Every track also includes job search preparation for students; support and instruction in crafting resumes, cover letters, portfolios, and online presences. Career support staff meets one-on-one with every student to review and practice interviewing skills. After completing courses, students are placed in hand-selected internships with tech companies at no extra cost, allowing them to begin their job search with coding experience already on their resumes. To kick off their job search, graduates participate in a Demo Day where they present projects to local, hiring employers.
Recent Epicodus Reviews: Rating 4.75
Recent Epicodus News
- Why CD Baby Hires Developers (and interns!) from Epicodus
- January 2019 Coding Bootcamp Podcast
- New Year, New Career? Learning to Code in 2019!
- Start Date
- May 28, 2019
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- Seattle, Portland
- Yes, available through Climb Credit and Skills Fund.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Placement Test
More Start DatesMay 28, 2019 - SeattleAugust 5, 2019 - SeattleAugust 5, 2019 - Portland
- Start Date
- August 5, 2019
- Class size
- Online, Seattle, Portland
- Minimum Skill Level
- Placement Test
More Start DatesAugust 5, 2019 - SeattleAugust 5, 2019 - PortlandAugust 5, 2019 - Online
In PersonFull Time40 Hours/week27 Weeks
- Start Date
- May 28, 2019
- Class size
- Yes, available through Climb Credit and Skills Fund.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Placement Test
More Start DatesMay 28, 2019 - Portland
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I found Epicodus to be a challenging yet supportive environment with a wide range skill levels, from complete beginners who had never coded before to obviously experienced programmers who were learning new languages.
Prior to Epicodus I attempted to learn to program on my own. I even did my own “personal bootcamp” by moving to Asia and studying(on the cheap) full time for 3 months. Though did I learned a lot I learned WAY more in the same amount of time at Epicodus. The curriculum at Epicodus teaches how the magic underneath the methods works. It builds progressively by showing the long way to do something before teaching the easy way so you understand what is going on under the covers. Building apps from scratch every day made me comfortable with how to properly set up an application, writing clean code, writing good tests, using version control, using the command line, and so much more.
As great as the curriculum was, I think what was even more valuable was learning with 59 other students. Pair programming is awesome! I learned so much just by watching others write code and problem solve. Pairing with a different person every day gave me the chance to work with a wide variety of personalities, which was occasionally challenging, and forced me to improve my communication skills, and of course they say the ability to communicate is the most important skill of a developer. I found that explaining myself to someone else helped me to better understand what I was doing. Having a large team of people searching for solutions to the same problems was great and now having access to a large network or developers is wonderful and I still take advantage that brain trust. It was also great to have such a large group when it came time to do interviews for internships, which was frankly a bit stressful. It was nice to hear about my classmates’ experiences and learn from their successes and failures.
The instructors/coaches at Epicodus where very talented. They had a way of pushing me to toward the answer without giving it away so I still got a feeling of accomplishment when I reached the solution. Learning at Epicodus was like the difference between working out on your own and working out at a CrossFit gym. Nearly every day I went beyond the point where I would have quite had I been working by myself.
I loved the facilities. I particularly liked the standup work stations. The weekly lunch talks by members of the Portland development community where inspiring. I got to hear the insights of a lot of great speakers(like the CEO of Treehouse!). Many former students would stop by and they were very helpful. And the price was hard to beat. I was confused at first and thought that must be the price per month because it was so much lower than other bootcamps. Excellent value.
The best part of the whole experience is I now feel confident that I can figure out how to build just about anything I want!
My advice to anyone who will be attending Epicodus is do the prework before you get there. Many students did not do the prework and they did just fine but I think it will make it so much easier on you if you do. The Epicodus prework is a good primer on coding and I recommend it to my friends who are interested in learning to code.
My job in IT support was about to be outsourced and I hadn't been happy doing IT support for awhile. I wanted to learn to code for awhile but didn't have any experience. I made a quick decision to apply for Epicodus close to when their next class was about to start. I was happy to be wait listed and then accepted. Coding every day with a pair for 8 hours and then having a lesson to watch at home was exactly what I needed to learn how to code rapidly. I went from knowing nothing to starting to feel confident by the end of the class. I got an internship through the school and my internship went on to hire me and a few others from my class. This is the first time I can honestly say that I love my job! It's fulfilling to be doing something I actually enjoy and I know I wouldn't have had this experience from traditional schooling. I got a lot more of Epicodus than I did with 4 years of college. Epicodus was definitely the best investment I ever made in education and the best career move.
Epicodus gave me a very solid foundation to begin a career as a programmer. Like most students I began the program with minimal coding experience and left equipped to find employment as a programmer. Working in pairs expedites the learning process, and the instructors were very knowledgable and were always able to guide us to correct solutions. If you are interested in becoming a programmer I would definitely recommend Epicodus. It is the most affordable boot camp and will fully prepare you to work as a developer.
I attended Epicodus a little over a year ago and had austerely minimal experience with coding beforehand. What I did have was a desire to learn and problem solve.
With a lack of experience came some nervousness, but that faded away after sharing my enthusiasm with Michael in our initial phone interview. What I had experienced over the phone came to fruition in class as well: what matters most is having the ambition to take the time to fully understand something and figure out how to make it better. Michael teaches you the "how" and "why" of coding. The class as a whole encourages how to teach yourself!
That's the beauty of Epicodus - you're immersed in a learning environment where no one knows everything no matter how long they've been coding! Everyone is learning all the time constantly having new ideas, creating and figuring out many ways to solve many a problem. While I took the Ruby/JS course, the point of an immersive coding class was executed in full at Epicodus. The objective isn't merely to learn as much as possible about the languages covered (however, that's awesome too), but to go beyond that and understand the building blocks of web development, regardless of the language.
Michael has a knack for spreading the excitement and fun in web development because he's a developer at heart. That's what makes him such a great teacher: always striving to make things better. Be it code, be it Epicodus itself.
Long story short, I recommend it :)
I worked in technology development as a project managers for years before I considered going to a bootcamp like Epicodus. I was a good project manager and I could stay employed pretty easily, the resume was impressive and I was head hunted by some pretty impressive people for career work. However, I was only good for the people who hired me. My job was actually stressful, confusing, and often a negative environment with those I was managing.
It didn't take long for me to realize the real problem; I was managing coders and I didn't know how to code. Most project managers and those who hire project managers don't think this is a problem, but trust me it is! So, I went to the first coding school everyone goes to, Google. Self teaching was a nightmare. The internet has some good tools, videos, interactive sites that you think can teach you how to code in your spare time, but thats like learning a 2nd language from google translate (it's only possible in theory).
I was living in LA at the time and was at the end of a project I was managing when I decided I needed to be more proactive in learning how to program and develop. Epicodus stood out as a great option. I always loved Portland and it was cost beneficial as well.
I needed the 8 hours a day 5 days a week for a couple months to really re-learn how to learn a new language. Immersion learning works in linguistics, why not coding? Well thats exactly what it is and it works. Michael, who's runs Epicodus, put a great deal of thought into HOW you should learn coding. The order in which you go from language to language and simple ideas to complex ones are, in my opinion, almost perfect. I can honestly say that I could not have learned this skill set any other way. The pair programing structure and teachers are fantastic. My only regret is that I can't go through the new Java course they are now introducing.
I moved to Nashville TN and I am now the director of an interactive media lab that develops technology for marketing, media, and businesses. Most of my work now is in Python and you might say "but Epicodus doesn't teach Python!" and they don't. But they do teach you how to "Learn how to program".
