DevMountain offers full-time, part-time, and online tech bootcamp courses at campuses in Lehi, Phoenix, and Dallas. Students are trained and mentored by DevMountain staff and industry experts. The programs are designed to accommodate everyone from beginners to individuals with more programming experience. DevMountain's expert faculty love sharing their craft and empowering the next wave of programmers and entrepreneurs through hands-on learning, a flipped classroom, intense instruction, and engaged mentorship.
Recent DevMountain Reviews: Rating 4.65
Recent DevMountain News
- Meet an Instructor: Mark McIver from DevMountain
- From College Dropout to iOS Developer with DevMountain
- How Madi Launched a Career in Software QA With DevMountain
- Xcode, Objective-C, Design, Mobile, User Experience Design, iOS, Swift
In PersonFull Time40 Hours/week8 Weeks
Want to build iOS (iPhone/iPad) apps? There is no better place to learn. You'll start building apps on Day 1 of the class, and by the end you'll have at least one app in the App Store (possibly even making you money). Classes are rigorous, and previous programming experience is definitely preferred, but if you're up to the challenge, you can become a great iOS developer with a start in this course.
- Start Date
- None scheduled
- Class size
- DevMountain has partnerships with Climb and SkillsFund.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Programming experience preferred, beginners welcome
- Prep Work
- Once accepted, students must complete pre-course work before first day of class.
- Placement Test
Our 6-week immersive software QA bootcamp will prepare you with the skills needed to become a competitive candidate for junior-level software QA engineer positions. Instruction consists of instructor lectures, guest lecturers, guided projects, individual projects, group projects, and real projects with corporate clients. Students will work collaboratively with the lead instructor and mentors throughout the course. Through experience in specific technologies and frameworks that are popular today, students can achieve a flexible outlook that is comfortable and eager to tackle new technologies in a fast-moving and ever-changing industry.
- Start Date
- None scheduled
- Class size
- DevMountain has partnerships with Climb and SkillsFund.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Prep Work
- Once accepted, students must complete pre-course work before first day of class.
- Placement Test
Our "After Hours" course is a great way to dive into UX without having to quit your job or school. It's still extremely intense, but allows for a more flexible format. Classes are held nights and weekends. This class is great for those who are interested in UX, need some skills to better their employment options, or simply learn a new skillset.
- Start Date
- None scheduled
- Class size
- DevMountain has partnerships with Climb and SkillsFund.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Placement Test
If you're a designer, product person, developer, or simply interested in taking a dive into UX (user experience), this class is for you. Our "Immersive" full-time UI/UX course makes the most of class time because we focus on less theory and more hands-on practice. You're probably already doing some UX whether you know it or not and this course will help you give structure to your innate thoughts through industry know how and structured design processes. The design course at DevMountain is multi-faceted, covering all aspects of the design process from start to finish. While covering both mobile and web design principles students will practice creative discovery, ideation, critical thinking, research collection, wireframing / prototyping, basic front-end coding and more design best practices. The class will teach students to understand and meet modern web and mobile design standards in the product creation process, from first pondering user centered design and design thinking principles to testing their products on multiple devices and measuring the effectiveness of their designs. Students will also learn design principles such as grid systems, typography, color theory, branding and systems-based design, design history and research methods. By the end of the 13-week course, the new designers will graduate with a well-rounded portfolio of work that shows everything they have learned and can achieve in the workplace. This class is great for those who are interested in UX, need some skills to better their employment options, or simply learn a new skillset. The course will prepare students to step into a variety of design roles: web designer, mobile designer, UX designer, UI designer, front-end designer, freelance designer, and more.
- Start Date
- None scheduled
- Class size
- DevMountain has partnerships with Climb and SkillsFund.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Prep Work
- Placement Test
Our "After Hours" course is a great way to dive into code without having to quit your job or school. It's still extremely intense, but allows for a more flexible format. Classes are held nights and weekends. This class is great for those who are interested in coding, need some skills to better their employment options, or simply learn a new skillset.
- Start Date
- None scheduled
- Class size
- DevMountain has partnerships with Climb and SkillsFund.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Prep Work
- Once accepted, students must complete pre-course work before first day of class.
- Placement Test
- MySQL, AngularJS, HTML, jQuery, Mobile, CSS, React.js, Node.js
In PersonFull Time40 Hours/week12 Weeks
The full-time class is the best immersive coding experience you can find. It's a world-class coding education. It's also a grind--8 or 10 or 12 hour days of instruction, 1:1 mentoring, and work. You'll live, eat, sleep, and breathe code for 12 weeks. And when you're done, you'll be a different person. This class is great for those who are serious about learning to code. If you want to code as a career, this is the place to do it. There's no better place in the country for this price to get nearly two years worth of world-class education.
- Start Date
- Rolling Start Date
- Class size
- Online, Lehi, Dallas, Phoenix
- DevMountain has partnerships with Climb and SkillsFund.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Prep Work
- Once accepted, students must complete pre-course work before first day of class.
- Placement Test
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I loved my time at DevMountain. The instructors were great, and the Lead UX Instructor works very hard to get his students the most opportunities and experiences he possibly can. I feel like I have as well-rounded and thorough of an education as I could have asked for given the short time period. There's always negatives, and if I had to name some I would say I have the impression that the mentors in each program rotate often - I think this is a function of DevMountain hiring recent grads to help mentor, and then they move on to full time jobs when they find them. I personally didn't find a problem with the quality of the mentorship because of this, but I think it's just something to be aware of. I also know they are moving to the Lehi campus - my cohort was the last UX cohort to be at the Salt Lake City campus, and it was awesome. I have not yet visited Lehi, so can't give you any insight there, other than it is surrounded by tech companies, so that's a good thing. I would definitely recommend DevMountain to anyone, without a doubt.
Absolutely loved my experience with DevMountain. I came into this experience with absolutely no prior experience with coding, and I was terrified I wouldn't be able to keep up. When I applied and was accepted I had two months before the actual courses started. They gave me pre-course work to complete and assigned me a mentor, and I was able to work as hard as I could those two months to try and get some sort of base knowledge. Having those 2 months to study was a huge boon to me, and I think I would have struggled a lot more in the bootcamp had I not taken the time and to put all my energy into studying beforehand.
The course itself and all of the instructors are fantastic. The coursework is laid out well, and the pace was great (for me). Like most reviews will say, you get out of the course what you put into it. And while I didn't stay up until 2 am like some of my classmates, (I need sleep), I still feel like I got the most I could. I put in a few extra hours most days either before or after class.Try to study the topic the lectures cover the night before, because that will also give you a boost.
Job prep wise, they do a great job helping you tailor your resume and get started with connecting to people on LinkedIn. As for getting an actual job, I'm starting that search now and hoping it goes well. They definitely do as much as they can (mock interviews, interview prep questions, resume critique, post grad resources) to help get you started in the job hunt. I definitely recommend DevMountain.
Response From: Brandon Hassler of DevMountain
So sorry to hear your experience at DevMountain was less than stellar. Unfortunately, Course Report limits our responses to be very short, so please refer to the review you left on our Facebook page. Thank you!
Great experience overall.
- As long as you commit youself, you'll learn SO so much.
- Great enviornment.
- Great instructors and mentors.
- You'll leave with some cool projects to add to your portfolio.
- Let' be real, $11,000 is a little steep for 3 months (but I've decided it's worth it).
- Sometimes small things feel a little unorganized, but overall the course is very structured.
- If you do it right, you won't have a life for 3 months (but what's 3 months for a full career change).
The pre-admission stuff was doable and there was a great bonus of some basecamp material that gave an insight into what to expect, however the first few weeks accelerated fast and I felt overwhelmed by all the new concepts since we were learning something new daily. Halfway through the program things made more sense as I applied these concepts in a live project. There were several high points as well as frustrating moments and I can say that I experienced growth than I would have thought possible. I was reluctant to invest in a coding bootcamp but definitely think it was worthwhile, I can piece everything from start to finish, building a full stack app to tooling and hosting. Currently on my last week so no job yet but the career support department has been commendable. I would recommend this school.
I attended the after hours web cohort and was at the Provo campus for 16 weeks. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I'm the happiest I've been in the work that I get do to now and learning at DevMountain was a blast. I've recommended it and have had a friend go and do the full time cohort since I left.
DevMountain isn't the perfect bootcamp. The pace is fast and the cirriculum isn't always in-depth. But that doesn't mean it isn't amazing.
The trick, for me, was all about the time I put into the experience. I found that I got out of the boot camp what I put in. I made sure to always ask questions and get mentor help when I needed it. It was clear immediately to me that if I didn't ask questions, get more examples, and do some serious googling that I wouldn't leave with the knowledge required to land a job. Part time isn't enough time to not give it 100% of your best effort. The resources are definitely available for those who seek them. This is is the nature of the beast. Because you are trying to learn so much new material in a short amount of time, they can only do so much. You have to take the course and run with it, seek help where and when you need it, and really just never give up.
I think any motivated person would do well at DevMountain, put yourself first and commit to the program. It's too expensive and too valuable to your future to not make the most of it by taking it seriously.
DevMountain was a wonderful experience, but don't confuse wonderful with easy. The amount of material being taught is enormous and the concepts are challenging to rap you head around in the time you have. The curriculum is well structured and thought out which pushes your ability to retain more than you could believe. The people are amazing, the staff is great and you'll leave better than before. Along with teaching you skills you're also given a road map to follow to help push your abilities and hireability. I would highly recommend DevMountain to anyone that wants to take one of the first steps of getting into the development industry.
I was apart of the UX immersive bootcamp. The courses were okay, the teachers and mentor were helpful. I left feeling like I could have spent my money better elsewhere however. The job fair after the course had no support fo UX designers whatsoever. No one prepared us for what the job hunt would look like. Our whole class was confused after getting out as to what we needed to do next. This meant about a month before anyone was able to get a clear grasp of what to do. If we had been given more direction we could've saved some time. I felt the course would've been better if they taught us some HTML/CSS as well. It seems a lot of the jobs out there require experience in this area.
I enjoyed every second of this camp. Great classmates, smart and involved mentors, and hardworking staff all made me feel welcome and happy. 6 weeks of course work and 6 weeks of project work was a really good system. I wish I would have known about this sooner!
DevMountain is a great school for those wanting to learn straight up full stack web development. I was a student at UVU before I found DevMountain, and the program I was in was not teaching me what I wanted to learn with web development. I had a friend tell me about DevMountain, and I looked into it. After researching it for a bit I applied and signed up for there after hours web course. During the 4 months I was in the course, I learned a lot, but I also didn't feel like I learned all that I should have learned. It took me an additional 4 months to finish the group and personal projects, since we didn't do those in class. I got lucky and was able to work full time on finishing all the projects and job prep to get badged after the course had ended. I really learned all that I needed to while working on my personal project, and helping wiht our group project. But the work I did in class set a great foundation for me to understand what I needed to do for the personal and group projects. This is a great school and I would recommend it to anyone looking to go into this field.
I had a great experience at DevMtn. I decided to go to better myself and take advantage of the rapidly growing tech field. They have great instructors who are always willing to help whenever you ask. The mentors that stay with each cohort have been through the course so they know what you're going through! It's definately not easy but it's the best decision I've made. The first two weeks are the hardest but if you can make it through, you should be golden as long as you stay on top of it.
I am currently enrolled in the UI/UX immersive course and will graduate at the end of April. I have loved my experience and look forward to taking the skills I learned and turn them into a career. It's tough work but totally worth it in the end. If you consider yourself a designer and want to challenge yourself, the immersive UI/UX course is extremely rewarding. The mentors and instructor genuinely help to see you succeed and were extremely helpful in helping me step up my game. Thanks DevMountain!
I ended up going to the first cohort in Phoenix in November and while I owe a lot to Devmountain I think this review will help other people learn from my mistakes.
