DigitalCrafts’ instructors are all professional engineers with real-world development experience. The average class size is smaller than the national average, allowing for an efficient and effective learning environment where students ‘learn by building.’ In addition, students receive resume/portfolio guidance and a mock interview lesson. The admissions process consists of an online application, interview, and coding challenge. Financing and scholarships are available, and early enrollment incentives can further lower tuition for students.
Students in Atlanta and Houston are also full members of Atlanta Tech Village and HeadquartersHTX, respectively, for the duration of the class.
Recent DigitalCrafts News
- Alumni Spotlight Kim Lim of DigitalCrafts
- New Year, New Career? Learning to Code in 2018
Recent DigitalCrafts Reviews: Rating 4.86
On-Time Graduation Rate
180 Day Employment Breakdown:
Notes & Caveats:
- Only 1 student (who was not job searching) did not find employment
Full Stack Flex (Part-Time)
Application Deadline:September 18, 2018
- $1,000 (eligible for financing)
- DigitalCrafts has a partnership with Skills Fund, with payments as low as $192/month.
- Payment Plan
- Payment plans available.
- Secure your seat by the Early Enrollment Deadline(s) listed on our site for up to $500 off tuition.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Beginner or Intermediate
- Placement Test
- Prep Work
- Pre-requisite work will be provided.
Full Stack Immersive (Full-Time)
- $1,000 (eligible for financing)
- DigitalCrafts has a partnership with Skills Fund. Payments as low as $293/month (full-time) or $192/month (part-time).
- Secure your seat by the Early Enrollment Deadline(s) for up to $750 off tuition. We also award The Builder Scholarship to select Women, Veterans, Minorities, or especially gifted Builders. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Beginner or Intermediate
- Placement Test
- Prep Work
- Pre-requisite work will be provided.
In PersonFull Time35Hours/week
In PersonFull Time35Hours/week
Full Stack Flex (Part-Time)
Application Deadline:September 18, 2018
- $1,000 (eligible for financing)
- DigitalCrafts has a partnership with Skills Fund, with payments as low as $192/month.
- Payment Plan
- Payment plans available.
- Secure your seat by the Early Enrollment Deadline(s) listed on our site for up to $500 off tuition.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Beginner or Intermediate
- Placement Test
- Prep Work
- Pre-requisite work will be provided.
Full Stack Immersive (Full-Time)
- $1,000 (eligible for financing)
- DigitalCrafts has a partnership with Skills Fund, with payments as low as $293/month.
- Payment Plan
- Payment plans available through our partner, Skills Fund.
- Secure your seat by the Early Enrollment Deadline(s) listed on our site for up to $750 off tuition.
- We award The Builder Scholarship to select Women, Veterans, Minorities, or 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.
In PersonFull Time35Hours/week
Application Deadline:June 18, 2018
In PersonFull Time35Hours/week
Application Deadline:August 27, 2018
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I completed the immersive 16 week course at DigitalCrafts Atlanta location. Joining a bootcamp was one of the more difficult decisions I've made in life; however, I wouldn't take back a moment of it. I came in knowing light HTML and CSS and what a crazy journey it's been. I feel if I had learned purely on my own, I wouldn't be at the same place I am now for another year or so. And by that time, I'm sure another 10 languages would have came out and I'd be behind.
The staff was always friendly and helpful, both before starting and during the 16 weeks (even when I asked 1000x questions). The teacher was incredibly knowledgeable, patient, and able to keep the class laughing. I loved the small class size. I felt I could truly have a moment of either the TA's or teacher's time and go through concepts I was having troubles with.
As far as job assistance, they have a staff member dedicated to reviewing resumes, Github profiles, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters and portfolios. She is incredibly knowledgeable and knows the tech industry very well. She does a thorough job going through spelling, grammar, links on your portfolio and more.
Overall, DigitalCrafts was a great experience. And with every other bootcamp, you get what you put into it. Yes class is 9-4pm, but you better believe we don't only put 30 hours a week into this. Most people stayed past class and/or came in on the weekends. It's not easy, but the teachers, staff, and my classmates made it a wonderful 16 weeks.
Dropping everything to attend a fully-immersive 4 month coding bootcamp is an extremely risky and expensive commitment, but DigitalCrafts was worth every minute and penny. After spending a couple of years in the Account Management realm of the Advertising Industry, I found myself looking for a more technical and creative career path through web development. I spent several months researching the different programs in the Atlanta area, from General Assembly to Iron Yard, but none of those programs appealed to me as much as the Full-Stack approach that DigitalCrafts offered.
The DigitalCrafts curriculum changes with the industry, making it a versatile program with up-to-date material. This ensures the relevancy to the students entering the industry and keeps them marketable for companies looking to hire them. The Full-Stack approach really appealed to me the most because it covers both front-end and back-end languages, allowing the students to explore both aspects of web development. This gave myself and the other students the ability to learn both sides of web development and choose which path interested them the most.
Rob Bunch, the instructor for my cohort, was incredibly knowledgable about all the material taught in the curriculum and was passionate for each and every student throughout the entirety of the 16 week program. He adapted the pace of the course to the individual cohort and made sure every student received the help and support the needed to succeed. He kept the course engaging and entertaining, and used real life industry examples to help students relate to the material being covered.
The founders, Max and Jake, as well as the rest of the staff, dedicated countless hours to ensuring our success in the program. Throughout the length of the course, the DigitalCrafts team offered amazing job support through project, resume, and online portfolio reviews, as well as continuously providing a wide array of part-time, full-time, and contract-to-hire opportunities through the many DigitalCrafts Slack channels.
