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 News
- How to Get Work Experience Before You Graduate from Coding Bootcamp
- August 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast
- Learn Android At These 9 Developer Bootcamps
Recent Epicodus Reviews: Rating 4.71
C# and React
- Yes, available through Climb Credit and Skills Fund.
CSS & React
- Yes, available through Climb Credit and Skills Fund.
Front End Development
- Yes, available through Climb Credit and Skills Fund.
Intro to Programming (Part-Time Evening)
- Yes, available through Climb Credit and Skills Fund.
- A large number of spots for the evening intro course will be available for reduced tuition for people making under 150% of the federal poverty line.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Computer Proficiency
Ruby and Ruby on Rails
- Yes, available through Climb Credit and Skills Fund.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Basic computer proficiency.
C# and React
- Yes, available through Climb Credit and Skills Fund.
Intro to Programming (Part-Time Evening)
- Yes, available through Climb Credit and Skills Fund.
- Minimum Skill Level
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Ignore most of these fake reviews. I attended Epicodus and it was the worst experience!!! They have no idea what they're doing, have no business "teaching" programming and don't really have many connections in the Portland community, which was obvious after today's announcement in class that they don't have enough internships for each student. Some things to consider before wasting money on Epicodus:
1) The owner, Michael Kaiser-Nyman, is a phony and somewhat of a scam artist. This is purely a business that takes advantage of people looking for a new career.
2) Teachers don't exist. Epicodus hires former students who don't seem to have any real world experience. And, it's 2 teachers for 60 students.
3) So many students are unhappy with the course.
4) Epicodus uses pair programming, which means you learn nothing all day. How does one learn to program by spending half their days watching another novice try to code? For this reason, a number of people have already broken away from the class to do a self-study given the weakness of the cirriculum.
5) The cirriculum they provide is drafted by former students and is riddled with mistakes. Additionally, Michael is extremely arrogant and is incapable of constructive criticism from his students/customers. He can care less whether people learn anything or not.
Overall, Epicodus merely provides a space to work (though not enough computers for each student) and charges $3500 for it. With no solid cirriculum, a lack of experienced teachers and inability to secure the internships (which is really the reason most people enrolled), this isn't really a "boot camp." And forget about Epicodus finding you a real job at the end.
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 email@example.com, 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.
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.
Epicodus was without a doubt the best career decision I have ever made. My only regret is not attending sooner. Two weeks after graduation, I accepted a job offer that was nearly double of what I was making before and had been invited to interview with 10 companies.
When I enrolled, the cost of tuition was $4800; now it’s $6900. I went to Epicodus over any other bootcamp in the area because of the cost (and reviews!). $4800 was a big investment for me at the time and I would’ve gone the route of an online bootcamp if it had cost any more.
I completed the CSS/Design track.
The Intro curriculum is very comprehensive but many of the videos in the Intro are long overdue for a re-recording, due to poor audio quality and errors.
Epicodus now offers CSS/Design and CSS/React tracks. CSS/React wasn’t available at the time of my enrollment. I imagine those who are taking the CSS/React track are more interested in front end development than design. My cohort was about 50/50 split of those who were interested in UX/UI Design and front end development.
Unfortunately, the current Design track offers even less design-focused coursework. It now includes only 2 weeks of Design, with 2 weeks of React. Epicodus also offers a CSS/React course, so why React is in a design course is beyond me.
The CSS module should also spend less time on floats and introduce new CSS concepts like CSS grid, as well as designing sites with accessibility in mind and cross-browser compatibility.
Teachers vary in enthusiasm, knowledge of the concepts, and commitment. When you get stuck, you can submit a ticket and a teacher will come by to help. It generally doesn’t take more than 5 or so minutes to get help, but it can take up to an hour - in which case, you’ll be relying on your fellow students for help.
I wished my weekly code reviews included more thorough feedback and that I had more 1:1 time with a teacher to discuss my progress and struggles.
I’m very introverted, so I knew that Epicodus would be stepping outside of my comfort zone.
Pairing was generally a positive experience. Some days I was the weak link, some days I carried my pair through the day, and on others we screamed at the computer together. I learned something new from every person I paired with, whether it was a keyboard shortcut in Chrome, Atom, Sketch or a new way of thinking about a concept.
Generally I liked pairing because when left to my own devices, I get easily distracted, so sharing a computer with someone else all day kept me from checking Twitter.
