pursue them.
Well paced with lots of instruction, helpful tips and guides to keep you up to speed. To get the most out of the course you will need to be able to put aside a sizeable chunk of hours each week to complete the exercises and projects.
Lucas is a great instructor and is very knowlegable. He clearly loves what he does and puts great effort in to answering everyones questions whether during class time or on the group chat.
If you take this course you will be able start with no knowledge and go and build responsive well written websites by the end.
I started the course without any idea about HTML or CSS. The pace of the course is quite good. The course starts explaining the basic concepts and builds into more complicated ideas by exercises, code-alongs, and homework.
Lucas was a great instructor and was available to answer our questions. The class room and lounge are very nice!
I recommend for someone looking to have an introduction to Web Design; to take this course, especially if you need to interact directly with an instructor!
I was initally skeptical that I would be able to get hired with only 8 weeks of training and I wondered how much I could actually learn in such little time before I decided to attend the full-time bootcamp. I was especially skeptical because programming was a big career change for me, having previously worked in social services, which required years of formal training. I ended up finding work within a week of finishing Decode and am extremely happy with the job I landed. Our demo day provided an amazing opportunity to present our final projects to a room full of people looking to hire, which led to several interviews for me and a job offer.
Overall, I would say that Decode is what you make of it. I would definitely recommend Decode to anyone who can really commit to clearing their schedule for the course period to ensure they don't fall behind in class. The pace is fast and they pack a lot into the course so, again, it's what you make it. But Ziad is an amazing instructor and was able to explain concepts in a way that even us newbs could understand. The cost was worth it to have a strict schedule that I had to stay on track with, to have the TAs help whenever I got completely stuck on a workshop, and to have the opportunity to present to a room of hiring managers.
I would definitely recommend taking the full-time course at DecodeMTL. Obviously it is impossible to learn everything about web development in two months, however the course gives you a solid foundation and teaches relevant technologies. You graduate with the skills to enter the work field as a Junior Dev.
Ziad, the instructor, is passionate about what he does and is great at explaining the material in a clear, understandable way. Codrin, the TA, is amazing. He is always available, 7 days a week, well past course hours to mentor the students and ensure that everyone fully grasps all the concepts.
Being located in WeWork is a bonus: close to the metro and downtown, unlimited coffee/tea/beer, networking events all the time, etc.
I found a job just a few weeks after the program with a competitive salary (close to $60,000) and nice benefits. I have also recieved quite a few offers just from recruiters viewing my LinkedIn or GitHub profiles.
Overall, DecodeMTL was an amazing experience and I highly recommend taking the full-time immersive course.
Decode MTL is an amazing place.
Do not underestimate it because it is not on campus. Our teacher(Lucas) taught at Concordia before. He is not only an professional programmer but a inspiring teacher!! I do respect his passion for teaching and coding.
This special learning experience is very influential to me.
2. ENVIRONMENT FOR ENTREPRENEUR
I am a student in Concordia and my major is more related to business. I find DecodeMTL can give me an awesome opportunity to meet different people. Many of my classmates already worked in the IT industry, having work experience in coding. It is a very impressive experience to talk and learn from them too.
I would highly recommend taking a web development course at DecodeMTL.
The prof communicates the material in a clear and articulate manner despite the complexity of the subject at hand. The notes are extremely well formatted (I am old school and need notes to be able to digest material efficiently).
The teacher (Lucas) and TA (Codrin) are accessible and super patient as well as generous with their time and knowledge!
The space at WeWork is rather pleasant too. I must say, it gave me the yearning to become an entrepreneur!
Originally I thought that should I ever really love coding (which is precisely what ended up happening.....to the point where its all I dream about anymore!!!), the plan was to use the completion of this course as a stepping stone before applying to get into the Computer Science program at University however I learned that the that the curriculum in most colleges (certainly here in Montreal) are many years behind and therefore wouldn't allow for one to graduate with enough practical knowledge hence I look forward to taking another course at DecodeMTL in the future.
I've been part of the first Full-time cohort, and I'm still amazed at how much I learned and became employable in only 8 weeks. I've been learning Web Development on my own three or four monthes prior to the Bootcamp , and did not even cover half of all the content we saw.
They have a solid experience from working in the industry and know the standarts and the skills that must be learned. I've been hired 2 weeks ago, and I am using a lot of what they showed us on a daily basis.