Here are a few issues that I found while I was there:
1. There are no markers to which to judge your progress. You have afternoon projects to do every day and the only gauge you really have is if you understand the content or not. We kept being told "dont worry once personal projects come around you'll get it". However about two weeks before class ended we had a react assessment and all but about 2 people failed. They ended up giving us the other 3 tests to take home over the weekend because they knew most of us would not pass on the first try with those either. I feel like those tests would have been more useful before our personal projects so that we could know where we needed to improve before class got out. We all thought we were doing pretty well until we realized school was almost over and we couldn't build a simple to-do list. At that point there's not a whole lot you can do.
No one is going to tell you if you're behind. In fact, they'd probably rather not because deffering loses them money. If your mentor doesn't meet with you weekly make them. They know where your skills should be from week to week.
That being said though, study the crap out of things. Assume that if you don't understand something that you're behind. They don't give you homework besides 20 minutes of videos to watch so do some Udemy courses. Redo the afternoon projects. I realize now that I wasn't doing enough outside of class. Even if your classmates aren't studying do it anyways. You may feel like you're doing well but like I pointed out before we all thought we were too. Devmountain's instructors aren't always 100% effective but its beneficial to learn new things while you have access to mentors.
2. The job prep, at least in PHX, was really rushed. A lady came down for a day and a half and put on youtube videos of how to apply for jobs. We also had to email our resumes to some people in Utah and they gave some feedback. I didn't find it overly helpful and I definately would have liked that time to learn instead.
Other general advice:
- don't go during the last third of the year. I think someone else said this but almost no one hires november-january. It can be really demoralizing to be broke and jobless over the holidays
- There's a bunch of bootcamps popping up all over and the market is being saturated with Jr Devs. Make sure this is something that you really want to do before you invest. The industry is growing, but at least from what I've seen on job boards and slack channels most people need mid-senior level developers.
All this aside, I did have a lot of fun while I was there. Our cohort was all very chummy and the housing was A++.
I do have a great job now too doing software QA in Boise. While I'm not making a huge developer salary yet I love going to work every day which is not something I've had at my previous jobs. I graduated in the middle of November and I started my new job Feb 1. I think a little more than half of my cohort has jobs now too.
• My instructors and the staff at DevMountain were easy to get along with and talk to. I really appreciate them!
• I learned a handful of skills and tools for the trade.
• I got to listen to and participate in presentations and QandA sessions with quality guest speakers.
• The downtown Salt Lake City Campus is close to public transportation and there are monthly-paid-use parking lots nearby.
• DevMountain regularly provides tasty (mostly unhealthy) snacks and soda (always available). It's also close to a lot of quality eat out locations.
• I'm now working as an intern and finding opportunities to work on side projects with seasoned designers/researchers (no pay).
• I'm optimistic that I will land a paying job as I continue to build on my experience and portfolio (but this could take up to a year).
• DevMountain offers and after hours course so that you don't have to quit your day job while you gain the experience you need to get hired.
• I have been out of the program for 2 months and I still don't have a paying job. All of my peers are in the same position (two of them received offers but the offers were ultimately reversed).
• I love everyone I worked with but some personalities made projects harder to complete.
• Nothing I designed was ever produced in the real world... This is not good for a portfolio. It would be ideal for students to work with student developers to produce an actual product.
• DevMountain students have been presented with the same problems to solve cohort after cohort. This doesn't look good to employers who see DevMountain student applications.
• I was told that this course would qualify me to become a Junior UX designer (they typically make 35-60 thousand a year)... I've applied for these positions and I get rejected immediately, not even an interview.
• This program seems to be the most beneficial to students who already have a college degree and/or for students with STRONGLY related experience.
• We received help creating our portfolios on Medium. It would have been better to learn how to create one with a personal domain.
• The guidance we received on creating resume's and Linkedin profiles was rushed and seemed mostly geared to developers. Since finishing the program I have had to revise these heavily.
• To get a job in this industry you have to be a fairly good people person, you probably won't land a job by applying on job boards. You have to make personal connections.
• I feel like I didn't have enough time to practice things that were taught. The program is very rushed. Learning about things without having enough time to practice them isn't the best UX.
I sincerely hope that this review benefits prospective UXers and the team at DevMountain, and (like Bilbo) I bid you all a very fond farewell (until we meet again).
I have been eating and breathing DevMountain for the last 7 months (first as a student and now as a mentor). I can remember reading through the list of reviews when I was deciding to come, and it's a little surreal to leave a review now.
During my cohort, DevMountain launched a new curriculum. I've been told it was a huge improvement over the old curriculum. This kind of seems to be a pattern at DevMountain -- continual problem-solving on the part of the company to make things better. The asking for feedback is incessant. It was really refreshing to see and experience. There is also a lot of learning science at play, you'll be amazed at what you can do if you treat this like a real bootcamp and work, work, work. There is also a lot of genuine commitment on behalf of staff and management to make for good student outcomes. In other words, I don't get the sense that the staff directly involved with students are just in it to collect a paycheck.
I think as far as bootcamps go, you can't really do better than DevMountain in terms of value. Some things to keep in mind that might be helpful for some people:
- Other bootcamps may have better connections to big coastal hubs (SF, NY). I was looking to land in Utah after graduation, and that's where DevMountain's connections seem to be the strongest (which totally makes sense). Utah is not a bad place to land, by the way. There is a huge amount of demand for web developers currently. (Google Silicon Slopes if you haven't heard of it.)
- While you will likely be able to code as well as a graduate of any 4-year Computer Science program, that does not mean that people looking to hire a junior developer will equate your bootcamp experience to a 4-year degree (even if they should). Unfortunately some bootcamp devs have been ill-prepared for interviews, etc and made it difficult for good bootcamp grads. Some companies have decided they just won't look at bootcamp grads because they are "hit and miss" whereas grads from CS programs always work out.
- On the other hand, there are companies that have a pipeline from DevMountain and always look at DevMountain first, before anywhere else.
- I was told starting salaries for bootcamp grads are averaging 55k, which comes in lower than I was expecting. Just set your expectations accordingly.
- Hiring dies between Thanksgiving and New Years. Plan accordingly.
The only concern I have, which does not really pertain to DevMountain specifically but to the industry in general, is that the more graduates that get pumped out, the more competition there is for jobs, and the power shifts back to the hiring companies, who can pay lower starting salaries. I kind of wish that all bootcamps would cut their enrollment in half, so that the scarcity of developers keeps the value of my skills higher. Also, all of the cool tools that make our jobs easier are also cumulatively making it easier and easier for more people to code. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that if the picture you have of the industry long-term feels too good to be true, it probably is. It's going to take work and skill to have the kind of life you're probably picturing.
I loved my time at DevMountain. The course in not easy, but the mentors there are amazing and always willing to help. Sure, they don't always know the answers right when you ask, but I think that that really helped me grow as a learner because they taught me how to solve my own problems and rely less on them.
The curriculum is very fast paced. There were often times - especially in the beginning - where I would lay in bed at night trying to fully wrap my head around what we were supposed to be learning. It was hard and it was stressful, but each day is designed to push you to your limits. Pretty soon you start subconsciously writing code that you didn't even know you knew, and then you realize just how much you actually have been learning.
On top of all that, the teachers there even take the time to go through job prep with each class, to help us break into the industry.
It's an amazing program, and I'm so glad I went through DevMountian!
DevMountain. Where do I start?
I came in as a business graduate who didn't find luck in the job field. Within my first two weeks, Matt, the campus director, took me and another student out to lunch to get to know us. He said that even thought he was in the admin office, he still wanted to get to know students. Despite being a bit separated from actual coding, the staff here interact with the students daily, and host mini-events to get to know everyone better, whether it's smores out back or an impromptu ping-pong competition.
Another thing about the administration of DevMountain: they take student success seriously. As a woman, sometimes there are uncomfortable comments, remarks, or questions. The administration takes any and all of this seriously. For example, after hearing about some jokes male students were making about wishing they could be a woman to find a job easier, Matt sat down with each female student at DevMountain to talk to them about it, and addressed the situation with the students making the comments. Everything about the way they handled it made me feel comfortable, respected, and valued not only as a student but as a minority in the tech field.
The curriculum is rough. It will test you. It isn't easy. But it is so, so, so fufilling to see your code work, to get a project done, to put another notch on your belt. If you study, if you prepare, if you put every ounce of strength you can into this program, you'll be rewarded. If you don't... well, this may not be the program for you.
I really enjoyed our instructor. One thing I love about DevMountain is how quickly feedback is implemented. For example, one mentor (basically a TA) used a quiz website for a review, and everyone enjoyed it so much that the instructor began implementing this website into his lecture every day to check progress and basic concepts. Student's reviews are taken very seriously here, and it shows.
I enjoy the curriculum. It, too, is always changing and adapting to students' needs. It's exciting learning a technology and reading about it on twitter and talking to people about concepts. Nothing is stale.
But maybe the best part about everything is the job prep week. You come into a boot camp knowing you'll learn to code, but DevMountain also helps you build a developer resume, optimize your LinkedIn, learn to network, learn to whiteboard, and learn to answer interview questions. The entire final week is dedicated to prepping students for the job field.
In summary, my time at DevMountain was revolutionary to my growth as a web developer. If I could, I would enroll again!
My Entire Experience
Before I went to DevMountain, I was doing consulting for 3 years at a software company out of Austin, TX. I was making good money and on top of it; it was a super laid-back job. Everything was chill.
Until I got bored of it.
The work got repetitive, I felt like my mind was going numb from boredom, my career projectory was ok but not high enough to where I wanted it to be. I wasn't happy going to work everyday.
That all changed 1 day in Arizona
I was working a client in Phoenix for a few months and met up with an old friend from high school. He was a software engineer at Amex. He was doing really well for himself. Long story short here, he knew I was a smart guy and thought I would make a good developer if I tried. We sat down, grabbed a few brewski's and a laptop and he showed me some basic Ruby (this was way back in 2014 when Ruby was fire)
I immediately got hooked.
Early 2015, I decided to step up the pace and completed Thinkful's Frontend course. Not going to dive into how that was but in summary I thought it was whatever. I marginally got better. Kind of a waste of time and money.
Time passed to early 2017.
Obviously I ended up choosing DevMountain – Dallas.
It was about 10k when I applied and it COVERED housing. No other school does that. You don’t have to worry about rent, electricity, or any housing bill at all. Plus the housing IS IN THE SAME BUILDING as the Dallas Campus. It’s literally a full immersion experience.
You wake up => elevator downstairs => class => study => elevator back up stairs => sleep. Repeat for 3 months.
If there is one thing to take away from finishing DevMountain it’s this: it really really really really comes down to how much work you put into it.
Stay up late and code. Seriously, it’s just 3 months and it will pay off in the long run. You’re going to get tired, you’re going to get burned out; you’re going to want to nap and watch Netflix (which is totally needed sometimes) but try your best to keep pushing yourself. There were students in my class who I thought weren’t that strong to begin with but had put in so many more hours than I had that they finished the program way more ready than I was. I really can’t emphasize this enough.
DevMountain does not guarantee a job. Their main mission is to teach people how to code from all backgrounds. They will do their part with teaching and helping you out when you’re stuck but it’s up to you to find a job. They do have hiring events with employer’s but ultimately it will come down to a few things in order to land that golden ticket (in my opinion, other people may say differently).
60% personality 40% Coding Ability.
You could be the greatest coder in the world but if you’re a douche bag; no one will hire you (at least not at the company I work at). If you’re a social person and you can code well; you will do great (again in my opinion). If you’re worried about being too old starting this, don’t be. If you think DevMountain is some magical escape to get a job – it’s not. DevMountain is not easy. If you are a logical thinker & good with problem solving, you’ll probably fly through. It’s really important that before you enter any boot camp you know that coding is what you wanna do. Do code academy first, then do an Udemy course online (Colt Steele has some good ones, did his web dev program before I started DevMountain and it really helped). If you’re still interested and find yourself wanting to keep learning then do DevMountain and take the leap. DevMountain is by far the best bang for your buck. I’m certain the top students at DevMountain would be comparable to any top student at any other boot camp.
Life After Graduating from DevMountain.