All in all, DigitalCrafts was an unforgettable experience. From the people I met to the confidence I gained as a new developer in the tech industry, I can’t thank the DigitalCrafts team enough for all that they provide in their Full-Stack Development program. I would highly recommend this program to anyone looking to get into the web development industry!
My decision to attend DigitalCrafts and pursue a future in Full-Stack Web Development is by far the most rewarding decision I have made in my career. I spent five years in project management before I decided to take my career in a different direction. DigitalCrafts does a great job of taking career changers from all walks of life and teaching them the skills needed to become Full-Stack Web Developers in a short amount of time.
The founders, Max and Jake, take great care to ensure that they have the best talent teaching the class. They recognize that it is the instructors who keep students engaged and motivated throughout the 16 week program, which is not an easy feat for a classroom full of students who are completely new to the subject. I was lucky to have Rob Bunch as my instructor. Rob is incredibly knowledgeable and a highly qualified developer; he is also one of the funniest and most genuine people I have ever met. His passion for his students and their success is clear, and he keeps his students motivated to work hard and to keep learning. I found myself looking forward to each class not only for the subject material, but to interact with Rob and continue to learn from the best.
The curriculum changes based on what is in demand in the job market. In the quick paced and ever changing world that is web development, the curriculum may change from one cohort to the next (or even mid-cohort). DigitalCrafts is not afraid to change their curriculum to stay up to speed with the current tech trends.
The career search support has been excellent, with DigitalCrafts providing feedback on resumes, portfolios, and online profiles. Jake and Max constantly send updates on job postings in the area and will reach out to potential employers on the student's behalf to introduce DigitalCrafts.
I truly believe that DigitalCrafts is the best coding bootcamp in Atlanta and would absolutely recommend DigitalCrafts to anyone looking to get into Full-Stack Web Development. Without a doubt, I would absolutely attend DigitalCrafts again.
DigitalCrafts is something special. A coding bootcamp by itself isn't anything special. There are hundreds of them. If you stand downtown in a major city and throw a rock in a random direction you'll probably hit one, or it will at least land close to one. So what makes DigitalCrafts stand out?
1. The Founders: Jake and Max have built a strong, close-knit organization that feels organic. They have hired instructors and staff that genuinely care for the students and take pride in what they do. They are on-site and available to answer questions, resolve issues, or just chat. They are supportive and encouraging, and they will challenge you to do your best.
2. The Staff: During my cohort two new staff members were hired, Liz and Zakia. From day one they were friendly, helpful and ethusiastic. They took interest in our projects. They gave their insights from their respective fields in order to help clarify questions about things like searching for a job. Katy wasn't on-site, but communicating with her was fast and easy. She quickly and efficiently provided several pages of feedback on my resume, portfolio, LinkedIn profile, and Github page, which were quite helpful in maximising the chance of getting interviews and ultimately landing a job.
3. The Instructors: Rob was my instructor, and he is easily one of the best teachers I have ever had. He's smart and funny and is able to present difficult concepts in an entertaining way, yet clearly and concisely enough so that at the very least you can easily learn more about any given topic on your own and be able to learn it well. His breadth and depth of knowledge and experience are second to none and he is more than willing to share his knowledge, as well as work with you individually to work through a difficult problem. He stayed in the classroom with one student from my cohort until well past midnight helping them with a project. For our final project my partner and I wanted to use tools that weren't covered in class. Instead of insisting we use what we learned in class (which he could have easily done), he ecouraged us, gave us resources, and shared his experience with us in order to ensure we were successful.
4. The Students: What can I say about my fellow classmates? Over the 16-week course, we laughed together, cried together, got frustrated together, and triumphed together. Note that the key word here is together. We all came from different professional and educational backgrounds; we varied in age, socioeconomic demographics, domestic profiles, country of birth, and language. Despie our outward differences, we supported and helped each other, encouraged each other, and rooted for each other. I started DigitalCrafts among 15 other classmates but graduated with 15 new friends.
So now the question is, did I make the right decision in attending DigitalCrafts? The answer is an unequivocal "YES!"
DigitalCrafts is an amazing experience. It takes a lot to drop your career and devote 4 months to a coding bootcamp. It's expensive and risky, but if you think web development is your future, DigitalCrafts is the place for you. The staff is amazing, the environment is comfortable, and the students are all willing to work hard.
Jake and Max have done an excellent job providing an effective program that really cares about the students. Day or night they are always willing to help, and if they can't help they will find someone who can. Rob, my instructor, is exteremly intelligent and wonderfully witty. He is not the bog standard anti-social computer nerd. He loves to teach while connecting with his students. He walks the line between humor and instruction gracefuly, explaining complex ideas with effective, comedic analogies.
Atlanta Tech Village where the Atlanta classes take place, is an awesome locations to say the least. It is very modern, leaving you with a feeling that you might just be working at google. If you are having a bad day, there are pingpong tables, videogames, and free beer in the community center. The building isn't only dedicated to DigitalCrafts. It is littered with tech startups of every variety, so you are constantly surrounded by people who have real working experience. Not only does this present you with unlimited networking opportunities, but it's also a great way to learn from real professionals.
The students at DigitalCrafts come in all shapes and sizes. Some people in my class were in their early twenties others were in their thirties. Some had masters degrees, some had PhDs, and others had no degree at all, but everyone was intelligent and willing to work really hard towards the same goal. Our backgrounds didn't matter, we were all staring from the bottom. Everyone had strengths and weaknesses which is a huge help. If you have trouble someone else can help, if someone else has trouble you can help. I found that helping others was very a great way to reinforce the things we were learning in class ehich made helping others a benificial activity.
