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.
On-Time Graduation Rate
180 Day Employment Breakdown:
Notes & Caveats:
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Recent DigitalCrafts Reviews: Rating 4.97
Full Stack Flex (Part-Time)
- Payment Plan
- Students can receive $500 off tuition for submitting their deposit within 5 days of being accepted. An additional $500 credit is given to students who pay tuition in full before class starts. Payment plans are available as well.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Beginner or Intermediate
- Placement Test
- Prep Work
- Pre-requisite work will be provided
Full Stack Immersive (Full-Time)
- Secure your seat by the Early Enrollment Deadlines for $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
In PersonFull Time35Hours/week
Full Stack Immersive (Full-Time)
- Secure your seat by the Early Enrollment Deadlines for $750 off tuition. We also 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
Full Stack Flex (Part-Time)
- Payment Plan
- Students can receive $500 off tuition for submitting their deposit within 5 days of being accepted. An additional $500 credit is given to students who pay tuition in full before class starts. Payment plans are available as well.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Beginner or Intermediate
- Placement Test
- Prep Work
- Pre-requisite work will be provided
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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!
I have found the DigitalCrafts bootcamp to be a powerfully positive experience. You will learn quite a lot in short time span. In addition to the teachings, DC offers a lot of job support and you can tell they really care about your success as a software developer.
DigitalCrafts was a great experience for me overall. I was a true beginner when it came to coding and computer science, I started coding about 2-3 months before the first day of class. Those 2-3 months I felt like I had learned a solid amount through self teaching, but it was absolutely nothing compared to the amount of knowledge I have gained through this four month course. Paul who was the teacher for our cohort did a fantastic job and is very knowledgable in all of the topics covered and more and there wasn't a single problem that I had that he could not solve. That is where I believe the value of the class truly lies. When you are trying to self teach yourself coding (especially if you're a true beginner), then you will inevitably run into many problems and get stuck often. While you could try for hours to push through the problems, sometimes you just won't be able to figure out the problem. Having someone who can clearly explain to you what the problem and solution is really does help a lot and I feel like that was very beneficial to accelerate the learning process. Also, having a structured course outline that covers many of the skills that are in demand in the job market was great too, as I would have been pretty lost trying to learn these topics on my own and may have take well over a year to do it on my own. I think DigitalCrafts is an exceptional school and in my opinion the best investment I have made in my life up to this point and I am feeling great about what the future holds for me with my newly gained skills.
If you're considering enrolling in a coding bootcamp. Look no further than DigitalCrafts.
This was a great program from the admissions process to the instructor, to my peers, as well as career support. DigitalCrafts is an upfront organization that clearly sets your expectations of what you're getting in to from the get go, lots of hard work, and an intense curriculum, but a very experienced and knowledgeable instructor (Paul was amazing) that has your back. There is no job guaranteed at the end, but Jake, Max, Katy and Jason will be there to support you in your job hunt.
Some advice: The class is intense. There will be days, maybe weeks, where nothing will make sense. Keep cracking at the exercises and learn to use google and stackoverflow effectively. Do all the pre-work! If you have no coding experience try Free Code Camp even if you are planning on enrolling. If you have programming interests outside of the curriculum now is the time to pursue them; take advantage of the instructor's knowledge to help you overcome those inevitable obstacles. Be open to feedback, as DC is certainly open to yours. They want to see you succeed!
I'm three weeks in to what feels to be a great job after a roller coaster of a hunt, and couldn't be happier. I'm obviously still learning, but the foundation of skills DC has taught me has already been immediately applicable to my job and allowed me to begin contributing from week one.
As someone who was in the middle of getting a CS degree, I decided to take the leap and join DigitalCrafts to jump-start my development career. At first, I was a bit wary of taking the leap and putting my degree progression on hold, however after finishing the program I can happily say it was a move I do not regret at all. The amount you learn in the 16 weeks is almost incompressible, but the way everything is arranged makes the flow of learning very smooth. Everyone there is ready and willing to help and Chris, our instructor, was great. Made the material fun and gave us enough freedom to learn the way we wanted to. Very few things in life can change your life for the positive in just 4 months, If me, 4-months ago, saw me, now, I wouldn't believe the things I know to do. If anyone is even interested, I would say schedule a walk around the campus with DigitalCrafts and see for your self. It is an experience I am more than happy have taken. Also, the Atlanta Tech Villiage is a great area to have school, the environment feels great and you really get a vibe for the start-up industry.
