Students in Atlanta and Houston are also full members of Atlanta Tech Village and HeadquartersHTX, respectively, for the duration of class. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Recent DigitalCrafts News
- Alumni Spotlight: Matt Downs of DigitalCrafts
- Alumni Spotlight: Stephen and Stuart Tiedemann of DigitalCrafts (Video)
- Student Spotlight: Griffin Hammer of DigitalCrafts
Recent DigitalCrafts Reviews: Rating 4.96
Full Stack Immersive + CS Fundamentals Elective
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In PersonFull Time35Hours/week
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Full Stack Flex (Part-Time)
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Full Stack Immersive (Full-Time)
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In PersonFull Time35Hours/week
In PersonFull Time35Hours/week
Full Stack Immersive + CS Fundamentals Elective
- Secure your seat by the Early Enrollment Deadlines for $750 off tuition. We also offer scholarships for Women, Veterans, Minorities, and especially gifted Builders. Email email@example.com to learn more.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Beginner or Intermediate
- Placement Test
- Prep Work
- Pre-requisite work will be provided
Full Stack Immersive (Full-Time)
- Minimum Skill Level
- Beginner or Intermediate
- Placement Test
- Prep Work
- Pre-requisite work will be provided
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Hands down this has been one of the best experiences of my life. I was taught by an over-qualified, flat out excellent instructor who took every one of my classmates to the level they needed to be -- no matter his/her background. My instructor was hands-off with those those that wanted to be more independent and more hands-on with those who didn't and especially those who wanted the extra guidance. I chose this course over the others not only because the people seemed awesome(which they were), but for two other major reasons as well.
1) Of all of the code schools out there, DigitalCrafts is one of the longest, if not THE longest; you get more bang for your buck, and I can't stress this enough, you NEED the extra time. If anything, at the end of it all, you will feel like 16 weeks isn't long enough. So, yeah, go with DigitalCrafts.
2) It's located in Atlanta Tech Village, which is an incredibly cool building with a trendy atmosphere and multitude of tech companies. This allows you to network with other people all throughout the week and some students end up getting hired by companies right there in the building.
To conclude, before we even graduated, we had two of our 15 classmates get hired by well paying and awesome tech companies right here in Atlanta with one of the two classmates having more than one job offer. If you want to get hired, DigitalCrafts will do everything they can to help put you in touch with the companies you want to get in touch with. Even after we've graduated, we've continued to get tons of help from Jake one of the co-founders. He posts jobs into a job board all the time and is always looking to help us get hired. These guys really felt like a family and I doubt you could get such an excellent experience anywhere else.
I entered the program at DigitalCrafts after relocating and leaving a job in a mostly steady industry, so I was looking for a pretty serious experience that would be a good investment for my risk. When researching coding bootcamps in Atlanta, for me the deciding factors were the personalized attention and communication I got from the staff and the price. I was applying from out of Georgia at the time and I was able to chat with Jake and Max (founders) right from the website. I sent numerous emails with questions and got complete replies right away every time. This was not the case with other programs I talked with. To me this showed that DC was invested in their students and distinguishing themselves from other programs by taking a local approach. I heard this echoed by most of my fellow students later.
I was impressed by the syllabus and planned curriculum. I went into the bootcamp having a solid foundation in Python, but really no other coding experience. I was impressed by the rigor of the course and how often the curriculumn is updated and really really honed. Toby was my instructor, and I was super impressed by his passion for teaching and mentoring junior developers. It was clear from day 1 that his main goal was to instill independent learning skills in each of us. He was always ready with an extra assignment or challenge if you finished early and they always focused on building your critical thinking skills. Having spent a lot of time in the formal education world, he definitely ranks in the top 5 of educators that I've seen in terms of his devotion to his students and their learning outcomes. He learned from our experiences every day and constantly made adjustments to his approach, which was great to experience as a student.
The one area where I feel like the DC program has room to improve is their formal job search prep activities. In my opinion when I signed up, this was a significant portion of was I was investing in. I feel like there was a lot of effort made on the part of the staff to connect students with Atlanta companies and sell employers but I did feel that it lagged behind the intensity of the technical program. I found myself slightly off sync in terms of when I needed career advice and mock interviews vs when they were held.
I spent weeks 12-16 of the program on the job market. I went after full-time work with benefits and full salary due to my personal situation, and was extremely happy to recieve such an offer the day of graduation. I had approximately 6 interviews, at different levels of formality throughout the job hunt. Most of the employers I talked to seemed to be suprised/impressed by the longer and full-stack curriculum and I felt that the projects I was encouraged to undertake in the program went a long way in furthering my application.
In the end, I was very happy with my DC experience and my resulting employment. One of the best things about the experience was the comraderie among my cohort and how that was fostered by Toby and the DC staff. I felt personally supported by the program and was happy and suprised to see the staff celebrating sincerely with us as each of us are finding employment. Definitely felt like it was worth the investment.
1. Teacher - Without a doubt it ultimately boils down to how willing and able you are to learn. This requires that your teacher leading you through a whirlwind of knowledge and training know his/her stuff very well. Also, not just know the material, but be able to teach it to class in a way that will allow newbies to understand it and absorb it. DigitalCrafts has sought out great teachers for their program and I absolutely loved learning from the teacher I had.
2. Staff - The staff at DigitalCrafts does a great job to help equip students for the job market. They are very knowledgeable in this area and make it very clear what they expect from the students to help best prepare them for their dev role after the class. Their network of companies and knowledge of the job market are extremely valuable assets that you will gain access to upon being a DigitalCrafts student. This is exactly how I landed my first dev role.
3. Curriculum - The curriculum is current and needed by the job market. All of the skills we learned during my class were very relevent. It was very cool to go from a complete newbie learning a bunch of new skills, to then looking at the job market and saying "Oh awesome we are already learning this in class."
I would highly encourage any of my friends to attend DigitalCrafts if they are interested in learning web development. It takes a significant amount of work and perseverance but will definitely pay off.
It turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made.
The concept of these bootcamps seem almost too good to be true. People from underpaid/low-paying fields enroll in a program that lasts a few months and then go land with a job that pays double or triple when they were earning before. It's easy to get wrapped up in the payoff, but what often gets overlooked is how much hard work and grinding is truly necessary to get to that level. DigitalCrafts offers a program that facilitates the best possible path to this new career. There's nothing "magical" about it -- it's up to you to put in the effort -- but everything is set up so that if you do your part, you'll come out on the other side with the chops, abilities, and mindset of a web developer.
The most prominent aspect that sets DigitalCrafts apart from the pack (and I've felt this way since I first reached out to them in July of 2016) is the authenticity of the program. It's an organization run by people who sincerely want their students to succeed. Period. While I was there, I always felt at home and at ease with everyone on staff. The administrative staff was constantly checking in with us and also hosting events, bringing in people from the industry, and overall doing everything they could to offer us the best possible learning experience. The instructors are phenomenal and are incredibly dedicated to their students. It was clear that they were there because they loved teaching and I learned so much, even having come in with a decent amount of prior experience.
The most critical thing I learned at DigitalCrafts was how to think. The key to success in this field is being a good problem solver, and this program really taught me how to approach real-world challenges and produce viable solutions. Prior to DigitalCrafts, I had always concerned myself with the tools and the final result without much consideration for the process, but this program changed my perspective and I am now far more confident in taking on unknown bugs, challenges, and new technologies than I ever was before. It made me a much more flexible and adaptable developer, which are two traits that worthwhile employers really want in their candidates.
I strongly recommend DigitalCrafts to anyone who has had enough exposure to the field to be absolutely sure that they want to pursue it as a career. I'm extremely happy with my decision and consider it to be one of the best investments I've ever made.
Going to DigitalCrafts was the best decision I've made in regards to career choices. I came from an I.T. background and quit my job as a Desktop Admin at a major Houston based hospital to attend, and I was terrified. I spent hours reading reviews, talking with different bootcamps in Houston and Austin, and talked with my wife about where to go and what to do. I spoke with graduates from the program before making my decision, and every single one of them had a job in the field, and every single one of them said it was the best decision they made.
Damian, the instructor in Houston, is an amazing teacher. Every day class was lively, packed full of learning, and tons of laughs. Damian graduated from a top 5 computer science program, and has been working in the field for over a decade. The amount of knowledge that he has, and his ability to pass it along to the students is remarkable. I can’t speak highly enough of him!
I decided on DigitalCrafts because they teach full-stack development, they're placement rate was outstanding, and the reviews were very good. It was very reassuring how forthcoming Jason, Max, and Jake were in my initial conversations with them. They are all very honest about how difficult the program is going to be, but how much it can pay off, and it paid off for me! I got a job offer as a Software Developer at a fast-growing Houston company only 9 weeks into the course. The salary that was offered to me was a 50% increase to what I was making before DigitalCrafts, and the earning potential as a software developer is exponentially higher. No matter how you chalk it up, it was a good investment.
If you're considering going to a coding bootcamp, I can't recommend enough DigitalCrafts. Setup a meeting with Jason, and learn about the program. Talk to graduates of the program, read reviews, do your homework. For me, the more I dug, the more confident I became that DigitalCrafts was by far the best coding bootcamp in Houston.
I am 8+ weeks into my 16 week course at the Houston campus' 1st Cohort. I can't stress enough the amazing value of the DigitalCrafts bootcamp! I already received and accepted an amazing offer from a fantastic company right after the completion of my first capstone project, which was a 2 person full stack project using Python, Flask, MySQL, and Bootstrap. I can honestly say that I have learned more in 8 weeks than I expected to learn in 16 and I feel well prepared to tackle whatever challenges come next. If you are reading this then chances are you are trying to identify the BEST coding bootcamp for you. CourseReport is one of the reasons I decided DigitalCrafts was the one for me and that was hands down the best decision I could have made. I have seen several projects from students of other Houston programs and the depth and breadth of their learning as evidenced by their final projects is not nearly as impressive as our first projects.
Damian, our instructor, is AMAZING! He has decades of experience in the local area and has successfully launched private software as well. He is new to teaching, but you wouldn't know it! You will get stuck and frustrated from time to time and he sometimes let's you sweat it out, but it's for a good cause. He doesn't baby you but he does drive you to push through your frustration and find the answer on the other side. 2 out of 10 of us have already received offers and we are only halfway through the course- what more can I say?