Epicodus fast forwarded my learning. I practiced and studied on my own for several months before attending. I had decided to learn what I needed to become a coder solo. I am super glad that I decided to go to Epicodus. The daily exercises and working with fellow learners allowed me to gain much more insight and skill rapidly. Michael and his team are ever evolving their approach to introducing programming skills, and the approach I experienced was quite effective. Here's my take:
-Excellent pairing experience (100% of time, changing pair daily)
-Michael strives to make great connections to Portland's tech industry that pay off in -your internship experience
-Internship experience led to job offers for many students
-Great balance of pushing you along, but setting a reasonable work/life ratio
-Really nice and caring people running the school
-Focus on learning self-driven problem solving
-No senior developers on the teaching team
-Teacher/student ratio does not allow abundance of help
These are things that stood out the most to me in my experience. It was wonderful and I highly recommend it. It's really important to hear that becoming a developer is about learning how to learn. It's not easy, but it is attainable. Most people that fail do so because they believe that they cannot do it (even though only this belief is stopping them from being actually able to code). From my perspective, it is hard, and it feels very hard almost every single day. I am pretty sure that the feeling of coding being a great challenge doesn't reduce itself or go away for a long time. So get comfortable with being very challenged. If you can like that, then you will enjoy being a programmer.
I spent easily over 60 grand on college and 4 years of my life to get a bachelors degree. Fast forward 5 years later and I'm still making barely more than minimum wage (in the field I was pursuing no less!) At this point I though I'd give something else a try. A few friends of mine recommend coding bootcamps and it was a short time commitment at very little cost compared to my other options. So why not?
Four months later here I am with a brand new job thats paying well beyond what I used to make. The atmosphere is much more relaxed (what other industry lets you drink on the job?) and your ideas and views are respected by your peers. Keeping in mind that I had absolutely no prior experience, I couldn't have hoped for a better outcome.
Epicodus doesn't teach you code, it teaches you how to learn code, and that honestly was the most important tool I left with. No school will prepare you for the real world since no two companies use the same languages and style, but it will help you adapt as fast as you need to if you're willing to work at it. It also teaches you how to code well with others, which is crucial to keeping up with the team. On top of this, they have an excellent and light-hearted teaching staff that will make 8-hour coding sessions go by quicker than you'd think possible.
I can't speak for everyone, but I believe now is the time to jump into this industry while it's still underpopulated and Epicodus is the best place I can think of to begin.
Hey there, When I started Epicodus I had zero knowledge of computers. Previously, I had been a musician and worked in digital music for a bit, but mostly considered myself an artist. In going to Epicodus, I wanted to jump on the technology bandwagon and see where it could take me.
Epicodus was and is awesome!
Everyday was about pushing myself to learn and think like a computer/engineer. I loved it. I would do it again. Though there were points when it took a whole 8 hour day in order to understand a concept, once I got it, it was like a light bulb went off in my head and thousands of new possibilities emerged. Part of the program is about learning to persist, and finding resources and support from the people around you.
I highly recommend Epicodus. It reshaped my career and changed my life trajectory for the better. The program is run by a team of caring professionals, the curriculum will constantly push you, and the people you meet will be friends for life. Currently, I am studying IT project management in an MBA program, and do consulting side projects for startups and small businesses.
All the best and good luck!
I took the part-time evening course from January - April 2018. I learned a ton and learned enough to make some pretty cool projects relatively quickly. My instructor - Kyle Lange - was fantastic. Would definitely recommend the part-time course - the learning experience is bar-none and a huge bang for your buck
Although I loved meeting fascinating people from all over the area, a few weeks into the program I realized pair-programming was not conducive to learning for me and withdrew. I require more guidance and instruction.
My problem was that were either higher-level students that I couldn’t keep up with, or individuals at my level and it was difficult to progress. It is encouraged to find the answer for yourself, but I felt like it was the “blind leading the blind.” Students began referring to the code of the more knowledgable students, and this just wasn’t conducive to learning for me.
The projects started out doable in the first couple weeks, but the learning-curve became so steep that I felt it was best to cut my losses. Staff estimated there would be around one half-hour of homework each evening, which wasn’t accurate for me and I started spending all evening and weekends trying to grasp the concepts.
I think if I was a more experienced coder who needed to hone my craft and gain more experience working with others, then this might be a better fit. I burnt out too quickly starting with very little coding knowledge.
I had a mixed experience at Epicodus. I enjoyed pair programming with others and my internship was awesome. But I do have some issues. First, many of the companies that provide the internships aren't established. For example, two of the people in my class had internships at a place where they knew more about coding than the "developers" they were working with. The company didn't even have an office for them to work out of. One of those students reluctantly took on a position at the company, but she told me that the pay was very low, no benefits, no sick days, really more like a side hustle than a job. Second, Epicodus has not been that helpful with job placement. Yes, we worked on a resume, did a mock interview, and the like, but there was no solid guidance in the job search. Demo Day was very dissapointing. A few "employers" meandered around the room looking at projects. You had to flag them down if you wanted to present your project to them. I don't know anyone who landed a job from the Demo Day.
Epicodus gives you the impression that their name carries a lot of weight on a job application--especially with certain companies--but in my experience it doesn't. I also don't feel that the instruction prepared me for a fultime coding job. The code reviews are kind of a joke. You don't really get very useful feedback--it's mostly positive, but nothing specifically related to the quality of your code. It's very easy to trick yourself into believing that you're skills are better than they actually are.
Epicodus could be improved with better instruction (especially feedback on proper coding methodology), better job placement services, and updated curriculum.
My main problem with Epicodus is that they sell you on the dream of changing your life with a coding job--anyone can do it--just complete our program and you'll be a programmer! That has not been my experience and I know other Epicodus graduates who would agree with me.
Epicodus is a good school, but it doesn't live up to the hype. I think a person could achieve similar results for a lot less money using FreeCodeCamp, Treehouse or Udacity, and going to meet-ups.
I had a great time learning at Epicodus. I felt that the courses were challenging, informative and the instructors were great.
My internship experience was terrible. They do not have enough companies to provide high quality internships. Especially if you took the front-end track. When I 'interviewed' with companies they straight up asked my why I was there and what I'd be doing for them. I learned nothing at my internship and got zero real life experience to prepare me for the job market. They should just drop it and focus on placing people in jobs.
Their job assistance is non-existant. Expect to receive an email once a week for about month or so asking you what jobs you applied. At a certain point Audrey stopped emailing me, I haven't heard from them in 4 months.
It has been 7 months since I completed Epicodus and I don't have a job, nor have I gotten any interviews for any developer roles. I have received no real support from Epicodus, and in talking with some of my classmates I realized that I am not the only one. They really let me down in that respect, and they should really invest in providing proper job and effective job assistance. As it is now, I wish I had never gone because I am in a worse spot than I was before I went cause I at least had a job before. So, if you have connections and already have prospects for a job then try Epicodus. If not don't expect help from them.
I joined Epicodus based on their assertion that I could expect to come out knowing how to code and that I would start off making close to 80k a year. I had some very basic coding experience and I thought it would be a fun way to start a great career.
There is a lot to learn in just 5 months even though it's full time, Monday through Friday. But hard work pays off, right? Let's use an analogy that may or may not work: Ferraris are powerful. But they are only as fast as the rubber on the tires pushes the pavement. If you have bald tires on your Ferrari, you aren't going to get anywhere. An old Pirelli tire ad had the tagline 'power is nothing without traction', or something to that effect. Finally...the point:
Epicodus prides itself on pair programming. As others have mentioned, that can work when you and your partner just happen to be at the same level. But in the real world, you aren't. Many times someone who is struggling will be paired up with someone who has years of professional experience and wants to do things their way, quickly, without following the course material. That benefits neither student. The pairing usually falls somewhere between these two cases but is rarely beneficial when it's not the first one.
When pair programming at Epicodus, you as a student follow along with the curriculum which is openly and freely available at www.learnhowtoprogram.com. This is it. There is no special content available to paying students only. Check out some of the videos. If you have never seen a learn-to-program video, you might not think they are too bad. On the other hand, if you have worked through instructions on a top-notch site like www.teamtreehouse.com, you will quickly notice a few things. First, the instructions are clearly not pre-written so what you get is a highly-capable programmer showing you how he or she does things. I could watch Top Gun 10 times in a row but I'm not going to be able to fly an F-16 because of it. Incredibly important concepts are constantly glossed over. The production value is very low with constant "oopsies", background noise (are they really creating professional instructional videos at a coffee shop???), and inconsistent visual training methods (usually just a game of 'try to follow the cursor'). The videos are bad, okay? But at least they have a text version, right? Again, these text pages are written by excellent programmers who think like programmers...in disjointed blocks. Longer programs are never shown in whole, often contain glaring errors, and are not presented in any sort of obvious order. Students spend a significant chunk of time googling basic instructions. This should absolutely not be necessary in a paid program.
