Recent Dev Academy Reviews: Rating 2.0
Dev Academy Reviews
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With the wave of 'learn to code' being the skill set that's encouraged in the future, we have seen a trend of bootcamps jump onboard and promise to turn you from zero to hero in the space of 18 weeks, but I would warn people to not just jump on the bandwagon whilst you spend a dump truck of savings ($11k and up) for these courses.
Personally I think it's a very risky thing - spending $11k of hard earned money on a course that's has no governmental oversight or auditing of curriculum, practices etc...As a private company, these coding bootcamps aren't regulated by stringent Government oversight which protects consumers (Read this:http://www.fastcompany.com/3025896/california-orders-coding-bootcamps-to-stop-enrollment-and-issue-refunds)...it's too much of an 'all or nothing' approach to getting a foot in the door of the tech industry, either you spend a tonne of money in a short intensive period of time and get a job or you don't. Buyer Beware.
TL;DR: "A Fast Company feature on hack schools last month found that the field is largely unregulated, with many different teaching styles, curricula, and hiring practices across the board. It is not uncommon, for example, for coding bootcamps to hire alums to lead the classroom."
Anyway, back to Dev Academy specifically - Yes I found the course fairly intensive. It was an 18 week bootcamp, split between offline (phase 0) and the actual bootcamp (9 weeks onsite coding with your cohort).
Phase 0 - Offsite, online learning:
I would rank this as mostly 'ok' and yes we learnt a lot in that period, but I think there were some shaky aspects such as lack of marking our work (i.e. feedback)...in fact this was never given, so you could have gone through this phase without really knowing if you were meeting tutor expectations or falling behind other students in your cohort. Frankly this is unacceptable - especially as it exists to prepare us for bootcamp, which I felt underprepared for in some respects technically. There were good parts, I liked the regular google hangouts checkins to see where people were at and we the use of Slack to get support from other cohort members and tutors.
Phase 1 - Bootcamp:
I had very high expectations for this as it was the 'real deal' of the course whereby we would learn industry tools and best practises. Again very intensive and we learnt a lot in a short space of time. Sometimes the pedagogy was a bit 'hit and miss'....Each day began with a one hour lecture with a bit of code review (from the previous day), this was good and our tutor was excellent and professional and answered questions mostly well, other tutors I noticed were too friendly to others (cute females shall I say?)...I guess if you're the person who likes deep diving and figuring things out with minimal supervision or fundamental explanation of concepts at the very start, then Dev Academy suits your style, but I don't think this framework suits all learning types and it didn't mine. Buyer Beware.
I would say that in fairness if I did try coding by myself without the support of others in my cohort and/or professional tutorial support then I would have given up....Going through an intense course where they 'held my hand' definitely accelerated my learning and gave me the mental paradigm to push through solving problems, so I give them credit for that, they deserve that.
The last week was 'careers week' which was super relaxed, with us bringing out our CVs and getting them up to speed, followed by an overview of companies that we could apply for. Honestly this is what it boils down to - getting a junior dev position in the industry. Unfortunately this is where Dev Academy sorely falls short. Their advertising gives the impression that they have these 'industry partners' and an infrastructure to help get you a job. The gap between their advertising and reality is stark - don't fall for that like I did and don't believe any bootcamps job stats unless they have been independently audited by an external organisation. (Dev Academy says that their student outcomes are 81% within 4 months, but that's dubious and I reckon it's really more like 30-40%....I gather this because when they first came out 2 years ago, they used to give live jobs stats for each cohort and I think it progressively got bad, so they probably got rid of that because it's bad PR to charge $11k and have bad job stats...Buyer Beware.
Check out the Way Back Machine(an Archive record of known sites on the web and their history):
It would be difficult to fight this in court and get my hard earned money back, having signed a very cleverly written contract whereby Dev Academy holds no responsibility for getting you a job. Ok, fine I get that - no school or institute can guarantee you a job, and I firmly believe you have to earn your keep. But don't advertise on Facebook and on other online mediums promoting this false promise that you have these industry contacts with 'partners' which gives applicants the impression that you will at least provide the infrastructure to get a job with these people. Buyer Beware.
All we have is a Trello Board with Companies and job leads that hasn't been significantly updated at least a year ago, and I suspect most of those leads are dried up by now. A 'careers' channel that gets a job or half a job (think part time 10 - 15 hours a week) every 2 weeks that everyone fights for.... come on seriously...Buyer Beware.
The best way that I've honestly come across from personal experience is going to events and networking with people - I've busted my ass to get my own leads without EDA's support and that's what makes me angry and feel let down. Buyer Beware.
TL; DR: If you are well networked within the Tech industry and have spent a significant of time coding in your personal time, it may be worth doing this kind of course because you could potentially get in industry much faster then a computer science degree (again $11k, no job guarantee, no real 'job support')...
However if you're a total beginner coder without good existing networks then have a really good think about it, I'm not saying it's impossible, just go into it with open eyes and ask EDA the hard questions about job support and use Google (google search "name of bootcamp + review") will bring up relevant course review sites like this amongst others.
My overall feeling was that I overspent for a course that underdelivered. I could have learnt on my own and go to meetup groups for free, and use free/cheap resources online (treehouse, codeschool etc), and whilst it would have taken longer I wouldn't be $11k out of pocket which is too much of a risk with no guarantee.
Anyway, happy coding!