When you graduate, you’ll receive weekly check ins, access to a job board for alums and weekly job digests (with opportunities that allow you to apply directly to a hiring manager). I found the weekly check ins really helpful, as I often had questions on how to phrase specific things during interviews and negotiations.
I only saw one design-related job posting in the digests and job board, though.
The internship opportunity at the end of the program is great. Most people in my class got matched with their first or second choices. Although my internship experience was not positive, I don’t think I would’ve landed the job I have now without the internship, as I was doing similar work within the same tech stack and got to talk about that experience during the interview process.
~*~HOT TIPZ FOR SUCCEEDING AT EPICODUS AND BEYOND~*~
- Make Epicodus the most important thing in your life. Be prepared to eat, sleep, and breathe Epicodus. Your friends, family, spouse, and hobbies will need to take a back seat during the program. Dive as deep as you can into the curriculum and technologies you’re learning.
- If you can swing it, don’t work while attending Epicodus. Again, everything else in your life should take a back seat.
- Create a README template and use it for at least your Friday projects. Include a detailed description for the project, along with set up/installation instructions, and screenshots.
- Create an online portfolio. Even if you’re not a designer. DO IT. It will help establish your credibility. Make a YourName.com website with a link to some of your projects, your background, and ways to contact you. When I have told non-design students this, they scoff and say “I have my GitHub, my code will speak for itself.” That’s not true.
The first person to look at your job application may be a CEO or a Recruiter who doesn’t know how to code or have time to weed through your GitHub repos. You won’t get a job right out of code school because you’re an amazing designer or developer, you’ll get a job because someone likes you, believes in your potential, and thinks you’ll fit in with their team. You’re more than just your code or designs and people want to see that.
- Have 1 project on your portfolio (and pinned on GitHub) that isn’t related to an Epicodus assignment. Employers who’ve interviewed other Epicodus grads are tired of seeing your Pig Dice sites.
- Familiarize yourself with Agile development and project trackers like Trello and Pivotal Tracker and use them seriously during your group weeks. Put those experiences as skills on your resume and talk about them during interviews. If you’re not working in an Agile environment or using project trackers during your internship, try to get the team on board. Employers eat this stuff up! They are looking for people who can work within a larger team. Maybe you have this fantasy about being the Lone Programmer Hero - and perhaps someday you’ll get there, but it’s not how you will get your foot in the door.
- Read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” before you go on your internship interviews.
- Have business cards ready in time for your internship interviews and have enough to hand out at Demo Day. Make sure the cards include links to your online portfolio, GitHub, LinkedIn, and email address.
- In addition to business cards, bring printed resumes to Demo Day.
- Don’t think you need to settle for the median starting salary for grads. Your skills are worth much much more than that. SOMEONE has to be living in all those shiny new condos - why not you? Look up salaries on Glassdoor for every single company you apply to and use tools like StackOverflow’s salary calculator. Again, your skills coming out of Epicodus are highly valuable no matter what anyone may tell you, don’t forget that!
- Apply for your jobs during your internship, or even before. Get on it! Don’t wait until after the internship to start applying.
- Don’t expect your internship to hire you after the 5 weeks are over, no matter what they promise you. Apply for other jobs.
- Think of job listing requirements as an employer’s wish list. Don’t be deterred by years of required experience. Apply for a position because it appeals to you, don’t pigeonhole yourself as a junior and only apply for jobs with junior in the title. I applied for a senior position and got an interview. I wasn’t hired but hey, they still saw something in me, despite asking for 5-7 years experience.
- I hate the expectation that designers and developers should do nothing but do work-related things in their free time, but use the time you’re attending Epicodus to invest in yourself and your future career. You’ll need to hustle hard and sell yourself to various companies when you graduate. When you get a job, you can go back to being a normal and well-rounded human being again.
- Pack a ding dang lunch. The vending machines and food carts are not worth it and will kill your wallet.
- If you live in Multnomah County and have a library card, you can use Lynda.com for free.
- Go to meet ups. I went to a 2-3 meet ups a month and as much as I’d like to tell you I schmoozed and networked, I didn’t. I prefer going to workshops or specific talks rather than the ones where you have to stand around and to talk to strangers. To be honest, I often went to meet ups with fellow classmates and mostly just talked to them, but going to them helped me feel like I was part of a larger community and I usually learned something new or interesting.