The program bites off more than it can chew. There are 4 modules of 4 weeks of instruction (plus a project week) with Fridays being reserved for, essentially, a test. So 4 days of instruction weekly. Each module is essentially a new language (with some overlap). Imagine trying to learn basic English in 4 weeks. You would have to learn sentence structure, basic vocabulary, word types and punctuation in 4 days. Not just be introduced to these huge topics, but know them enough that you build on them while adding new vocabulary and new rules every day. Now imagine if English had little to no room for error and you were being taught by reading a book that was written by someone who was an English major but had no teaching experience and you see what week 1 looks like. The second module had us learn the language in the weekend before class started and 5 days BEFORE we set our computers up to be able to use that language.
I always like to say that Epicodus is a great place to learn how to program if you already know how to program. The internship could be worth the price of admission but if you don't know how to program, it's not likely to pay off.
But say you do excel at teaching yourself massive amounts of concepts and rules and come through the tunnel as a great programmer, ready to take on the world and start a great career. Remember supply and demand. 5 years ago, before 'coding bootcamp' was a thing, there was a lot of demand for programmers. Therefore, the pay was impressive. Now camps are everywhere. There are already 2 Epicodus' and they are planning on opening many more in the near future. This site shows that within a half year of finishing this program, only 56% of graduates are employed full time doing what they went through the camp to do. The school even admits that you won't come out as a professional, yet you will be vying for jobs with ever-decreasing rewards against experienced professionals who are willing to accept ever-decreasing pay. The market is already flooded and Epicodus is actively working to create more supply.
None of this means that you shouldn't pursue a career in IT. It is still a great field. But I would not suggest committing a lot of time or money for a bootcamp if even its successful completion is your main qualification for landing a decent job.
Overall I give Epicodus 5 stars. I got what I needed out of the experience, and am now employed in the tech industry.
The most valuable part of the program is being in a room with a large group of people that are at the same level of experience as you. This is invaluable. The networking, collaboration and pair programming experience really accelerated my skills. Working with a team on final projects and solving problems together added a new level in learning that was lacking in online resources I used previously.
The curriculum is largely very good. The inclusion of text resources to back up videos was awesome. The only frustration I had with it was when it was being updated while I was in a course. Sometimes I would read up for the next week, and by the time I got to working on a project or using a tool the applicable video was missing, or the text had changed. The changes were for the better, but It might be a good idea to only apply changes to the course material for the next class to maintain consistency. That being said, sometimes tools and dependencies change outside Epicodus control and I understand why some updates must be made immediately.
The instructors are hired from graduating classes. This is great because they are familiar with each project and the material being used. The instructors seem to be hit and miss, as with any learning institution. Luckily, mine were mostly hit.
The job assistance was not my favorite part of the program. The person that I was in contact with was really great, but as far as my understanding goes they were only one person supporting probably three different graduating classing at various stages in the job search. There is just no way that one person can provide support to a hundred or so students with different skills and career goals. This is a difficult point, because attending a vocational school and getting a job are not hand-holding situations. The burden of finding a job is on the graduate. I would have liked a more personalized approach however. Look at teachers notes for the student, and maybe send them a job posting or two that is specific to their goals. The support I recieved was mostly just a general check in and reminder to continue applying for jobs and coding.
Epicodus provides a very affordable option as a coding school, and it delivers a ton of value. My only complaints are based on a lack of enough personnel, and people cost money, driving up costs for the student.
Hire another job search support person and deliver a more personal and less canned interaction. Two or three people in this role would be worth a modest tuition increase and deliver value to the graduate. This would also most likely increase placement rates and reduce the time till students were hired.
Teachers are spread thin, and students need jobs. Hire teaching assistants out of graduating classes. Pay them 12 bucks and hour, a couple days a week. You give instructors more time to address complex questions and work on curriculum. You give graduates valuable resume experience, and some pocket change to last them through the job search. This is how it works at a university. You can also use this as a screening for hiring new instructors. Just hire the best TA's. This is worth a modest tuition increase.
Any time you increase costs, you lose a couple people out of enrollment. I believe the improved outcomes from these two changes would easially offset that.
Great program, great people, no regrets. Got a job.
Increase tuition 5-10%, hire a couple people, improve outcomes.
I attended Epicodus earlier this year and ended up finishing the program with a bad taste in my mouth. It wasn't all bad but there are some major concerns for Epicodus ( and programming bootcamps in general ) going forward.
The curriculum is okay. They focus alot on the how and very little of the why of things. I commend them for making all curriculum available online but there are a lot of issues as it stands now. You will learn a lot about basic web development and how to use version control, and how to plug and play various frameworks to drive your applications.
What you won't learn is how to actually program. The standards are very lenient when it comes to code review ( the daily peer review didn't really occur in my experience ) and essentially everyone "passes". Code standards are lax, best practices are lax, and I got the impression that they were more interested in keeping students happy and pumping out "developers" than they were quality curriculum.
The staff is a mixed bag, and with them rapidly expanding to new locations I have a suspicion that the quality is only going to go down. Most of the teachers are former students, which frankly is terrible. Some of them were shaky on the very curriculum that they were teaching and students often rely upon other more advanced students for help because the teachers won't have a good answer. I understand that the concept behind Epicodus was a peer learning environment, and that may have been the case when they were a smaller institution, but there are far too many students and far too few teachers for it to be an effective learning experience.
Basically non-existent. One resume review. One mock interview. and they set you up with an internship ( kind of ). There are too many students, too few internships, and a lot of the companies that they are partnered with offer very low quality internship experiences. I heard directly from a company that I interviewed with that they would never hire an Epicodus graduate from prior experience.
Do not expect to hear from them at all after your internship, once again they will over promise and you will get burned. Be prepared to take on the job search on your own, which is not always a bad thing but anyone who expects to come to Epicodus and be guarunteed a job when they are done is going to have a bad time.
Overall my experience at Epicodus was lukewarm. I met a lot of good people, and did land a job quickly afterword. But I credit my success to studying long hours after class on topics that were actually relevant and the fundamentals of what actually makes a good programmer. You will not learn these things at Epicodus unless you actively seek them out.
This school, with it's rapid expansion to multiple cities while already being on a shaky foundation, is beginning to look more like a developer farm pumping out underqualified and incompetent programmers with dreams of a completely uncompetitive job market which simply does not exist.
I caution you to do your research before attending any programming bootcamp and to realize that most likely you are getting what you paid for.
Response From: Michael Kaiser-Nyman of Epicodus
I'm surprised you say that "you won't learn... how to actually program." Our students spend close to 40 hours a week actually programming, and by the end of our courses are, indeed, able to program at a level where they're successful in getting jobs as web and mobile developers, QA engineers, and related positions. Your assertion that all our students pass our weekly code reviews is simply not true, as around half our students have to resubmit a code review at some point, and while we work hard to help all of our students succeed, we have about a 10% rate of students failing or dropping out.
It sounds like you had a pretty unusual experience in your relationship with our staff. Most of our students have glowing things to say about our teachers, as you can see in the dozens of other reviews. The fact that they are all former Epicodus students themselves has turned out to be one of their biggest assets. We're very up-front that our teachers are not senior-level developers, but I 100% disagree with your assessment that they don't know the materials - they all were top of their classes, and the feedback we get from just about all of our students is that they are knowledgeable and helpful.