One of the biggest benefits of DigitalCrafts is their connections in the Atlanta area. From Chick-fil-a to Home Depot, they have good relationships with plenty of companies and will get you interviews. They provide career support during and after the program, constantly posting jobs they find and openings at companies who come to them looking far suitable applicants.
DigtalCrafts was the adventure of a lifetime. One I wish I could do all over again.
Did I need to go to a coding bootcamp to learn software development?
No. There is more than enough information available through free resources such as freeCodeCamp, edX, Coursera, and Udemy to transition successfully into a software development career.
Would I still make the decision to attend DigitalCrafts if I had to all over again?
Yes. Yes. Yes! What made my DigitalCrafts experience worthwhile wasn't their curriculum (don't get me wrong, that was great too) but rather the mentorship from a Senior Developer whose sole role was to transform me into a competent software developer. I value the confidence I gained at DigitalCrafts tenfolds more than the knowledge I gained here. I was intimidated when applying because of how foreign development felt to me. But little by little, that intimidation transformed into a newfound passion for developing and building applications that can make a substantive impact on people's lives and businesses.
If you know you want to attend a bootcamp, but aren't sure which one to attend, I strongly recommend DigitalCrafts. Especially if you're in Houston. Every member I've talked to on their staff seems to really care a lot about the students' success. And they're all very approachable!
My primary concern when deciding to apply was whether a program as new as DigitalCrafts would be able to provide me with a network strong enough to benefit me. It has and I think it will for you too. Their alumni network and their career network is growing by the cohort... so what I had will only be better for you.
Some tips if you apply:
Do the prework! You don't have to do all of it, but I recommend at least going through fundamental concepts of programming through a class like CS50x or MIT 6.00.1x on edx.org (both of these classes are free and DC will even reimburse you for their verified certificate).
While you're in class, feel free to explore and go into depth of topics that you're interested in! I started learning Machine Learning and Cyber Security while I was in class. I recommend TeachYourselfCS.com to dive deeper into the theory behind the languages you will learn in class.
And lastly, remember to have fun! Sometimes stepping away and taking a break was all I needed to figure out how to solve the problems I was having with my code.
I hope to see y'all on the Slack channel soon!
I would highly recommend DigitalCrafts to anyone who is interested in enrolling in a coding bootcamp. The staff is very supportive, especially my instructor Toby. I had no coding experience prior to the course and struggled a lot throughout the course, but Toby went above and beyond to help me out. Toby cares about each student. He created challenges for students who were ahead of the class, but also created exercises for students who were behind in class and out of class. His support and encouragement gave me the confidence to keep on pursuing a career in web development. DigitalCrafts hires instructors who are not only skilled but are also determined to help you succeed.
Although DigitalCrafts is fairly small compared to the other bootcamps they have an expanding network and a great administration. They provide you with career support and have someone who gives you feedback for your resume, portfolio, github, and LinkedIn profile.
It’s a fast-paced and challenging course especially for beginners, but if you’re willing to put in the work it will be rewarding!
I recently graduated from Digital Crafts and it has been one of the best educational experiences I have ever had. The first thing that won me over was the level of importance they put on the pre-work to prep you for the course. The instructors are highly qualified, and took the time to work with students if they were falling behind or ahead of the class. The curriculum is designed to teach you the most marketable technology skill set. The course is very fast paced, and I did have to put in lots of time outside of the classroom to learn and finish projects.
When I first started researching bootcamps I wasn't sure if this was the best route to go, and I was very nervous about landing a job after completing a coding bootcamp. I ended up receiving an offer right before graduation and another one the week after graduation. We were provided with very good documentation to help you succeed in finding a job. They even have a person on staff who will provide you with thorough feedback on your resume, portfolio, github, and LinkedIn profile.
I definitely wouldn't have been able to gain the confidence and knowledge to become a web developer in such a short amount of time without Digtical Crafts.
The first time I had ever attempted to code was for the entrance quiz to DigitalCrafts. In the 8 months since then, I have developed the skills, confidence and eagerness to pursue a career in web development. This could not have been done without the amazing support of the instructors and campus counselors at DigitalCrafts.
One person in particular, my course instructor Toby, was extremely patient with me during the many moments that I doubted myself throughout the 16-week process. He is committed to helping his students at any stage in their learning process, both in and out of the classroom. From what I understand, DigitalCrafts hires instructors who are not only extremely knowledgebale of the topics covered in the curriculum, but also very patient and driven to help students learn in what might be the most challenging endeavor of their lives.
In addition, my campus counselors played an integral part in keeping me sane and assured during this process. They were very helpful to each student in the area of job assistance. I never had to wait long to hear feedback on items such as my resume, portfolio, and job-hunting inquiries. They reached out to potential employers and developed relationships with companies that have gone on to hire many gradutates from DigitalCrafts. The professionalism of Max, Jake, Natalie, and Katy, just to name a few, is second to none.
I would highly recommend other beginners take the plunge and enroll in DigitalCrafts. I promise you won't find a better support network than the great people at this bootcamp.