- Be a resource for your classmates. You’re all in this together.
- Your classmates are not your competition. There may be overlap when interviewing, but have some perspective: there are lots of jobs in the world. Support each other. Your classmates are your friends and future colleagues.
- When you graduate, ask the career coordinator ANYTHING. I relied on her heavily for wording things in interviews, turning opportunities down, and negotiations and it helped me immensely!
- Customize your cover letters for every single role you apply to. Be genuine, don’t be a “To Whom It May Concern, I am very interested in your firm” robot. I cold applied for about 50 jobs and had been invited to interview with 10 companies (2 were from Demo Day, 1 was a recruiter who reached out to me, but the 7 others were jobs I cold applied to online). In my cover letters, I not only mentioned what my skills were and what I’d bring to the company, but WHY I liked them and what they were doing. People LIKE when you like them!
- Be the kind of person you want to work with. Show up on time, be honest, don’t disappear on your pair without warning, and don’t sleep in just because you don’t feel like going to school that day. School will be over before you know it, make the most of the time.
~*~THINGS THAT COULD IMPROVE~*~
- The CSS/Design track often feels like the odd one out. For example, there are lunch speakers every Wednesday and none of the speakers during my stint at Epicodus were design-related. The Eventbrite invitation for Demo Day mentioned that we were CSS/React, not CSS/Design. Does that mean there were design agencies and companies in need of designers that skipped out on Demo Day because design students weren’t listed?
- Amenities. Paper towels in the cafeteria were a rare sight and it’d be great if the kitchen stocked silverware.
- The attendance policy is far too lax.
- Code reviews from teachers should include DETAILED feedback and notes. It was disappointing to put my all into something for 9 hours and receive only “Good job!” as feedback.
- Do teachers at Epicodus use a plagiarism detector? Because they should.
- I wish online portfolios were a mandatory part of graduation, like creating a resume, cover letter, and cleaning up your GitHub.
- Companies should be required to provide more details about what they are looking for in an intern, the type of projects the interns will be working on, and if they are looking for someone with a design or development background. This would make the initial rankings and going into interviews less stressful. I felt like I was going to 5 blind dates because I had so little information about the companies and what they expected (and yes, lots of the companies had very barebones websites). It's hard to answer questions like "why do you want to intern for us?" when companies provided so little information in Epicenter and had a minimal internet presence.
- If 75% of grads are making $60k or less, the salary breakdown for employed grads should show more ranges for those making less than $60k. Also, I’d like to see salary breakdown for both Portland AND Seattle grads. And breakdowns by track.
- The graduation certificate is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen. Come on, Epicodus!
Congrats on reading this whole thing! I normally am not this verbose, but I wish you the best of luck at Epicodus. Give it your all… and make a portfolio!
Epicodus really worked out for me. That and some "hard work."
I came to Epicodus with a goal in mind, get a job coding. I didn’t care what I was coding, what the salary was, or where it was I did this hypothetical coding. I just wanted to break free from my backup career in market research. I had motivation.
I studied every lesson, everynight that it was assigned. I would come home, eat, study, and sleep eight hours. There were nights off but those were when the assignments were done. Celebration was on hold until I could prove I could get my first job offer.
The course was a good fit for me. The pair programming forces you to work with different learning styles, and some work better than others. Even the garbage days held lessons. Most days were with people I wouldn’t have sought out and working with them helped in ways I didn’t expect. These interactions often led to surprise friendships, and the network I have now is nuts.
The syllabus was challenging enough that I could take on a new concept, drill on it a couple times, and then build on top of it. This is the same syllabus that led to my eventual job.
First off, I was lucky enough to land the internship I really wanted. I landed at a Ruby shop in Vancouver WA and it was wonderful. It wasn’t as good as others and it wasn’t nearly as bad as a select few. I would have been happy anywhere that had taken the time to teach me some coding lessons like mine did.
Leading up to our course completion, we started working on portfolio projects. These are supposed to be something you think is cool and will spend enough time to actually be cool to other people. I made a social site for hiring programmers. It had complex object relationships and functions and only looked okay. I spent a few weeks on it but really only finished the main parts that made it make sense and made me happy to present to friends.
This project was going to be presented at a reverse job fair, where students could show off a portfolio piece to roaming employers and give out some cards (get some cards, FYI). It was here that I met a bunch of companies and pitched my project as well as I could. I felt good but I didn’t get my hopes up.