DigitalCrafts' has exceeded my expectations, I couldn't have asked for a better coding bootcamp experience. As a true beginner, the amount of knowledge that I have aquired over the past 16 weeks is astounding. It has allowed me to secure a full-time job as a Software Developer before graduation. So far, 50% of my cohort has secured jobs before Demo Day!
I chose DC due to their local, down-to-earth business model. The founders, Jake and Max, are very involved in the day to day. This lends a more personal feel to the program, and after 16 weeks, everyone here feels like family. In addition, the school is located at Atlanta Tech Village, which provides a great environment for learning and networking.
Choosing a software development program is a very involved decision, but the team at DC makes it easy. If you are looking for the best bang for your buck, and a program that will be highly involved, DigitalCrafts would be perfect for you. You get out what you put in, so work hard and have fun!
I had no idea what to expect when I began my experience at DigitalCrafts. I was ensure wether I would enjoy coding, the people, and the experience. Now four months later, I am so thankful and happy I got to have this experience. I have been shocked with the amount of information I have learned in such a short time. Moreover, the friendships and memories I have made will be with me for a long time. Anyone who is considering going to DigitalCrafts should apply ASAP because it is sure to be an experience you won't forget.
As testimonials go, I'd like to share how I came to this juncture and the helpful hints I learned along the way. Before I commited to DigitalCrafts, I researched dozens of coding bootcamps. My reccomendation is for you to do the same. Pick up the phone and call them. That's was the beginning of my relationship with DigitalCrafts. From there, I met to discuss my goals and reservations. DigitalCrafts answered candidly and supportively. I was actually interested in attending a earlier cohort but reached a mutual understanding that the cohort I ended up joining was the best financial decision for me.
Another huge decision was the location. The Atlanta Tech Village is the fourth largest tech hub in the country and constantly connecting students with the heart of tech culture and opportunties in Atlanta. It's a creative space for entreprenuers and business to come together to create amazing things. Rooftop louges, nap rooms, a gym, free coffee and beer certainly don't hurt either!
If you're like me, that's not why you're paying for the in-person experience though. You benefit from lecture, one on one explanations and working on teams to achieve ambitious goals. Hands down, this has been my favorite part of my DigitalCrafts experience. You will come to appreciate the vast amounts of knowledge you have to learn from your instructor and may be surprised to discover what you can learn from your peers as well.
I didn't give DigitalCrafts exclusively 5 stars because there is always room for improvement. Knowing the team as well as I do, this speaks to their core values and philsophy. It's Mom-and-Pop style bootcamp experience. The key to doing well in this or any bootcamp is understanding that you get out of the experience what you put into it. DigitalCrafts can't magically turn you into a software engineer but they can give you every necessary tool and instruction needed to become one.
If you decide you're interested and get accepted, I can't emphasize enough how imperative the prelimenary course-work is. Do not make the mistake of blowing these assignments off. They are necessary preparation and a good indicator of what you can expect in the first weeks of the course. When you're in the thick of it, remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint. If you're up for the challenge, DigitalCrafts may be for you!
As my bootcamp is winding down after an intensive 16 weeks I'm beginning to realize how much I am going to miss DigitalCrafts. It has been one of the most fun and beneficial experiences of my life. Never have I been forced to learn so much in such a short period of time. Our instructor has been incredible. I am constantly amazed at his ability to teach us complicated subjects as well as help us troubleshoot our own projects. He is hands down one of the most patient people I have ever met. He was always willing to take as much time as needed to help you figure out a problem.
DigitalCrafts dedicates time to help you make a portfolio and get it polished to send to employers. Their job placement assistance has been very helpful and I'm extremely grateful for the help they've given. It is currently a week before graduation and 5 of my classmates have received offers already.
I'm extremely pleased with my decisions to attend DigitalCrafts!
Enrolling in DigitalCrafts is without a doubt one of the best decisions I have ever made. I would recommend it to anyone thinking about pursuing a career in web development. It was a great experience and without a doubt an unforgettable one.