I'm pretty shocked that you say job assistance was non-existent. We review all of our students' application materials and do mock interviews. We also set up multiple internship interviews for all of our students. And we get all of our students internships. Occasionally an internship host doesn't come through the way they've promised, and when that happens, we always work with the internship host to improve the situation, help find the student another internship, or provide whatever support we can to make up for the company not coming through. And after graduating, we reach out to every graduate on a weekly basis to provide job leads, an individual checkin with a career coach, and any further support that our graduates need, until they find a job. Since this review is anonymous, it's impossible for me to know anything about your exact situation, but if you reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I can talk try to figure out why you don't feel like you've gotten that support, as what you're saying is completely the opposite of the career services we provide to all of our students.
Because your review is so contrary to what is happening here on a daily basis, and so different from almost all of the other feedback we've gotten from reviews here and feedback elsewhere, I'm honestly having a tough time understanding where you're coming from. We are a really unusual school, with our flipped classroom approach and emphasis on pair programming and peer learning. It's not for everybody and we try to help prospective students make an informed decision about whether we are right for them, but it sounds like you might have done better at a school with smaller class sizes and lectures from senior-level programmers. I don't think you can find career services much better than what we provide, though.
After staying at home with my children for 7 years, I was ready to get back into the job market with them in school full-time. With 7 years out of any income-earning work, my resume was not exactly going to pull the crowds. I decided I wanted to pursue software development and was delighted to find Treehouse and Code Academy and Code School. After working through a number of modules, I realized that I needed humans. I could ace every challenge and exercise but I had no one to ask questions, no one to feed off of, no one to explore ideas and possibilities. Though I am perfectly capable of working independently of others, I realized I needed to be more plugged in to the coding universe. I wanted to find a network of people to be a part of on the adventure (and the pursuit of turning this into a career!).
This led me to a community organization designed to encourage beginning coders. At an event, Michael Kaiser-Nyman (head of Epicodus) came and shared the details of Epicodus and what he was trying to achieve through the school. I hadn't explored code schools. I talked to him and took a look at what was available (at Epicodus and elsewhere). Could I really do this?
Epicodus was the best decision I made. I decided that it was going to be a challenge but nothing would rocket me to job-ready like a few months of daily dedicated work on my chosen field. The knowledge I gained and the Epicodus network of staff, students and alumni have made all the difference to who I am and where I am at now. So challenging and so rewarding. The Epicodus model is unique in practice. At the core of every day is the focus on the human: self-drive, self-discovery, teamwork, pairing, user experience, behavior-driven development. A student becomes empowered and confident that not only can they learn but that they can ask the questions, drive the conversation and find the solutions in class and after. The job fair, demo days, internship and career placement is also hands down incredible.
Another unique element in the Epicodus model is the constant focus on inclusion. In every aspect of the school from orientation to literature to daily practice, Epicodus demands students recognize the landscape of the tech industry and actively participate in its evolution to include less represented people. Epicodus walks its talk and as a woman, I was so thankful to feel deeply welcome in what more traditionally may have been a setting less open to my presence.
Overall, I believe this is a useful program. However, that comes with some caveats. The structure of the classes, the instructors, the facility, and career preparation are satisfactory. You will learn a lot with this program (if you apply yourself), but the biggest thing you will learn is how little you know about the field, which is not necesarily a problem.
After finishing the program a couple weeks ago, I have applied for about 20 positions, and have yet to hear back for even a phone interview from any of them. It is too soon to tell how successful I may in getting a job in the tech sector, but I feel I have sufficient skills in order to do. The main issue I am encountering is that most positions state they want someone with a CS degree (BS or associates), which I lack. The one thing I think could be useful to the program would be to include a class surrounding basic computer science.
I took and graduated from the August 2015 PHP cohort. Before enrolling into the class, I had zero professional programming experience, although I had done a little bit of learning on my own thru Treehouse (teamtreehouse.com, a paid site where you can watch videos on the programming languages you want to learn. Ironically, Epicodus gave free treehouse subscriptions to students which I didn't need or use at the time, but I wish I had now that I am not a student). This is not a review of just trying to bash Epicodus or the opposite of saying how awesome they are. I am going to give my entire experience, a lot of it will be good and some of it not so good.
I heard about Epicodus thru someone I had met at a CodeOregon meetup group. I had expressed interest in going to a programming bootcamp and someone at my table told me that she had done a lot of research over the past few months and handed it to me. Being the beneficary of her research, and with Epicodus being the cheapest and connecting students with an internship at the end, I felt this school was the one for me.
When I contacted them, I was excited to find out that they offered a Java/Android class, as I really wanted to make apps. But later, that excitement turned into discouragement because, being a male, I was excluded from that opportunity because they only let women take that class (I don't believe that is the case now, so don't worry Android enthusiasts!!). On a side note, while I think it was a good intention what they were trying to do, make women not feel intimidated to code, but I wish they would have done it when they grew the class out so that men still had a co-ed class to take when women could take the women only class (anyway, end rant). Also, the Ruby class was full (I was told it filled up fast the last few cohorts), so my only option if I were to goto Epicodus was to take the PHP track (I believe they now offer a c# class, but that wasn't availabe in August 2015).
I remember turning in my code challenge and couldn't wait to hear back if I were accepted or not. I kept bothering Audrey, one of Epicodus' employees, if she heard any word back on my acceptance. She probably was sick of hearing from me!! But she was very professional. Looking back now, maybe they accept everybody and make it seem like you have to be approved. I don't know if that is the case or not, but the PHP class didn't quite fill up so maybe they did?
When class finally came, the experience was positive, but it took a lot of learning and it wasn't easy. Programming isn't easy. Well it is easy in the sense that I believe anyone who wants to do it can learn it, but it is tough in the sense having to think like a computer, constant problem solving, and dealing with the frustration when you don't understand why your program isn't running the way it should be. Our class size was almost 60 (I don't think the PHP class acutally completely filled up to 60 but I am not exactly sure), and we had 2 instructors. One of the instructors had a lot of experience in the industry and the other was literally a student from the last PHP cohort. The lack of experience of the other teacher and some of the negativity of some of the students from the ruby class who I talked to made me a little scared in the beginning. But for what I needed the teachers for, which was the motivation to learn and for help when I am stuck, both teachers did great.
While both teachers helped everybody during class time, each teacher got half the class to mentor and talk to individually. Every week, they would sit everybody down individually and privately and ask how things are going. I remember explaining my nervousness every single week of being able to find a jr dev job after the process was over because I heard so much about how the market is flooded with jr devs and it appeared online that most jr dev jobs were asking for 2 years experience. My teacher told me not to worry and that almost all of the students that make it thru to completion end up finding jobs. Although, looking back, I don't know how much I trust their statistic on their website of how many students found jobs after class. I am not saying I know for a fact it is wrong, but I say this because while the three August 2015 cohorts were still in their internship, they updated that stat to include all of us as finding jobs when almost none of us found jobs yet. I wonder how they are coming up with that data when they did that and then after the process was over they didn't even talk to all of us? Please don't misread me, I am not saying they are lying, but I do have doubts about it.
Every week they had a guest speaker come and talk during lunch to whoever wanted to come. I never went to any of the guest speakers because my brain was feeling overloaded doing programming 40 hours a week plus some homework that I wanted a break during lunch hour. Also it didn't help that the speakers always spoke in the ruby class. While everyone is in the same building now, the ruby class was a few blocks down from the php class.
During morning standups, they talked about what that day was going to look like and how the preceeding day went. They also talked about meetups going on in the area, who went to what, what experience they had there, and what meetups were coming up. I feel Epicodus did a great job of giving everybody the opporunity, even to the point of strongly encouraging people, to get connected with the local tech community.
Throughout the weeks and talking to other students, I was very suprised to find out that it seemed like almost every student had moved to Portland from out of state. And from all over the country. Florida, California, New York, Philly (they didn't have a philly school at the time), to new a few places. Many of these people researched boot camps throughout the nation and landed on Epicodus, packed up and moved here. Many were struggling finding housing (there is currently a rental housing shortage in Portland), while others were moving from couch to couch via AirBnB while studying here. I felt lucky as someone to accidentily land on this school doing no research of my own and living in the area (I live in West Linn, so commuting to school everyday wasn't fun for me but I didn't have the housing problem that many had).