Everything about how DigitalCrafts operates makes this one of the best educational experiences out there. From the quality top-notch instruction, career support, curriculum, and location made it a life-changing experience. I got a job offer the day before graduating, and a few other students received offers during the class as well. It is intense, especially during the last couple weeks. It is easy to fall behind in the material because the class moves so quickly. I really recommend anyone considering this to be absolutely sure and absolutely dedicated because it is not a walk in the park. Students that put in more effort and were willing to spend outside class hours coding, no doubt got more out of it than students who did not.
Instruction: I was fortunate enough to be a part of Toby's last cohort. It was clear from Day 1 that he is truly passionate about coding and teaching. He had no problem breaking things down for us, helping us dissect the material, until we finally got it. When he felt that some students were ahead of the material, he created special bonus exercises to challenge them. When he felt some students were falling behind, he created exercises to help drill down the material. Our class had a huge disparity of skill level. Some people were true beginners and some came from very advanced technical backgrounds. Toby made sure to address it the best way he could and I really appreciated that.
Career support: DigitalCrafts helps students with everything in the job search process, from portfolios, resumes, mock interviews, sending out job postings, interview tips, whiteboarding, networking, etc. The staff is extremely dedicated in helping find you a job. They have a small, but growing network of employers who have had positive experiences with hiring DigitalCrafts graduates. My only wish is for their network to be bigger, but considering this bootcamp is still fairly new, it is understandable. They have guest speakers and recruiters come in for networking opportunities but I felt like the pacing was just not right. They should have come during weeks 12-16 when students were starting to get serious about the job search, definitely not during the first half of the course when we felt nowhere near ready for a job.
Curriculum: They are constantly changing their curriculum to match what's in demand so you really can't go wrong with what you learn. The curriculum is specifically optimized to help students be more marketable as software engineers.
Location: The Atlanta Tech Village made being an unemployed student much easier. There is plenty of free snacks, spaces to study, places to relax/sleep, and free weekly lunches. It is really the perfect environment for a coding bootcamp.
I took a big risk leaving my job to go to a bootcamp, but I have to say that Digital crafts was the right choice. I came in with some college experience but others who have no experience ended up with a better looking portfolio than my friends who graduated from Georgia State and Georgia Tech. I feel confident that I can get a good career in web development at this point and proudly wear my DigitalCrats tshirt!
I had a great experience at DigitalCrafts. I came in with a background in email marketing, which is where I was exposed to some front end development and decided I wanted to shift my career to the technical side. I chose DC over the other schools for several reasons: the length of the program, the curriculum (front end, back end, plus database), fair price, good reviews, and good vibes after interviewing. This course is very fast-paced, challenging, and time-consuming. You are pushed to your limits. Although class was M-F 9-5, I was in early, stayed late, and sometimes went in on the weekends to keep up. Despite this, I had a blast. Rob was a fantastic teacher — very engaging and enthusiastic, not to mention a wealth of knowledge. I landed a few interviews and ended up accepting an offer for a Software Engineer Apprenticeship at Home Depot, just a few weeks after completing class.
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!
The fact that the full-time program is 16 weeks (compared to the typical 12 weeks) was a huge plus. I felt like there was more time to understand the concepts, ask for help, and more projects and exercises to complete for more practice.
I also feel like DigitalCrafts does a great job of seeing what skills are in demand and teaching those to us as well as practical examples of how we would be using them. The Career Week is sooo helpful in getting your resume, portfolio, LinkedIn, and interviewing skills sharp to feel confident during your job search. And, they are always sharing job opportunities in your area to apply for.
Coming in with just a basic understanding of HTML and CSS, I fell in love with front-end development and also feel strong with the back-end. We had 4 total projects, which were the most useful to me for learning. If anything, they teach you how to be resourceful and figure out new things since you will always be learning in this field.
I highly recommend DigitalCrafts if you are serious about making a career switch since you will learn high demand skills and be able to market yourself well to future employers with what DigitalCrafts teaches you.
I had a really great experience at DigitalCrafts. However, it you want an experience similar to college you will not get it. A lot of the learning and becoming very good at coding is left to the student; which ultimately is a good thing. It may be off-putting at first but trust me, you will be thanking the coding gods DigitalCrafts is set up that way. When you get a development job, it will be expected of you to be able to look up and learn things yourself. If you can't find an answer or are really stuck, then the teachers and TA's are more than willing to answer your question.
Overall I really enjoyed my time at DigitalCrafts and learned a tremendous amount.
I very recently finished the DigitalCrafts 16-Week Fulltime Immersive program in Atlanta. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, the experience stretched me and forced me to grow in ways that I did not foresee before it began. I wish everyone -- or at least lots more people -- could have this experience.
I had had some programming experience prior to enrolling in the course, so I was slightly worried that it might be too easy and I wouldn't learn enough to make it worth the time and money. Within about a week, I knew that this would not be the case. From about the second day, my brain was already being exercised more intensely than it had been in years, as we learned not only programming languages and libraries but also new and improved ways of looking at problems in general and working out solutions.
As the course progressed, we quickly moved into new development paradigms and there were moments when I felt hopelessly lost but learned that, even though the pace was fast and it sometimes felt like drinking from a firehose, if I just kept at a difficult topic long enough, a joyful moment would come when it would suddenly fall into place and I would "get it".
Now that I have finished the program and I have a moment to look back and consider the difference between where I started and where I am now and the things I can build now that I couldn't four months ago, I can wholeheartedly recommend the DigitalCrafts fulltime immersive program.
If you're ready to work hard and to push through some tough times, you'll come out a much better programmer and maybe even a better person on the other end.