Some of the benefits:
The instructor, Rob, is amazing. He's a great guy. He's engaging and I found class to be a very enjoyable experience. He's not only a great programmer but a great teacher, and he's very good at making concepts easy to grasp with comparisons and memorable explanations. He has experience going all the way back to the dawn of the Internet, which not only makes him extremely knowledgeable, but also makes him great at putting things in perspective and giving you context. He's also very passionate about his role as an instructor and puts 110% into it. He genuinely cares about the success of each of his students and makes himself available to answer any questions outside of class or even after the end of the course. He's one of the best teachers I've ever had in any learning environment.
Having met Chris. I can say that he seems like an incredible teacher as well. He is very passionate, enthusiastic, friendly and extremely knowledgeable. His students speak very highly of him. I would have been happy to have him as my instructor as well.
The program itself is also incredible in that it covers full-stack web development rather than any particular specialization. This was one of the main things that drew me to DigitalCrafts in the first place. You'll get an understanding of back-end and front-end, and one of the great strengths is that the course does a great job of covering the fundamentals rather than specifc technologies, so by the end of the course you'll feel like you can do anything. In addition to the standard curriculum, many students took it a step further and explored other technologies, such as mobile development or really any sort of language or concept that we didn't cover in class. One of the great things about this program that is not often mentioned is that Rob is an expert in basically everything. So whatever you want to learn while you're enrolled, you can go ahead and do it with guidance from Rob that is essentially on the same level as the instruction would be getting about the standard topics during class. Once you graduate, you'll have all the tools to keep learning whatever your interest draws you towards.
The career support is great. You will not only learn full-stack web development, but you'll be prepared to go out and make a seamless transition into the job search. This includes building your own website to function as a portfolio, guidance in building your LinkedIn and GitHub, resume guidance and critiques, a mock interview, and a career support packet that will guide you through the process.
The staff is also great. They are all wonderful, talented people and I enjoyed getting to know all of them. Their personalities make for a very welcoming, positive, and supportive environment.
The location at the Atlanta Tech Village is awesome. It's great to be share a building with people who code 24/7. I found it to be a very motivating environment while starting off on my coding journey.
Overall, I cannot recommend this program enough. I have a hard time thinking of any negatives. It's almost too good to be true, but it's the real deal. If you really want to get into web development and are considering a coding bootcamp, don't overthink it. You won't regret it.
I grew up in China and came to the U.S. for my master's degree in Sports Management at Florida State University. After working for both college and professional sports’ teams as well as Parks and Recreation departments, I knew that I wanted to work in a more creative and challenging environment where I could also have a positive impact on the community. Web development is a perfect way to combine these attributes while cultivating an invaluable skill.
I started off teaching myself coding through online tutorials and later joined my first coding bootcamp where I realized that I love programming and wanted to pursue my passion. Shortly after, I started the full-time immersive coding bootcamp at DigitalCrafts and graduated from the program in August 2017.
It has been such a great experience for me. Not only that I was able to get a job right after my program ended, but also that the tremendous amount of support I received from the staffs during and after my program. My instrucor is Rob who has 15+ years of experience as a web developer. He helped me to build a solid fundation of web programming and also pushed me to go above and beyond. I was able to build an Alexa app for my final project which I never imaged that's something I could do before the program. They also helped me during my interview process, giving me advice on how to negotiate with employers, helping me to make the right career decision. I could not have done this without their support.
If anyone who is considering to go to a bootcamp, I would highly recommend you to check out DigitalCrafts! #DCforLife
When I first began to entertain the idea of going to a coding bootcamp to facilitate a career field switch, I was really nervous that coding bootcamps were some kind of scam. I mean, afterall, how can 12-16 weeks of training prepare you for a coding job when you have to compete on the job market with 4 year college graduates with CS degrees? Well, after doing lots of research, and talking to bootcamp graduates and my family, I decided to take the risk. Now that I've gotten through the course, I have to say that deciding to take the plunge and enroll in DigitalCrafts' 16 week bootcamp was the best career decision I've ever made. Every single component of the experience was exceptional, and I can't recommend the experience enough to anyone that is prepared to work extremely hard and devote all of their time to coding for a 4 month period.
The cirriculum is current, relevant, and in high demand in today's job market. The instructors were extremely knowledgable, excellent communicators, and also really cared about each individual student's success. There was always plently of time to receive one on one attention, and though the pace of the course is intense to say they least, you learn a tremendous amount which is definitely worth the price of admission. In 16 weeks I went from knowing almost nothing about web development, to creating some really cool apps that I'm actually proud of.