If you're looking for a career mave as I was, I definitely recommend it, as long as you're not afraid (and more important, that you love) to code, code, and then code overnight.
The eight weeks I spent at DecodeMTL were by far the best! I learned to think and code like a developer. What I learned proved to be invaluable in my career shift. I was a teacher by day and a web designer by night. Now I am a full-stack web developer by day and by night! ;-)
I now work as a junior web-app design/implementer for Research On Investment and
I am one of the first cohort's graduates (September-October 2015).
I had an amazing experience with DecodeMTL. The course is well designed and even if my brain had some hard time here and there, everything went pretty smoothly. The lead instructor Ziad Saab has a genuine sense for teaching.
The course is really intensive but this is what makes the environment so dynamic. As we were only twelve students, the atmosphere was somehow like a family and we are actually all sad the course is over now. This went really too fast!
I am still struck by how much I was able to learn in 8 weeks. Being at the right place, with the right people, make a huge difference. And DecodeMTL was exactly what I needed to succeed my career change.
DecodeMTL’s program has exceeded all my expectations. And in the end, I am very grateful to Ziad and Kevin for leading me where I am now. I had close to zero web knowledge, 8 weeks later, I feel like everything is possible.
J'ai eu la chance de faire parti de la première cohorte de DecodeMTL. J'ai appris beaucoup, et ce dans un environnement très relax, propice à l'effort intellectuel. Professeurs de qualités avec beaucoup de patience et générosité. Je recommande.
I had the chance to be part of the first cohort at DecodeMTL. I improved my coding skills like I didn't thought possible in 8 weeks. Knowledgeable and patient teaching staff. I would recommand the program to anyone who wants solid foundations regarding full stack web developping.
Our latest on DecodeMTL
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?Continue Reading →
Scott was a school teacher in Montreal for 17 years before he started teaching himself web design and freelancing on the side. When he decided to make the full career change, Scott enrolled in DecodeMTL coding bootcamp in Montreal. Now he is a front end developer for AppDirect and loving it. Scott tells us about his favorite project at DecodeMTL, the classmates in his cohort, and his surprise at finding a great new job so quickly.
What is your pre-bootcamp story? What is your educational background? Your last career path?
I was a high school math and English teacher for 17 years. In the last four years I started freelancing in web design, building basic sites with WordPress. Last year I decided I wanted to do web design full time. I didn’t just want to design, I wanted to code and program and design. So I looked for coding bootcamps, and DecodeMTL was the only one available in Montreal.
When did you decide to quit your job and go from freelancer to full-time developer?
I think it probably started when I was looking forward to summer break too much, and I found I was enjoying my part-time job more than my full-time job. I knew then that it was time to make a change.
What types of resources did you use when you were teaching yourself how to code?
I learned on my own out of necessity at first. I taught at a nonprofit learning center, and we didn’t have funding to pay for much, so whenever anything needed to be done on their website I just did it. I learned as I went and found I really liked it, and then kept going and going. I was lucky enough to build a small network of customers. It was very interesting and it took up more and more of my time, which was a good thing. I learned using Lynda.com, Codecademy, and some books, but mostly online.
What made you feel you needed more than self-teaching?
I could learn design on my own, but when it came to the development side, I felt I had maxed out on self-teaching. I had programmed a little bit in PHP for WordPress, but I wasn’t quite sure where to go from there. I wanted to be in a full-time class with other people who are interested in the same thing, with a teacher who could guide us – that was probably the most important thing. I looked at some online bootcamps but they were mostly on the west coast and a lot more expensive. It made more sense to do an in-person bootcamp here in Montreal.
Did you ever consider doing a four-year CS degree?
No, only because I knew that college curricula are so many years behind what we actually need to know, so it wasn’t going to help me get a job or move forward. It would have been a nice base for theoretical concepts, but not enough practical knowledge.
Was your class diverse in terms of gender, race, life and career backgrounds?
It was a pretty good mix, we were 12 people, there was only one girl in our cohort. But in the one before and the one after it was more of a 50-50 ratio. The students were from all different backgrounds. The woman in my cohort was also a teacher, and came from Boston to do the program. It was good mix of ages – I was almost sure I would be the oldest one but I wasn't. About a third of them were career changers, the others were just getting started.