I was lucky enough to be selected as a Mentor for the cohorts after mine had finished. I stayed on as a Mentor for about 4-5 months helping students fix their errors and teaching where I could. It was a great experience and made me into a much stronger developer. The company I’m working at now came to the hiring event and we got along well. I was also referred by another student they were interviewing (really important to get along with classmates and help each other as much as you can, it will go a long way in the future).
About 6 Months into my Current Job
The first week in, I had major imposter syndrome and I think that’s completely normal for most bootcamp grads. Looking at a huge code base was daunting and it took some time to adjust. Eventually I got comfortable and it’s awesome now.
Things I would have done differently looking back.
I could honestly keep going here with my experience but this post is becoming too long. If you have any questions find me on LinkedIn or email me at email@example.com. Don’t be shy in asking any question, doing a boot camp is a huge investment and you should know as much as you can about it.
Honestly, I didn't look that closely at other bootcamps, because once I started looking at DevMountain and talking to other alum, I knew it was the program for me. Aside from being one of the least expensive, full-time, iOS programs at the time for the duration of the course (housing included), it was located in one of the most vibrant tech-industry-growth areas in the country, and everything I heard about it was positive and real.
One of the greatest things about DevMountain was that they didn't pretend to be something they weren't.
They didn't pretend to be a Computer Science degree replacement program. But they did go over some of the most basic CS concepts, like memory allocation and types and Big-O notation and complexity, so that we could spend most of our time learning iOS specific frameworks and patterns, but also understand enough of what was going on underneath to make smart programming decisions.
They didn't pretend to be the fountain of all iOS knowledge. But they did put us on the right path by teaching us the basics of iOS and of good, clean code and good patterns common to all programming. And they also showed us what we needed to know to continue to learn and develop after we finished the program.
They didn't pretend to be a guaranteed door to a job. In fact, one of the best things they did was to help me realize that the accountability was mine alone, and that "I would get out of it what I put into it" wasn't just a cliche. But they dedicated themselves to giving me all the learning and career resources and time and attention they could to help me rise at the pace I was setting for myself.
And now, as I submit this review from the desk of my great programming job where I've been for the last year and a half, I know that I got here from my own hard work. But I couldn't have made it without DevMountain.
DevMountain has a great reputation for their full time, 40 hours a week courses. However, that wasn’t doable for me, so I took the after hours course, knowing that I’d need to be extra dedicated and a self-starter to really benefit from the program. The program had a lot of strengths, with clearly knowledgeable instructors, and a decent curriculum. But, over time it became clear that our class wasn’t really a priority. Instructors seemed to show up, THEN look at that evening’s curriculum. Some teachers wouldn’t even use the curriculum, instead preferring to wing it, ask us questions, then have quiet study for the last half of class. Once we got to the tail end of the course, all class time was devoted to working on our capstone projects. This is when both the instructors and the students kind of checked out. In fact, one of the students just stopped coming, since there were no more lectures. I think the course would highly benefit from stretching the curriculum to last the entire 12 weeks, while allowing for more capstone time in the final weeks. Having no curriculum for the final weeks was pretty demotivating, especially when it was clear that the instructors didn’t really want to babysit us for 3-6 hours. And why would they? It’s way better when there’s structure and a plan for the evening. I hope they make those changes. If I had paid for the class by myself, I definitely wouldn’t feel like I got my money’s worth. In addition, their website was tough to navigate, and had several bugs, which is insane for a company that teaches web development.
Attending DevMountain was one of the best decisions of my life! I majored in one science in college, but wished that I had majored in computer science after taking some beginner courses. After a year of self-study, I attended DevMountain. I met some of the greatest people ever, I learned more than I thought possible, and I clearly loved it because I stayed on as a mentor. Their approach to education is incredible, and really emphasises each student truly learning and excelling, rather than pushing students through to get revenue. And the job prep is incredibly useful. It is an exceptional program!
Our latest on DevMountain
Mark McIver is an instructor at DevMountain’s Web Development immersive bootcamp – a course he himself graduated from four years ago! We caught up with Mark and he shared how he’s transitioned from being a bootcamp student to a developer and now an instructor. Learn how he started coding, some of the industry trends he’s seeing, and why he’s passionate about training the next generation of web developers in Utah.
What do you do at DevMountain?
I’ve been a full-time instructor for DevMountain for a year but four years ago, I was a DevMountain student. After graduating from DevMountain, I got a job working for a devshop for two years, then worked at DevMountain as a developer. I mentored, did after-hours instruction, and then became a full-time instructor for the Web Development immersive bootcamp.
I’m curious what brought you to DevMountain as a student four years ago – how did you choose a coding bootcamp?
My background is interesting. I got my bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 2008 during a rough economic patch so I got into hospitality and became a restaurant manager for a few years. I moved to San Diego and continued as a restaurant manager, but I started teaching myself to build a basic website as a hobby. Every day I’d be excited to get home and work on this project! I taught myself how to code from YouTube videos and I realized it was more fun than being in hospitality. I decided to go to school for computer science – my initial idea was to get a master’s degree, but my brother told me about coding bootcamps and DevMountain.
What is it like teaching at a bootcamp and have you developed a personal teaching style?
I actually didn’t have any teaching experience prior to DevMountain and never expected to do it! I started out teaching after-hours while I was working full-time and DevMountain gave me some basic training when I started. Because I had attended DevMountain, I really wanted the students to have as great of an experience as I did. I started seeing the students grow and noticed when concepts clicked in their minds – it gave me so much joy! I developed a strong passion for teaching and when a full-time position became available, I applied.
Our student-faculty-ratio is great. I have 24 students in one class and 18 in another class, and there are two mentors with me in the lecture helping out. My teaching style is very hands on – I do lecture but I don’t want it to be a passive education, I want students to figure things out. I’ll teach a subject or concept and then have the students instantly apply it and start coding right away. I believe the best way to learn is to do and then teach, so I also have students teach each other.
What have been the biggest changes to the web development curriculum since you were a student?
Have you contributed to DevMountain’s web development bootcamp curriculum?
All instructors help with the curriculum, especially as businesses requirements change. As a student four years ago, DevMountain was teaching Angular 1 which isn’t widely used anymore. We shifted to teaching React which was informed by the types of jobs alumni were landing. Whenever we do major changes, the instructors are very involved in the curriculum – we’re the experts, we’re the developers, and we know what’s going on in the industry.
Additionally, every day I can tailor the lecture a bit and create my own little projects for them to do. There’s an outline with expected outcomes and learnings for the day but I can customize the curriculum around it.
Do you see another major coding language shift on the horizon?
I know it’ll happen eventually, but I think React is going to be here for a while. React has given us a great, high-performing library that’s easy to use and it has such a large community behind it. Over the past five years, startups have been using React and in five more years they’re going to need React developers to maintain that code.
Why did DevMountain recently consolidate its Utah campuses to Lehi?
Lehi is becoming the tech center of Utah – it’s in the center of the Silicon Slopes between Provo to Ogden. The Adobe building is here, Codem, Canopy – lots of startups are headquartered here so that’s why DevMountain chose Lehi. The students are closer to the companies that are hiring and the school can bring in guest speakers, presentations, and be more involved in the community.
Previously, DevMountain taught web development courses at the Provo campus and iOS, QA, and UI/UX courses at the Salt Lake campus – now we’re all together and the students can collaborate together. Our building is nice and we have beautiful views of the mountains and lakes. From a managerial standpoint, it’s nicer having everyone in one building for meetings. It was definitely a positive strategic move.
Who is the ideal student at DevMountain? Is there a certain type of student who succeeds?
It does help if you have some coding experience coming in, but I’ve seen students enter with no prior experience and they absolutely kill it and surpass all of their peers. It comes down to work ethic – how serious are they about taking the course and how much time and effort are they putting into it?
I also see a lot of students using bootcamps as a replacement for traditional undergraduate work perhaps intentionally or because they dropped out because college wasn’t for them. I’m seeing a lot of younger students, directly out of high school, trying this path before deciding to go to college or instead of attending college. But we also have a lot of students who went through a four-year program and decided to change careers – like myself!
Are the non-traditional students (aka students without degrees) still able to succeed and find jobs after the bootcamp?
Those who come through and have degrees and are changing their career tend to be more mature, have a number of years of professional experience, and take it a bit more seriously. But a lot of younger people coming in are just killing it because they’re passionate and they know exactly what they want to do – it doesn’t matter that they didn’t get their bachelor’s degree. They’re still able to get really good paying jobs. It’s all tied to the effort they’re able to put into it. There are advantages to following the traditional path and using a bootcamp to pivot careers just like there are advantages to jumping in instead of attending college.
You mentioned being impressed by student projects – can you tell us about one that you’re really proud of?
One student group created an app, called GeoNet, for people in third-world countries with limited access to medicine and patients who are miles away from doctors. Through the app, people can text when they’re having an emergency, and it sends out an alert to the nearest health worker. The app shows where all the registered patients are located on a map, and emergency alerts are displayed in real time. Here's a screenshot:
How do you assess student progress at DevMountain? What do you do if a student is falling behind?
There are a couple requirements for a student to graduate. A student has to do their afternoon project through to completion and there is a list of competencies they have to be able to perform in order for DevMountain to sign off on the certificate. Starting on Week 3 or 4, they start building out projects on Fridays without asking for help from any mentors or each other, but they can use any other resource they want. As they build out these projects, they pass off competencies. If they’re able to build the projects, they’re proving they can complete the competencies and will ultimately graduate.
If students don’t pass the competencies, they have multiple chances to follow through and complete it. The bootcamp moves along rapidly and if a student discovers it’s too fast for them, or if something comes up in their personal life, they can defer to the next cohort to catch up and learn the material and they tend to succeed after that. We had one student who was really struggling in his cohort, he deferred and went into a different cohort, and he ended up getting a job with Uber.
What’s the career goal for a DevMountain web development bootcamp graduate?
The expectation is to be prepared enough for a Junior Developer role. Some students will graduate and be ready for mid-level, but our curriculum is geared towards the belief that anyone can learn to code if they put the effort into it. Because we don’t expect students to have any prior knowledge coming in, the expectation after graduation is a junior level developer role. I’m not involved in job placement but I do teach some career prep and help with interviewing and whiteboarding skills.
In your experience, what’s the difference between teaching web development and working as an actual developer? Do you think one skill is helping the other?
You can build something as a web developer with available tools without fully understanding all of the concepts and seeing the bigger picture. Being an instructor has allowed me to fully understand the big picture and help students understand the concepts. But the best way to learn programming is to actually go and do it. As an instructor, I’m live coding with my students every day so I’m getting that basic practice. However, in order to keep up my more complex skills, I’ve built some software for DevMountain and I’m doing some more in-depth side projects.
For our readers who are beginners and want to get some experience before applying, what resources or meetups do you recommend for an aspiring bootcamper?
Anything else you want students to know about DevMountain and your classes?
I’ll be their favorite teacher they’ve ever had!
Herman wasn’t quite sure which career path he wanted to pursue – until he discovered he wanted to build iPhone apps! With eyes on the future, and some Bitcoin to sell, he invested in DevMountain’s iOS immersive coding bootcamp to jump start his mobile development career. Herman told us why DevMountain’s bootcamp plus housing package was great value for someone with no formal coding experience, how his background has helped in his new career, and how he landed his new iOS developer role at startup Tapcart!
What is your background and how did it lead you to DevMountain?
I studied biology for two years at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. I switched to business, and then realized school wasn’t for me. I figured I could get more experience in the real world so I left after my junior year to try different career paths. I first tried real estate, and then worked in architecture for a couple of years. A Chinese company was expanding into the US so I had my own office in Las Vegas doing sales, planning, and drawing up designs in CAD programs.
I left college because I wanted to find where my passions aligned. I didn’t find that in real estate or architecture, so I looked into coding, specifically apps for iOS because I had an iPhone. It was new and exciting, and something I’d always wanted to do. I didn’t come from a coding background or computer science education, but I found DevMountain which builds up people who have zero experience to a level where you’re comfortable building apps or applying for junior position jobs.