In my free time I was sending out tons of resumes and cover letters. I was particularly fond of Angellist, I applied to over 160 Ruby related jobs all over the country. I was getting interviews ~2+ per week. I never held out hope for any one company, I just kept applying. I wanted the company that wanted me, wishing was not the key.
It was a week after the project presentation that I received an email from Daimler, to interview for a job working in Python and Java, two languages I knew nothing about. The project lead saw that we (Epicodus students) knew the basics in programming and could obviously pick up new languages and tools quickly, so he wasn’t concerned. Six Epicodus students were emailed to interview for the position. This was the job I wound up getting.
Today I work in an office doing work I never imagined I would ever have the opportunity to do. My team is full of kind and smart programmers and engineers that have completely taken me in. The work isn’t easy per se but it’s coding, and that’s exactly what I wanted.
New Student Advice:
I recommend taking a surface deep approach to the lessons at Epicodus. Going too deep or going off track was a common fuck-up when pairing and it only led to heartache. Epicodus lessons are broken up in the following way (as of my attendance late 2015): homework -> morning warmup -> creative implementation. Here’s what you should do:
1. Follow along in the homework. Actually do it that night, just follow along with the video, don’t think much about it. Do the homework.
2. Follow the instructions the next day. You will likely start with implementing the homework from the night before. Just go along with the lesson as it’s printed, this is the warm up, don’t skip it.
3. NOW YOU CAN GET CREATIVE. After the homework implementation, you’re given an assignment that implements the concepts you just studied/practiced in a new form. This is where you really learn. You can do it how you want (but you will likely really want the information you just learned).
Finally, don’t get lost in front-end minutia, unless that’s the lesson or you’re done with the day’s assignment. This is the design rabbit hole. It’s deep and you’re new, take it easy.
When you’re about halfway done with your studies at Epicodus, take some steps to make your job search life easier.
1. Make a portfolio. Mine is hosted on GitHub Pages for free, using Jekyll, with a template. You do not need a hand-built site if you’re not a front-end developer, just get one up that looks good and be done with it.
2. Get your LinkedIn in order. Follow the guide on Epicodus in this regard, it paid off for me.
3. Get your Resume put together. One page. No references to jobs that have nothing to do with coding. One page. Write it like some great code, short and effective. One page.
4. Get a decent cover letter together. You do not need a custom cover letter for every job, you just need some parts to be custom. I have background information that doesn’t change in my cover letters, you can do the same thing.
5. The above will take you very far in the general arena of job hunting. Angejlist also allows for sending notes and if you go there, I recommend that you send them. Treat these like micro-cover letters. Get a general template that you can alter some spots and hammer those out. Make sure your Angejlist profile is complete though, just like your LinkedIn.
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.
Epicodus is not a sink or swim program. They don't expect you to have a background in coding. They do expect you to wake your brain up and put it to work! And along the way, they can help you actually understand how to be a coder, a student, a mentor, and a member of the tech community.
I started in January 2015 with one (traditional style) intro class and one unix class under my belt, and no computer to do extra research or projects(I had to borrow one to do my preliminary work). I quit my job as a property manager and dove right in. (Due to the nature of my job at the time, this means I also lost my housing. That's right, I did epicodus as a homeless person. A very resourceful, couch-surfing, house-sitting homeless person)
Epicodus has a seriously humble, pragmatic, well-spoken and politically conscious leader. Epicodus is truly queer and trans friendly and Michael is on the front lines of bringing and keeping women in tech. I am not a person of color, so I can't speak to the experience of folks that are, but basically, the code of conduct pretty much says that rude jerks will not be tolerated, (I am paraphrasing there...) and Michael means it. If you are feeling excluded or picked on, tell Michael and he will end it.
Pair programming daily is a part of the deal - and that can get really tedious really quickly. Not everybody matches up personality wise, BUT it also means you have an opportunity to see so many different points of view and work with all kinds of different ideas. (HINT: Always partner with someone new! It's very comforting to pair with folks you work well with, but you will learn more from the diversity of switching it up as often as possible.) Luckily, they also give you a break on Fridays to just focus on processing what you've learned all week.