Last thing: Go for it! If you do, the pre-work is extremely important and the people who neglected it have definitely had a harder time so DO IT ALL, but don't be afraid to enroll- its definitely doable. Good Luck!
Having just accepted my first job as a Software Engineer at a start-up in Atlanta exactly one month after the end of my cohort I feel ready to review DigitalCrafts! This bootcamp is fantastic. I chose it over the other ATL options for three main reasons:
1. Length - 16 weeks felt like nothing. I can't even imagine completing a bootcamp in less time. I feel I absolutely needed that extra month compared to other bootcamps to really solidify my knowledge and contextualize all the different technologies. This give you time to review, retain, and continue to deepen all you've learned in a supportive environment. That extra month goes a long way in developing relationships with the instructors, your classmates, and the program staff, which makes DigitalCrafts feel very personal and invested.
2. Personal Touch - Digital Crafts from the start was in constant communication with me and took the time to seriously consider my personal goals - an amazing aspect which I didn't get from any other bootcamp I looked into. Having moved to ATL just before my cohort began, many students, developer-in-residences, and even the staff themselves, spent their time answering all my questions and even allowing me to sit in and observe a class one afternoon after a current group of students had lunch with me, told me all about their experiences, and answered all my questions - unplanned and just because DC attracts wonderful people. During my cohort, many other potential students can to tour the classrooms and we'd often hear Rob, our instructor chatting to them, telling them it definitely IS possible to teach yourself and it totally depends on what style of learning is best for you - very refreshing to hear! It's very obvious that Rob, Jake, and Max don't take your concerns lightly and they absolutely do not try to sell you on this bootcamp - they want you to be successful in your own way.
Of course there are many other good things I could say about the bootcamp. To have a community of peers while you immerse yourself in something so new and challenging is so important and I think DC does a great job of attracting wonderful people. There was definitely room for improvements including more structure in the back-end part of the curriculum and a more holistic lesson on web development with Python versus just programming games. Our final project was 3-weeks in duration. Personally I would have preferred 2 and used the extra week to continue learning Python or even just repeating/reviewing important concepts such as callbacks, promises, or higher-order functions. I do feel some of the more advanced students were given more personal attention to their questions than those struggling, which ended up somewhat isolating those who learned to withhold their questions or ended up turning to peers instead, for help.
Do not expect this or any other bootcamp to suddenly make you a rockstar. Expect to struggle and feel frustration constantly - that's what learning feels like. Expect to stay late and come in early. Let DC give you a structured learning environment but know that to be successful you can't rely on it to give you ALL the knowledge. Learning about topics not covered in the curriculum. Buy a udemy course and learn from that simultaneous. Expect that there is a world outside of DC with which to complement your bootcamp education immensly. Go to meet-ups, send out 5 cold-call emails a week to people at companies you find interesting, talk to former students, be humble and show that you want to learn. I was able to negotiate a 8% increase in my starting salary with ZERO job experience because I proved I was committed to the extra-curricular side projects and networks I've involved myself with outside of my bootcamp education in order to keep learning.
DigitalCrafts was a fantastic experience and I'm happy to have achieved all the goals I had set when deciding to attend.
I had some coding experience before starting DigitalCrafts. I was in software QA for 5 years and during that time I was able to write a few "one-off" scripts and programs to automate tasks or help developers fine-tune their feature improvements. I was always excited to code, and took every opportunity to learn. But my job didn't require me to code. It required me to manual test day in and day out. After time, I realized that I wasn't able to code enough to preserve or build on my skills. I wanted to code full-time so I began researching and applying to bootcamps.
I applied to a few, but ultimately decided on DigitalCrafts for these reasons: 1) Curriculum, 2) employees, and 3) location.
Employees. I thoroughly enjoyed the administrators and instructors during my time here. Rob, my instructor, had 13 years of experience as a web developer. He has a strong grasp of what it takes to be a developer in today's market, but what sets him apart is his ability to teach. He can hold an audience so well. He's very good. The administrators are very friendly and caring as well. Jake, Max and Natalie constantly work to ensure students have all the tools to be prepared for the market after graduation.
Location. Buckhead. A booming tech spot in a booming tech city. The building itself makes for great learning environment. You don't have to worry about snacks and coffee for instance, they are provided. Just keep yourself feed and concentrate on learning. This actually went a long way with me in my decision to attend DigitalCrafts. I didn't have to spend a lot of time planning for food, just my lunch and dinner. The building also houses a lot of startups, some of which even employ alumni.
I had a great time spending 4 intense months with these people and would do it again if I could! DigitalCrafts took me from someone who wanted to could but didn't really know what to code, to someone who can confidently build complex and beautiful full-stack web applications.
Last summer, I was in a small beach town in Spain where I was trying to find myself after a devastating breakup. In the midst of all the Eat, Pray, Love -- I found DigitalCrafts.
I applied to a few coding bootcamps, but this one stuck out to me. I could tell Jake (co-founder) really genuinely cares about his little baby coders succeeding. That meant a lot. So I went for it. And what a wild ride it was.
This cohort was like season one of The Real World. There were laughs, there were tears, there were beers, and there were a lot of moments of frustration. There were definitely times where I felt like I couldn't do it and/or I didn't want to do it, but fortunately I had Damian to lean on and my amazing classmates who were also going through the struggle to look to for strength. Which brings me to my next point -- Damian is the Lebron James of teaching people how to code while simultaneously being a great friend and mentor. I absolutely would not be where I am as both a programmer and person without him. And for me, that's where the value in this program was. If I continued trying to do it on my own with online tutorials and such, I never would've gotten the mentorship of someone as brilliant as Damian. I was really fortunate to have been able to have him as my instructor.
Being part of the very first, guinea pig, test-dummy cohort in Houston definitely had a few kinks and quirks and oddities, but being the first to do anything comes with those things. I mistakenly thought that the job assistance would be an active part of the program throughout, but it's something that mostly begins towards the end of the program, and it's mostly resume and portfolio assistance. It wasn't a dealbreaker for me though. Basically, if you apply for jobs and put yourself out there and they'll do the best they can to hype you up and make you look good.
As for my career now, one week post-grad: I've been approached about and hired for several freelance remote design and front-end gigs. I decided that while it's great knowing how to work the back-end, it's not something I'm interested in pursuing as a career right now. That's another cool thing about DigitalCrafts -- they're totally supportive of whatever direction you decide you want to go.
(Sidebar: Digital Crafts teaches full-stack web development, and doesn't do design, UI/UX stuff. They spent probably 2 or 3 days on CSS and Sass, but it was enough to light a fire in my heart that sent me running towards it.) Obviously, your mileage will vary, but if you find something that speaks to you while you're in the course (for me that was front-end stuff) run with it and work on it in your spare time, you'll probably be able to find someone who wants to pay you to do it.
Anyway, I think Jake and Max are on to something here, and I'm excited to see what Digital Crafts HTX becomes in the future. If you're considering doing this, I'd say go for it. I know pretty much everyone else has said the same thing, but man, it's true -- this changed my life.
Wow... The team at DigitalCrafts does the impossible every day. Rob, the lead instructor, at our graduation admitted,
"The whole bootcamp model is stupid! We take people who don't know how to code at all and in 16 weeks, transform them into Full-Stack developers who can dominate the job market. That shouldn't be possible!".
And yet, I feel like everyday was a whole new experience with new challenges and multiple successes! We learned so much, that I can pretty much say that most if not all of us will have a fantastic leg up in the software development market.
This really was the ultimate transformation I needed in my life. Coming from somewhat of a technical background, I knew a little about websites, and html/css, but I was nowhere near confident. Starting with the pre-work and all the way through the course, I learned so much that my brain hurt! The pace, while hectic, was manageable with lots of self study and leaning on my fellow classmates, the Developer in Residence, and Rob, my instructor.
By the end, I was looking forward to pushing my skills to the limit and attempt some amazing projects. I will continue to learn and grow throughout my career. I definitely am hooked!
Throughout the course, there have been multiple times where we have been able to participate in hackathons, networking events, meet recruiters and get personal introductions to top tech companies. Jake and Max, along with our fantastic campus director, Natalie, have been instrumental in preparing us for the market every step of the way!
If you haven't figured out yet, I heartily endorse the whole DigitalCrafts team for the work they put in every day!
If you are willing to put in the time, money, and effort, this is the most fantastic way to find a lifelong passion and a career that you will enjoy for many years to come.
Final thoughts: in the immortal words of Shia LaBeouf, "JUST DO IT!!" Make your development dreams come true at DC!
I attended DigitalCrafts looking to fast track a career change and the program delivered amazing results for me. I had a technical background and some experience with computers, but no coding experience when I started DigitalCrafts. The program quickly helped me lay a strong foundation of core programming skills and introduced me to some of the hottest technologies in the industry. I am currently employed as a Node.js developer and believe that I am on par with many developers in the industry with several years of experience.
Personal attention is one of the strongest attributes at DigitalCrafts. The founders are approachable and speak with you one on one to ensure you have a great experience. If you have a problem you can call them up or walk into their office and the issue will be handled on the spot. It is very rare to have access to the leadership of a company and have them working directly with there customers. DigitalCrafts also fosters an open and friendly environment with events, meetups, and continued interaction with its alumni. The instructors will work hands on with you and give you one on one attention to ensure your success. Also if the class size grows, they will bring in additional teaching assistants to ensure every student gets enough personal instruction to succeed.
The instructors are terrific! Toby was my instructor for the 16-week bootcamp, and I was extremely impressed by his commitment and dedication to me and the other students. He truly wanted us to succeed and achieve our goals! I also was Rob's teaching assistant for a short time and had a great experience working with him and his class. Rob is also deeply invested in the success of his students. All the Atlanta instructors are extremely knowledgeable and boast impressive resumes, educational achievement, and work experience in the industry.
Career assistance is still in its infancy. The career services program is still lacking an established network of employers that know and trust DigitalCrafts graduates. Part of this is due to the youth of the company and low number of cohorts that they have graduated thus far. I due believe that this will improve as more and more students enter the industry and companies see them perform at a high level. The staff works extremely hard introducing job opportunities to each student and coaching you with resume tips and interview practice. This should not deter you from exploring DigitalCrafts as a choice for a bootcamp.