Why did you choose DevMountain over other bootcamps?
I was also impressed with what the DevMountain tuition included compared to other bootcamps. At other bootcamps in major cities, you’re paying $20,000 and that doesn’t include housing. DevMountain costs $10,000 and includes 3.5 months of housing. It was great for people who don’t have money saved up or – like me – had to move to Utah to attend the bootcamp. I signed up, flew to Salt Lake City, and they set me up with housing right away. Everything was easy. There was a metro station right outside our housing, and the bootcamp was conveniently located four or five stops away. They house cohort students together so you get to know each other, most apartments had three to five people (I had two roommates), and were furnished with everything you need. At the bootcamp, they offered free breakfast every Friday, unlimited coffee, and we had access to the campus at any time.
It’s a scary process to start a bootcamp but DevMountain’s offer was amazing compared to other bootcamps and was a major reason why I chose it.
How did you pay for your DevMountain bootcamp?
Interestingly, Bitcoin was doing really well when I signed up for DevMountain, so I actually sold some Bitcoin and paid for the tuition! I had bought some not too long before and it was a perfect opportunity. If I hadn’t been fortunate to have had that, I would probably have borrowed money because it was something I really wanted to do.
What was the DevMountain application process like?
To be accepted, you had to fill out an application and do a coding challenge, but it wasn’t very difficult. If you studied iOS development for a week, you could probably pass. It was mostly about syntax – it was about the language, but nothing about iOS development itself, because they want to help people who don’t have a lot of coding background.
The communication with the admissions team was very tactical. They contacted us if we passed the application and challenge, helped coordinate our start times, organized housing if needed, and sent us a list of pre-course work ahead of the bootcamp. We had to read the Big Nerd Ranch Guide to iOS development and Swift, and had to take a Team Tree House course which was half Swift, half iOS development. The final part of the pre-work was building an iOS project following one of Apple’s development tutorials, like a food menu app. Getting in was easy, but the pre-course work took a couple months, so it’s important to apply a few months before you want to begin so you have enough time to prepare.
What was your DevMountain cohort like?
Our class had one of the larger cohorts, around 19 people, one girl and the rest were guys. More than half had never done any iOS development before, perhaps two or three had a CS background, and I don’t think anyone had job experience in development. The youngest person was probably 21 years old and someone was in their 40s, but a majority were in their 20s. Everyone was nice and hard-working – people stayed until after 5 or 7 pm to get things done, and we all got along really well.
What was the learning experience like at the mobile development bootcamp?
We woke up early, grabbed some coffee, and took the metro to DevMountain for a 9am start. From 9am to 10am, we did an individual coding challenge and discussion. From 10am to 12:30pm there was a lecture guiding us through a feature or a framework from start to finish. We followed the instructor’s lead – as he was walking through the lesson and typing, we were typing along and asking questions.
For the hour-long lunch break, we would go out to eat as a group and talk about the lecture. It’s located in the heart of Salt Lake City so there were plenty of restaurant options.
After lunch, we had time from 1:30pm to 5pm to work on our “homework” projects, sometimes individually or in teams and the mentors are there to help you if needed. After 5pm, you can go home or stay late if you want. This is the main schedule from Monday to Thursday. On Friday, you have a quiz on everything you’ve learned that week.
Every cohort has two instructors. We had Joe and Riccardo, and later Frank replaced Riccardo. The instructors would switch out every other day for the lecture. While one mentor is teaching, the other is walking around and making sure everyone is following along and helping anyone who falls behind.
What did the iOS bootcamp curriculum cover?
The bootcamp is 12-weeks. The first half of the course is lectures. Five of the six lecture weeks covered Swift, because that’s the language Apple is pushing for future iOS development, then we had one week of fundamentals on Objective-C. One of the biggest frameworks we worked on was Core Data which saves information locally on your phone, and we learned the CloudKit framework as well. We didn’t do a lot with third-party frameworks, but we were always welcome to learn other things on our own.
What was your favorite project at DevMountain?
During Week 3, we had to do a Pokemon app. When you launch the app, there’s a list of all the Pokemon characters, you can click on each one to see their attributes, and you can search for specific Pokemon. It was everyone’s favorite because when you learn iOS, you’re learning offline development – you’re not grabbing data online, you’re not posting user accounts online. In the first few weeks, you learn how to build an app from scratch, then during Week 3, we grabbed that data from an online API. Once you learn how to grab data from one API, you can do it from any API. After the Pokemon project, some of us worked on stock or weather apps that had open API sources, so the Pokemon app opened the door to a lot of other ideas.
How did DevMountain prepare you for hunting for iOS developer jobs?
Towards the end of the bootcamp, the DevMountain team helped us set up our LinkedIn accounts with a photo, a description, and education and work history. Having a fleshed out profile was one of the required elements of receiving the bootcamp certificate. We also needed an online portfolio displaying the apps we’d built by using Squarespace or Wix to create and display our work. The third thing was to have an updated resume with our new development and project experience. Students have regular one-on-one check-ins with the job prep staff until those items are finished and you can graduate.
You’ve had a couple of development jobs since graduating from DevMountain. How did you land them and what have they been like?
Towards the end of my bootcamp, I did some freelance work to help build out my profile and gain some experience. I went to startup Facebook pages, looked for people who had app ideas, and discovered Parkarr, an app that helps you find parking in NYC. I connected with the business owner, asked her what they wanted to accomplish with the app, and offered to do the first feature for free to showcase my skills. After that, they gave me some remote work for a few months right out of DevMountain.
I wanted to stand out from other bootcamp grads when I eventually went for a full-time job. Job hunting is more than just having a resume – it’s networking, going to events, and putting yourself out there as a developer. Once you get some experience on your resume, companies will take you more seriously. Thanks to the freelance work, it worked out well and I have a job!
Yes, congrats on landing a job at Tapcart! How did you find and land the job?
I applied on Angel.co because I knew I wanted to work at a startup. I love the startup environment and you can get more experience working with the whole product versus just a smaller part of it. It’s a lot of work, but it’s exciting and new, and you get to see a company grow. Tapcart had an Angel posting but didn’t have a careers page on their website. I contacted their customer support on the Tapcart website letting them know I wanted to apply for the iOS position and asking for an email address for an interview. The CEO actually reached out to me on LinkedIn before I was able to email and invited me for a 30-minute phone interview. I spoke with him later that day! He walked me through the company, where they were at, and their future goals. He asked about my experience, what apps I worked on, and got to know more about me. I had an in-person interview a week later in Santa Monica.
What does Tapcart do and how does your role as a mobile app developer fit in?
We’re a SaaS company partnered with Shopify and Google, where you can click-and-drag to create, launch, and update a mobile app for your ecommerce store, and retain your customers who are shopping on their phones. When I joined, I was the fifth person and now there are about 20 of us, with seven of us as engineers, and a couple people on an outsourced Android team. The CEO is also an engineer, so it’s great to have someone who understands the technical challenges behind new features and deadlines. The CEO built the first version – he did the coding, the design, web, everything – so he knows what’s needed, how much time things take, and the difficulty of different tasks, so it’s pretty easy to set timelines.
I work on a lot of features. My first project was working on a new alert system for the app. I work on features, fix any reported bugs, maintain a good code base structure, and I was in charge of handling the build server. We have 500 apps on the app store and we need a good system on sending them updates and builds, so a couple of months into the job, the CEO taught me how to handle build servers, so that was another responsibility on top of my regular integration work.
Were you able to use your skills from DevMountain or have you learned new skills?
The skills from DevMountain were enough to get me started, dive in, and start building things. I’ve had to learn how the Tapcart app works and what the code base structure is. We didn’t learn anything on architecture in my bootcamp, so I had to learn and adapt on the job. But there isn’t a whole lot of difficulty in learning those new skills – it’s the same process, you’re building similar things but in a different way.
How does Tapcart ensure you and the other engineers continue to learn and grow?
Every week we have an Engineering Showcase. Someone from the web or iOS departments will present on a topic, like a new framework, to other engineers. We have weekly viewings where the engineering team will sit together and watch a video on better coding practices, we share articles, and give each other feedback on our coding. That’s been a great learning process.
How has your background been useful in your new career?
My previous experience gave me a lot of management and people skills. This translates to my new development career because you’re working with a team of people, there are conflicts, you need to discuss different problems, and find better ways to plan. I also did a number of presentations with the architecture company, so I’ve been doing those at my new job.
What’s been the biggest challenge in your journey to becoming an iOS developer?
The biggest challenge for me was getting started. It took me a few months before I realized I could do it. Can someone with no experience and no degree really become a developer in three months with a bootcamp? It’s a lot of money and it’s a bit crazy and scary. It was my first time really moving out on my own and going to a new city. However, once I started, DevMountain’s bootcamp and the job didn’t feel like work. I’m really enjoying it and am passionate about it.
What is your advice for other people who are considering making a career change with a coding bootcamp?
Plan ahead, make sure you can afford it, and that a career change is really what you want. If you have a family, there are additional considerations to take into account. If you have a full time job, are you going to quit? What if you have a mortgage or bills to pay for? Make sure you can not only attend the bootcamp, but also factor in the job hunt and landing the tech job. When you’re applying for jobs, network and think about how to set yourself apart from others. If it’s all in line, then take a leap of faith and just go for it!
Madi spent a few years trying different career paths, but didn’t get really excited about anything until she discovered Software QA. She considered teaching herself, but decided to enroll in DevMountain’s Software QA bootcamp in Utah to learn more, get experience, and build a portfolio. Madi tells us about working on projects with members of her diverse cohort, learning from DevMountain instructors who had real industry experience, and how a chance meeting on a bus led to her new job as a QA Engineer at Young Living Essential Oils!
What were you up to before DevMountain?
I attended a traditional four-year college for music education for one year because I loved it, but I knew that wasn’t my ultimate career goal. I decided to go on a long-term mission trip with my church, and when I returned got a job as a medical receptionist. I absolutely loved the dynamic nature of that job in talking with people every day and working on the computer.
But I had a feeling there was more for me, so I spent the next year and a half figuring out what was next. I applied to a bunch of different jobs and tried different schools. My husband is a software developer so I had an idea of what the software world looked like, and while QA sounded cool, I didn’t think I had the skills to go for a job. I knew DevMountain offered coding bootcamps but their Software QA bootcamp got me really excited. They taught both manual and automated testing, which I knew would make me more marketable. They also don’t just teach you the material; they help you get a job by helping you build your resume and LinkedIn profile, practice interviewing, and offer networking events - all of that together just sounded like a great way to get into the industry.
Did you consider a different route to QA than a bootcamp? Perhaps teaching yourself or going to a university?
I considered teaching myself, but I figured it would be faster to go through DevMountain. I knew I would commit to it more if it was full-time and immersive, rather than doing a few hours here and there at home. I love learning in-person and wanted to be able to ask an instructor questions, especially with learning coding and test automation. I didn’t really consider a college degree – I knew there wasn’t a direct path to a QA career from a university, so this seemed like a simpler and more direct path.
What was DevMountain’s application and interview process?
There was a 30-minute phone interview with one of the admissions representatives which allowed me to ask questions and gave them an idea of my background and my interest level. Then I had to complete a practical challenge, which was pretty simple and not intimidating, and we could use any resources we needed (I asked my husband a few questions!). It was a basic web application to test with a pre-made Excel spreadsheet to log what we found.
After being accepted, I applied for a loan through Climb, one of DevMountain’s financial partners. They helped me finance my bootcamp and have been really great to work with – I’d definitely recommend them.
Who were the other students in your cohort?
DevMountain had just started an online option so we were a small cohort of only 6 people. We were three women and three men. Two of us were from Utah, two were from India, one was from Philadelphia, and one was from Russia. Our backgrounds were diverse as well. One person had interned as a software tester before, another was a developer in other languages, and the rest of us had very little or no experience.
What tools and technologies did you learn in the software QA curriculum?
The main structure of the course was based on preparing for a certification through the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB). The curriculum covered a lot of terminologies and testing methodology, and it was designed to help us qualify for the certification exam at the end of the course, which DevMountain paid for.