The company I work for now, has no less than 20 different (and often changing) technologies that I touch every single day. If I was unable to adapt to the pace at which things change - I never would have gotten the job in the first place. I impressed my current boss during my internship by taking on a project they expected to be done in 2 weeks. I did it in 2 days. They extended my internship to give me a taste of a department I didn't have any experience in, and I had 4 projects to complete in 4 weeks. I did 3 of the 4 inside of 2 weeks, plus, 7 other side projects that happened to come up. My job offer was in by the end of the 3rd week. All because this program kept us hopping from project to project and tech to tech. I got used to being adaptable, thorough, focused, and communicative. Those skills, and a serious passion for programming, is all an employer needs from a junior developer.
Finally, I appreciate that Epicodus really really wants you to get a job when you are done - and they do everything in their power to make it happen. They reach out to the community and they let folks know that the pipeline problem would be a thing of the past - if they hired folks out of bootcamps. (HINT: We actually have more relevant coding experience than folks coming out of PSU with CS degrees. Subjective, I know, but it was a senior dev I know that said it. That doesn't include folks who make it through the PSU internship program. We are not that far behind those folks either though.)
They make the internship thing happen for 60 people at a time. They host meetups. They bring in speakers from the community. They even brought me back as a speaker to talk about the internship process! They keep us engaged even after the program ends.
I recommend this program to all of my friends, and I will happily, personally speak to anyone interested the program. I am a fan, obviously, but if you have concerns, I will be perfectly honest about the struggle side of things. Nothing this good comes without a price, and mine was a few moments of mental and emotional exhaustion (which had a LOT to do with outside factors -which of course everyone has at some point and should reasonably prepare for)
You can find me on linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/karvari- if you would like to chat about it.
I moved across the country to attend Epicodus. Not because I was 100% sure it would be the stepping stone to a fruitful and fulfilling career, but because I had a feeling it would be a great place to grow and work on my programming chops. And it was. Epicodus isn't in the business of teaching you how to be the next "Rock Star" or "ninja," it's invested in creating a coding community of equality and kindness. There were a number of things that I especially appreciated about Epicodus and its team, including:
Epicodus is a mixed bag. It delivers on its promise to get you from no coding experience to being a coder. That said, your job prospects and general educational experience really depend a lot on your general aptitude for coding, your experience going in, and the route that you choose to go (front vs back end). Here is some advice that I hope will be helpful to you...
The coding mindset
Make no mistake - you WILL be a coder at the end of this program. Your knowledge will be limited in many ways, but you will indeed have the "coding mindset" that Epicodus focuses on - namely that you will have the aptitude to have an easier time learning new languages and understanding web dev concepts.
One would expect to be instructed when one pays to go to a school, right? This is missing at Epicodus. Instructors are largely unavailable - day to day, they are not a presence unless you are having an issue, and you must put a "ticket" in to see them in that case. You get a weekly code review, but it is short, and doesn't make up for the lack of instruction the other 39.5 hours each week. Also, most instructors have no education training at all, and there is a difference between knowing how to do something and knowing how to teach it.
So who DO you learn from? Pretty much up to you and your daily "pair" student partner, utilizing the online lessons that you follow each day. Pair programming is a cool idea in essence, but has some serious problems. If you can find a partner who is similar in level, approach, speed, learning style, and personality, it can be very useful, as you can really help each other through challenges and problems. The down side is that with the lack of instruction, you are basically learning from your partners, and they are just students like you, and almost nobody has any education background. It would seem that finding a coder better than you would be really helpful in learning, but in reality, those students are the worst teachers. They are either such naturals at it that they can't get on your level when they try to explain, or they are snooty and condescending, and basically annoyed with anyone not on their level.
I found this to be the best part about Epicodus. Getting some professional experience at the end of school was great - I learned a lot about client/coder relations, which greatly affects how you approach a project and what pressure there is (or isn't). Getting the idea of a workflow and how a pro team works was extremely beneficial.
Be careful which path you choose
In the end
I wouldn't have the job (SEO Specialist) that I currently have without Epicodus. A year ago, I would have had no chance whatsoever to get any tech job, and now, that is an option for me, which improves my future career options. I enjoy Sass, and love Sketch, and have fun with my hobby projects. I've been very disappointed by the lack of decent paying jobs for my design-oriented interests, and I felt that I could have learned a lot more if I had some better instruction. But, despite the many issues that I believe Epicodus has, I still have come out with a new job skill, and a new job. I feel that I paid too much for it, but I did get a fast education in how to do web development and design.