Overall, I was extremely happy with my experience at DigitalCrafts and would attend them over any other code school I have researched. They are committed to improving and you may have an even better experience than I had as this company continues is climb toward the top of the coding bootcamp mountain.
My experience with DigitalCrafts was fantastic and the best experience I have ever had in an educational environment. I started researching coding bootcamps because I wanted a career change. I was unhappy with my current job and wanted to get back into tech (I have a Computer Information Systems degree from several years prior), but I wanted to get into web development. I emailed and met with several of the schools around Atlanta, but from the very first correspondence, I knew DigitalCrafts was different from the others. I scheduled an in-person interview, spoke with Jake and Max, and they exceeded my expectations. I met Natalie later on and she was just as amazing. I chose DigitalCrafts because of the curriculum they offered, length of the program, location of the school, electives that were offered, and the staff. DigitalCrafts felt more personalized to me and it was evident that the instructors and the staff were very involved with each student and the success of their students.
I attended the September 2016 cohort and from day one, we hit the ground running. Other than the code challenge and pre-work, I had never seen a single line of code before attending DigitalCrafts. Every day we learned something new. The days and nights were long and exhausting, but very well worth it. I lived further away than most of my classmates and my drive was anywhere from one hour twenty minutes to two hours one way, so I stayed late to work on assignments, as well as did other students. We sometimes took advantage of this time and had a small study group session or just helped each other with projects. It was a lot of hard work and very overwhelming at times, but it was worth every single minute. Also, be sure to do the pre-work and if time allows, do more! You can not be too prepared for this immersive course! You will need to have at least a basic understanding of programming concepts and fundamentals. You must be willing to devote a majority (if not all) of your time during this 16-week program to learn everything you can.
Unlike the other coding bootcamps, DigitalCrafts stays on top of the market and adjusts their curriculum as needed to ensure that their students are learning what the industry is demanding. You will receive help and guidance with your portfolio site, resume, LinkedIn Profile, mock interview experience, as well as hear from speakers in the industry talk about their experience and tips to landing your first developer job. The staff and the instructors were always very accessible and attentive to each student. You had several ways that you could contact anyone you needed to get in touch with and the response was always very timely. Also, DigitalCrafts is located inside the Atlanta Tech Village. The people and the atmosphere at ATV are incredibly motivating! You will meet and get to network with an amazing group of people. The energy at ATV is unlike anywhere else! It is intoxicating to be around so may enthusiastic, driven, passionate and genuinely nice people that are involved in tech in one way or another.
If you are looking to attend a coding bootcamp, I would highly encourage you to apply to DigitalCrafts. You will not find a school that is more highly invested in your success. When you are making this type of investment into your future, you will want the best and DigitalCrafts is it!
Around a year ago, I too was pouring over CourseReport, Quora, and whatever else I could find in my initial search of coding schools that I might consider for making a career pivot into the world of software development. The options were overwhelming to some degree, and I defintiely found reviews of those who'd gone before to be extremely helpful, and I'm somewhat regretful for having taken so long to post up my own experience.
A year ago, my experience with coding equated to:
2. I'd taken a CS-101 course through a bootcamp out in Seattle around 4 years ago (I've been dabbling in this for some time), which was actually a really solid month long course that was basically geared as prep/feeder into their bootcamp program. Unfortunately I had a 2 month old son at the time, as well as a full time job, and I basically only absorbed what I was able to understand from the lectures. In failing to do the labs and the projects, I again, failed to really build any lasting knowledge or understanding.
In 2016, I committed myself to making the transition into a developer a reality. At that point, I think I felt certain that I could accomplish it all in a matter of months. Just sign up for a bootcamp, and BAM, I'd be all set and ready to go. I can't speak to how often that actually happens for others, but I can share with you how my year went.
After doing what you're doing right now (investigating options), it became overwhelmingly clear that the top bootcamp/coding school option out there was Hack Reactor. From what I'd read and seen, it looked really like nothing else even came close.
I signed up for the Fulcrum prep program (I'm not sure if they're still offering this by the same name) with the intention to take 6 weeks to devote myself full time to this prep work, applying to bootcamps once I'd convinced myself that I was willing to commit to the change, and that I was capable of making it.
A few weeks into Fulcrum, I'd still failed to pass my first check in (which is basic JS--Codecademy level stuff), and was seriously feeling as though I was going to wash out of all of this after all. Luckily for me, a mentor there took special interest in me, gave me additional work, and encouraged me to keep pressing. After another week to 10 days of hard work, I passed that initial check in. Then I passed the next one (which was working through higher order functions), then I passed the recursion check in. The momentum was building, and I'd managed to tackle the first of what I think most people will run into throughout this process: the "Can I actually do this"' moment.
All of this to say, I think it's important to experience that moment before you even think about applying to a coding school. I think you run the risk of wasting a lot of time and money if you haven't faced being utterly lost, having to demonstrate to another human being (not just passing some entry level coding challenge) some basic grasp of the fundamentals of programing, and in that process coming to a point where you grapple with that fear or rejection, and figure out how you're going to move past it.
If a coding school that you're applying to doesn't seem to appreciate that, or have teachers/mentors that approach pushing you in that direction, then again, I think you're doing yourself a disservice by signing up for that.
I will be forever grateful to Hack Reactor and that mentor as I truly don't believe I'd be where I am today without it.
Now, since this is a review of DigitalCrafts, let me get back to the story. After a couple of months with the Fulcrum online prep course through Hack Reactor, I'd pretty much 100% decided that I personally wanted an in person bootcamp expereince. Some people can likely pull off the online only thing, but that just wasn't working for me. I wanted to be around other people who were pursuing this dream, in an environment set up to make sure I had the best chance for success.
Prior to this point, I had honestly not been very interested in Atlanta area schools. Beyond the poor reviews for GA and Iron Yard, I didn't really like their program structure, or have much interest in learning Ruby. This is not to say that people aren't doing well with these schools--I just had no interest in them. Hack reactor at that point was MEAN stack in its curriculum, and I wanted to find something that mirrored that. **This is before I came to realize that these JS stacks are flavors of the day.
DigitalCrafts was brand new at this point, which gave me pause initially, but their curiculum was what I wanted, it was 4 months, instead of 3, and it was located in the Atlanta Tech Village, so I decided to reach out to them. After coming down for the interview, I was completely sold. Class sizes were capped at 16 people. The professors stayed at school all day (ie not just TA's around for afternoon labs, but the actual professor). I could tell that Jake and Max were completely focused on creating that premiere bootcamp experience seen in other cities that Atlanta seemed to be lacking.
I paid my deposit, got on the waitlist, continued doing prep on my own, and started in the September 2016 cohort.
Days are long in these programs, and working on your own after school is something that I (and most of my classmates) did routinely. Our coursework started with Python, learning foundations of programming, along with HTML and CSS, before moving into SQL databases/queries/schema's. After that we learned our first framework, and built a webapp for our first group project.
I'll say this as a plug for in person coding schools as well: the group project component is extremely valuable: not only is it where you're sythesizing much of the topics that you're covering, but nothing mimicks the reality of an actual software dev workday like those weeks spent in the group projects. Again, I think you're doing yourself a disservice if you miss out on that experience.
The cohort itself was fantastic. Most of us became very close, and still get together whenever we can. I honestly miss my school experience immensely, as there's really nothing quite like it. You're learning something new every single day, adding it to an ever growing skill set, watching yourself beome what you've been dreaming about being for years. Once you reach the end, and you realize that you've become that person, it's extremely satisfying and terrifying all at once.
Toby, my professor, is still someone I consider a close friend and mentor. He routinely checks in with me to see how things are going at my job. I couldn't have asked for a better instructor. I have no doubt he goes to sleep every night and wakes up every morning thinking about the well being of his students. His expertise in the field isn't too shabby either.
As with any experience of this sort, you're only going to get out of it what you're able to put into it. I can't stress enough the fact that if you're embarking on this journey, and you're serious about it, you need to get comfortable with the fact that your journey is going to be a series of "What am I doing? I'm not sure I'm cut out for this. There's no way I'm going to be able to figure all of this out" experiences. Day 1 of my new job was nothing but that feeling. All of this to say, again, if you haven't experienced this yet--figure out a way to do so before applying to or spending money on a bootcamp.
I and one other classmate found jobs by the end of our program. A few others founds jobs within the weeks that followed. Others (even those I would consider extremely sharp students) are still job searching 2.5 months out of the program. A coding school will not guarantee a job for you. I do believe a coding school can serve as a means of cultivating the experience needed in order to land yourself a job, along with providing a network to help make that process much more efficient. There was plenty of job prep that was a part of the DC experience that I know was pivotal in my landing my job.
In the end, I have nothing but great things to say about DigitalCrafts, and wouldn't trade my experience there for anything. I would seriously re-live those 4 months again tomorrow if it were possible. I've got a great job as a Software Engineer as a result, and they were a massive part of the reason that's a reality. I still have to pinch myself most mornings.
Best of luck to those of you looking to make this transition. Invest in yourself---commit to the process and challenge yourself prior to applying to schools. This is supposed to be hard--that's a good thing. Get used to that feeling as fast as you can. Go to local meet-ups, or school sponsored events where you can talk to actual students: that will be your best way to gauge whether it's a good fit for you.
As a DigitalCrafts 16 week graduate, I’ve been very happy with my experience there, and I recommend their course(s) to everyone! The instruction was great and tracks the industry very well and, when I talk with graduates from other schools, I believe I had a far superior experience in terms of both instruction and support. (Biased but honest assessment.) I just feel the course was very coherent and well laid out, and, coupled with the great staff support, I’ve just been very satisfied with the experience.
Job-wise, when I graduated from DigitalCrafts I wasn’t really into doing front-end work, so that made the job search a bit challenging. Lots of great front-end jobs out there with great companies, but I enjoy working with different technologies, like cloud services and IoT, and I knew I wouldn’t be happy doing pure front-end stuff. So I took my time, worked a kinda crappy job for awhile and continued to develop my skill-sets. I really enjoy working with the full stack and the great instruction I received there provided the foundation and glue for incorporating these techs into usable products.