The tools and technology we used:
- Jira, the development tracking tool. We moved cards through the workflow, ensured we had traceability with our test cases, and learned how to write test plans and test cases.
- We used an API testing software called Postman.
What was the bootcamp instruction format?
It was super awesome. The first half of the day was lecture time with powerpoint presentations, discussions, and breakout partner activities to answer questions or do a small challenge. The second half of the day we worked on projects based on the day’s lecture. The final two weeks of the course we were completely focused on projects. We had a week-long group project where we worked with a partner or a group to test a chosen website or app. We spent the project time planning out test cases and approach, documenting, and then running the test cases and testing throughout. The final week was a solo project for which we found an app to test by ourselves.
What was your favorite project during the QA bootcamp?
I think it was the group project where we worked on Yoodlize, an actual website being developed by a friend of our instructor. We got to test the alpha version and report bugs that went to a developer to work on throughout the week. It was really exciting to get into a real-world project.
What types of career preparation and job assistance did DevMountain provide?
DevMountain has a designated career counselor who comes into class once or twice a week to talk about what makes a good resume and a good LinkedIn profile in this industry. They coached us through specific principles and then we would build out our own profiles and get them checked off at the end of every week so they were up to date.
At the end of the course, DevMountain staff helped us with interview prep questions in a large group setting. The career counselor randomly picked a person, asked them an interview question on the spot, and then would then coach us through what would be a more ideal answer, or perhaps what the interviewer might be trying to understand through the question. We also did one-on-one interview practice with our instructors – nothing too formal, but a great chance to answer questions and brainstorm our interview responses. It was super helpful for me.
Congrats on finding a job as a QA Engineer at Young Living! How did you find it?
It was a bit of a crazy story that came down to good networking and a little bit of providence! I attended a QA meetup in the area where a bunch of us get together and do some workshops lead by senior QA professionals, and I met the Head of QA Automation from Young Living. I knew it was a great company, so I introduced myself and told him I was definitely interested in applying once I was done with my bootcamp.
A separate time, I was riding the bus on my way home from DevMountain and I overheard a guy talking about QA with someone else so I decided to jump into the conversation! He was also a QA Engineer at Young Living! He told me they had an opening and we discussed what they were looking for in a candidate, but I was still several weeks away from finishing the bootcamp. When I graduated, I sent him my LinkedIn profile and inquired about the open position. I filled out the application and reached out to the Head of QA I had met at the meetup to let him know I had applied. They got together, brought me in for an interview, and I was hired just over two weeks after finishing DevMountain!
What is Young Living and how does your role in Software QA fit into the company?
Young Living’s goal is to get essential oils into every home in the world. I’m on the New Market Team – we’re responsible for opening up new markets in new countries. The other teams work on new and existing website functionalities for existing markets, but the New Market Team works on configuring what we have according to the specifications of each new country market that we enter. It’s very exciting and fast-paced because we have the goal to open five new markets each year for the next five years.
I’m one of a few QA Engineers on the team and we make sure everyone knows what needs to happen so that the software is testable. I coordinate with the developers and product owners to make sure I understand the software requirements, then I test it manually and record what I find. I’ve recorded quite a few bugs already. (I took this part out because it’s basically a no-brainer explanation of everything I do as a QA Engineer.) We have really tight deadlines but I’m working with some great people who are helping me write better test cases and improve my skills as a tester.
Are you using the same technologies you used at DevMountain or have you learned new platforms?
How have your first several weeks been as a QA Engineer?
The first two weeks were an onboarding process and there was a bit of a team reorganization at the same time. That gave me a great opportunity to familiarize myself with a lot of the softwares and continue learning SQL. Since joining the New Market Team, I’ve been sitting next to the guy I met on the bus and he’s been mentoring and training me along the way and answering my questions. I’ve already been really surprised at my level of independence in the first six weeks of working. There’s still tons to learn, but I’m learning to answer questions myself, I’m finding I can hold my own in meetings, and I’m contributing value in our team coordinations, so that’s all been very exciting.
I have learned that being able to talk to a number of different people is really important as a QA Engineer. I’ve also found that my interpersonal skills from my previous roles have been helpful. In QA, it’s very important to be able to communicate well – we even covered that in DevMountain. You need to know how to kindly communicate to a developer about a bug they created in their code that needs to be fixed. I developed those skills in my previous roles and enhanced them in DevMountain.
Do you think a bootcamp was necessary or do you think you could have taught yourself the concepts?
Honestly, I don’t think I would have been this employable if I had learned on my own. DevMountain helped me learn methodologies and development cycles. I probably could have learned those on my own, but I learned it in a more real way from an instructor who had been a QA engineer and had real-world experience. He could tell us about the day-to-day struggles of the job. I think the combination of everything in DevMountain’s curriculum were things I wouldn’t have known to have put together without a lot more time investment.
DevMountain has been a very supportive community. I’ve stayed in touch with a career counselor and a student success counselor who follow each student’s journey through DevMountain. They regularly follow up to see how I’m doing and offered their congratulations when I landed a job.
What has been your biggest challenge in becoming a QA Engineer?
My biggest challenge has probably been “imposter syndrome” – I think to myself “who am I to call myself a QA Engineer after a six-week course, and then apply to companies that will pay me a higher salary than anything I’ve had before?” And yet, I now know what I need to be a QA Engineer and, relative to my non-QA team members, I’m an expert at testing software. I’m still working on it and I still want to make sure I know what I’m talking about before I contribute to discussions, but that’s something they also addressed at DevMountain. They told us, “you are the expert at this part of the process.”
What advice do you have for others who are considering a bootcamp like DevMountain to make a career change?
It’s so worth it and I absolutely love QA. I thought it was interesting before I started but I have discovered that I am deeply passionate about this. DevMountain was such a small investment relative to what I learned in such a short time and what I’m able to make now. I’ll be able to pay back my loan in a couple of months.
Bootcamps are so totally worth it. They require hard work and you’ll want continue investing time to keep up your skills afterwards, but I think bootcamps are invaluable. People think they can just test software but I came out of DevMountain with technology experience and a portfolio from working on real projects that I could not have gained otherwise. I feel like I’m thriving right now. I’m super grateful for the time at DevMountain and the push to get where I am now. I can’t say enough about how much they did for me and how much broader a scope of opportunities they offered me.
With classes spread between Salt Lake City and Provo, the DevMountain team has decided to bring all its Utah operations under one roof in centrally-located Lehi. We sat down with DevMountain Executive Director Krissy Weekley to hear how Lehi has become the tech hub of Utah, which big tech companies are hiring coding bootcamp grads in Lehi, and how having the UX, iOS, Software QA, and Web Development students in one place will allow them to interact, collaborate and learn from each other.
Can you tell me about your background, and your role at DevMountain?
I'm an entrepreneur by trade. I love starting different businesses, and working on different ideas.
Back when coding bootcamps were brand new I wanted to learn how to code, so I attended DevMountain as part of their very first immersive cohort. At that time, DevMountain was small with only a few people running the show – the founders, an instructor, and an office manager. I have a business degree, and come from a business background, and I approached the founder to ask if I could help out. That’s how it all started. Now, I’m DevMountain’s Executive Director.
What’s your involvement in opening the new DevMountain Lehi campus?
I’m working on the operational side to get the new campus up and running. We originally had two campuses running different courses in Utah – in Provo we ran the web development course, and in Salt Lake City we had UX, IOS, and QA courses. Now we’re moving all of our courses and Utah operations to Lehi.
With all the courses together under one roof, we believe the organization can work better, as a whole, with cross-departmental communication, between both staff and students. We want our students to work in cross-functional teams so they’re better adapted to enter the workplace – in a real-world work scenario, designers, mobile and web developers, and QA all have to work together. This way, they understand the different approaches of designers and developers.
Under certain circumstances we can also allow our students to switch programs. Maybe they come to DevMountain thinking they want to do web development, but then realize the UX design class speaks more to them. We want to help our students succeed in the classes we offer. Devmountain is more like a new-age, fast paced, university experience. It’s a really fun environment to be part of.
Why did you choose Lehi, specifically, as the place to bring all of these disciplines together under one roof?
The tech scene is huge here. It's actually called the “Silicon Slopes” of Utah. There are some big billion dollar companies in this area. We have Qualtrics, Adobe, Domo, Vivint, and many other companies here. It's a tech hub, and we want to be in the heart of tech. Visibility is key. We want to be five minutes away from these companies, so employees or hiring managers can stop in on their lunch breaks, come to our campus, and see the high-quality work our students are doing. It’s also important for our students to know that they have the attention of the business community.
Geographically, Lehi is also in an ideal location. Salt Lake City is north, Provo is south, and Lehi is directly in the middle. That’s why Lehi’s become the heart of the tech scene in Utah. It’s a great place for companies, and for talent.
Compared to other coding bootcamps in the Silicon Slopes area, what stands out to you about DevMountain?
We work hard to make sure our students succeed, and I think they feel that. Our mentors are only required to work a certain number of hours a week, but they’ll often work much longer, because they love to help students. We’ve built a community here – it’s a caring culture. We tend to hire people based on whether they are passionate about their work. Those are the people we want on board, because DevMountain truly is a company that’s changing lives.
We also want students to get what they’ve paid for. We want them to leave feeling like they learned everything they wanted to learn. We’ve established our credibility. It’s clear that when you come to DevMountain, you’re going to know how to code, and be given opportunities to do so. Since DevMountain started five years ago, we have a huge network, with thousands of our graduates working in tech jobs.
The other unique thing I mentioned earlier is that if you come to DevMountain and decide development isn't for you, you can talk to your instructor and your student success coach and they will help you navigate what is best for you. If there is something else, like UX design or QA testing, we will do what it takes to help you be successful in one of our programs. I think a lot of people want to learn to code because they see the big salary figures. We want our students to gain a skill that they actually like, that’s going to help them find employment when they graduate. We want our students to make a good living while loving what they do.
How many students, instructors, and mentors will you have at the Lehi campus?
We can accommodate 200+ students at a time across our immersive courses. We'll have four web classes, with four instructors, plus two to three mentors per class depending on the size. We’ll also have two IOS classes, with two instructors, and up to two mentors for each class. Finally, there will be a UX class, and a QA class.
What is the Lehi campus like?
The campus has floor-to-ceiling windows on the outside. Everything in the building is brand new. Everything is fresh and clean, and all the amenities are so nice. It's very welcoming and open. It’s been well-received, for sure. Our staff and students keep saying, “I love it here! When can we come?”
We want our students to feel comfortable in their working spaces, and be free from distraction. There's a communal kitchen, we have eight to 10 breakout rooms, and a big lab area where students can collaborate with people from different programs. If you’re in the web development program and you want to ask a designer how to make something for your app, it’s now much easier to do that. We also have a recreation room, featuring a ping pong and foosball table. Soon, we’ll have an 80-inch screen for students to play Super Smash Brothers, if they want. We also have sodas and coffee for students throughout the day, and we provide Friday breakfast. We provide similar amenities at all of our campuses.
As for the area itself, we're located right off the freeway, next to Adobe and Entrata. Cabela’s is next door. We’re really in the heart of these tech companies.
How is the Lehi campus going so far?
We’re still in the transition process, but our first Lehi class started January 7. Our Provo campus is closing and moving operations to Lehi on January 26, and our Salt Lake City campus is moving on February 26. Both campuses will be folded into the Lehi campus by mid-March 2019. So far, Lehi has been amazing. It’s fun to see the staff and student responses.
What housing accommodations will be available for students in Lehi?
We provide housing at all of out campuses. At our Provo and Salt Lake City campuses, students shared a room with four or five people and had a bed to themselves. We’re going to offer the same amenities here. Or if you’re commuting, we’ll also have public transport passes at a discounted price so you can ride the train or take the bus to get to our campus.
Which local companies are hiring junior developers, UX designers, iOS developers and software QA developers in Lehi?
There are all types of companies: Overstock. Adobe, Vivint Solar, Entrada, Canopy, and many more. There are also a ton of start-ups in the area.