I took the full stack immersive program at DigitalCrafts. Before signing up, I contemplated doing the journey on my own and using online free resources. Now that I've completed the program, I'm really glad that I didn't. The support of the DigitalCrafts community was amazing. The students you interact with are all so intelligent, driven and interesting. You form bonds through your shared struggle and encourage each other. It really helped me get through. There is an instructor and TA's according to class size. All of these individuals are so smart and helpful. The course moves really fast. That seems like it should go without saying but there is not way in hell I would have learned this much on my own in this time. This course keeps you moving, keeps you in motion, and the community keeps your motivation going. All together, it's having this community that really makes it worthwhile.
The flex program is way, WAY overpriced. There is value, sure, but it’s not even close to worth the price tag. Sorry, I posted anon. I knew I would get hassled to take it down if I put my name. My breakdown after finishing:
- You will learn… something.
- The remote option is convenient and usually well done
- You don’t have to quit your job
- The classes are fragmented because you never know who’s going to teach
- Unlike the full-time classes (or so I’ve heard), there is almost no support from other students because people don’t show up or have their own thing going
- Wherever you are at, the class will go too fast or too slow (this was universal)
- The final projects were mostly duds.
These criticisms are common of any flexible or online learning, but online learning doesn’t cost 5-figures. This does. When you finish, you won’t be poised to make any kind of career change. REPEAT: You aren’t going to be able to get a different job at the end. You’ll have enough knowledge to feel like you deserve more at your job, but not enough to actually get more. Like I said, it has value, but not enough.
What do you really get? You get code academy with accountability. That’s not worth 10 grand.
Response From: Max McChesney of DigitalCrafts
The one piece of advice I constantly give to prospective students is to be prepared! I don’t recommend going into such an intense and expensive program as a total noob.
The course is very intense and fast paced. In my experience, it was pretty much up to you to make sure you had all the material down. Every day consisted of a lecture and lab time for completing assignments. The instructor was present and available to answer questions, which is one of the most valuable parts of the program. I expected the instructor to be a little more involved but never felt uncomfortable asking even the smallest question.
The second most valuable part was interacting with students. Studying on your own can be intimidating, lonely and sometimes confusing since you don’t know how you measure up with other beginners. Group projects and collaborations were extremely helpful!
Overall, I am happy with my experience at digitalcrafts. I learned many different subjects, even if I didn’t end up being an expert by the end. It will always be up to you to continue building your skills once you’re on the path.
My advice would be to begin working on your portfolio and resume earlier than the curriculum let’s you! Also, Udemy 10 dollar sales are your friend.
Our latest on DigitalCrafts
Kim Lim worked in the Atlanta restaurant industry for about 7 years before she decided to switch gears and become a front end developer. One of her regular customers suggested she check out DigitalCrafts coding bootcamp in the neighboring Tech Village to break into the tech industry without going back to college. Now that Kim has graduated from the DigitalCrafts Full Stack Flex Program, she tells us about balancing a full-time job while studying, being a woman in tech battling Imposter Syndrome, and why she chose to become a Developer-in-Residence to help teach new bootcamp students!
What is your pre-bootcamp story? Describe your educational background and last career path.
I have been in the restaurant industry for about seven years. When I started college I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I majored in Hospitality Administration at Georgia State University. My goal was to be an events manager, but when I graduated and got an events position, it wasn’t what I expected. I worked on events, marketing, and the company website, but felt the role was a work overload. I picked the pieces that I enjoyed most about the role which included working on the company website, designing event flyers, and doing social media outreach.
I managed a restaurant called Farm Burger and while I loved it, that wasn’t my end goal – I was looking for a more creative outlet in an industry where everyone was striving for the same goal.
Did you try to learn on your own before you enrolled at DigitalCrafts? What types of resources did you use?
At Farm Burger, I was able to help out with simple website updates on Wordpress. I had enjoyed working with HTML and CSS since middle school, and in high school, I was actually the senior ad and photography editor for the school yearbook staff. I was self-taught with HTML and CSS. I also did FreeCodeCamp courses online.
How did you first learn about DigitalCrafts?
Farm Burger is right down the street from the Tech Village here in Atlanta. Wanting to see where I could learn web development without having to go back to college, I reached out to one of my regular customers to ask them how I could get my foot in the door of the tech industry. She suggested DigitalCrafts, which is in Tech Village. I did more research on the school and the alumni on Course Report, and DigitalCrafts made it pretty easy to choose them.
Did you research other coding bootcamps? Why was DigitalCrafts an “easy” decision?
I wanted to learn in-person – not remotely – and I wanted to stay in Atlanta. I prefer learning in a physical classroom and having a teacher there to review my code. When I was researching, it came down to General Assembly and DigitalCrafts, but General Assembly had mixed reviews.
Price was also a factor, but so was the length of the course. I did DigitalCrafts’ Full Stack Flex cohort from August 2017 to February 2018, which was 24 weeks. Since I was going to learn this brand new material, I wanted to take a course that was longer than 10 weeks so that I could budget time to study while also working full-time.
Did you consider doing a 4-year CS degree?
What was the DigitalCrafts application and interview process like for you?
I set up a tour of the classroom and had a sit-down talk with DigitalCrafts’ co-founder, Max McChesney. We discussed what I was looking for in my learning and what the course could provide. My final step was to do a code challenge that was less than 10 questions. I had to set variables, which I didn’t know how to do before, but I was able to use Google to find the answers and solve the problem. The questions got harder as you moved forward, but I think I only got one syntax error wrong. That application process made me feel at ease about transitioning to become a front end developer.
What made you want to specialize in front end development rather than back end development or the full stack?