The career support is also top notch. DigitalCrafts really does a great job of teaching you how to craft your resume, portfolio, and various social media outlets in ways that make you attractive to tech industry employers. Beyond this, they very frequently send out relevant job postings to students to apply to. Perhaps most importantly, DigitalCrafts also has a network of tech company partners who are looking to hire bootcamp graduates who they share your information with in order to help you get your foot in the door. I can't emphasize enough how valuable it is for someone to make an introduction for you during a job search. Without assistance like this, your are just another nameless face in a sea of applicants, which makes getting an interview much more tricky.
Thanks specifically to DigitalCrafts career support serives, after I graduated from the program on a Wednesday, I had a job interview the following Thursday morning, and a job offer that Friday! I'm now a Software Engineer and I have DigitalCrafts to thank for helping me to make my career change possible. If you decide to take the plunge and enter a coding bootcamp in Atlanta, I beleive that DigitalCrafts is your best bet. They are the top rated bootcamp in the area for a good reason.
Before starting DigitalCrafts, I has a career in sales and business development. I had no former technical training and almost no coding experience. A few months before I enrolled in DigitalCrafts Full Stack Immersive program I dabbled with free resources such as freecodecamp and code academy but I wasn't learning as quickly as I wanted too. I needed to be in a classroom setting with an experienced instructor so I can learn more, quicker. For all potential candidates reading this, I'll give you why I chose DigitalCrafts over the other numerous bootcamps in the Atlanta are and my criticisms of the program. I chose DigitalCrafts because they offered a 16-week program as compared to the typical 12-week programs offered by their competitors. Honestly, you want as much time as you can get in the classroom with your instructor. My instructor Rob was absolutely incredible. I can't imagine having to get through a coding bootcamp with out him. He is both a great developer with so much experience in so many technologies and he's a great instructor. You are going to get frustrated in coding bootcamp, you are going to feel like you're not picking it up quickly enough, you are going to feel dumb, ad there will be times when you question your decision to quit ypur job, abandon your career, and go to code school fulltime. BUT you will be amazed at how much you can learn if you push through. It important to have an instructor like I had that is dedicated to teaching you the material and helping you understand. I had a very positive experience at DigitalCrafts and I had a great instructor. I would definitely recommend checking out DigitalCrafts if you're in the research phase of checking out code schools. Jake and Max will be very honest about what you can and can't expect from the program. They are both personally invested in seeing graduates find employment.
When I found DigitalCrafts my career was going nowhere, if not backward. After being starved out of full commission sales as a financial advisor in 2011, I spun my wheels working hourly for much less than I deserved with my bachelor’s degree. I didn't know where to turn. I had some technical background and an MIS degree, but my skills were dated. I couldn't seem to get back into IT. I found DigitalCrafts through their meetup group, and scheduled a meeting with Jake, a founder. Within a couple of weeks, I was signed up. I wouldn't say I was ready to go, because the pace of the course was staggering. I really had to get disciplined about working hard. By working hard I mean studying before and after class and on weekends. I would say my work week was 70 - 80 hours. We had an instructor with a Masters in CS from Georgia Tech. The DC team is still really small, and the founders, Jake and Max, are right there taking care of you. The Atlanta Tech Village is an awesome place to learn too. It took me a few months after my cohort to get a job, but I kept working hard. It finally paid off. I'm now a full-time software engineer at Home Depot in Atlanta. I am so happy to get my career jump-started again! I would recommend DigitalCrafts to everyone!
I just completed the 16-week immersive program at DigitalCrafts and it exceeded my expectations in every way possible. The instruction is extraordinary, the class size is perfect, the curriculum is rigorous and challenging (but doable as long as a student is committed), the professional/career support is extremely helpful, and the administration truly cares about the ongoing progress and success of every student.
I'd recommend DigitalCrafts to any prospective student as long as they are ready for a challenge and are willing to put in the effort and time necessary to be successful.
In this course we learned full stack web development, it was a 16 week program where we gain experience through projects and exercises. The instructor will assist you with any questions and provide recommendation regarding your needs. Throughout the course the student will build up their portfolio to showcase everything you created during the course. It is extremely helpful in providing student with a crash course into the programming field.