The whole time after graduation, though, I was continuously sent job info from the staff, and they were amazingly supportive and encouraging. It took awhile to find my niche, but one day Jake introduced me to a great company looking for people with a diversity of tech skills like I’d been working on. I now work at that company with really sharp people developing cutting-edge IoT technology and I couldn’t be happier. If you'd asked me before attending DigitalCrafts about my dream job, I'd have described something just like this.
Couldn’t have happened without DigitalCrafts and their support. Intense doesn’t even begin to describe how tough that course was for me, but I couldn’t be happier with the results. Great school, great education, terrific support.
I graduated from DigitalCrafts about two weeks ago, and have already had multiple interviews, one job offer (which I accepted), and for the first time in my professional life feel like I have options and control of my career.
I have been interested in coding and software development for a long time but never pursued it in earnest. I spent about two years trying to teach myself with various online resources, but whenever I exhausted all available answers and still couldn't solve a certain problem, I had no one to turn to for assistance. I checked out various coding bootcamps, and ultimately decided on DigitalCrafts because of their robust curriculum, the fact that their class sizes were capped at 15-16 students, and because of their excellent location and supporting staff.
Despite my long time interest in software development, I came into this program with barely any coding knowledge. I could write "Hello World!" in Python and knew that something called the command line existed and that it looked cool. I can't say I knew much more than that. Now, however, I can produce fully functioning full-stack websites and feel that I have the knowledge foundation to learn whatever I set my mind to. And I think that is the most important takeaway I had from this experience, the ability to learn and troubleshoot for myself.
I would absolutely recommend this course to anyone who wants to break into software development, but know that it will not be a walk in the park. The instructors will work with you at your own pace (as much as is realistically possible), but it is still like drinking from a firehose of coding knowledge; the class moves at a frenetic pace, and it can feel overwhelming at times. Additionally, as someone who hated college because it felt like a lot of jumping through hoops without actually learning anything substantive, I can say with all certainty that this was the most positive experience with education I have ever had because I feel like I came out of the program with real-world, career applicable skills that were so often lacking in my experience with traditional college settings.
I am officially an alumni of DigitalCrafts and I am beyond pleased with my experience.
I graduated from DigitalCrafts almost two months ago and I can honestly say that enrolling this immersive coding school was one of the best decisions I've made in my adult life.
After teaching for eight years, I decided that I didn't want to teach for the rest of my life and I was looking for something more lucrative with endless learning opportunities and would give me the opportunity to work wherever I want. Being driven by my passion to create something and see it become available for other people to use, I applied to, and enrolled in, DigitalCrafts, an immersive Full-Stack web development course that lasts for 4 months.
When choosing the coding school that would be suitable to my needs, DigitalCrafts stood out because of the programming languages that would be taught, the length of time that the program would last, the location of the school, and the ability to take electives. Over the course of 4 months I learned the full MEAN stack, as well as Python and MySQL, from and amazing and experienced instructor while also gaining experience in UX/UI design through the elective course that was offered. Throughout the program I was immersed in an environment of entrepreneurs of the tech startup industry at the Atlanta Tech Village and had the opportunity to meet and interact with many individuals that encouraged my learning as well as my passion to be apart of the tech world.
On the first day when I met in the lobby with the other students, I did notice that there were more men than women (5 women and 10 men), which was expected, but I was extremely happy with my class. No one was treated differently because of their gender or race and we all got along very well. I didn't even really think about the male to female ratio because it didn't affect the dynamics of the classroom to the point of discomfort. We were all learning, sharing the experience of becoming a web developer, and we were all enjoying our time together. The staff is amazing!!! They are very supportive and eager to help you reach your goal. Currently there are two women on staff who make the experience more inviting for other women.
I was concerned about being a woman in the Tech industry and how that would affect me during coding school and I honestly do believe that DigitalCrafts is THE best coding school/bootcamp in Atlanta. I can confidently say that as a result of talking to other women who have been students with other bootcamps in the area versue my own personal experience. I also appreciate the extra effort that DC makes in supporting women in the tech industry and being active in reaching out to more women to participate in their coding school in an effort to close the gender gap.
ATV, itself, has a wide variety of individual who come in and out on a daily basis. From what I've noticed, there is a significant female presence in the building and even if it seems that more men are visible, there's never been a moment where I felt uncomfortable or unwelcome as a female, nor as a minority. Everyone there is friendly, like-minded and supportive. Overall it's a great opportunity to meet all sorts of people who share common interests, as well as people who can give you insight into things you've never heard of. I've had nothing but positive experiences with DigitalCrafts and with ATV. ATV became my second home and DigitalCrafts has become my new family and I looked forward to each day of learning.
Another deciding factor were the reviews that I read for the other programs I was considering versus the reviews that I read for digital crafts. The overall experiences that students were having at other schools swayed me more to choosing DigitalCrafts. For anyone who is thinking of going to an immersive coding school, I encourage you to read the reviews with an open mind and also reach out to the alumni of the coding schools you're interested in with any questions that you may have.
A quote to keep in mind as you go through this journey and make a decision:
“99% of learning to code is learning not to judge yourself harshly, and understanding nobody knows everything and that's OK. You got this!” ~Eric Elliott
It’s been a little over a month since I graduated from DigitalCrafts and I just landed my first developer position. I can definitely thank DigitalCrafts for that.
It was definitely challenging and a there was a ton of information to process but in the end it was certainly worth it. I was in the process of selling my business and making a career change and after doing a bunch of research, coding bootcamp is what I settled on. Going the route of a CS degree or teaching myself seemed like it would take too long. I am very happy with my decision and would recommend DigitalCrafts to anyone considering going to a coding bootcamp.
I just recently finished up my time at DigitalCrafts and felt that I should share my experience. I came into the course with essentially zero knowledge of programming. I decided on DigitalCrafts, among other reasons, because the reviews spoke highly of it, the instructor, Rob, made a good impression on me when i visited the campus, and the curriculum was more comprehensive than other programs around the area. Plus, at four months, you are getting more for your money than the standard 3 month programs that are out there and trust me, you will want that extra month.
The pace can be intense at times, you will have to let go of the need to complete everything 100% and know everything about a subject before moving on. The course is not designed that way, nor is it ultimately necessary. The repitition and constant immersion in the subject is the real value in the course, another reason why the extra month is important. Also, utilize your fellow developers as much as you can while in the course, that is a resource that is not available to most coming into the industry, just being in a room with 15 other people everyday who are just as eager to learn the same things you are trying to learn. Do these things, remember to enjoy yourself, and you will do fine in the course.
The course was great for me. Really enjoyed the instructor and my classmates. Felt like I came a very long way in a short amount of time and I would recommend this program to anyone else looking for a crash course into web development.
DigitalCrafts was a career transforming experience. Be ready because there were some long days and sometimes nights!
But, learning code at D.C. opened up doors and avenues in my life that I could have never known or even imagined.
Keep up the great work!
I had a fantastic experience with DigitalCrafts. It's the most intense 16-week course I've ever taken, but I'm so glad I did. I'd been contemplating going to code school for about six months before I finally took the plunge and joined DC, and in my previous life I was a digital marketer and strategist, so believe me, this was a big departure from what I'd done before. I did my research, talked to the other coding schools in Atlanta, and ultimately, decided I liked the fact that DC was small and scrappy, and that the founders Max and Jake and their chief instructor Rob cared so much about their students' success. Honestly, everyone at DigitalCrafts cares so much about current and former students' success, it's amazing to me.
Which is a brilliant segue to the biggest drawback of this course (if you can even call it that). It is a big, big commitment - in every way. Your time will not be your own, your brain will constantly be buzzing with code (you'll even start dreaming in code, believe me), and your nights and weekends will be spent working on projects you built during the week or otherwise trying to improve your burgeoning skills. From the first week my brain was overflowing with knowledge and my head hurt by the end of each week, there was more than one day when I came home and wasn't sure I could hack it, wasn't sure if this was for me, but I kept on going. The best advice I can give is to keep going, keep trying and don't try and understand everything - you won't and there's not nearly enough time in the course for this kind of in depth understanding. Just keep going and understand that later things that didn't make sense before will start to make sense.
And that's what's also so great about DC - the instructors and staff are super smart, and encouraging and everything a company like this should be. The Developers in Residence (the TAs) are former students so they know exactly what you're going through when you're struggling. The former students (most of whom are gainfully employed in the technology field, I might add), are super nice and more than willing to give advice, share what they know and try to help current students. And the current students are all motivated, energetic and eager people - DC carefully screens to make sure the people who want to join them are serious about this. Plus, they're all going through the exact same mind blowing experience, so there's a strong sense of camaraderie that's forged when going through such trials by fire together.
DigitalCrafts is also doing a great job of making a name for itself within the Atlanta tech community. One of founders Jake, is making connections to companies and staffing agencies left, right and center, so when it comes time to start applying for jobs, students are armed with example resumes, LinkedIn profiles, portfolio sites and mock interview experience to help set them apart from the competition. And not only do they host a demo day at the end of the class for students to show off their final projects, but they bring in speakers from recruiting agencies and developers from the Atlanta area to talk about their own experience getting a developer job and what to be aware of going along. It's all extremely valuable, useful opportunities.
So if you're considering a web development boot camp in Atlanta, and you're ready to have your grit tested in a big way, I 100% recommend DigitalCrafts. It's worth every penny, every hour and every ounce of blood, sweat and tears you'll put in. I know it's a business, but these people are changing people's lives for the better, and if I had it to do all over again, I would absolutely choose DigitalCrafts without hesitation.
It has been six months since I completed the 16-week immersive course at DigitalCrafts and can say that it has been the best career decision I have ever made. The course was an amazing way to learn the skills that are required to get a job to get a job as a full time web developer. Additionally the work that I put into my projects during the course I was able to create a portfolio that helped me to get a job in Palo Alto, CA as a Software Engineer.
Our latest on DigitalCrafts
Matt Downs was a rice farmer and English teacher in Japan for 14 years before returning to the United States to change careers and pursue tech at DigitalCrafts. In learning Japanese, Matt had weighed the benefits of self-teaching vs immersive courses, and found that learning to code on his own had the same limitations. See why Matt chose to attend DigitalCrafts in Atlanta, the network he built along the way, and how he landed his new Junior Developer job at Triton Digital!
Tell us what you were up to before DigitalCrafts.