DigitalCrafts is a full stack course, but I realized my interests were more towards the front end because I wanted to be a mix of designer and developer – I’m looking for that happy middle place. I love UX/UI design which somewhat matches my hospitality background of making sure guests have a good experience in person and on the website. So I love the idea of design and solving problems with it.
How many people were in your cohort? Was your class diverse?
There were about 15 people in my cohort, and four were women. It was intimidating at first, but coming from a restaurant background, I’m used to working with a mix of different people. The worries that I initially had about being a woman in the space went away after the first few weeks. There were other students from the restaurant industry, some who were already in the tech industry, and one person who was a barista at Starbucks. It was nice to feel that I wasn’t alone.
I realized that everyone was there to learn. Even though we came from different walks of life – we all had something to contribute. During group projects, we all looked to each other’s strengths to solve problems.
What was the learning experience like at DigitalCrafts? Did the teaching style match your learning style?
We had two instructors – one for back end development and one for front end development. Topics of the course were mapped out by each week, but there was flexibility in the syllabus if certain subjects were a little more difficult for the class. There were two different teaching styles – one instructor used lecture, group work, and individual assignments to teach the material. The other instructor, who focused on back end development, liked to throw the students in the deep end to complete assignments, which was a little difficult.
What was your favorite project that you built at DigitalCrafts? Was it an individual project?
At first, I wanted to do an individual project, but creating a full stack project was not totally feasible, given the time frame. I had a working idea, so I reached out to my friend Cliff who was also in the class, and he agreed to work on it with me. Our project is called Regimen – it’s a social e-commerce recommendation platform. I follow beauty bloggers and other influencers, and always want to know what products they use. Users can create a profile stating their hair type, diet restrictions, skin type etc. and then review and comment on various beauty and health products as they appeal to you. Users can describe why they like certain products and people can view other users’ profiles and read recommendations. The platform is not currently live, but we’re still working on it!
We used Reactjs, NodeJS, Postgres SQL, Passport JS, Express JS, Bootstrap for responsiveness, and JWT.io for encryption.
Where are you working now? Tell us about being a Developer-in-Residence with DigitalCrafts.
I’m still working at Farm Burger, but I’ve stepped down from my management role to focus on my transition to the tech industry. I’m also a part-time Teaching Assistant for the latest DigitalCrafts’ Full Stack Flex program. Whenever students need additional help and have questions, I’m there. As a manager in the restaurant industry, I was always the one to find a solution or answer whenever someone had questions or problems.
At DigitalCrafts, since we have remote students, I also manage camera setup and ensure students have the materials they need to succeed. It’s great because any material that may have slipped through the cracks while I was a student, is now getting solidified during my Developer-in-Residence role. I’m asking the same questions over and over and digging deeper into subjects to better help my students.
During my term as a DIR for the current cohort, I’ve learned how to interpret documentation more efficiently, debug code that wasn’t originally written by myself, and improved on refactoring code to be consistent and cleaner. Now halfway through the course, I’m confident I will continue to learn even more with my students while on their journey to being developers.
How did DigitalCrafts prepare you for job hunting? Are you looking for full-time jobs?
I’m trying to find the sweet spot between a designer and front end developer. DigitalCrafts covers mock interviews, how to update your GitHub, Linkedin profile, and resume, along with providing a career success toolkit for job searching. DigitalCrafts also has a career week where people from local companies come to speak about the industry. It was nice to meet different people in the field, hear about a day in the life of developers, and what to expect at different companies.
What’s been the biggest challenge or roadblock in your journey to learn to code?
For me, it’s been my confidence. Since I’m coming from a different industry, it can be intimidating being a woman, and ensuring that I’m using the correct terminology and referencing materials appropriately. Imposter Syndrome has played a big role in this journey – Do I even know what I’m doing? Am I really able to meet these requirements? But the team at DigitalCrafts is such a good support group. I share with my students now how everything that we learn is applicable to real life. We’re not imposters, and we have projects to reflect that.
I still deal with Imposter Syndrome now. I spoke to an experienced developer at MailChimp who told me he still gets Imposter Syndrome too. It happens, but you have to refocus. Remember the goal, but change your path.
What advice do you have for people making a career change through a coding bootcamp?
You should first dabble in coding a little bit – get your feet wet. Take free courses online like FreeCodeCamp and see if it interests you. Don’t just do a coding bootcamp for a new job; test the waters first. Don’t give up if you’re interested. When in doubt, ask Google!
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Is learning to code on your 2018 New Year’s Resolutions List? It should be! There will be 1 million more computing jobs than applicants who can fill them by 2020. And a coding bootcamp could be just what you need to make a fresh start in 2018 as a developer. We’ve compiled a list of 16 full-time, part-time, in-person and online coding bootcamps which have upcoming cohorts starting in January and February 2018. Most of these have approaching application deadlines, so submit yours quickly if you want to get a head start in 2018!Continue Reading →
Insiten is a small financial tech shop in Atlanta, but they’ve integrated innovative hiring, training and upskilling practices that a lot of large companies have yet to adopt. So far, CEO Adam Trien has hired 8 software engineers from Atlanta-based DigitalCrafts and is even funding one of his current employees to upskill at the DigitalCrafts Full Stack Flex Program. See what Insiten is looking for in a new hire, the three qualities that stand out in DigitalCrafts applicants, and why his team chooses to invest in and nurture junior talent.
Tell us about Insiten, your role, and your responsibility for hiring developers.