Do you think grads from the Lehi campus will get jobs in Salt Lake City, and Provo, as well?
Absolutely. We may be in Lehi, and there are a ton of companies here, but companies all over Utah are hiring, and they will continue to hire our students. Our students tend to focus on the best job opportunity, and not necessarily where, in the state, they’ll go. A lot of our students also come from out-of-state. So, they might go home and get jobs in California or Florida. Students who’ve opted to stay in Utah have had great success getting jobs in Salt Lake City, or Provo, or in other cities throughout the state. Since a lot of companies are located in Lehi, a lot of our students end up getting jobs here, as well.
For beginners seeking to get a better understanding of coding, are there any meetups in the area that you would recommend?
We’re starting a meetup at our new campus in April. It’ll be geared towards all of our programs, so we’ll switch around who runs it. Each month, the major topic – whether it’s web, IOS development or QA – will switch, but we’ll have lightning talks on the other topics. Community members, and those who want to learn how to code, are welcome to attend these meetups. They're also welcome to attend the project presentations we have every month, featuring things our students have built in class.
We welcome members of the community to come check us out! We’d love for them to tour our campus, and see our new space. It’s beautiful, and it's exciting, and it's definitely excited our students.
Justin worked in graphic design and art direction for more than 10 years before wanting to digitize his skill set. He’d never heard of UX design, but when he started researching, he realized it ticked all of his boxes. Justin enrolled in DevMountain’s full-time UX Design Bootcamp in Salt Lake City, and designed a fascinating app to help refugees pair with mentors as they resettle. Justin shows us his DevMountain final project on video, tells us how he worked through the trepidation he felt changing careers in his 40s, and how he managed to persuade his current employer to pay for the program and shift his role to UX Design Lead!
What were you up to before DevMountain?
I have a degree in Graphic Design from the University of Utah. Right out of college, I joined a clothing company as their Art Director – designing ads, sales material, marketing collateral, editing photo shoots and designing print patterns for clothing. It was a really fun job that allowed me to be very creative.
From there, I moved to the RBL Group, a Leadership and HR consulting firm, where I was the Art Director. I joke that instead of working with fashion models, I now work with leadership and HR competency models. It's been a good job.
What made you want to upskill and learn UX design at bootcamp?
Part of my motivation was that I didn’t want to be a graphic designer for the rest of my life. I love visual design, but I wanted to be able to contribute more to business success and performance. And I felt like UX gave me a way to do that.
Also, of all the projects I was working on, I found that I enjoyed working on digital applications the most. Working on websites and apps was far more exciting than formatting articles and ads. So, I decided to see how I could further my capabilities within website and app design, and looked into other careers. When I first read about UX design, I had no idea what it was. I looked into it and was intrigued by the descriptions of what UX Designers did. That led me to explore UX as a career.
What made you choose DevMountain over other learning options?
The first bootcamp I heard of was one offered by General Assembly in Seattle. That was very intriguing to me – I had friends in Seattle – so I initially made plans to stay with them while I attended the full-time UX bootcamp in Seattle.
But when I discovered DevMountain and realized it was right here in Salt Lake City, that was a no-brainer. I wanted to make sure it was a good program, so I met with Brandon, the Head of UX at DevMountain. I sat in on a class and asked him all kinds of questions about the outcomes and the curriculum. I also discussed my concerns about my age, and how having an established career, family, mortgage, and all these things would factor into my success in the program. But ultimately, it came down to the fact that DevMountain is right here in Utah. I could live at home and still be available to my job, if they needed me.
Was The RBL Group supportive of your decision to take a bootcamp? Did you take leave from work?
They were very supportive, but it took a bit of convincing. I started to explore the idea of doing this with my manager about three years ago. My proposal was unprecedented – it meant I would be gone for three months and the company would have to find a way to cover my role. It was met with a bit of resistance, but they do aim to have individual development plans for employees. So it took a while to make it happen, but then they ended up paying the tuition for DevMountain, and my salary while I was gone!
I signed an agreement that I would stay with the company for at least a year after graduating which I thought that was more than fair since they were giving me that education and that opportunity. I got so lucky, but a lot of it has to do with the fact they really value what I bring to the company and I've been here a long time. I don't imagine this is a likely scenario for a lot of people who are employed full-time.
What was the DevMountain application and interview process like for you?
It was very simple. There was a phone interview and a design challenge. In the phone interview they asked about my background, why I wanted to get into UX, what I was hoping to get out of the program, where I wanted to go with it – to make sure I was a good fit.
For the design challenge, we had to design a music listening app and design six screens, with arrows pointing to what would do what, then test it with a few users, get feedback, and write the changes we would make to the app if we had more time to do so. I had no idea how competitive the application process was. I had gone through a similar process to get into design school at the University of Utah, which was ultra-competitive – hundreds of students applied for 30 slots. I had that in the back of my mind, so I took the design challenge very seriously and probably spent way too much time on it.
How many people were in your cohort? Did you feel that the class was diverse in terms of gender, race, or life and career backgrounds?
There were 16 people – 4 women and 12 men in the class. I really enjoyed how there were several students from out of state so it wasn't just a bunch of local people. It was not very diverse in terms of race, but it was diverse in terms of career and life experience. I was surprised that I was the only one with a background in visual design. There were a few students who had dabbled in graphic design, but for the most part, they were students or younger people who didn't have an established career yet. I was easily the oldest person in the class.
Can you walk me through the learning experience? What was a typical day and did the teaching style match your learning style?
A typical day at DevMountain started with a creative exercise. Sometimes it was directly related to UX activities and sometimes it was completely unrelated but got us thinking in creative ways. After that, we would have a guest lecture or a lecture from one of the DevMountain instructors. That might be followed by time to work on our projects in groups or individually.
The first third of the course was heavy on lectures and learning principles, while the remainder of the course was heavy on project work. And mentors were always there and available for feedback. I really enjoyed the design of the course.
What types of design tools did you learn about at DevMountain? Were there any tools that you didn't know about before?
Certainly. Sketch was one that I’d never played with. Adobe XD was one that I was very familiar with. I started working in XD three years ago when it first came out. I used to design our website at RBL using Adobe InDesign, which was not meant for designing websites. Today, I've completely transitioned to designing in XD. That definitely has a lot to do with what I learned at DevMountain. A big part of that was the integration of XD with the developer tool called Zeplin. In the past I would design something in InDesign, then export to PDF, and manually input specs for color, font, and spacing. The whole process was really clunky. The integration with XD and Zeplin is super slick and developer friendly.
We learned a tool for prototyping that required a little bit of coding. It was a little more technical than what I was comfortable with, so I didn't really latch on to that. Balsamiq was another one that we used on one of our projects, which I didn't really care for. Sketch, XD, and Zeplin were the tools that I really learned and gravitated towards while I was at the program.
How were you involved with The RBL Group while you were studying? How did you balance your job with your coding bootcamp commitments?
For the most part, I was able to fully disconnect – that's how I set it up. I assembled a team of people to cover for me. There were a few projects that I needed to step in on, but for the most part, I was able to disconnect.
Tell me about your final project you worked on at DevMountain!
My group and I built a website to address a social challenge that we're facing right now: resettling refugees in the United States. The instructor gave us 12 or 16 social challenge ideas, and as a group we decided what to work on. We chose this idea because I had some experience helping refugees. So our project, Remote Refugee Coaching, is dedicated to helping refugees resettle in the United States.
The website is dedicated to attracting mentors who would help refugees settle in our communities. Mentors can use the site to fill out an application form and agree to a background check. Once a mentor is approved, they can fill in their preferences about who and how many people they want to mentor, when they are available, and how they want to communicate. Once a mentor has completed mentor training, they can start interacting with refugees via chat, instant message, video call or email. Users can also document their experiences on the site in an online journal.
How did you decide which technologies to use for research, prototyping, and testing?
We spent the majority of our time designing in Adobe XD. But we started with sketching. After interviews and the research phase, we started sketching ideas to brainstorm what the product was going to be. Once we felt like we were going in the right direction, we used a tool called Balsamiq, a bare-bones prototyping tool. But we quickly moved on from there and jumped into XD when we wanted to start doing mid-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes.
Can you tell me about your UX research and who you talked with during that research?
Part of the UX process is writing out your assumptions. At DevMountain, we were coached and taught and given the tools to do that kind of activity. One of our assumptions was that this would be a solution specifically for refugees. We made assumptions that language, finding a job, and housing were the main issues as to why refugees struggle to settle into the United States.
So we went into our interviews with those assumptions. We set up interviews with refugees as well as experts from Catholic Community Services which is an authorized refugee resettling organization here in Salt Lake City. We asked, “What are the biggest challenges? How hard is it for refugees to find housing and learn to speak English?” We were pretty spot on with our assumptions. But through research and interviews, we discovered that one of the greatest needs is for mentors – people willing to devote time to helping refugees integrate into our culture.
How did you transition back into your job at the RBL Group? Are you now a UX Designer?
Given that we're a pretty small company, we weren’t even hiring for the position of UX Designer and we didn't have a UX team. But I wanted to start functioning as a UX Designer. So there was no resistance to me taking on a new role of UX Design Lead. It was kind of a self-appointed lead, but everybody was totally fine with it.
How are you utilizing the new technologies that you learned at DevMountain in this role now? How has your day-to-day role changed?
My day-to-day role has definitely changed. I'm definitely using tools that I learned at DevMountain. I now spend 90% of my time in XD, whereas before I was just dabbling in it. Before DevMountain, I would occasionally design for the website; today, that’s mostly what I do. Before DevMountain I was formatting papers and printed material. Now it's almost strictly digital applications that I'm working on, specifically the website. We're in the middle of a major overhaul of our current site. We just released the beta site internally to employees.
What's been the biggest challenge or roadblock in this journey to switching to UX design via a bootcamp like DevMountain?
My biggest roadblock was just being established in my career and having a family, obligations, debt, and just being really busy in life. Did I really want to make this career switch in my 40s? I had a fear that if I actually made the transition, there might be a cut in pay, and I might have to take a step back before I could take a step forward. That’s still a possibility. We’ll see what happens!
What’s your advice for other people who are thinking about upskilling or switching careers through a bootcamp?
My advice is to absolutely do it. Especially if you're young and considering a career in tech – UX design, programming, or QA – do a bootcamp for sure. It's so much less of a commitment to do a bootcamp to discover whether or not you want to have a career in tech, than going through a four-year program at a university. Education is totally evolving, and universities are scrambling to figure out how to compete with places like DevMountain. At bootcamps you're getting hands-on technical skills in a short amount of time that are very applicable to what you're going to be doing in the real world. So I'm all for it.
My route to DevMountain was very unconventional. I wouldn’t say, "Do what I did,” because there are not a lot of companies willing to let you leave for three months. If you want to keep your job while studying, you’re more likely to do an after-hours course. I can't speak to the experience of a part-time student, but from what I understand, full-time is the way to go, because you are able to unplug from everything else, commit to what you're learning, work on the projects, and be a part of a team.
My other piece of advice is to put other commitments and distractions aside. Tech bootcamps are not cheap. Break up with your girlfriend (or boyfriend) for three months, quit your part-time job, really focus on the program, and give it your all. If you do, you will likely land a sweet job or at least an internship that will lead to a sweet job.
As a Director of Software Engineering at Progressive Leasing, Kristie Azarela hired her first coding boot camp grad in 2017. After meeting Jodi Parker at a DevMountain hiring event, she found that Jodi’s QA and graphic design background, combined with a three month-coding boot camp made her a great candidate for Progressive Leasing. Kristie tells us about Jodi’s interview process, her progress in her new role and why she recommends DevMountain to other employers.
Tell us about Progressive Leasing – what’s your role there?
I’m a Director of Software Engineering at Progressive Leasing, which has been providing simple and affordable lease-to-own options for credit-challenged consumers since 1999. I lead a team of software engineers responsible for the oversight of our current application platform.
As an employer, how did you first get connected with DevMountain?