Attending DigitalCrafts has been a great experience. I decided to go to DigitalCrafts because I saw Max's answer on Quora comparing DC to other coding bootcamps in Atlanta, plus detailed student reviews from various platforms. DC has a more comprehensive curriculum and the length of the course is longer. After 16-weeks (probably much earlier than that), I'm pretty sure that I made the right decision.
Here are some aspects that I really like about it:
a. Our instructor Toby is very knowledgable, organized and fun. He is able to and is willing to drill down to every aspect of the topics and explore an variety of topics - in an highly structured way. He makes detailed slides for each topic and thinks carefully about what approach is the best for teaching the specific topic. When one approach doesn't work as well as he expects, he try other ones.
b. Students with different skill levels all get abundant and proper attention. Being a teacher for 5 years, I know how hard it is. Toby is worried about the slower students all the time, and he spends a lot of time and efforts to make them catch up. For the more advanced students, he also makes sure they don't get bored. He gives extra tasks that are one level up (or slightly above the students' level) to enhance their skills.
a. The curriculum is designed to the cognitive curve of most learners. It starts with the most basic (and most important) things like data structures (strings, arrays, objects...) and algorithm. Two mainstream programming approaches - object-oriented programming and functional programming - are emphasized from the beginning.
b. Along with the fundamentals, we also learned technologies that are "cutting edge" and highly valued on the market (such as React and Redux), which is one of the most important reasons for employers to choose a boot-camp graduate over a college graduate with a CS degree.
c. Students have opportunities doing many projects with those technologies, including individual and group projects. Being able to do a group project (or more) is very valuable experience, since you would have to work with people in a real-world developer position. We don't always follow instructions and steps, instead, we get to create something from scratch. DigitalCrafts offers plenty of help and a very good environment.
3. Administration and career support:
Everybody in administration is nice and helpful. Students get a lot of career support such as how to create a portfolio, a resume, cover letters and opportunities for mock interview. If you learn coding by yourself, it would definitely be harder to seamlessly transfer from a amateur learner to a professional developer. DigitalCrafts has a network of employers that they connect you to. However, looking for a job takes a lot of efforts and networking. You have to work hard on it yourself as well.
I didn't come from a background of science and engineering, but I got an offer before graduation. I'm very happy about it. Plus, I find coding is beautiful and enjoyable. I'm glad that DigitalCrafts helps me to take the initial steps of the career change and a journey of learning a lot of interesting things.
My experience at DigitalCrafts was absolutely amazing. Before starting the program I’d been working in Government / Politics for about 8 years and had absolutely no exposure to coding. About a year before I actually enrolled in DigitalCrafts I started teaching myself online but I quickly realized I needed a more formal education in order to break into the field. DigitalCrafts was exactly what I was looking for. Here are some of my take always from the program:
- Length of the program – it’s about 4 weeks longer than most other programs. I think this is crucial. I ended up with a very solid portfolio and understanding of the topics covered that was easy to show off to potential employers.
- Solid Foundation - I think DigitalCrafts places a bigger emphasis on fundamentals than other bootcamps. I feel like part of those extra weeks are spent on making sure students understand the fundamentals of programming before moving on to the more advanced and specialized topics like React and Redux. If you don’t really understand how functions and loops work you’re going to be lost when things get harder.
- Support – the support of the founders (Max and Jake) and the instructors is phenomenal. I felt like each one of them was personally invested in me doing well and reaching my goals. It’s that kind of personal attention that I don’t think other bootcamps that are run more like a big corporation are doing.
- Great industry – Bottom line is this is an amazing industry to be in. I never thought I’d be in a position where I’d be so sought after by employers. I actually didn’t apply to a single job but I had several companies and recruiters reaching out to me asking me to interview and ended up getting 2 offers before the class was over. That never would have happened without the instruction and guidance DigitalCrafts gave me.
I did a lot of research before selecting a bootcamp and decided on DigitalCrafts. I liked the length of time, 16 weeks, I fetlt was right and the location was good for me as well. I couldn't be happier with the outcome and the instructor. I'm now a full-time developer at a company near my house. Very happy.
Note: This review is in reference to the first Houston cohort from November 2016 - March 2017, also with general thoughts regarding the program.