Why Epicodus worked for me:
- great price
- great location and a nice space
- pair programming + group projects (I wanted experience working with others)
- the curriculum gave me direction and motivation i lacked when working on my own
- the cohort (I met and still am in touch with - so many great people)
- the internship (it was great to get some experience working with a tech company)
- job finding assistance (I actually found my current position through an Epicodus job posting)
Why Epicodus might not work for everyone:
- the curriculum is more broad than deep (that means extra studying if you want to go in depth into anything, which doesn't work for everyone.)
- it's better to think of the instructors as TAs (they'll help you when you get stuck, but there's no direct instruction per se)
- the amount you learn is self-driven (because of time constraints and the fact that Epicodus accepts students at all levels of coding knowledge, it is often up to the student to challenge themselves or follow up with the resources that Epicodus provides)
- your job search is also going to be largely self driven (again, Epicodus offers resources, but in the end it is up to you to follow up on them, do the networking etc)
- not all internships are created equal (it is possible that you will get an internship with a company that is very up and coming or not entirely certain what to do with an intern)
Epicodus is very clear about what it is and is not. From the get-go (as in, these are all things that I was told during my intake interview) they want you to understand that the instructors are more TAs than anything else, that your learning is largely self-driven, and that the goal of Epicodus is as much about teaching you HOW to learn how to code as it is teaching you how to code. This last skill is invaluable given the rate that technology is advancing - it is incredibly unlikely that you will never have to learn a new framework/language for a job. As long as you understand those things, are willing to put in a lot of work yourself, and keep working on improving after you have finished the curriculum, Epicodus will work great for you.
That's because you get what you put in. It doesn't matter if the bootcamp is $5K, $10K, or $15K; if you don't put effort into it then you won't succeed, period. Epicodus and probably many other bootcamps will provide you the environment and fundamentals in programming, but the rest is up to you. Don't expect to get a job so easily if you only spend 40hrs a week coding. Epicodus doesn't make promises; rather, it creates opportunities for students to get into coding habits, connect you with peers, prepare you with sufficient coding skills (based on your effort), and allows you to have a taste of real world experience through internships at an affordable price.
- Instructors: I liked all of my instructors even if not everyone are senior developers. When my partners and I are stuck on specific problems, our instructors would go over our errors step by step just like they are another coding partner. Even if they know what the problem is, they'll still ask us questions until we answer the problem ourselves, which I do appreciate. They don't just help with coding errors, but they also give advice on how to handle situations where you and your partner might not be on the same wavelength. In other words (honest words), you will not like to work with some of your classmates, but they'll still help you out when you need help. I would like to thank Leroi, Summer, Diane, and Michael for being awesome instructors during my time at Epicodus.
-Code Reviews: I'm ok with the weekly code reviews. They don't ask too much from the students, but I always go above and beyond for most of my reviews. It's always good to do more than what is being asked, and that is what Epicodus wants its students to do.
-Job Assistance/Internships: I think communication between the staffs are clear and comprehensive. The internship, for me, was ok. It's not the best, nor do I feel like it's worth $1000 because it's a one person startup, but it's good experience in a way. I would recommend trying to find an internship on your own before going for the internship course because you know who you'll be interning for. At Epicodus, you'll be matched with 1 out of about 3 or 4 places, which could be awesome or not depending on where you are matched with. After my internship, I studied by myself at home for two months then applied to several places and landed a job. So I guess I didn't rely much on the assistance part. They offered to do weekly checkins, but I was lazy on my part.
Overall, if you have the motivation or looking for more motivation, then you should try Epicodus. Don't take Epicodus if you're the type of person who doesn't want to commit to doing extra coding work outside of the classroom. Again, you will only land a job if you put effort into it.
Prior to starting at Epicodus in October 2016, I was a full-time student pursuing a degree in Computer Science. The desire to have more hands-on experience, in an accelerated program, motivated me to research the different “bootcamps” available in Portland. Bottom line, I wanted to get to work. Ultimately, I chose Epicodus based on price, my initial experiences with staff (shout out to Debbie for hosting a great informational open house), and the opportunity to have an internship at the end of the process.