My career path before DigitalCrafts was a little different than most. I spent 7 years teaching English in Japan, then another 7 years as a rice farmer on Sado Island.
What was your relationship to tech over the last 14 years, and what inspired you to consider programming as a career?
Tech had always been a hobby in school. I was a Lit major in college, and studied Literature and Linguistics in grad school. But I enjoyed building my own computers and playing video games, so I was always interested in tech. I spent about 5-6 years teaching myself programming through online courses.
Tell me about the online courses- did they work for you?
Most of those courses were through Coursera, and they were okay. They didn’t work for my personal learning style, because with coding, there's vocabulary that is tough to learn. I couldn't even articulate my questions to find answers when I hit a wall. That was a shortcoming of the online learning environment for me personally, I needed a classroom environment.
Tell me how you found out about DigitalCrafts or about coding bootcamps in general. Had you moved back to Atlanta?
When I was learning Japanese, I realized that my ability to learn on my own had plateaued. I considered an immersive language course to kickstart my Japanese learning again. I had seen mention of programming bootcamps, so after my failed attempts in teaching myself programming, I thought that an immersive course would be helpful as well.
I knew that I would be looking for schools in the Atlanta area, and that's how I found DigitalCrafts. I actually applied while I was still in Japan.
Did you look at other schools?
I looked at Tech Talent South, The Iron Yard, and DigitalCrafts. DigitalCrafts was based in Atlanta, and their class size seemed a little bit smaller (16 students at the time). I figured I'd need one-on-one time with the teacher, and I’d get that with a smaller class size.
I wasn't knowledgeable enough to know exactly what I wanted to learn. However, 3 of the 4 online courses I had taken were in Python. Even though I had trouble with it, I found Python easier to learn. I knew that I wouldn’t be completely lost.
Did you do the whole interview process and application process from Japan? What was the DigitalCrafts application and coding challenge like?
Yes. I did a video interview with DigitalCrafts, and then they gave me a code challenge. I ended up passing it, but I remember talking to Jake Hadden, Co-Founder & Director of Student Services, and he pointed out some redundancies in my work. I’m not sure about other schools’ code challenges, but you don't have to know everything by heart for the DigitalCrafts coding challenge. Part of what you learn at code school is how to be able to look up problems that you don't know the solution to. Searching for and finding solutions to problems is a skill.
How many other students were in your cohort?
There were 16 people in my class, and 15 graduated. We had one instructor and a teaching assistant at all times. We actually had three different teaching assistants throughout 16-week course, because they all got jobs as full-time junior developers before our class finished.
The class size was great; I never felt that I couldn't get the teacher's attention if I had a problem. I was also extremely happy with my classmates. Going into something like this, you're always a little worried about your classmates, but everybody pretty much bonded and became really good friends from day one. Once we started sending out resumes, we had an ongoing joke that we should just start our own company after we graduated.
It was very interesting group of people. 4 of the 15 students were women, and everyone had different backgrounds. One student was a lawyer and decided that he wanted to try programming. Another woman was previously a special education teacher. A couple of students had moved from Spain, California, and Japan (yes, I wasn’t the only one from Japan!). One nice thing about DigitalCrafts Atlanta Campus is that the classroom is in Atlanta Tech Village, so when you're taking breaks, you're also meeting a lot of the people that work at the companies there.
You have a lot of experience as a student and a teacher. What did you think of the teaching style and learning experience at DigitalCrafts?
Our teacher, Toby, did a very good job of giving you just enough so that you know what you're doing, but not handing you answers on a plate. When we worked on projects, Toby was very good at giving us the bits to get the engine started. Then we can drive the rest of the way with using what we've learned.
At the beginning of the bootcamp, the format was split between lecture and projects. The first quarter of your day was spent in lectures learning a new concept, and then you’d spend the next quarter before lunch working on exercises to learn those concepts. Then you would repeat that in the afternoon. We’d also have a project that we worked on with a partner. We did a lot of pair programming and ended up with four group projects at the end of the bootcamp. Towards the end of class, the lectures were shorter, the exercises and projects got longer, and we spent more time getting our resume and portfolio site up to speed, and working on our capstone project.
Can you tell us about your favorite project that you built at DigitalCrafts? Maybe it's your final capstone project or another project?
My final project was called HappyPlace. It’s an application that saves locations where users had good experiences. If you see a beautiful sunset or have a great dinner, you can just put place a marker, write a little blurb, and that's your HappyPlace. Users can track their own happy places and see all of the happy places around them. It's simple, but I liked the concept.
I used HTML, CSS and AngularJS on the front end. I ended up using Leaflet to integrate maps, because I had trouble figuring out how to get the Google Maps API and Angular to work together. Leaflet had an AngularJS directive that I grasped a little bit better. On the back end, I used Node.js, Express, and MongoDB for the database.
What are you up to now? Are you working as a developer in Atlanta?
Yes! I had plans to continue developing Happy Place during the weeks and months that I thought I would spend looking for a job. But then while I was at DigitalCrafts, an online friend of mine posted a job to his company. They were looking for a junior developer, and so I applied and ended up getting hired.
I’m a Junior Developer for Triton Digital, which is a digital audio technology and advertising company. I work on the Audience Management Platform, where our users can build websites, contests, and connect with their listeners while streaming.
Are you using the programming languages that you learned at DigitalCrafts in your new job?
How did you learn PHP on the job?
I’m learning by jumping in and taking tickets, trying to learn something familiar, and then building off that. I think the biggest challenge has been coming into an existing code base. My coworkers know it inside and out, while I’m still getting familiar with it. Every time I finish a ticket, I think I’m getting somewhere, but there’s always something new to learn. The office here is great, and my coworkers are really nice. Everybody's been really welcoming and understanding when I have questions.
How did DigitalCrafts prepare you for the job search?
I’ve been at Triton Digital for about one month now, and I’m not sure that I knew what to expect in my first job. At DigitalCrafts, I learned that not all tech jobs require you to build a full website from front to back. When we started the job search, DigitalCrafts was big on making sure that your resume and portfolio site were polished. Around the nine-week mark of the course, we started mock interviews. Jake, Max, and Natalie from the DigitalCrafts team were always sending out job notices.
Do you stay involved with DigitalCrafts at all?
I have kept in touch with my fellow alumni. Like I said, we had the ongoing joke that we would try to start our own company. After we all graduated, we realized that we enjoyed the time that we spent together at DigitalCrafts. We are planning monthly meetups with the alumni that are still here in Atlanta.
You made a complete career change- do you have advice for other future bootcampers?
When I started at DigitalCrafts, I approached my time as a job, not school. I got there early and I stayed there late. I studied as hard as I could without burning myself out because I'm susceptible to burnout. You get out of a coding bootcamp what you put into it. If you don't take it seriously, then I don't think you're going to learn as much. Trust your teachers– they know what they're talking about. They've been in the industry for a while.
My final advice is that there will always be a new language to learn, and that can be overwhelming. I was very thankful that our teacher stressed that we were learning evergreen skills. It doesn't matter what language you're learning or what framework you're learning, he focused on the programming skills that never get old. The better and more comfortable you get at those fundamentals, the easier it is to pick up a language and then move onto another one.
Stephen and Stuart were both ready for career changes, so decided to take a chance on a relatively new Atlanta coding bootcamp, DigitalCrafts. For their capstone project, the bro-grammers (literally, they’re brothers!) built BootcampXchange, a platform DigitalCrafts has now launched to help connect their students and other bootcamp graduates with potential employers. In this video Q&A, Stephen and Stuart tell us how they switched careers, why the 16-week format stood out when they were researching bootcamps, and even gave us a video walkthrough of BootcampXchange.
What were your education and career backgrounds before you decided to go to DigitalCrafts?
Stephen: I went to school at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and got a business degree in business management with an emphasis on finance. After graduation I started a job as a proprietary equities trader, commonly known as a day trader. I did that for 13 years or so, but it can be a stressful career and I got a bit burned out during the last couple of years. I started looking into a career that would interest me that I thought I would be good at. I had done some coding a long time ago back in high school, and a couple classes in college. A year ago I saw an article in BusinessWeek magazine about coding bootcamps, so piqued my interest as I didn’t even know they existed. I started kind of looking into various schools in Atlanta and ended up choosing DigitalCrafts.
Stuart: I got a degree in electrical engineering at Southern Tech in Atlanta, and worked in that field for about three and a half years.Then I got the opportunity to go work with my brother Stephen in the finance field – we were actually day traders together. I did that for about 10 or 11 years then found myself in the same situation as Stephen. Trading had its exciting moments but overall it was very stressful, and I was burned out. We both researched web development, and both decided at the same time to make a career change.
How much coding experience did you have before DigitalCrafts?
Stephen: In high school I did an AP computer science course, and at Georgia Tech I did an intro to computer science course. But other than that it had been a gap of 12 or 13 years since I’d looked at anything coding-wise.
Stuart: I’d had a few courses in college but my focus was not on computer programming. In my work as an electrical engineer I programmed programmable logic controllers (PLCs) which used a very simple kind of language called ladder logic. It’s not comparable to web development at all.
What made you want to go to a coding bootcamp rather than learning on your own?
Stuart: I tried to do some learning online and was making progress but I found I would spend a long time researching a small problem. I would spend hours working on something that someone with experience could have helped me get through in five or 10 minutes. It was about making the best use of my time.
Did either of you look at other coding bootcamps or just DigitalCrafts?
Stephen: I looked at General Assembly and The Iron Yard in Atlanta, and toured both of them.
Stuart: I also looked at some exclusively online schools, but after my experiences of trying to learn on my own I wanted to do an in-person bootcamp.
What factors made you choose DigitalCrafts over other bootcamps?
Stephen: It was a risky decision. We were the first class to do DigitalCrafts, so there was some trepidation about being Guinea pigs. The DigitalCrafts program is 16 weeks, so a bit longer than the 12-week programs I looked at. That appealed to me because it covers more information, and I was hoping I would graduate a bit more qualified to find a job. Even though the school was unknown, what put it at the top for me was meeting the DigitalCrafts professor. He seemed to be really knowledgeable, and the kind of person who could teach well. So I went with my gut. And luckily I was right – he was a great teacher.
As brothers, what made you decide to go to DigitalCrafts at the same time? Who had the first idea?