I am the founder and CEO of Insiten, a software development shop. We help transform companies whose organizations were managed with offline processes and unstructured data (ie. through Excel, PowerPoint, emails, or a shared drive) with online cloud-based solutions focused on collaboration and advanced analytics. We empower our clients to boost their efficiency and make better business decisions.
Insiten is a rapidly growing startup. We celebrated our one-year anniversary in November and have recently hired our eleventh employee.
Tell us about hiring your first DigitalCrafts alum – was there any hesitation hiring a coding bootcamp grad?
Our first engagement was with a large, multi-national client and we needed to staff up quickly. I attempted to hire through my past network of developers but that was falling flat. I approached a local Atlanta-based tech recruiter and one of the first candidates they sent me was Eli, a DigitalCrafts graduate. When I received his resume, I was a little disappointed. Although Eli had a great deal of work experience, he had never held a software development job. I was looking for seasoned developers with at least a few years of real-world experience. But in the end, Eli demonstrated impressive technical capabilities and has been a huge asset to the team. His demonstrated success helped pave the way for future bootcamp hires.
As a Microsoft shop, do the technologies that DigitalCrafts grads learn completely align with what you need from a developer? Or do they have to ramp up?
One thing that makes Insiten unique compared to traditional Microsoft development shops is that we are using leading-edge UI frameworks like Angular and React to develop our solutions. Our engineers spend 90% of their time building the user interface that sits on top of underlying Microsoft cloud technologies. This aligns perfectly with the skills that DigitalCrafts provides their students.
What roles specifically have you hired DigitalCrafts graduates into? Are they doing pure software engineering?
Everyone we've hired has the title of Software Engineer. However, we value candidates with diverse skills and experiences.
So far, we have hired a former lawyer, someone with a master’s degree in Data Visualization, and several Georgia Tech grads. One of our hires had corporate experience with Accenture, Coke, and Disney; others were graphic designers.
Thinking about the eight DigitalCrafts grads that you’ve hired, what stood out about them? Why did they get the job?
We really had to put a lot of thought into hiring nontraditional employees (ie. bootcamp grads) because it's not the same as hiring an experienced developer who has references and past employers.
We don't expect a bootcamp grad to be a senior developer, but they should have a solid understanding of the core technologies that they've learned at DigitalCrafts.
Sometimes, alumni stand out because of their final projects. For example, one woman, Yingrong, programmed Alexa as part of her final project. We love combining different technologies and APIs, so her skills stood out. During the interview, she programmed Alexa to pronounce “Insiten” on the fly. It demonstrated that she had a strong command of the technology.
What really excites me about the candidates from DigitalCrafts is their passion for technology and their desire to continue growing and learning on the job as well as on their own.
Do your new hires go through a technical interview?
We are looking for candidates who think on their feet, work well with others, and respond positively to peer reviews and design decisions.
We do “mob interviewing” where a room full of employees ask questions of the candidate. Some candidates may find this intimidating, but it gives us insights into how well they work on a team.
We give applicants a week to complete a coding challenge and then ask them to demo what they have built. We go under the covers and ask questions about their design decisions. We try to find bugs in the code and then work together on identifying a fix for the issue.
We also give candidates a user interface design to implement and an algorithm question to test their logic skills.
Have you hired from any other coding bootcamps?
We have hired from other bootcamps but DigitalCrafts has definitely been our go to. Other bootcamps are typically three-month programs and broadly cover a wide range of technologies whereas DigitalCrafts is a four-month program that focuses more deeply on a smaller set of technologies. DigitalCrafts stresses smaller class sizes and does more project work than other bootcamps. DigitalCrafts grads are ready to hit the ground running.
The alumni network at DigitalCrafts is strong. DigitalCrafts hosts alumni events to provide ongoing training and networking opportunities. They invite Insiten to demo days and we are often asked to give guest lectures. At one presentation, we talked about a typical day-in-the-life of a developer; at another, I spoke about how to go from being a junior developer to the CEO of a startup.
Can you give us an idea of what projects the DigitalCrafts developers are working on at Insiten?
Right now, we are working with the merger and acquisition team at a Big-4 accounting firm to help them build software for their clients executing transformational acquisitions and divestitures. A lot of planning is involved in these transactions. We are building software to help those companies define their future state and understand the financial implications thereof.
In addition to hiring from DigitalCrafts, how does DigitalCrafts help you keep your current employees learning and growing?
We recently hired someone with a background in analytics who needed additional training to enhance his software development skills. We could not afford to lose this full-time employee for four months of training. I reached out to DigitalCrafts and he is now enrolled in their newly launched night/weekend executive program.
Do you think that he'll be ready to start deploying code when he graduates?
We have already been able to expand his role and he is now responsible for processing QA bugs on one of our projects. Before the class, he would just look at a bug and assign it to a developer. Now he is often able to figure out a solution independently.
He's got a great advantage because he works in a software development shop. After class, he's able to ask us questions, show us what he's working on, and we're able to give him direction. It is really exciting to see him start to pick up these technical skills.
Does Insiten pay for that DigitalCrafts class for him?
We are paying for the class, and that’s an investment we decided to make as a company. We incentivize our employees through various bonuses and benefits, so this class is part of his package.
Hiring a developer is not easy; why retrain a current employee vs just hiring a developer?
We try to hire great people with positive attitudes and strong analytical skills. Sometimes we decide to hire employees to meet some of our immediate needs and then find ways to upskill them.
What advice do you have for other employers who are considering hiring from a coding bootcamp or from DigitalCrafts?