They also helped us set up our LinkedIn profile, prepare resumes and cover letters. This was from someone else who specializes in that and was not one of our instructors. Further, our instructors did two mock technical interviews with us. Additionally, on Epicodus' student website that is open to the public (learntoprogram.com), they have a list of things to study and make sure you know before you go out on interviews. I was advised to look at it by my instructor before going on the internship interviews and I sorely regret being lazy and not doing it, because one of the places I really wanted to intern at asked me several of those questions and I did not know the answer. Sad to say they didn't want me, but everything turned out good.
Monday thru Thursday, we pair programmed. Meaning that we would find a partner (the first week they assigned us partners to give us a chance to get to know each other), and we would work on the same computer doing the problem (the computers were huge Macs, I wish I could take one home with me!!). Pair programming was a great experience to learn to explain what you are trying to do in regards to writing your code and/or your plan, because this is what you do in the real world, and it is also a good experience to learn from others and their points of view on the problem. Because there is more than one way to do most problems.
Every Friday was a code review. Instead of pair programming, we were given a problem to do on our own and we had to turn it in to the teacher. The code review was the same type of problem as we learned during the week. The time to ask for help is Monday thru Thursday, because we weren't allowed to ask for help from teachers or other students on Fridays. In fact, after the first week, the teachers didn't even show up on Fridays. For that matter, most students didn't show up on Fridays either, they worked from home. If we failed the code review, we had to turn it in again. The program was very relaxed and you don't need to worry about grades, but you need to make sure you are getting the material if you want to move on. If you are not, the teachers are availabe for extra help.
As I mentioned the teachers there are casual and make the process non intimidating. If you want to take a break, you are more than welcome to do so. Me and my partners had a habit of taking 3 or 4- ten minute breaks each day and it worked out great for us. There was one student in our class who came, laied on the couch all day long and just had his music headphones on. I remember one time the teachers were talking sternly to him that he needs to finish whatever material by the end of that day, but he was an extreme example. That student, by the way, while he finished the class, he did not end up with an internship and he is currently not coding.
Three times throughout the course, we were given a week to pair up into groups and make a group program or app. This was a great experience to learn how to program as a team (which you will be doing when you are actually working in the real world). I definately had problems stepping on the code of others and them to me during this time. I was glad I got this experience during a school environment instead of at work.
Regarding their internship debacle that many other people below have complained about. Yes, it was a setback that many of us didn't get to do internships in Decemeber and had to wait to January. But, I am satisified with the way things turned out and how the company handled it. Let me tell you why. First, early on (I want to say late October but I could be wrong on the date), when it became apparent to Epicodus that there was going to be a shortage of internships for the students, Michael (the owner of Epicodus) was upfront about it and told everybody right away. Next, he gave everybody an option, either take the internship in December as planned or take it January and you can take a free class in December. I am not sure about the other classes, but everybody in the PHP cohort that insisted on doing their internships in December, did their internships in December. There were still lots of internships, just not enough for everybody. And there was more than enough internships in January. I decided to take my internship in January and take an Android class. I really wanted to learn Android and I got the opportunity to make some Apps in December, so it worked out for me.
At the end of the class, they had a Demo Day. Basically, students got to show off a program or app they had to actual employers. Think of it like a job fair in reverse. Instead of the employers setting up a station and the job seekers going to each employer, the students set up a station and got their app up and running to show off, and employers went to them. The location you are at while at this demo day is very important. Some people were overwelmed by the amount of traffic they got while others were lucky to have one or two employers step up to them the entire time. I think I got somewhere in the middle. It is a big room and they had lots of students demoing from all three cohorts. While they segregated us by cohort so employers could go to a section that they wanted to fairly easily, I think it would have been better if they had a demo day for each cohort because I think most employers start out thinking they will see all of the students no matter what type of student they are interested in, and then leave without seeing everybody because there are just too many students for any one employer to look at. It was a great experience, though, there were lots of people there that day, including prosepctive students who wanted to see what the end result was. I noticed they also had students from the prior cohort there who were having a hard time finding a job, also demoing an app. It was comforting to me to see that Epicodus was still involved in the process of helping them find a job even though it had been 4 to 6 months since these people had finished their internship and Epicodus was no longer receving any more money from these students. Actually, as I am typing this I remember a student from the previous ruby cohort that was struggling to find a job, they gave him a free php class to continue bettering his skills to help him out (so he was in our class for 5 weeks). They don't guarantee you will find a job and they don't want to be on the hook for it, but I have noticed, not from them saying anything to me, but from seeing other people they are helping, that they do a lot to help you if you are struggling.
Two of the technologies that the PHP cohort learned was PHP and Drupal (among other things, but they don't pertain to what I am about to say). The ruby cohort learned ruby and rails. The java cohort learned java and android. Rails is a ruby framework. Android is a java framework. Drupal is not a PHP framework, but a CMS. I really wish that they followed the pattern of other cohorts and taught us a PHP framework like Laravel, Codeigniter, or CakePHP, instead of teaching us a CMS like Drupal. I also get that they cannot teach us everything in 3 months.
The internship process started off by giving everybody a list online of all of the companies and a description of what we were going to be doing at each company. We were instructed to assign each company a color indicating if we wanted that company: red (no way!), yellow (meh), or green (please this company!). I think it was a requirement to have a certain number of greens but I don't remember what it was. After turning that in, I got four interviews to go to. Two of the companies I had placed as red and the other two I placed as green. When I went on the red interviews, it made me more convineced I didn't like those companies. One of those companies was a joke amongst the students and others of us we telling our interview stories of that company. I don't believe anybody ended up interning at either of those two companies but I could be wrong. The other two companies I had placed as green and had a positive experience about both interviews (although one of them didn't like me because I wasn't able to answer some of those questions I had mentioned above!!). I made it very clear to Melodie which companies I wanted and was very involved in talking to her about it. She was super helpful and did a great job making both me and the companies happy during this process.
My internship was at Multnomah County (one of the companies I placed as green). We were part of the process that built their bridge app that tells the public if one of the four county owned bridges (hawthorne, morrision, broadway, and burnside bridges) were either up or down. I worked on their drupal backend. It was a great experience to learn to work with a dev team while not too intimidating because there was another student intern from my PHP class (this is by design, Epicodus requires companies to take at least two students so we can feel more comfortable being together. Epicodus really wants to make people not feel too intimidated and it shows but a lot of what they do).
I learned a lot from this experience at the county and it helped me to get my first dev job, which I got my first dev job from the epicodus jr dev job board that they compile from many different sources. The specific dev job I got was put on that board because the employer called Epicodus and said they had a good experience with prior Epicodus students so they wanted to hire another one. This employer didn't even post the job on any job boards. I had only worked at this job for three months because of something bad that happened to his business, but I got some good PHP experience on the job (also working with the PHP framework: Laravel). My second job I got from knowing a student from the ruby cohort, which I met that student at the Epicodus demo day (and knowing Laravel helped me get that job too). Do you see a theme there? It is very important to be connected in this industry. Epicodus does teach you to code, but they also help you to get connected. They don't make you do this, if you do not take them up on things you will not be connected and have a harder time. This will not be Epicodus' fault, but your own.
The school obviously had growing pains. As any business that doubles or triples in size, it is expected that they do not do everything perfectly. But they still treated me good, taught me to code, and helped me find a job, which is all I needed. And for $3400 (they might be a little bit more now), that is dirt cheap. At the time, I was told that other Portland code schools were charging $8k-10k (which I think they are a little more now too, maybe closer to $12k).