Stuart: It was an opportunity for us to spend some time together. We’d worked closely together for the last 10 or 11 years, so we’re kind of partners in crime. I’m a native to Florida so I lived with Stephen for a few months while we were in the bootcamp. It was a good experience.
Stephen: Living and working together definitely helped us. We had our program during the day and then there was content to work on in the evening. It was probably advantageous having someone there to ask questions, someone else's brain to pick outside the classroom.
What was your class like in terms of size, diversity, and student backgrounds?
Stuart: It was a mix of 10 students. A couple of people had programming experience, and others were from fields with nothing to do with programming. Some of them had mechanical backgrounds or were just out of school. So it was really pretty diverse in terms of education and experience.
Were there many women in the class?
Stephen: No. DigitalCrafts is working on strategies to get more female coders. They’re definitely looking for female candidates, it just happened in that cohort there weren’t any.
What was the learning experience like at DigitalCrafts?
Stuart: In the morning it was more actual studying or covering new topics, going into depth about whatever the topic for that day was. In the afternoon it was a lab where we would actually apply what we had learned in the morning and start working on projects. Sometimes it was something small that could be done that day, or often times it was a topic that was bigger that would carry on for the better part of a week. In addition we would also have topics to cover at home on our own time.
Can you tell us about your final project – BootcampXchange? How did you come up with the idea?
Stephen: My wife is a graphic designer so she had the idea from her own experience struggling to find freelancers who are well qualified. Her idea was to do a website where freelance people could create profiles then employers could look at those profiles, and maybe have a vetting process where you could vouch for someone that they were qualified or had credentials. Before we started the program, DigitalCrafts wanted to hear our final project ideas. When Jake, one of the founders, caught wind of our idea, he told us he had a very similar idea except it would be for coding schools, as a way for employers to connect with the students. He asked if it was something we were interested in working on.
Stuart: We had about 3 weeks to build it, and probably the first three or four days were for design and then we spent many long days getting it going.
Stephen: You start on the landing page where you have the option to sign in as an employer or a code schooler. The BootcampXchange partners are listed at the bottom of the screen. You can sign in as a student or an employer using your LinkedIn credentials or email. If you sign in as a student you open your profile with your profile picture, and basic information like location, coding school you went to, previous employment, skills, and a link to your resume. Probably the most useful part is you can search student profiles by location, skills, and employment type. So I can find students in Atlanta Georgia, but it doesn’t just pull up Atlanta, it also pulls up cities in the vicinity.
Stuart: It’s really designed for employers who are looking for junior developers with a certain skillset or certain location. And they know what they’re getting – people who have an education but may not have a lot of experience yet. One of the things we’ve noticed is on most of the online job boards now, people put up a posting and get 100 resumes, and only five actually meet the requirements. This platform kind of reverses the process and allows the employer to go and pick out people with the skills they want.
What technologies did you use to build it?
Stuart: The backend was PHP and MySQL. The front end used Bootstrap and we hand coded everything.
Did you learn new technologies you hadn’t used in class?
Stephen: We covered PHP in class, but for some of the functionality we wanted we definitely went beyond what we had learned in class. Things we learned in class definitely helped us find solutions to problems, but there were a lot of new things too. It was rewarding but also led to some long days.
Can you tell us about a big challenge or problem you had while building BootcampXchange, and how you overcame that challenge?
Stephen: One challenge was the query for searching by location. The way we initially built it, it would have to constantly call on the Google API for maps, which is not something you want to do unnecessarily as you can only get so many free queries per day. So I had to find a totally different way around that. It ended up being a relatively simple solution. There was a lot of reworking from how we originally built it. We had done queries before, but this was definitely next level complicated. It was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated, but it works.
What are you up to now? Are you working as developers?
Stuart: I am doing freelance work and looking for remote positions. I am located in Northern Florida, which is not a major metro area, so there are not as many employment opportunities nearby.
What sort of career support did you get from DigitalCrafts?
Stephen: I happened to find this role on my own, but in the last three or four weeks of the course, they were very good about sending out messages about open positions. They were always looking for companies advertising for new hires. They brought companies into the classroom to talk to us. They were definitely trying to make sure we all had opportunities to look at.
What advice do you have for people wanting to change careers and take a bootcamp?
Stuart: My advice is to make sure it’s what you want to do. Don’t just do it because you know it’s a hot new career; make sure you actually have an interest in web development because it takes a lot of time and dedication to get good at these skills. Also these skill sets are constantly changing so you’re going to be learning new skills for the rest of your career.
Stephen: I would totally agree with that. Also for me, I did some study in the two to three months leading up to the bootcamp, which really helped. If I had gone in cold turkey it would have been a lot more overwhelming. There were moments when it was overwhelming but it helped to have some background knowledge and to be the mindset of a coder. It’s also a great way to see if you’re going to like coding as a job. Once you’re in the program, my number one piece of advice is work really hard. If you don’t put a lot into it, you won’t get a lot out of it. At first it seems like it’s never going to end, but by the time it’s over it’s gone by pretty quickly, so put in as many hours as you can.
Is there anything else you wanted to add about your experience at DigitalCrafts?
Stuart: It was a very positive experience for me and I would encourage people to look into bootcamps as a viable option for career changers. I’ve learned a tremendous amount and I realize the bootcamp is just the beginning. It gets you up to speed as quickly as possible, and DigitalCrafts did an excellent job of that.
Stephen: If you’re going into a bootcamp I would encourage you to meet the instructor beforehand, to make sure you will actually know who is going to teach you. I think it makes a world of difference. If I’d been in a bootcamp with a bad instructor my experience would have been completely different. You could have a great program with a great curriculum but you may not have someone who can actually teach it. There are a lot of people who are very knowledgeable who aren’t great at imparting their knowledge to other people.
Stuart: One thing that really made it special is nobody got left behind. If you were willing to put in the effort, you got the help you needed. That personal attention was very valuable.
Griffin Hammer’s quest to become a web developer has taken him from Greensboro, North Carolina, to Atlanta, Georgia, and now Palo Alto, California. After working in computer engineering on the hardware side, Griffin realized he actually preferred software and coding. He started out teaching himself, but wanted to learn with others so decided to enroll in DigitalCrafts’ 16-week web development bootcamp in Atlanta. A week before he graduated he was offered a job as a developer at network visualization software company Live Action in Palo Alto, California.
What were you up to before you started DigitalCrafts?
Before DigitalCrafts I had been working in the semiconductor industry in Greensboro, North Carolina. I studied computer engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute outside of Albany in New York and then worked mostly in hardware. I didn’t enjoy that side of the career, so I decided to go to DigitalCrafts to gain more applicable skills for a coding career.
When and why did you decide to switch careers, quit your job and do a coding bootcamp?
I finally made the switch because some of the work I was doing towards the end of my job, which probably wasn’t going to last, was more coding-heavy work. I really enjoyed that and wanted to continue doing that more in my career. So that’s why I made the decision to transition fully.
Did you try to learn on your own before you thought about a bootcamp or did you just dive into the camp?
I initially started doing some online courses. But I came to a point where I thought I needed more of a classroom atmosphere and felt it would be nice to have a group of people to work together and learn together with. I mainly used Codecademy and One Month.
Did you look at other bootcamps or just DigitalCrafts?
I was looking at a couple different places, mainly DigitalCrafts and General Assembly in Atlanta. I was looking for stuff relatively nearby to where I was. DigitalCrafts attracted me to it because of the length of their course and the fact they covered two full stacks.
What factors were important to you when choosing a bootcamp — price? location? language taught, instructors?
Atlanta was probably the nearest biggest tech hub with good coding bootcamps for me. I liked the languages DigitalCrafts was offering. I wanted to learn Node, because from what I had read online it seemed Node was a very good, upcoming technology. I also liked that they were going to be doing Lamp stack too, and create opportunities to go into some larger corporations that have an older code base. But the main thing for me was the course was a bit longer than most of the other courses I had seen, and would give me enough time to develop all my skills.
Did you do the iOS app development elective? How was that structured?
Note: DigitalCrafts’ iOS Elective is now $1,000 for immersive students, and $3,000 for part-time students.
DigitalCrafts only accepts 15 students per cohort. How did you find the application, interview process and coding challenge?
I thought it was really good. I don’t know if it was more rigorous than any other bootcamps. They tried to verify everyone could get through the course, but it wasn’t so strenuous on that, as much as, “we’ll see how well you think you’re going to fit inside our teaching structure.” I found the coding challenge relatively easy because I had some experience doing coding work through school, and through my previous job. It was actually nice because as they went through the interview process, I got to know the people running the course, and the teaching style that was going to be used.
Was your class diverse in terms of gender, race, life and career backgrounds?
It was all guys. That’s something the team has been trying to work on. It was relatively diverse in terms of race and career backgrounds. There were some people just out of school, a couple of people who had been working for a couple of years, and some people who had worked in an industry for 10-plus years, and were now trying to get into web development. There were 10 people total in the cohort. It was a really good atmosphere for the class. Everyone got to know each other really well. We knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses so we always knew who to go to if you had a problem with something.
Note: DigitalCrafts offers a $2,000 Women’s scholarship for up to 3 women in any given cohort.
What is the learning experience like at DigitalCrafts?
We arrive at 9 am. From 9 am until 12 pm our instructor would go over the new concepts we were going to learn that day. Then we’d have lunch and come back and delve into some project – either expanding on something we had done earlier, or starting something new using the concepts we had learned in the morning. And so that afternoon time was sort of free flow, and everyone’s sort of working with each other to solidify those concepts.
Who are the instructors? What are their backgrounds?
Our instructor was a developer for around 11 years before he became a teacher. Our cohort was the first class he taught, and I thought he did a really good job of conveying the knowledge he had gained through his experience as a web developer. We had a separate instructor for the iOS course. He was working in the industry and would come and teach the class in the evenings. He brought a different view – more technical and computer science oriented. He focused on things like object oriented design, in contrast to the more utilitarian stuff we were learning in the web development side.
A popular question we get is – how did you pay for it? Did you use a financing partner? Did you get a scholarship?
I had money saved up that I ended up using. DigitalCrafts has scholarships for ex-military and women – people who they want to help with that transition into coding. They also have a financing partner they are working with as an option for students.