The national unemployment rate is 3.9% (3.1% in Utah!) so it’s incredibly challenging to find technology talent. On top of that, the job market along the Wasatch Front aka “Silicon Slopes” is very competitive. Our talent acquisition team conducts hundreds of interviews each month as well as holding hiring events which they invite leads and directors to participate in. I was excited to participate at a DevMountain hiring event because I love to meet and support students who are just starting out in their career.
I talked to a lot of great students that day and wish I could have hired them all, but one person, Jodi Parker stood out to me for a variety of reasons. She was really enthusiastic and excited about the opportunity to talk to me. She also asked great questions, was really motivated and seemed driven to succeed. She reached out directly after the event, so I invited her in to meet in person for an interview, and we were fortunate enough to hire her as a Software Engineer working on the front end of our application, using Angular and Node. It was my first DevMountain hire and she is fantastic!
Has Progressive Leasing hired any other DevMountain grads or coding bootcamp grads?
I’d have to ask our Technology Recruiting Manager, Michelle Garretson, but I know we have had candidates apply from DevMountain, as well as other Coding Bootcamps in the Salt Lake City area. Often times, students have limited work experience so they don’t meet the minimum qualifications of the role. Jody is the first Bootcamp student that I have personally hired.
So what stood out about Jodi? Why did she get the job?
Jodi had recently graduated from DevMountain but prior to going through that program, she did have some technology work experience. She had some previous experience in QA, Graphic Design and experience as a UX designer. This prior work experience, along with the skills she learned at DevMountain, and great interview made it easy to hire her.
Tell me about the interview process that Jodi went through. How did she do?
I can’t share details about our interview process, but Jodi went through the same process as all other candidates and she was hired so that should tell you how the interview went!
Nobody had any hesitation or reservations about hiring Jodi. I got good feedback from everyone who participated in the interview, so I felt like she'd be a good fit. When she didn't know the answer to a technical question, she said so. I would much rather have someone in an interview tell me that they don't know the answer, but they could learn it or they could find out, than try to make up an answer.
As a woman in charge of an engineering team, are you an advocate to get more women into coding?
Progressive Leasing does a great job of diversity recruiting, and luckily we’ve been fortunate to attract women across the organization. We value diversity!
So Jodi is working in Angular and Node. Are those technologies she already knew from DevMountain or has she trained up since she started at Progressive Leasing?
She had some exposure to Angular at DevMountain. She definitely had to learn our application, but she's a self-starter and pushed herself to learn within the first sprints of work.
I have several senior engineers on my team, and there is an expectation, like in any organization, that senior engineers provide mentorship to other engineers on the team. It's not formalized, but when Jodi has had questions or downtime, I know she's worked with one of our back end senior engineers to start learning more about the API and C#.
How is Jodi doing in the job so far?
She's very professional, super sharp, and driven to succeed. I’m happy she joined the company almost a year ago, wow. I hope she will share her positive experience with other students at DevMountain.
What is your advice to other employers who are thinking about hiring from a coding bootcamp or from DevMountain in particular?
Ideally, candidates would have some real-world work experience, whether it's in IT specifically or a related field. Internships are a great option for new bootcamp grads to consider to gain that experience.
I think if people get into software development because it's something that they really care about, or are passionate about, that makes them more likely to be good long-term employees.
Will you hire from DevMountain in the future?
Every company across the country is competing for tech talent so we’d be crazy not to! We are thankful that we found Jodi and would love to find more future hires!
If you’re planning to take out a loan to pay for your coding bootcamp tuition, READ THIS FIRST. Borrowing money can be confusing and stressful, but there are a number of ways to make sure your debt doesn’t pile up more quickly than you were expecting. The team at Climb Credit, a student lender focused on career-building education, drew from their experience working with bootcamp students to put together this list of ways to be smart about your loan, and avoid accruing unmanageable debt by the time you graduate.Continue Reading →
Sterling Chin wanted to become a developer, but with a wife and two kids to support, he couldn’t justify going back to college so he enrolled at DevMountain coding bootcamp in Provo, Utah. Learning to code was very difficult for Sterling, but he worked hard and became a DevMountain student mentor. Sterling tells us how he overcame feelings of anxiety, depression, and imposter syndrome to land a job at a startup for 3 months after graduation, and then as a Front End Developer at Overstock, the biggest tech company in Utah!
What’s your education and career background? What made you want to switch careers into software development?
I studied Elementary Education and teaching at Brigham Young University, but I wasn’t sure that’s what I wanted to do for a career. I took a one-year hiatus from college, which turned into 10 years. In that time, I worked in a handful of different industries including construction, facilities, vendor, and project management. Two years before DevMountain, I started to interact regularly with developers in a business setting. As I got to know those developers, they would explain things to me. I realized that if I could get a more in-depth understanding of what was going on, I might be able to do this as a full-time job. That experience got me thinking about going back to school. Also, when I joined another company and started working with HTML and CSS, I realized that there's a whole better world out there and I needed to move into software development.
What made you choose a bootcamp as a way to hone your skills? Did you consider getting a 4-year CS degree?
Originally, I was going to go back to a local university to get a computer science degree. But during my hiatus, I got married and had a child. I couldn't take two or three years to go back to school, so I started moving towards other options.
I learned about coding bootcamps through my network. A friend who is a software developer mentioned that his company had hired coding bootcamp grads. That was the first time I'd heard of a bootcamp as an alternative to a traditional university. That’s when I started doing my research. I went to Course Report, I read Google reviews, I looked at YouTube videos, just about everything, and came across DevMountain.
What stood out about DevMountain compared to other bootcamps in Utah?
One of the main factors was the culture. I toured the DevMountain campus in Provo, and thought the faculty was amazing. I sat down with the recruiters and some of the past and current students, and what I read online is what I saw in-person. The DevMountain staff answered all of my questions. That made a big difference to me. I'd visited two other bootcamps where the staff couldn’t give clear answers when I asked harder hitting questions like, "What's the attrition rate? How many of your graduates actually find jobs within a certain amount of time?" DevMountain had those answers and they were very honest with me.
Another reason why I chose DevMountain was that their name is well-known locally in Provo, Utah. There are a lot of companies that have good relationships with DevMountain, so I felt confident in my ability to find a job after the bootcamp. When you're going to shell out $10,000 to $20,000 for school, and you have a family, you have to be 100% sure this is what you want to do. I felt comfortable giving DevMountain my money.
Describe your DevMountain cohort. Was it diverse in terms of career and backgrounds?
There were multiple different backgrounds in my cohort. There was a wide age range – I'm in my mid 30's and there was someone who had just barely graduate high school at 18. There were a lot of different levels of education, and I was definitely not the only one who had attended a four-year college, graduated or not, and needed something different. There was one kid who was in college at the time but took a semester off to come to DevMountain.
Describe a typical day at DevMountain. What was the learning experience like?
I'm in my mid-30s and I could not fail at this. I wasn’t going to waste $10,000 to $20,000 by not working my ass off. So I’d wake up at 6am and spend two to three hours studying before class. Then at night, I'd continue studying or I'd read up on the next day's topics. I averaged about 14 to 16 hours a day studying at DevMountain.
DevMountain allowed you to immediately practice what you learned, and that application of learning is something that I never had when I was in college. In college, you have a whole day of lectures in five different subjects, with a lot of reading and superficial knowledge – no real practical knowledge. DevMountain really is a bootcamp – it was nonstop. We've all heard the phrase drinking from a firehose – well, it felt like fire hoses were coming at me from every direction. And I wasn't just drinking it, I was getting pelted from all sides.
Did you become a student mentor at DevMountain after graduation? What made you take on this teaching role?
How did DevMountain prepare you for job hunting?
The career preparation starts a week before you graduate. A member of the DevMountain careers team talks about creating a personal website and portfolio. We got help with writing tech industry-based resumes and we did a full day about Linkedin – how to search for jobs, what types of jobs to look for, how to reach out to people, and how to network with people.
DevMountain did as much as they could within the time that was given. The resources that DevMountain provided and the skills they helped me build were valuable. But part of the reason I was successful was luck and the amount of time that I put in reaching out to people, talking to everybody, and applying for hundreds of jobs. I got really lucky when I landed my first job because the company that I went to was a startup and they had good experiences with DevMountain grads. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and ended up landing an interview.
What advice do you have for current bootcampers on the job search?
Don't give up. Don't give up the hard work. And don't give up after a couple of weeks if you don't have any interviews. It may take you some time, but this is not a foot race. This is not a race with anyone but yourself. You can do this! You have to keep studying, keep learning, and networking. Don't give up on your dream if it doesn't come to you right away.
It's a full-time job finding a job after bootcamp. It was 40+ hours a week where I was doing tech interviews and technical problems that companies were sending me, while also pushing myself to learn new technologies. There's a honeymoon period at DevMountain where everything is hunky dory and you’re going great, but with any career change, no school wants to tell you exactly how hard it's going to be. Some of the people in my cohort had a very difficult time finding their first jobs. DevMountain tells you, "You have to keep moving. This is not the end. This is not the plateau. This is the beginning of the rest of your career so you need to keep moving."
What was your first job after becoming a student mentor at DevMountain?
The first job I had was at a startup and it was nothing like I expected. The CTO was my senior, and I was the sole front end developer. If I needed help on a project or some guidance, that support wasn't there. At the same time, I became very self-reliant and had to push myself. Unfortunately, three months in, the company went through some financial problems and laid off half of the developer team. Since I was new, I was let go.
What were you looking for in your next role? Did you receive help from DevMountain?
I was not looking for a startup for my next job. My wife is a stay-at-home mom, and we have two toddlers so I needed to have some security. If I was young and single, I would’ve hit up another startup right away. When you have a family and you’re rooted to an area, it may be difficult to find a job. I knew a couple of grads who were single, who found jobs at startups in Boston or California. But as the sole breadwinner here in Utah, my net was not as big.
DevMountain was able to assist me as much as they could. There were a good amount of job opportunities. Megan Barbara at DevMountain was very supportive; sending me jobs that matched my skill set, and sending my resume to employers. On top of that, I knew a few recruiters and reached out to my network with LinkedIn premium, which was amazing. It gave me a lot of insight into my capabilities and where I stood amongst other developers. And I joined tons of Facebook groups, local tech groups, and went to meetups.
When I was let go from the startup, one of the first things I did was reach back out to every company I'd ever talked to – and Overstock was one of them. I’d had seven or eight job interviews when I was a student mentor, so I contacted those companies to see if they had any new positions. The Overstock recruiter told me, "I remember you did great at the onsite interview, they liked you, but you got edged out. Let me see if I can find something.” It still took him six weeks to find something, but it was part of that process.
Congrats on your job at Overstock! Tell us about the company and your role.
My title is front end developer and I’ve been working at Overstock for about 9 months. My team has two front end developers, two back end developers, three full stack developers, two QA’s, a dev lead, one UX person, and a product manager. At Overstock as a whole, we have close to 300 developers including front end, back end, QA, and Dev leads. We have 58 front end developers at Overstock and I believe about a quarter of them are DevMountain grads. Overstock and DevMountain have a really good relationship.
Overstock as a company is pretty laid back. My team has stand-up at 9:30am, and if we need to work from home, we just call in via phone. I’ll work for a couple of hours on QA bugs, go to lunch, then continue working. When I say working, it doesn’t feel like work because I love what I do. Since we are laid back, we play ping pong, video games and grab coffee. No one's looking over my shoulder making sure that I'm coding 24/7. They know I'm doing my job and doing what's expected of me, so there is no micromanagement.
I’m pushing myself harder than I've ever pushed myself, and I think being at Overstock is harder than 99% of my DevMountain classmates who are at startups. Overstock also takes good care of their developers. Many of my classmates look at us at Overstock and wish they were here. Overstock is the largest tech company in Utah. If you’re in California, everyone wants to be at Facebook in Silicon Valley, and if you make it to Facebook, you've made it. For me, being at Overstock means I made it. It feels good.
Are you using the stack/programming languages you learned at DevMountain?