Was it important for you to learn a specific programming language or stack?
What was the learning experience like at DecodeMTL? Tell us about a typical day.
The classes are 10 am to 6 pm. Each day would usually involve a sit-down class from 10 am to 12 pm, then lunch. In the afternoon we did exercises based on what we had learned in the morning, and sometimes break back into one group do little 20 to 30-minute teaching sessions, then continue with the exercise. There was lots of time to do lots of practice. And there was also the option to stay after 6 pm – there were TAs available until 9pm every night.
What sort of coding projects did you work on?
We had one small project in the first few weeks, then a second bigger version of that project, then at the end we worked on our own personal project. My favorite project was the team project, where we built an app called Savvy Aardvark that would tell you whether or not you could eat something by scanning the barcode, based on certain dietary restrictions you had entered into the app. I am intolerant to MSG, which is how I came up with the idea. It was a lot of fun, and we were planning to keep working on it but I got roped so quickly into the job search that I haven’t even looked at it since the end of the bootcamp.
How did you find your first developer job?
Within the first week after graduation, I was already out on interviews. I found the opportunity at AppDirect through word of mouth. I was also interviewing with two or three other places, but this one escalated very quickly. It was by far the best position and offer I got. I had to do two interviews, then I had to do a project challenge, then another interview in person, and a final interview. So in total, there were four interviews and a challenge. They gave me 10 days to do the coding challenge, so I took 10 days. It was replicating a Twitter app, and pushed me, which was good. If it had been too easy, it wouldn’t have been as interesting a job.
Congrats on your new job at AppDirect! Can you tell me a bit about your role and what the company does?
AppDirect is a cloud marketplace and management service that enables companies to sell apps to their customers. It’s still a startup but it now employs almost 400 people working in Montreal and San Francisco. The Montreal office is full of senior developers. It’s great to be with people who know so much more than me. My official title is Front End Developer, but my role will likely evolve in the next few months. I’ve been trying to understand the application, finding and fixing bugs. It’s been a great experience so far, and very interesting because it’s completely different from my past career.
In the first few weeks, even up to now, I’ve had time for learning. It took me almost three days to set up my computer properly, then after that I’m slowly working on bugs and simple projects. I’m still in training, so I work alongside other developers for the most part. I work on my own but if I have questions I have people to ask.
How did DecodeMTL prepare you for finding your new job?
DecodeMTL does help graduates prep for interviews, etc., but I started job hunting right away, so I participated less in that. I believe the founder, Kevin, does follow up with everybody, and has them come in at least once a week.
Do you feel like you accomplished the goals you set when starting a coding bootcamp?
I had hoped to get a job as a developer, but I wasn’t sure how quickly that would happen. I had given myself a few months to find a new job, but this by far surpassed my expectations. When DecodeMTL finishes, most students go on to become interns for two to three months, and I completely bypassed that stage. I think my freelance experience helped out in that respect.
What does a web developer’s day to day look like?
During DecodeMTL, I actually found myself wishing that this was my day-to-day job, working on developing products with other like-minded people. And that’s what I’m doing now – I’m hunting bugs, and that’s an adventure in itself, because I don’t fully understand the code base yet, but I’m getting there. The whole culture is very, very different from teaching in a high school.
Are you using the stack/programming language you learned at DecodeMTL?
So far I’m using a lot of what I learned, but I do have to learn a few more things. Here they use mostly Backbone, so I still need to get Backbone down. They also use Java but right now, that’s beyond my scope.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Probably accepting that I can't know everything right away and I have to take the time to learn it. I would really like to be able to just know everything, but web development is not like that, so that’s a big challenge, I have to accept it’s still a learning process, and it’s okay to not know.
It’s definitely a never-ending process of learning. I take the train to work, so I have a lot of time to watch videos, or do some reading and keep up to date.
What advice do you have for people making a career change after bootcamp?
Do it! You have to be sure that being a developer is what you want. But I should probably have done it a long time ago.
Is there anything you’d like to add about your experience at DecodeMTL?
It was a great experience, we learned a lot, and it was a lot of fun. It was mostly just fun to be with people who were all excited about those little bits of code. I guess if that excites you, then you’re in the right place!