Have a really thorough interview process. Bootcamp grads typically have portfolio sites and project sites that an employer can review before scheduling an interview. Validate that the candidate has a deep understanding of the technology and assess if they will be a good fit for your team.
You should also invest in developing a solid onboarding process. We have detailed documentation of our infrastructure, branching policies, software development life cycle, best practices, code snippets etc. We assign new hires a mentor when they start for however long they need.
We have hired incredibly strong people out of bootcamps, and after a couple of weeks they are ready to work on their own. Having senior developers who can help with code reviews is a big part of how we train by giving new hires continuous feedback to improve their skills and techniques.
We also invest in continued education and provide budgets for attending conferences. We bring in a professional trainer two days a week (he actually used to teach at DigitalCrafts). He performs code reviews and peer coding, and works one-on-one with the team to “level-up” their skills.
Why has DigitalCrafts decided to launch part-time programs?
Our Full Stack Immersive Program is certainly not going anywhere, but our goal at DigitalCrafts is to make the classroom as accessible as possible to the hard-working learner or what we like to call DigitalCrafts builders. Absorbing the material and curriculum typically reserved for a 16-week full-time immersive class will be no easy feat, so the Full Stack Flex Program is 6 months long, and will maintain the same selective admissions process that has been the cornerstone of our alumni success to date.
What is the structure and time commitment of the part-time program?
The Flex program will last a total of 24 weeks and class will take place in the evenings two nights a week from 6:30pm to 9:30pm as well as every Saturday from 10am to 2pm. We’ve also incorporated two weekends where students will be expected to spend two full days on campus. Think of these weekend sprints kind of like your standard day in the Immersive class.
While the time commitment is more flexible than the full-time program, we do understand people have priorities and life outside of class. To that end, we’re excited to announce our new classroom will be enabled with live streaming and recording capabilities which will allow students to live-stream the class from home or watch a recording of the class online if they are unable to attend a specific day.
If your students are employed in full-time jobs already, are you expecting to see people upskilling for their current jobs, or career changers, or both?
I imagine the students that will make up the Flex program will encompass both career changers and those who are up-skilling for their current employer.
How will the admissions process differ from the full-time admissions process?
How many students are you expecting to be in the part-time program? Will the classes be bigger or smaller than the immersive program?
We are expecting a sold-out class for the first Flex program launching at our Atlanta campus on July 11. To date, our average class size is around 15 students which provides for a personal and hands-on learning experience. Our mission is to provide a top-notch experience for each student, and we’ve found a small class size allows each student to receive the level of support he or she needs throughout this journey. Class sizes for the Full Stack Immersive and Flex will remain the same.
Could you highlight the differences between the full-time Full Stack Immersive vs the part-time Full Stack Flex curriculum?
Will students be required to do more homework/take-home projects for the part-time program than the full-time program?
Since the Flex program will have fewer “in-class hours” than the full-time program, students will be expected to complete homework, exercises, and take-home projects outside of the classroom. Students should expect to spend 20 hours per week outside of the classroom working on curriculum.
How many instructors will be teaching the part-time program? How and when can students reach out to them outside of class hours?
We’ve brought on a great team to lead the Flex program. Over the course of the 6 months, students will have access to two Lead Instructors and an Operations Assistant to ensure they are supported throughout the program. We require the Lead Instructors to be available during office hours and actual class, but we are pretty adamant about making sure they get some rest as well! Students will always have access to the DigitalCrafts community of builders which consists of current students, instructors, staff, and alumni via Slack. This is a great resource for those students who are looking for additional support outside of class hours.
Will the flex students and the immersive students ever interact or collaborate on anything? If so how?
This is a detail we are actively investigating. Flex students will complete two weekend sprints throughout the course which would be a great opportunity for a weekend hackathon or group projects across classes. We’ll make sure to announce this once we’ve finalized the details!
Will students be able to enroll in DigitalCrafts’ Elective courses like in the full-time Full Stack Immersive?
Yes! Flex students will have the option to enroll in any DigitalCrafts elective upon graduating from the program. Since our electives also take place in the evening, we wouldn’t want a student to enroll in both courses at once and potentially become overwhelmed. Elective courses are available to all DigitalCrafts alumni.
How will career services work for the part-time Full Stack Flex program compared with the Full-Time Immersive?
Again, our goal is to provide the same experience across the Immersive and Flex programs. Students who opt-in to career services in the Flex program will receive the same level of support from our Student Services team. This includes guidance around creating an online presence, drafting a resume, developing a portfolio, participating in mock-interview training, and exposure to our employer partners. Our goal at DigitalCrafts is to prepare all of our students with the abilities to achieve their goals.
What is your advice for students embarking on a part-time program? Any tips for getting the most out of it while balancing other commitments?
My advice for any student who is considering a bootcamp whether that be a full-time or part-time course is the same. It’s extremely important to make sure you can set aside an adequate amount of time during the course and that you have an unyielding passion for learning this skill set. Programming is difficult to learn and doesn’t come easy, and our students have to be fully committed before, during and after graduating from the program.
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.
How much do coding bootcamps cost? From students looking for free coding bootcamps to those wondering if an $18,000 bootcamp is worth it, we understand that cost is important to future bootcampers! While the average full-time programming bootcamp in the US costs $11,400, bootcamp tuition can range from $9,000 to $21,000, and some coding bootcamps have deferred tuition. So how do you decide what to budget for? Here, we break down the costs of coding bootcamps from around the USA.
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!
Welcome to the June 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!Continue Reading →
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