Another thing I wish to mention, during the time of my classes, another code school in Portland closed down. They did so without telling anybody over night. The teachers came to school surprised their keys didn't work. Many people who paid a much higher price than me (because that school costed more) now found that they didn't have anymore classes. Epicodus provided facilities for their teachers and students to still conduct class but over at Epicodus. It really made me feel proud to go to a school that would help out a competitor like that.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
I was a part of the first Android cohort. My class should've been advertised as a trial run because that's what it felt like most of the way through. Our Android curriculum was incomplete - it was literally just not there. At least a third of the class dropped out. Our teacher left after the first 2 months and Michael (who runs Epicodus) became our teacher, except he had no working knowledge of Android and was also clearly distracted since he runs the entire program. We considered asking for a refund for the Android portion of our course because it felt like there was no structure whatsoever at this point. I understand that Epicodus stresses independant learning, but the whole entire course should not be a free-for-all.
We were informed half through that there weren't enough internships for everyone in the class, and a number of students had to wait for a "second round" of internships. A lot of people were unhappy with their internships. I've heard from cohorts since mine (including current Epicodus interns that interning where I ended up getting a job) that the internship selection has been pretty junky still - lots of companies canceling at the last minute because of communication issues.
Most importantly, I would like to suggest that prospective Epicodus students take reviews written by graduates from 2015 and earlier with a grain of salt: there are still jobs for junior devs, but there are many, MANY more job-seeking bootcamp grads than there used to be. The demand is not quite so high as it used to be.
Positives of my experience: having a group of people I graduated with that now serve as a very helpful network/support system. My first teacher Jake Kaad was great, but he was frustrated with the curriculum and also found a better job. I did indeed end up getting hired from my internship, but I had won a scholarship from the company that I interned with and because of this, I had a bit of an advantage from the start.
Epicodus could be great, and I can't speak to the current curriculum. I would suggest that people considering Epicodus try to reach out to recent grads on LinkedIn.
Response From: Michael Kaiser-Nyman of Epicodus
One of the things that we struggled with last year at Epicodus was students who passed our pre-class coding challenge to gain entrance to the class but did not really understand the code they submitted. As we grew from 60 students at the beginning of 2015 to 150 at the end, what started as an issue for a small number of people became a much larger problem. As you mention, we had a relatively high drop-out rate in your class, because many of the students started without the fundamentals they needed from their pre-class work.
Now, we've scrapped our pre-class work in favor of assuming that all students have little or no coding background and extending our course by 5 weeks to cover all of those introductory topics that used to be pre-work. This has worked out much better for our students' success.
I disagree with your characterization of your class's structure. When I came in to teach, I discovered that the first teacher did not provide the proper feedback to struggling students letting them know that they were not on track. It's a tough thing to tell someone who's working hard that they aren't succeeding, but if you never tell a student that, they just get further and further off. I had frank discussions with multiple students about their prospects for success given where they were at when I came in. In the end, I had to manage a class of students with a wide range of skills, many of whom disregarded my guidance about what to work on.
Now, we've standardized our assessment process so that teachers have more accountability to fail students when it's the right thing to do. When students don't pass their assessments, we no longer let them continue on - we've found that the tough love of helping them move on is really the best outcome.
I'm also surprised to hear you say that the first teacher was "frustrated with the curriculum" - he in fact developed it, it was of very variable quality, and I had to re-write much of it as the class went on.
Now, our curriculum development process is centralized, so that all of the teaching materials meet the same quality standards.
As for internships, we made the mistake of trying to line up internships in December, when your class ended. While we were able to find internships for many of our students, many companies didn't have the capacity for mentorship during the holiday season, and asked to postpone until January. We gave all of the students in your class the option to take a free extra month of class followed by a January internship, which over half chose.
Now, we don't do December internships :) And while there are always a couple companies who drop out of our internship program at the last minute, we're working hard to find more ways to communicate to them how harmful that is to the students they've agreed to take, and figure out how to have backup options if a company does drop out.
In short, your class was a bit of a perfect storm: a large number of underprepared students, a teacher who didn't do a great job building curriculum or giving feedback to struggling students, and internships that we tried to start too close to the holidays. Since then, we've made our class longer so that we can teach the basics in person, we've strengthened our curriculum development and student assessment, and improved our internship scheduling.
I'd be the last person to say that Epicodus is perfect or doesn't have room to grow. We've improved the quality of our education since you attended, and we'll continue to learn from our experience and keep improving.
I loved the environment at Epicodus. It's a combination of providing a good structure for learning on your own and reinforcing that knowledge with others. Nobody gets left behind and nobody gets too far ahead. So you're either learning because peers are helping, or because you're teaching peers. At the same time, you get tons of hands on experience while building apps. In general this place gave me a great platform to learn how to program. That along with hard work and some persistence opens the doors to a great career in programming!
Our latest on Epicodus
CD Baby is one of the largest music distribution companies for independent artists. As they’ve built out their technical team to support the 21st-century music industry with digital and streaming services, CD Baby has hired several bootcamp graduates from Epicodus. We spoke with VP of People, Gretchen Boster, about how their new hires are performing on the job, why they participate in Epicodus’ internship program which facilitates internships for all Epicodus students, and her advice for other employers considering hiring new developers from a coding bootcamp.
What is CD Baby and how large is the technical team these days?
Over the past 21 years, CD Baby has evolved to become one of the largest independent music distribution companies in the world. We help independent artists get their music out there and share it with the world, helping them both make money and accomplish their dreams. It’s a fun company to work for – we’re fortunate to be in the music industry which is always interesting and evolving. We have a really positive work environment, our employees really like the CD Baby culture. We have about 150 employees and are continuing to grow in our technology division. As the music industry landscape has evolved into more digital and streaming services, we’ve continued to grow our technical team to be a competitive resource for our artists. We now have around 35-40 technical team members.
Which roles have you hired Epicodus graduates for at CD Baby?
We’ve hired a few different Epicodus alumni primarily on our web development team, specifically .NET developers. One of them was actually recently promoted. We’ve also hired a hybrid UI Designer/UX Analyst on our product development team.
What stood out about the Epicodus grads you chose to hire?
Some of their value comes from having had other careers – they’ve demonstrated professional experience in a different field and then pursued the bootcamp because they were really passionate about it. They have a balance of previous workplace experience with the very recent knowledge and skill sets they acquired at Epicodus. New college grads definitely bring talent to the table, but there’s a level of maturity and experience and culture fit from the bootcamp students – that’s been a nice benefit.
Did you have to convince anyone at CD Baby to hire someone from a less traditional background?
Not at all. The leaders on our technical team and I attend the Epicodus Demo Days, meet with the students, see the projects they’re working on during the program, and get them to speak about what they’re passionate about and are interested in. So we’ve had the opportunity to interact and build a network with their students prior to them joining CD Baby, which has been a really valuable experience. Epicodus seems to be very strong at building relationships between their students, alumni, and local businesses. And recently, we’ve started partnering with Epicodus in their Internship program.
Tell us about that internship partnership with Epicodus – how does it work?
Epicodus involves the prospective employers and companies in the program itself, whether that’s relationship building and being part of Demo Days to the internship program. That’s what makes them valuable.
We just had our first two Epicodus interns over the past few weeks – it’s been a new experience but it’s already been a success. They’ve been able to work on a couple of projects with CD Baby and gain some of that real-life work experience.
Epicodus interns are hired as temporary employees because we want them to have the employment experience as well as the internship. They come to the office every day, work on our systems, train with our team, and learn about our services – it’s fairly intensive. They’re doing about 40 hours a week to get that real-world employment experience in addition to the internship and project they’re working on. And of course, we pay them! It’s valuable for both sides.
What types of projects are interns working on?
They are mainly building integration tools for our application.
Do the interns have opportunity to be hired at CD Baby?
At this point we don’t have positions available that match their skillsets, but there are definitely opportunities for that in the future and we plan to continue hiring from Epicodus. We’re focused on building that relationship with the school and the students so that when opportunities open up, we have a pool of candidates that have been sourced through Epicodus.