As many others have said, Epicodus changed my life. Today, I am working as a full-time Web Developer for a company that I absolutely love. Epicodus provided me with the tools and opportunity to jumpstart my career in web development. That being said, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort. Merely showing up for 40 hours a week and completing the bare minimum will not turn you into a developer.
In doing my research ahead of time, I entered Epicodus with the knowledge that this would not be a hands-on program, in terms of having day-to-day instruction. I enjoyed the lack of lectures and the minimal help from teachers (though they were always there if needed). This independent learning structure helped me learn how to problem solve on my own (something that has come in very handy in my new role). The world of web development is ever-changing, so I thought that Epicodus did a good job at keeping the curriculum as up-to-date as can be.
From the curriculum that I did receive, I feel as though I understand the languages and syntax that are used today. As I mentioned above, Epicodus will be what you make of it.
Pair programming was a great tool for learning. Depending on the skill level of your daily partner, you either have the opportunity to learn from someone with more experience, or to teach someone who may be struggling with the concept at hand, which helps to solidify your own understanding. In the intro class they emphasize working with someone new each day. But, as the program progresses they understand that you may find yourself working with several of the same partners over time. If you find that you don’t work well with another student, there’s no pressure to work with them again.
Epicodus set up four internship interviews for me, with two being at the top of my “wish list”, one in the middle, and one pretty much at the bottom. The process was a little nerve-wracking, as there isn’t a guarantee that you will be matched with your top choice (even if they also list you as their top choice). They do this to make it a fair process, but it can still induce some anxiety. Luckily, I was matched with my top pick, as were many of my friends.
My internship was a fantastic experience. I was given client work right off the bat and had daily interaction with the rest of the development team. As Epicodus has mentioned, your language of choice may not be the language you end up utilizing in your internship. This was the case for me, but I found that picking up a new language was not as daunting as I thought it would be.
I can’t comment on the job assistance that Epicodus provides, as I accepted a position with my internship company. From my brief interactions with the outreach team, they are all very responsive and eager to be of assistance.
If you have any questions about my experience at Epicodus, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn.
I am nearing the end of my internship that caps off the 5-month bootcamp at Epicodus in Portland, OR. I have learned more than I thought possible. I have probably already forgotten more than I thought possible! The teachers were uneven, but generally good to great. The curriculum was usually very good, if occasionally a tiny bit behind the industry (they were a little slow to add CSS Grid and ES6). If you take your education seriously at Epicodus and come in with eyes wide open as to how intense/demanding it will be, you will succeed.
Not only was this a fabulous experience, I have also come away from it with 20 great friends. This seems to be common among cohorts. You spend 5 months together, day in, day out, drinking from the firehose, struggling together and you walk away best buds with people you never would have imagined being friends with.
-in-person pair programming is the way to go. It is built-in accountability, encouragement, and help. I would not have learned as much if I was doing this on my own, online.
-If you can, don't work during bootcamp. Make bootcamp your life.
-Take the time to polish your projects while they are fresh. You'll thank yourself later.
About a year ago, I felt like I was at a point in my life where I could change careers. I had been in education for over a decade and wasn't really enjoying it anymore. I had a friend who changed careers to become a successful software developer, and she talked me in to at least looking into a career change myself.
I initially chose Epicodus for three big reasons: First, tuition was payable on a course by course basis. I was coming from a humanities background with no coding knowledge, and odds were good that, a week or two in, I'd discover that it just wasn't for me. If that were the case, I'd only be out a grand, rather than the $8000 - $12,000 the competition was charging.
Second, they promised career support and job assistance for a year following graduation. They claimed that I wasn't going to be pushed out into the street.
Third, they promised an internship.
They didn't let me down in any case. On the education side, it was tough, but fair. I had teachers kick my ass when it needed kicking, but it never felt unfair or out of line. I never felt coddled, and when I could have done better, I was told as much. As a former teacher, I really appreciated the candor, and I firmly believe it made me a better programmer.
Coursework was constantly in development, because it was constantly improving. As technologies changed, curriculum was altered to keep up. If a lesson was flawed, broken, or poorly written, we could leave feedback and it was often changed by the end of the day.
We worked in pairs all day, every day, and it was great. I made good friends, but more importantly, I learned to both write and edit code on the fly. I had to communicate with a partner eight hours a day, and our success was often directly tied to how well we could adapt to each other.