Canadian bootcamps are working hard to develop the talent needed to keep up with Canada’s growing tech hubs. StartUp Compass ranks Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver amongst the top 20 startup ecosystems in the world. The Canadian tech economy as a whole is being fueled by thriving companies such as Shopify, Hootsuite, Kik, Wattpad, and Erkem. Their success has generated a lot of interest among investors.
“Over the past few years, Canada has seen record high numbers of angels investing in promising early stage companies across the country and as the technology sector continues to grow, it is expected that angel investing will continue to grow as well,” according to the National Angel Capital Organization 2014 Angel Investing Report. In 2014, $90.5 million was invested into 181 Canadian companies by angel investors.Continue Reading →
DecodeMTL is an 8-week Front-End Web Development program that teaches students to build beautifully crafted and well coded simple websites. With their first cohort coming up, we sat down with founder Kevin Khoury to get the scoop on who's teaching the course and the outcomes students can expect when graduating.
What were you doing before you started DecodeMTL?
I am not a technical person. Our co-founder, Ziad Saab is the technical guy. He’s been a full-stack developer for over 15 years. He’s also a great teacher and volunteers his time teaching the local “Ladies Learning Code” chapter here in Montreal.
When did DecodeMTL start? Is this your first cohort?
DecodeMTL has just begun and we are starting our first cohort in October of 2014.
Why did you decide to teach front-end development?
Front-End web development was the best place for us to start. We knew we wanted to offer a part-time course that would welcome beginners, so teaching front-end made the most sense.
The website is really clear that this class is for beginners- does this mean that someone can have absolutely no experience? Should an applicant complete Codecademy or something before applying?
Is there an interview process? What is it like?
Yes there is an interview process, but I like to refer to it more as a conversation. The goal here is to see what kind of background an applicant is coming from, what they are looking to get out of the course, if they have any coding experience, etc. We want to be sure that the applicants we select will excel in our course and come out with a positive experience. For that reason it is necessary to have a conversation with them before accepting them into the course.
Why Montreal? Tell us about the tech scene in Montreal? Is there a technical shortage? What kinds of companies are hiring?
Montreal is our hometown, and we want to give back to the growing tech community here. There absolutely is a shortage of qualified programmers. Many companies look externally to our city for good candidates, but because we are a bilingual spoken city, it is often hard to recruit externally. While our city is home to some fairly established tech companies who are always hiring, our startup scene is booming. The best place to browse startups and startup jobs in our city is here: http://builtinmtl.com/jobs.
Student spend ~4 hours/week in class- what are their obligations outside of class?
Our ideal students will be motivated tinkerers. They will naturally want to try out the new stuff that they learned outside of the class. We feel like the best way to learn new material is to practice it as much as possible. We will be giving basic exercises after each session, but they'll be suggestions and by no means obligations. Ideally, the student will spend at least 1-2 hours practicing on the days where there is no lecture.
What does class time look like? Are students doing projects or learning via lecture?
Even though the first two or three sessions will have more talking and less doing, most of the sessions will be half lecture and half workshop. We want the participants to try things on their own and break things on their own. The last week of class will be slightly different then the rest. Students will come in Monday to Friday evening and build out there own product. This week will be completely hands on with tons of collaboration between the students and instructors.
What are the expected outcomes from the front-end dev class? Would someone be able to get a job? Get a promotion at their current job?
The expected outcome of the front-end course is to put people in a position to becoming a junior front-end web developer. With hard work you should be able to land yourself an entry-level front-end development job. However, you will also be in a position to build your own simple websites (sites that do not require a backend), landing pages, portfolio site, or even create a prototype of a new product with an aim at attracting investors.
Is there an emphasis on job placement? How do you incorporate that into the curriculum?
As this is our first cohort, we are are still in the process of developing relationships with local startups and tech companies to introduce our talent pool to them. We already have the support of the local tech community in launching our course, and have several companies who have expressed interest in meeting with the talent that comes out of our course. However, at this moment we are not advertising any demo days, or meet and greets. But it is not to say it won’t happen.
What’s next for DecodeMTL? Other locations? A full-time program or different languages?
We really want to focus on this first course and make sure it’s the absolute best it can be. We want the students coming out of the course to have had a truly positive and insightful learning experience. While this course is running, we will ask the local community what they want to learn. With there feedback, we will see what the next move will be.