When I first started at Overstock, I was told I was pretty junior. I knew some things, but I needed more help than my manager was expecting. Now that I have been here nine months, I’m further along in my learning because of how Overstock is set up. I take my education very seriously here. I have a mentor, and a team which allows me to be very outspoken with my questions. We have a Slack channel for front end developers at Overstock which has 50 members, where I regularly ask questions.
Has your background in facilities and vendor management been useful in your front end developer job?
I think any real-world experiences is beneficial because it’s given me a different outlook. I solve problems very differently than other people on my team, because of my background.
The main skill I bring from vendor management is organization skills. I worked with 60 different companies across the country, and I used my skills to keep all of that in check. Organizing multiple people across multiple companies and working remotely also helped me with my communication skills. I get laughed at at Overstock sometimes because I keep track of absolutely everything. I'm a forgetful person, so out of necessity, I learned to be organized.
What’s been the biggest challenge or roadblock in your journey to becoming a fully fledged software developer?
My biggest roadblock was me and my own confidence. I had self-doubt, feelings of depression and anxiety, and imposter syndrome. I thought, “Why should I, who just graduated from a 13-week bootcamp, be next to someone who just spent four years in college getting a computer science degree? I don't deserve to be here.” But in reality, I do deserve to be here because what I learned at DevMountain was practical, hands-on knowledge. When I ask Overstock intern applicants, who are computer science students, simple questions, some can’t even answer them. They know the theory, but they don't have the technical, hands-on experience. I know that a DevMountain grad would be able to answer those same questions right away. My biggest takeaway from all of it was that bootcamps are really trade schools equipping you with hands-on experience.
What advice do you have for people making a career change through a coding bootcamp?
A coding bootcamp is not for everyone. Don't expect this to be an easy way to make money – this is not easy. This is the hardest thing I've done in my entire life, and I have done some very hard things. You need to take a hard look at yourself and know whether or not you're willing to put in the time, effort, and sacrifice that it takes to become a full stack developer. If you're not willing to do that, then a bootcamp may not be for you. But if you are, give it your all and trust the system. DevMountain absolutely changed my life. My brother-in-law was working in a factory and went through DevMountain after me. Now he's a developer too. This hasn't just changed my life, but it's changed my family's life.
In our End of Year Podcast, we're rounding up the most interesting news of 2017 and covering all the trends, thought pieces, controversies and more. Many schools are hitting their 5 year anniversaries – a reminder that although there is a lot going on in this industry, it’s still nascent and there is still room for new innovative approaches to the bootcamp model. We’ve chosen the most defining stories, and it was a very eventful year – a couple of big bootcamps closed, a ton of new bootcamps launched, some schools were acquired, and other bootcamps raised money.Continue Reading →
On the Course Report Coding Bootcamp News Roundup, we keep you up to date with the blossoming coding bootcamp industry. This November, we're covering the WeWork/Flatiron School acquisition, over $2M in funding to various bootcamps, and why tech is booming in "Heartland" cities. Of course we also look at new schools, new campuses, and our favorite pieces to work on this month for the Course Report blog! Plus, is The Iron Yard back from the dead? Read the summary or listen to the podcast.Continue Reading →
October 2017 was a busy month for the coding bootcamp industry with news about growing pains in bootcamp outcomes, mergers, acquisitions, investments, a trend towards bootcamp B2B training, and diversity initiatives. To help you out, we’ve collected all the most important news in this blog post and podcast. Plus, we added 12 new schools from around the world to the Course Report school directory! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.Continue Reading →
Need a rundown of everything that happened in the coding bootcamp industry this September? You’re in luck! We’ve collected all the most important news in this blog post and podcast. This month, we kept up with the status of the bootcamp industry, learned about how bootcamps are thriving in smaller markets, and explored different ways to pay for bootcamp. Plus, we added 7 new schools from around the world to the Course Report school directory! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.Continue Reading →
Missed any news about coding bootcamps from June 2017? Course Report is here for you! We’ve compiled the most important news and developments in this blog post and podcast. In June, we heard John Oliver and Megyn Kelly talk about bootcamps, we read about new investments in bootcamps, a number of newspapers wrote about the impact bootcamps are having at a local level, and we were excited to hear about more diversity initiatives and scholarships. Plus we round up all the new campuses and new coding bootcamps around the world.Continue Reading →
Here’s what we found ourselves reading and discussing in the Course Report office in February 2017! We found out the three most in-demand programming languages, we read about how coding could be the new blue collar job, and looked at how new schools are tweaking the bootcamp model to fit their communities. Plus, we hear about a cool app for NBA fans built by coding bootcamp graduates! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.Continue Reading →
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!Continue Reading →
Welcome to the May 2016 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world, from acquisitions, to new bootcamps, to collaborations with universities, and also various reports and studies. Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup podcast.Continue Reading →
Since the first bootcamp acquisition in June 2014, we’ve seen several coding bootcamps get acquired by a range of companies from for-profit education companies (Capella Education), to co-working companies (WeWork), and other coding bootcamps (Thinkful + Bloc)! With rapid market growth in the bootcamp industry, for-profit education companies are taking note. These acquisitions and consolidations should come as no surprise, and some have been very successful, with schools going on to increase their number of campuses and course offerings. As coding bootcamps become more mature, we are seeing them get snapped up by more well-known companies, for increasingly large sums (e.g. General Assembly for $413 million!) We’ll keep this chronologically-ordered list updated as bootcamps announce future acquisitions.
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A coding bootcamp can propel your career in tech to new heights, but that often means quitting a job, uprooting your life, or moving to a new city. Maybe you’re moving to a new city to become a developer and need a short-term housing option. Or perhaps you’re an international student without credit history. Regardless of your background, funds can become tight when committing to a full-time, intensive bootcamp, and suddenly expenses like rent and food can be stressful. Luckily, there are coding bootcamps that make housing easy.Continue Reading →
While you may associate DevMountain with the Silicon Slopes of Utah, the team recently expanded to Dallas, Texas, where they’re teaching a second cohort of MEAN Stack developers. We talk to lead instructor Ryan Walsh about free student housing in Dallas, integrating the DevMountain culture into the Dallas campus, and keeping their MEAN Stack curriculum updated to get students job-ready!
What is your role at DevMountain Dallas?
I’m the co-Lead Instructor, along with our founder and CEO Cahlan Sharp. I teach two to three times per week in the classroom and make sure our MEAN Stack curriculum is current and updated.
Why expand from Utah to Dallas- what’s special about this city?
The Dallas campus has been open for six months; we’ve graduated one cohort and currently teaching our second. I was at the Provo campus before, so I’ve been in Dallas since February.
It’s a really cool city – super dog-friendly! The tech scene is also very active; there are meetups going on everywhere. Two weeks ago, we hosted a NodeSchool meetup at our campus. We love how active the community is, and how willing the people here have been to accept us and our students into their business and organizations.
Have you noticed a difference between the two campuses?
The students aren’t particularly different, but every cohort generates a unique identity. The last cohort was very business-like while this cohort has a more “college” atmosphere – they goof around and play ping-pong, then work all night.
Are the admissions standards different for each campus?
Our admissions process is always uniform across all campus locations. To start the application process, students select the specific session they are interested in joining. After we review their application, they will participate in a phone interview and a coding challenge. The only variant is the challenge, which depends on the curriculum a student is applying for (Web Dev, iOS Dev, or UX Design).
It’s tough, and there’s a lot of discussion between me and Cahlan (DevMountain CEO) and the other instructors. It’s a very iterative process. For example, we just added a full day devoted to ES6 to this cohort’s curriculum. We cover React for several days as well. But mostly what we look at when we design the curriculum is what will get students jobs. Personally, I love writing React.JS, but there are a lot more jobs for Angular.
We also take student feedback really seriously for the curriculum. We’ve had several projects where we’ve heard feedback about vagueness, so we’ll rework those projects. If the project isn’t working for students, then it’s not working at all.
Have you seen most of your students get jobs using Angular in Dallas?
We have one student working in React, but mostly our students get hired into Angular positions. Several of our students have worked in .NET roles, and at least one in a Rails role. We generally see DevMountain students hired in Front End positions. But since they have learned back end as well, they’re able to communicate with the whole dev team at their company.
I see a range of jobs, roles, and companies. Two days ago we had ad agency The Richards Group join us at DevMountain. And two of our students are working on the Front End team at Varidesk.
Is there an ideal class size for the DevMountain Dallas campus?
Our first cohort graduated 15 students, and there are 16 on track to graduate in our current cohort. We want to cap classes at ~15 to 20 students. We’ll expand slowly as we build out the space. We want to make sure we have enough resources to fill more seats without the students suffering.
Did those first 15 students all get jobs?
Our employment rate for the last cohort is 92%, and that’s only two months after graduation.
Are there other TAs or instructors at DevMountain Dallas?
Cahlan and I are the lead instructors; however we regularly bring in guest instructors who are working in the industry; they can use their experience to teach students. We’ve also had students graduate, get a job, then come back and guest instruct. That’s been a cool side-effect!
Our mentors play a huge role as well. They help students debug their work, get through their daily struggles and meet with them every day to make sure they’re on track with the curriculum. Established developers, alumni, and industry devs all get involved in our students’ education. That makes for a perfect combination of mentors who know where you are starting, where you are at, and where you are going.
Where is the campus in Dallas? Is the classroom cool?
We’re right downtown in the Alto building, and we’re partnered with a coworking space called Fort Work. They have a nice, large space and we have a dedicated section for DevMountain. We have a ping pong table and some gaming systems for our students to let off some steam after they’ve been sitting in front of their code for hours. We also have a Coke fridge that we regularly stock with free soda – because sometimes you need a little sugar or caffeine to make it through the day.
I know that DevMountain offers free housing in Dallas, Provo, and Salt Lake City. What is the housing like in Dallas?
The housing in Dallas is really nice. It’s about 2-3 blocks from the campus, which is really walkable. The buildings have tons of amenities- workout/fitness centers, a pool, sauna (I haven’t checked that out yet). I think we really lucked out on housing in Dallas.
More students take advantage of the free housing in Dallas than in Utah- it’s definitely something I recommend to students. It’s nice to cut out distractions of the real-world and just surround yourself with other coders for 3 months.
Have you found that the Dallas cohort is mostly out-of-town students? Are folks traveling in order to attend the course?
In this cohort, we don’t have a ton of students from Dallas itself. Right now, we’re seeing a lot of folks from Texas, but not everyone from out of town sticks around. Several student in Dallas actually live near Provo, Utah, but they found out that they could get into the Dallas class sooner than Provo, so they came down here to start sooner.
What’s been the biggest challenge in being a part of a new campus early on?
The biggest challenge for me has been adjusting to the atmosphere here. It still has the feel of DevMountain, but you have to adjust to the feel of the area and the working space and get an idea for how to best integrate DevMountain into Dallas for the students.
Are there beginner resources in Dallas that you recommend?
Meetups! The NodeSchool meetups vary between Intro and Advanced. The meetup we hosted a couple weeks ago was an Intro to MongoDB for complete beginners. Most meetups will vary between complex topics and beginner-friendly sessions.
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.
While quitting your job and diving headfirst into your coding education can yield impressive results, we also understand that not everybody can commit to a full-time, 12-week programming bootcamp. Jobs, school, families - life, in general, can prevent that kind of commitment. For all the students who can’t give 40 hours a week to a code school, we’re outlining some of the best part-time web development bootcamps around. With a variety of price points and locations to choose from, you'll find an in-person program that can get you coding, even with your busy schedule.Continue Reading →
(updated April 2018)
Slide across the roof of the General Lee, we’re heading south of the Mason-Dixon to check out the best coding bootcamps in the southern United States. There are some fantastic code schools from the Carolinas to Georgia and all the way to Texas, and we’re covering them all. Talk about Southern Hospitality!Continue Reading →
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.
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Dev Mountain offers both after-hours and immersive 12-week coding bootcamp programs in Provo and Salt Lake City, UT where students are trained and mentored by industry experts. The Course Report community is eligible for a $200 scholarship to Dev Mountain!Continue Reading →
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