As an employer, what’s the difference between hiring from a bootcamp versus other traditional channels?
It’s always nice to have a balanced pool of candidates from different backgrounds. Epicodus has been valuable because its program is so immersive and intense – we’re impressed that graduates are able to successfully complete the program. They all seem eager to dig in and get into our system. They have a strong work ethic – perhaps as a result of going through the bootcamp! This is not to say that those who go through a traditional CS degree program aren’t committed, but traditional programs tend to be a bit more broad and they might not have learned some of the in-depth knowledge or skill demonstration that bootcamp grads receive.
Also, Epicodus doesn’t charge us referral/hiring fees fees, and if you look at that in comparison to a recruiting agency that charges 25-30% of the salary as a recruitment fee – it’s not even comparable.
Are your new hires from Epicodus prepared for the role or did they need to learn a lot on the job?
How do you ensure that new hires are supported in their first job after a bootcamp?
Current interns have been paired up with one of our Epicodus graduate team members – he’s already been promoted to a lead position within the first year of working. It’s cool for him to grow in his own development by taking on interns and growing his mentorship leadership skills as well as providing them the supporting tools and resources. That’s what’s great about this internship program – we currently have employees who have been through Epicodus and can relate to what the students are going through and can support them along the way.
Do you have advice for other employers who are thinking of hiring bootcamp grads?
My advice is to take the time to build a relationship with the school. Epicodus has proven to be a valuable resource for training these students and giving them real world experience. If you’re going to offer internships to bootcamp graduates, remember that you’ll need to invest time – they need a mentor and they need to get trained on certain aspects of your business. Likewise, attending Demo Days takes an afternoon out of your week but they’re worth it and are offered free of charge for you to build relationships with the school, the students, and the alumni. To me, and for our experience here at CD Baby, the time that it takes for that investment far outweighs the 30% recruiter fee and candidate unpredictability.
I definitely think it’s been mutually beneficial for both of our companies as well as for the students! Epicodus is really focused on setting their students up for success, rather than throwing students into a really intense program and not giving them the resources and tools after graduation.
In January 2019, the top news in the tech bootcamp industry was all about Income Sharing Agreements and university coding bootcamps – it was a flurry of fascinating news! We start with a potential policy change being discussed in congress, talk through a $30 million fundraise, and summarize articles about ISAs from the New York Times, Fortune, Vice, and TechCrunch. Plus, we will tell you about some student success stories, and the 11 new bootcamps we added to the Course Report directory in January!Continue Reading →
Is learning to code on your 2019 New Year’s Resolutions List? It should be! The average coding bootcamp graduate gets a job in tech and sees a 49% salary lift. A coding bootcamp could be just what you need to make a fresh start in 2019 as a developer, so we’ve compiled a list of 18 full-time, part-time, in-person and online coding bootcamps which have upcoming cohorts starting in January and February 2019. Most of these coding courses have approaching application deadlines, so submit yours quickly if you want to get a head start in 2019!Continue Reading →
Over 900 tech bootcamp graduates entered our sweepstakes competition to win a $500 Amazon Giftcard just by leaving a Verified review for their school on Course Report. This time, our lucky winner was Byron Chang from Epicodus! We caught up with Byron to find out what he's up to today.Continue Reading →
Before Epicodus, Aundra was a recent high school graduate with a few odd jobs under her belt. After tutoring and producing content for websites, she wanted to learn the programming languages that powered them, so Aundra set her sights on software development. See why Epicodus was the best choice for Aundra, how she spun her first internship into a full-time job, and how her career has blossomed over the past three years! Plus, Aundra shares the advice her dad gave her before her first day at Epicodus – it’s perfect for anyone starting a coding bootcamp.
Aundra, what is your pre-bootcamp story? What were you up to before Epicodus?
My story is probably a little bit different – when I graduated from high school in 2014, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I didn't have the funds to go to college and it wasn’t worthwhile to get a loan for college if I didn't know what career field I wanted to go into.
I spent a couple years doing some odd jobs – tutoring math at a local school and doing content development with Fannit.com. I was writing for Fannit and tutoring around the time that my interest in programming and web development was really piqued.
Did you have any experience with technology or web development before Epicodus?
In high school, I worked on a website for my speech and debate league. I saw how that website created an opportunity for them to welcome new students to the club and simplify their processes. I was really drawn to that mission of how tech could improve people's lives.
Once I decided that I wanted to do programming as a career, I looked at ways to get started. I started off thinking, "A college degree would probably be the best way,” but as I looked at the college degrees that were available, they were all too broad for the work that I wanted to do. They covered studies and courses that weren't really related to web development. I then looked for online schools and schools in my area, but nothing seemed like a good fit. There was certificate program that had potential, but it was going to take me two years to complete. That's when I started considering bootcamps.
How did you decide on Epicodus? Tell us about your research process.
The combination of Epicodus being in Portland (not far from my home) and the tuition being affordable made me choose Epicodus. I also wanted to learn onsite as opposed to working remotely. It offered the opportunity to have hands-on experience every day in a classroom where I was required to be, and other students would be there with me. Plus, Epicodus offered an internship. All those elements combined made Epicodus stand out to me out of all the other competitors.
Today, the first five weeks of Epicodus is actually free; that wasn’t the case when I attended Epicodus – January through June 2016 – but their tuition rates were certainly lower than other competing schools. That element did factor into my decision.
How did you find the application and interview process at Epicodus? Was it difficult to get in?
I had a phone interview, but Epicodus doesn’t require any prior knowledge. They have an intro to programming course and so they almost assumed that you probably wouldn't know anything when you got started. I had done some self-teaching before I applied – I had a Treehouse account and I used Google searches and YouTube videos.
Once you started at Epicodus, was it a diverse learning experience in terms of gender, race, age?
Yeah, it was definitely diverse. Epicodus has done an excellent job of being very clear that the whole school welcomes people of all shapes and sizes. Whoever you might be, you are welcome at Epicodus and we're going to work together.
There were about 30 people in my cohort. There was a lot of great collaboration and we worked really well together. It was about 50% women, and 50% men – I was really delighted by that.
How was the Epicodus learning experience? Walk us through a typical day?
Monday through Thursday, all had pretty much the same structure. You had to be in by 8am. At 8:15am, you would be marked as tardy. Attendance was enforced, but very appropriately because at Epicodus there's this mindset of you get out what you put in. If you were there by 8am, you would meet your cohort and the teacher for class to get a summary of what's going on in the day.
Then you would pair up with somebody for pair programming for that day, and you would start right into the curriculum for the day. And it would be anything from watching training videos together or working on a project together or doing some research. There was a wide variety of tasks and projects for a given day. But then on Fridays, you were assigned a solo project, which is basically your code review for the week. It was a way for students to have time by themselves. There was the one day in the week where you did not pair program that was meant to be solo work. And it was an opportunity for you to test your skills and for the teachers to see what you were absorbing, and your strengths and weaknesses.
Fridays ended up being one of my favorite days. I really enjoyed pair programming and learning alongside other people. But having that day to sit down and focus and work on my own solo project was a really delightful experience. I appreciated how they split up the time like that.
Did the Epicodus teaching style match your learning style?
I felt like the teaching style did work for me – you don't get help from a teacher unless you ask for it. You are responsible to dive in and ask questions, work on things, explore, research your own questions, and try and find answers. And if you get stuck – which happens – the teachers are there to help you.
Epicodus did a really good job of preparing me for what real-world work was going to be like. You run into a problem, you're responsible to do everything you can to figure it out, and then you pull in a coworker to give you a hand if you get stuck. In that sense, the curriculum gave me just enough to move forward and learn and grow, without holding my hand too much and making me feel lost as soon as I hit the real world.
Do you have any advice for getting the most out of a coding bootcamp?
My dad is also a software engineer and he shared three big tips with me prior to me starting school.
- Relax, breathe, and just give yourself space to learn without the expectation of performance.