What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
One of the most difficult things was seeing how far I could push my projects to differentiate myself from the other students. Because of the model of a coding bootcamp, you’re doing a lot of the same types of projects, and you may be applying for the same jobs as your peers. So you have to do as much as you can to differentiate yourself while still completing the course work.
The other big challenge was mastering some of the design aspects. I’d had experience coding before, but I didn’t have much design experience. I could see if something looked good or bad but I didn't know how to improve it. That was a learning curve for me.
What sort of feedback loop is there when problems arise?
They had a couple of different methods. The first method was a Google survey form where you could jot down your thoughts. Also, every four weeks over the course of the bootcamp they had a sit down with us where the director of student services, would say “this is how we think you’re doing, this is what we think you could be doing better.” Then he’d ask, “do you have anything for us, how do you think we’re doing?” I thought that was really helpful.
What is your favorite project you created? Did you get to use your own ideas?
There were a couple of things I really liked. The one I took the furthest was one of the first projects we did in Node. It was a voting app where users could vote on whether a picture was cool or not. I used an API for a video game and brought in a bunch of images of characters, then allowed users to vote on the characters. A lot of people just hard coded their database, but I went to the effort of pulling from an API, and scheduled it to run regular updates. That was an interesting challenge for me – seeing what I could do to take that project as far as possible.
Congrats on finding a job! Can you tell me about your job?
The job is with Live Action in Palo Alto, California, a network visualization software company. They work with Cisco routers to create tools to help less technical people visualize where traffic is getting bottlenecked. Then they can manage the network more efficiently, without having to run through the command line. When I start in March 2016 I’ll be working on the web interface for that product. They already have a normal application, and now they’re building a web interface. Initially I’ll be working in a lot of Angular.js and Express to deal with serving up their API. After that I can take it as far as I want, and maybe do some work on the backend in Java. I don’t have experience in Java yet, but they seem open to helping me expand my skill set.
What are you doing to keep your skills fresh?
I’m doing a bit of coding right now, working on projects I thought were fun and interesting. So that’s helping me keep up my Angular and Express skills. And as it gets closer to the job I’ll do some basic exercises in Java.
How did you find this job? What was the interview process like?
Around 12 weeks into the program, I signed up for Indeed Prime and Hired. I guess Live Action saw my profile on Indeed Prime and thought I would be a good fit. First I had an interview with someone from HR, to get a feel for my history. Then I had a Codility code test that was 130 minutes long, with three separate coding problems. After that I had a 30- to 40-minute phone call with the VP of Engineering, to see if my career goals aligned with what the company was doing. That was not too technical, and pretty relaxed. The final thing was an interview with four engineers on the team – including front end and back end engineers, some new to the company, and some had been there since its origins. They went through coding questions, stuff about my portfolio, and asked if I had experience with certain computer science concepts.
I think I tend to interview relatively well because I’m good at verbalizing my thought process through those kinds of problems. It wasn’t easy but it wasn’t difficult. And then everything I didn’t understand they thought they’d be able to teach me and fill in those gaps on the job. I got the offer in the 15th week of the program – one week before graduation.
How did the bootcamp prepare you for finding a job?
There were several different ways they helped us. People from other companies came in to tell us about their interviewing processes. Someone from StackOverflow came in to do mock interviews with us, and went through our resumes. He told us what was good, what wasn’t, and told us whether or not he would have pulled that resume. He did a full mock interview and a technical interview with us, then gave us feedback. They did a really good job.
What did you like most about DigitalCrafts?
The biggest thing was the environment. It was really open and friendly, everyone got along well, and we could work well with each other, teach each other, and give each other different perspectives. Sometimes you sort of needed someone other than the instructor to teach you. It can be helpful to learn through teaching if you can express things in a different way.
What advice do you have for people considering a bootcamp?
I guess the main advice I would give anyone who is trying to do a bootcamp is do as much work as you can on your own before the bootcamp starts so you can hit the ground running and do their best to internalize everything you are learning.
(updated August 2016)
At Course Report, we field a lot of questions about coding bootcamp 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 $11,451, bootcamp tuition can range from $5,000 to $21,000. So how do you decide what to budget for? Today, we're breaking down the costs of several popular coding bootcamps.Continue Reading →
Andrew is an army veteran who was working in the oil industry until he decided to search for a lasting and fruitful career. He packed up and moved to Atlanta to attend a full-time MEAN Stack/LAMP Stack bootcamp at DigitalCrafts. Read about what motivated him to make this change and how his military background is helping him at the bootcamp. Andrew also talks about the application process and why he ultimately decided to attend DigitalCrafts amongst the many bootcamps in Atlanta.
Tell us what you were up to before you started at DigitalCrafts.
Right before attending DigitalCrafts, I was working in the oil and gas industry. I was doing great until the price of oil fell and it was time to look for a new career. Before that, I was in the army and took classes at a major university as well as a community college for a number of years but didn’t graduate.
Did you ever take a Computer Science course?
I took Intro to Computer Science at the university, then I took a C++ course and a database course; just some basic intro courses because I’ve always been a tech guy and that always interested me.
When did you decide to quit your job?
I was looking for a new career, because I could see oil and gas was not going to be a lasting job. From a job perspective, the tech industry is only becoming more in-demand; this is an industry that is growing. I knew about coding bootcamps from researching them- actually on your site, Course Report! That’s where I found DigitalCrafts.
Did you look at other coding schools in Atlanta?
I looked at couple of others, but what really drew me to DigitalCrafts was that they’re teaching the MEAN Stack and LAMP Stack. The LAMP stack is a mature technology, a lot of companies still use it, and the MEAN stack seems to be rising in popularity. I thought it was cool to learn both technologies.
What was the Digital Crafts application process like?
How did your background in the military affect your education as you’ve been learning MEAN stack and LAMP stack at a bootcamp?
Sure. In the army, my role was very hands-on, and that’s similar to learning web development. My background fixing things, learning different technologies quickly, and researching problems has helped.
Also, this course is very focused. In the military we are trained to identify and achieve specific goals. The structure of a coding bootcamp can be appealing to a lot of veterans.
Were you able to use GI benefits for this course?
No, I wasn’t, but I think that’s something that should definitely be considered. These courses can be a really great option for veterans and military.
What does a typical day look like at DigitalCrafts?
In the morning we go over questions; interview questions but also questions about the technologies that we’ve covered because we go through technologies so quickly. Then, we discuss what we’re going to do with them. In the afternoon, we have labs and that’s usually for the final few hours in the day. It’s intense. I can definitely attest that this is all day long, every day.
Have you done projects yet, like a group project or a capstone project?
For the first few months of the program, we focused on frontend web development, and we’re just over the halfway point now. We’ve been learning Node.js for the last couple of days. When it comes to project work, we’ve completed projects individually, using paired programming, and we’ve completed projects as a class. We’re actually working on an e-commerce site now where we’re developing with Node.js, Mongoose, and Express.
What’s been the biggest challenge in doing the bootcamp?
The biggest challenge is coming every day prepared to learn something new, knowing that I’ll go home, try to digest it as best I can, and then start over the next day. It can get frustrating because the class does move very quick and you really have to be committed to it.
How do you keep from burning out?
I think the way the course is structured is keeping me from burning out a little bit, because we did front end for the first one and a half to two months and now we’re moving to the back end. I like servers and incorporating the database. That’s really cool to me. It’s a new direction now halfway through the course, and I think that helps out a lot.
What were your career goals going into the DigitalCrafts program?
I’d really like to work with servers and back end. If that opportunity presents itself, I’m going to jump on it. What I understand about technology is that how we work today with technology is not how we worked 5 or 10 years ago, so just having this background and learning these skills, I’m open to anything right now. While this is a web development course specifically, I think I came in with the understanding that this is technology in general, this is really cool stuff. I’m learning how to program, I’m learning to design websites. You can take these skills and apply them to a number of different jobs. It’s really cool stuff, and while I think some people are determined to become web developers, I’m open to using this in other ways.
Have they started bringing in employers?
We’ve met a couple of employers already. They’re in a process of building out their Employer Network now.. Even in our building when companies find out what we’re doing, there are employers here that don’t do web development but are looking for people who can learn and understand technologies quickly. There’s actually a guy in our building not involved in web development who would like to interview some of the graduates to see if they would be a fit for his company.
Is there anything we skipped over that you want to make sure our readers know about Digital Crafts or boot camps in general?
I think these guys are really something else. They’re really committed to not only teaching these technologies but ensuring that we’re successful, and on a personal level. I’m really happy I ended up here, they bend over backwards for us by doing everything they can. They’re working very hard to find us jobs and to get hiring partners in the door.
Want to learn more about DigitalCrafts? Check out DigitalCrafts reviews on Course Report or visit their website at www.digitalcrafts.com
Welcome to the September News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Do you want something considered for the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!
This Week on Course Report:
- Should you learn web or mobile development first? We dive into this question with advice from Atlanta's DigitalCrafts code school!
- Have you tried Thinkful's Workshops? Grae, the Head of Education at Thinkful, gives us the scoop on their newest offering for bootcamp grads and working engineers.
- Mechanical-Engineer-turned-Web-Developer Kacy Ebel talks about her career change and her experience at We Can Code It's women-only bootcamp.
Aquisitions, Fundraises & Regulation
- General Assembly announced their $70MM Series D. This reporter thinks about what the fundraise could mean for their London campus.
- Hack Reactor acquired Chicago-based Mobile Makers Academy, adding iOS to their offerings. They also announced "Hack Reactor Core," the umbrella under which each school will operate autonomously.
- Inside Higher Ed reported on General Assembly's journey through regulation and expansion. Education Dive provides a nice, brief summary of the article.
- The Huffington Post reported on a letter from Jeremy Shaki and Khurram Virani (Founders of Lighthouse Labs) to parliament on code literacy, outcome-based education, and Canadian innovation through technology.
New Campuses + Courses:
- Dev Bootcamp announced they will open doors in San Diego this November.
- Montana Code School's first cohort started class September 28. (Listen to Montana Public Radio's story on the bootcamp).
- ThoughtKite will teach their first Toronto iOS bootcamp in October.
- Code Fellows has overhauled and reorganized their courses (bye bye Dev Accelerators, hello Code 401!)