The Digital Crafts program in retrospect was a great decision and overall I couldn't be happier with that choice. Initially, I was certainly a bit nervous about being the first cohort since that could possibly include many growing pains as Digital Crafts tries to get a foothold in the Houston market. But those first few weeks definitely alleviated those concerns. Be it a bootcamp or even traditional school, the most paramount part of the experience is the instructor. I can’t even begin to describe how incredible Damian was in not only teaching us the material but understanding how to conduct a classroom with individuals at all different levels, temperament and managing to keep everyone engaged and challenged simultaneously. We lucked out as a class to have him teach this cohort. On top of that, he cultivated an environment where we all became closer and actually had fun, which I believe is a necessity in this environment. A bootcamp by its very nature is intense, difficult, it can be draining and you have to understand knowing when to push or when to back off. Damian understood this and paced the class perfectly. I was constantly learning but never felt too overwhelmed. Again that isn’t to say the material is not difficult but he just intuitively knew how to present it to us and how to push us to work harder when we needed it and how to relax things as necessary. Damian was just amazing! I can’t thank him enough for everything.
I will say this, much of what you get as with most things in life, is truly based on what you are willing to put in. This couldn’t be any more accurate then for a bootcamp. You have to understand going in that you’re going to sacrifice the next four months of your life to build a new career and that time commitment is non-negotiable if you want to achieve success. Damian or any other instructor can only present the material and get you off on the right path but it is incumbent upon you to be willing to work hard and go the extra mile to truly find success. The hours may say 9am-4/5pm but be prepared to work well beyond that and weekend if need be. If you’re willing to take that sacrifice, Jake, Max and the Digital Crafts team will get you where you want to be. The same applies for the career services aspect of the bootcamp. You will not be handed a job coming out and it’s gonna be full time work to find one. Digital Crafts will try and send out leads but it’s incumbent on you to make it happen. Being new in Houston there isn’t much of a built in employee network. I’m hopeful that will change for future cohorts but right now the onus is on the individual to look. Jake has been incredibly helpful and will go above and beyond to make it happen but you’ve got to be prepared to work hard to land a developer job. Overall, I was really pleased with the experience I had, I became really close with the cohorts in my class and ended up landing a job in a field that I’m excited about. It’s a lot of work but it’s well worth it!
I started looking for a change of career early in 2016. By Spring I knew I wanted to get back into Web Design and Development and by July I had narrowed down that I wanted to attend an in-person boot camp.
Digital Crafts was just coming into Houston and they were offering something other code camps weren’t – Full Stack Development. After the reviews online, speaking with Max and the campus director Jason and checking out other local competitors, I decided that Digital Crafts was the best option for me. It was the best decision I have ever made.
Being the first cohort in Houston I expressed my concerns to them about the instructor – Rob in Atlanta was getting great reviews and I had read other places (some right in Houston) where the instructor just wasn’t right and it ruins the experience. They assured me they are very thorough and selective– they make sure they find someone who fits their culture. And they didn’t disappoint.
Damian, our instructor, made our cohort what it was. He was very methodical with his code but would explain everything in a way that the entire class would understand. If you didn’t understand something, he would make sure to give other examples or even talk one on one until you understood the topic. I can’t speak more highly of Damian and the level of professionalism he brought to our class. He would teach us but also do the exercises himself. We would go over the answers and he would show us his thought process and how he would attack each problem. It was awesome to see him work and to be able to base it into the real world – not just the classroom.
Don’t think this is a class you can sit in on and just “get it”. You need to put forth the effort in order to get the most of your experience. It’s stressful and at times you will feel overwhelmed. But the amount skills you will learn in the 16 weeks will make everything worthwhile.
I will stay though, the Houston cohort is still new, so naturally there are some things they are working out. But between the curriculum, the overall D.C structure and the level of passion the owners, Jake and Max have – it’s an amazing course and I would recommend it to someone that is looking to attend a boot camp.
DigitalCrafts was definitely worth my time and my money. To learn full stack development within 4 months is an incredible and challenging experience that I would definitely do again. DigitalCrafts is located in the Atlanta Tech Village, Atlanta's startup hub. There were ample opportunities to meet and network with those who work in the building.
After talking to a friend who attended another bootcamp, it became apparent that there are no others like DigitalCrafts. I joined DigitalCrafts shortly after receiving a psychology degree without any tech experience, and the curriculum at DigitalCrafts allowed me to entertain both front-end jobs and back-end jobs. They taught everything I know about coding and I'm happy to have received an offer as a software engineer one month after graduation.
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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 $11,451, 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!
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