- Work hard and put your back into it. Don't be afraid to fail. Things aren’t going to go perfectly, but put in the effort and you'll get it right. You'll learn from those failures as well.
- Be consistent. When you start a programming bootcamp, it's a great learning experience. They will give you lots of tools, but that bootcamp will eventually end and from that point on in your career, the progress you make is up to you.
Tell us about your final project that you built at Epicodus!
For our final project, I worked in a group of four to build a sports website. The goal was to provide a website for people who want to play pickup sports/spontaneous games in a city or a neighborhood. You can list your own sports event and invite people saying, "Hey, we're playing pickup at this park at this time, come if you're interested."
How did Epicodus prepare you for the job search? Do you have any advice for other bootcampers who are going through the job search?
Epicodus did quite a bit to help me prepare for my job search, and not just from a technology standpoint. At the time, I was 19 years old and for both jobs that I'd held previously, the employers reached out to me. So the whole process of writing a resume and including keywords (especially technical keywords) was a new experience and a challenge for me. I appreciated that Epicodus created an opportunity for me to have interviews where I got to meet with people and practice those skills.
Epicodus took the time to help me prepare my resume, taught me how to write a cover letter, and they reviewed my LinkedIn and GitHub profiles, and supported me with a lot of good feedback. As a young lady, I tended to second-guess myself quite a bit and be more on the timid, shy side. So some of the best feedback I got was to enter my interviews with a level of confidence and to be confident in what I know, and in my ability to figure it out. That mindset made the difference for me in my interview with my first company, Zeppidy.
Tell us more about that first job at Zeppidy – how did the interview go and what did you work on there?
At the end of your training, Epicodus offers an internship program. We got to interview with potential internships and practice our interview skills through that process. I was placed in a 5-week internship at Zeppidy with three other members of my cohort. And when that internship ended, Zeppidy hired me on full-time as a Junior Web Developer.
Zeppidy was an online platform that provided a streamlined home buying and selling process for agents and DIY sellers. In the interview, I really didn't know as many of the answers as they would have liked, but I took my best guess at all of them. And that's what stood out to the CEO who was in the interviews. Even though I didn't know the answer, I gave it my best shot and I acknowledged where I didn't know stuff, and how I would have gone about exploring and getting more information.
How was the transition from a coding bootcamp into the “real world?” Were you prepared for your first job?
I felt like Epicodus had given me enough training to be able to grow from there. Also, there was a senior developer that worked in the same office I did, and so I got a lot of support, advice, and instruction from him as well.
You’ve since moved onto a second job at Learning.com – why (and how) did you make the change?
My transition out of Zeppidy was a bit unexpected – Zeppidy went under in March of 2017. I went directly from working on a Tuesday to job hunting on a Wednesday. But at that point, I felt like I had a lot of skills and experience. It was a very unique and wonderful opportunity to grow, and it put my foot in the door to other opportunities in this industry. That’s what gave me the experience I needed to find the opportunity at Learning.com. I also reached out to Audrey from Epicodus, who is in charge of alumni job support. She gave me a few contacts to broaden my field and search.
I transitioned to Learning.com as Web Application Developer and have worked there for about 1.5 years. Currently, our development team is hard at work building a catalog of our k-8 curriculum so teachers and district administrators can have a better understanding of the valuable resources we offer schools and students in regard to digital literacy.
Now that you've been a developer for over two years, how do you feel your skills have grown as a developer?
I've grown more than I can imagine, but my skill growth falls into two separate categories. There's hard skills and soft skills. And over the two and a half years, I felt like Epicodus really gave me the jumpstart in both areas. I learned how to learn new programming languages, frameworks, libraries and tools, and how to think like a programmer.
Epicodus also created an environment where I was challenged and it really tested my growth with soft skills like communication, collaboration, and strategizing my architecture and all the other skills that fed right into a real-life work experience.
What has been your biggest challenge or roadblock in this journey to change your career and become a software developer?
I’ve seen two challenges. On the one hand, I can have a serious case of imposter syndrome – I feel like I don't know anything, I'm not good at my job, and I'm a terrible programmer. You underestimate yourself and you get caught up in your shortcomings, as opposed to recognizing your strengths, powering through, learning and overcoming those weaknesses.
On the other hand, there’s the pitfall of the “expert beginner,” where you forget how much more there is to know. You get so comfortable in the basics that you don't continue to push yourself in the knowledge and explore the opportunities to continue learning and growing. The biggest challenge for me is keeping myself between those two pitfalls — continuing to push myself and grow without doubting myself and criticizing myself along the way.
Would you have been able to get to where you are today without Epicodus? Could you have just taught yourself?
Without Epicodus, I would not be where I am today. Epicodus offered exposure to a lot of different types of programming and code, and a lot of different styles/languages that would have been hard to find on my own. It's easy to go too thin in your knowledge of the language and maybe a little too deep into the nitty gritty of the language, but Epicodus gave you just enough to equip yourself with the skills you would need going into a real work situation.
I also really appreciated the network that Epicodus offered. I worked with people from 8am to 5pm every day, collaborating with them, meeting new people. It created a network of people so that when I graduated, I still had people I could talk to and brainstorm with and share experiences with. I don't think I would have gotten that if I had been teaching myself or learning remotely. Our whole cohort is still part of a Facebook group and we will drop job opportunities in there, check-in, and ask questions about tools or tech. I've also met up with a few of my other alumni friends and gone to lunch. And I’ve gone back to the school to see the teachers. They were great – I really miss them.
Ultimately, the Epicodus training was all great. The internship at the end was my opportunity to actually apply my skills with the support of Epicodus, which ultimately created an opportunity for me to really get into the tech industry and do what I love.
What advice do you have for future coding bootcampers who are still on the fence about making a career change?
You get out of the program what you put into the program. Epicodus has a lot of great tools and resources, but it's going to take work and effort. And that's almost the most rewarding part.
When I was hired at Zeppidy, the biggest thing they looked for was programming history, GitHub, and what projects I’d been working on. They wanted to see that even after I graduated Epicodus, I was continuing to learn and push myself, discover, and innovate. Even after the bootcamp is over, there's a whole world to be discovered. So don't stop. Don't get comfortable. Keep pushing yourself and stay steady in your efforts to learn and grow.
How do you get a job after coding bootcamp if you have no relevant, real-world work experience? Only 1.4% of bootcampers have worked as developers in the past, but most career-changers have little – if any– client experience when they start looking for a developer job. Some bootcamps help students overcome this hurdle by offering opportunities to work for the bootcamp itself, or with real clients through projects, internships, and apprenticeships. These opportunities can give students substantial experience to add to their portfolios and resumes, and kickstart the job hunt.Continue Reading →
Welcome to the August 2016 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month, we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to big fundraising announcements, to interesting trends. This month the biggest news is the Department of Education's EQUIP pilot program to provide federal financial aid to some bootcamp students. Other trends include job placement outcomes, the gender imbalance in tech, acquisitions and investments, and paying for bootcamp. Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast!Continue Reading →
You've heard of household bootcamps like Hack Reactor, General Assembly, and Flatiron School – but have you noticed universities that offer coding bootcamps? Universities have now been partnering with coding bootcamps since 2016, but these university coding bootcamps aren't all the same! Research your options below and find out which coding bootcamps offer college credit, which are part-time to accommodate your schedule, and read our tips for choosing the best university coding bootcamp for you.
These are partnerships where a coding bootcamp either offers classes on the university campus, taught by the bootcamp’s own professors, or students can study at the coding bootcamp campus but get college credit. Some of these partnerships also allow students to use the GI Bill to pay for coding bootcamp tuition.Continue Reading →
Google’s Android OS is the most used mobile operating system in the world, and the little green robot has been winning hearts and minds for years now thanks to its high customizability and flexible open source developing options. Android programmers work in the Android Studio and develop Android apps using SDK manager, earing up to $155,000 per year. It’s no surprise that you would want to learn how to develop for Android – do your research with Course Report’s list of top Android bootcamp and developer classes.Continue Reading →