- Applications for Code Platoon, a Chicago bootcamp geared towards veterans, are now open.
- Global News Canada writes about Toronto's Bitmaker Labs.
- Fortune Magazine explores women in Coding Bootcamps.
- FCW finds that coding bootcamps are 'Very empowering, very transformational.'
- A LinkedIn researcher blogged about the types of jobs reported by bootcampers on the networking site.
- Delaware Online looks back on ZipCode Wilmington's first bootcamp cohort.
- Built in Chicago: How Designation is bringing the bootcamp model to design.
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee computer coding school expands as employers show interest.
- The Street: Future Code Monkeys May Skip College and Head to Boot Camp
Have a great October!
Deciding which programming language to learn, and ultimately whether to pursue Web Development or Mobile Development, is a tough decision and really depends on your personal and career goals. Check out our guide to help you decide.
While this is a subjective matter, many developers feel that the learning curve for web development is a bit easier than for native mobile development. Web development has been around for a good bit longer and thus the sheer volume of tools, frameworks, tutorials, etc, lends a helping hand to beginners just starting out. That said, mobile development does, at least in the case of iOS, require the use of an IDE, which can help point out errors and catch mistakes – a big help to a newbie. Either way, the career of a software developer is one of consistent learning – to succeed in an industry that moves as quickly as technology, it’s paramount to enjoy and thrive in learning new tools and techniques of the trade.
For those interested in breaking into the field, it’s important to do some research on the surrounding markets to gauge which technologies are in-demand and who’s hiring. While the trend is certainly favorable, it may be more difficult to land a junior iOS or Android-only developer job, as most markets seem to house more entry level positions in the Web space. That said, the more versatile a developer the better, and the shift towards native mobile apps doesn’t appear to be lessoning any time soon!
Jason Deegan, VP of Product Development at Teledini, agrees, “Beginners should start by having a strong foundation in Web basics. But when you're ready to set yourself apart from the crowd and become an invaluable resource, native iOS and Android development are essential in an increasingly mobile world.”
DigitalCrafts’ immersive bootcamp instructor Rob Bunch, also shares his experience:
“Based on my experience in the job search, I found that nearly every employer’s need was to find an individual with a strong web development base, knowing they would have to teach some of the minutia. There were almost no opportunities solely focused on mobile app development, but nearly every employer asked if I had any app development experience. As the job market evolves, app development will become more and more prominent need, but the current job market is demanding web development first and hoping for app exposure.”
But is it possible to learn both web and mobile? DigitalCrafts in Atlanta has developed an innovative model allowing students to learn mobile and web development simultaneously (should they choose). While programs at General Assembly, Bloc and Thinkful allow students to mix and match part-time courses in mobile and web, DigitalCrafts offers a 16 Week Immersive Bootcamp that teaches beginners 2 full web stacks with an optional 12-week iOS App Development Elective. When asked why the program offers mobile and web development simultaneously, the DigitalCrafts team says:
“We want our graduates to be as employable as possible - simple as that. With every decision at DigitalCrafts, we ask ourselves, "Will this help our students get hired?" The answer in this case was easy. Native iOS development is an increasingly in-demand skill that employers want to see on a developer's resume. The more technologies you're familiar with, the more versatile and valuable you are as a developer."
To conclude, the decision on where to start as a beginning developer may seem like a tough one, but the life of a good developer is one of continuing education and career growth. Take solace in the inevitability of change that will provide countless opportunities to find the projects that impassion you as a developer. Take a look at the market you live in and the jobs that are available. Visit the schools that interest you and meet the instructors and staff that will help you get started. One thing is for sure, you won’t excel at something you don’t enjoy, so check out freely available resources like Codecademy, Treehouse, or in-person workshops to get a better idea for what sector of development you’re most likely to enjoy.
Wherever you start your career is likely far from where you will end it, so the important thing is just get started!
DigitalCrafts is a new programming bootcamp offering a full-time immersive in the heart of Atlanta’s growing startup scene, right next door to the Atlanta Tech Village. We sit down with co-founder and Student Services Director Jake Hadden to discuss the motivation for creating a 16 week program, what drew them to Atlanta for the first DigitalCrafts campus, and preparing MEAN Stack & LAMP Stack curricula for the first cohort in October.
Who is the team behind DigitalCrafts?
My business partner, Max McChesney, and I both graduated from the University of Georgia. I worked in management consulting and then ran an innovation accelerator- think “internal Shark Tank.”
Through working in those roles, I realized I have a passion for helping other people achieve their goals. That’s what drew me towards my partner Max and this particular educational model. I couldn’t think of anything more exciting than bringing in a beginner, training them, giving them the skills they need to succeed, and then actually getting them a job to further their career.
Max worked for several tech startups in the Atlanta area and founded a startup called Expat Assistants in Argentina, that provided web marketing and SEO services. He had some exposure to coding but then actually attended a local coding school and became a firm believer in the accelerated learning model. He saw an opportunity in Atlanta for a program with a different approach to culture, curriculum, and duration, and we’ve been running with DigitalCrafts ever since.
Who is developing the curriculum for DigitalCrafts for the immersive program?
We hired Rob Bunch in June as our full-time immersive instructor. Rob has 11+ years of Full-Stack Web Development experience in a professional setting. Rob and Max are working together to create the curriculum, relying on Rob’s experience as a developer and Max’s as a former bootcamp student (and mine as a newbie!). We’re going to run mock classes to make sure everything runs smoothly and to give Rob plenty of practice in a classroom, and then we’ll bring in some experts from the area to help us to refine it.
Are you bootstrapping this business?
At the moment, this business is completely bootstrapped by Max and me.
Why start DigitalCrafts in Atlanta?
This is our home, and it’s where we have a very strong network of friends, family, and investors. Also Atlanta has a growing technology scene and with new additions like Atlanta Tech Village, Switchyards, Yik Yak, and many more, it’s only getting more exciting to be involved in the local tech community.
There are several other coding schools in the area- does Atlanta need another one?
Yeah! Atlanta is just exploding with demand for tech. There are so many tech startups coming to Atlanta. The cost of living is low. If you’re trying to get a job in Silicon Valley, why not go to a coding bootcamp where the cost of living is low and then move when you get the job?
One of the important reasons that we picked Atlanta is that the current web development schools in Atlanta really focus on a Ruby and Ruby on Rails curriculum. As a student evaluating these programs, consider there are going to be potentially 150+ graduates from the other programs in Atlanta every year fighting over the exact same jr. Ruby on Rails job openings.
What programming language will DigitalCrafts students learn?
How did you decide on 16-weeks for the length?
Watching these bootcamps evolve over the past two years, I’ve gotten the feeling that so many of these programs have started to cram so much more in such a condensed time. We want to be very transparent with our students, and we didn’t feel comfortable saying that we would graduate them as a junior level developer in 8 or 12 weeks. We also believe that the industry is going to shift back to more intensive, longer programs, more hours, longer curriculum- we want to be on the forefront of that. Max’s experience as a student and our research speaking with local alumni of other programs points to a longer program as well.
Are all 16 weeks spent in the classroom or is part of that done remotely?
All 16 weeks are spent in the classroom. All students will be required to complete prerequisite work, which will be roughly 30 hours.
What technical level does the pre-work get students to?
The most important thing is that the pre-work gets all the students onto a level playing field. It teaches students the fundamentals of web development which is key before class kicks off.
Is the immersive bootcamp intended to get students jobs when they graduate?
While there are no guarantees, that is certainly what we’re working hard to accomplish with our students. The program is geared towards beginners, which I think is important. That’s not to say that if you were intermediate that you couldn’t get a lot out of it, but it is geared more towards beginners. We train you for 16 weeks in programming languages and technologies, and students go through a rigorous soft skills training process where you’re doing resume and interview training. Also, we’re introducing you to the hiring partners we have in the local area.
We feel very confident that if you come in with drive and motivation, that you can obtain an internship or junior level web development position, but it takes a lot of work from the student as well as the school. If you work hard, that usually pays off.
Who are those hiring partners that you have relationships with?
We have a number of startups in town and we’re always working to sign up more. Full stack developers are especially useful for younger companies as they have a wider range of skills over a really specialized developer, which fits in well with the start up needs. We’ll be going after the Fortune 500 companies next, and will really kick those efforts into gear once class starts.
That’s another perk of being located directly next door to the Atlanta Tech Village. Our headquarters is right next door to the epicenter of technology in Atlanta. Atlanta Tech Village has 100+ startup members, with roughly 15 very well-known startups in the building. We encourage our students to go to the networking events there as often as possible.
How large do you expect the first cohort to be?
We only accept 12 students per cohort. I’m not 100% sure, but we accept fewer people into each cohort than any program I’m familiar with. We’ve received a lot of applications so far, so as long as we find 12 people in there that meet certain criteria, I expect we’ll fill up the class.
What does the DigitalCrafts application process look like?
There’s an online application and then an in-person visit and interview. There’s no coding challenge at the moment but that’s in the works. It’s about motivation, problem solving skills, and basic behavioral interview questions. If you fill out the application with 50% effort and spelling mistakes throughout, that’s a red flag. With only 12 seats available, we have to be very sure we only accept students that we can confidently put in front of companies on the back end.
Are there scholarships available?
There definitely will be scholarships available, but nothing that’s on paper at the moment.
Are both Max and Rob the instructors for the class or are you hiring other instructors?
Rob will be the main instructor for the whole 16 week immersive program, while Max and I are leading the business and campus operations on a daily basis. We’ve hired two additional instructors for our part-time courses in web and mobile development. While Max will help out with the curriculum, we believe our actual instructors should have as much professional experience as possible, so we decided to pay up for it.
Have you had to work with any of Georgia or Atlanta’s regulatory agencies? Do you have plans to get accredited?
In the state of Georgia, you have to get a license to not only start a business, but also to provide educational services, which is what we’re doing.
If we were to get our curriculum accredited by the federal government, that process would be cumbersome to our curriculum, so we’re intentionally steering clear for now. It’s important to stay nimble in technology whether you’re a professional developer or teaching development, and federal accreditation can make changing the curriculum (and getting it approved) take upwards of a year. Technology moves far too quickly for that.
Thanks so much, Jake, and good luck in the first cohort of DigitalCrafts!
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