The internship is the only place where your milage may vary. My cohort was a really big one, beginning a few months before the expansion, and in the end, there just weren't enough internships out there. I knew about ten people who didn't get an internship, got paired with a company they reviewed poorly, or whose internship just closed down on them a week in. In each of these cases, Epicodus refunded the students' money in full or offered to get them an internship in the next cohort. It was a bummer that these students got the short end, but Epicodus did what was right, something I feel you don't see many places.
I had a great experience in my internship, and again, our cohort was unique. I hear that things are a lot better now, that cohorts are kept more managable and that our experience was a learning experience for the company.
Finally, regarding job support, I was contacted every single week by the job placement team. They checked up on me, kept me honest, and frequently asked if I needed help crafting a cover letter or offered suggestions for my LinkedIn.
It's not perfect, but I've never been to a school that was. For my money (All $5000 of it), it was a great experience, and it took me from knowing about nothing about programming in January to being paid to program software in September.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Epicodus provided the learning environment and support that I needed to become employed as an Android Engineer with a really great company.
There is no way I would have made the relationships and picked up the skills that I needed to land a Dev job on my own.
What Epicodus does for you
Epicodus provides excellent curriculum, teachers that are committed to student success, and an excellent learning environment.
The work is challenging, especially if your prior programming experience is limited.
The work is largely self-driven, the assignments are available online, and you are given the tools to complete them. It’s a bit of a race against the clock everyday to understand and implement all of the new concepts that get thrown at you.
You certainly get out what you put in to this program.
I loved the pair programming, as I genuinely enjoy meeting people. But aside from meeting people, pairing also gives you excellent practice talking about what your code is doing and how you are trying to accomplish your coding goal. This is actually very important, and one of the hidden benefits to pairing, IMO.
Having months of practice verbalizing technical problems helped me when I sat down with a Sr dev at my internship to track down a bug. It also helped me in post internship job interviews.
Pairing also brings a unspoken accountability which I know made me more productive. When working/studying at home, it’s easy to log into Facebook or pull up a YouTube video when I’ve ‘earned’ a break. That doesn’t happen when working side by side with someone else all day.
The Epicodus staff is fantastic, I’m still in touch with a some of them (Hi Perry!). From what I’ve seen, they are committed to providing the best education and employment support they can.
There were times that I felt the resources were limited (teachers are busy, career services could
probably use more staff), but there was never a time when I felt that the staff’s commitment was limited. Also, I understand that it’s one of Michael’s (the founder) goals to keep the program as affordable as possible. In that light, the fact that Epicodus is working to be as lean and efficient as possible ultimately benefits the students.
What you need to do on your own
Learn data structures, especially if you’re hoping to land a C# or Java job.
Learn design patterns outside of the ones covered in the curriculum.
Participate in events and meet-ups. Meet people, ask for their card (or name), follow up w an email the next day. If you have to cold-email them 2 months down the road, reply to the same thread so they know they’ve met you before.
Be willing and able to talk about what you’re working on and/or what tech you’re excited to try next.
Read tech blogs, article, listen to podcasts, watch people live code on twitch. Immerse yourself in the stack/field that you are interested in.
Continue to build and work on portfolio projects. Deploy them.
Learn new stacks and frameworks.
Work on soft skills. I know it sounds cliche, but I 100% wouldn’t have landed my Android Engineer role without being able to communicate and relate well.
Make friends with your classmates. My cohort was particularly tight-knit, and I love the fact that we get together fairly often to catch up. The opportunity to have a built in support network of people also in this field can't be understated.
The market seems to be more saturated with Jr Devs that it was a couple years ago. Bootcamps are more prevalent. It will be harder to stand out and land jobs, or sometimes even interviews.
These are forces that are outside of Epicodus’ control, but they present challenges that new grads will have to navigate.
That said, opportunities are out there. I interviewed for some jobs that were never 'officially' posted because I got reccomended by the right person at the right time. Don't turn your nose up at Support Engineer or QA roles. Seriously. The 1st job is the hardest one to get. Take any opportunity that you can, including freelace work.
Jr Devs aren’t hired because they are amazing programmers. They are hired because they have demonstrated strong passion for the field, curiosity, likeability, excellent communication skills, and a technical baseline that can be built on. Epicodus only gives you one of those, if you can manage the others, you'll do great.
Epicodus is dirt cheap in comparison to other programs. I would not have been able to afford attendance at other bootcamps. I don't know any other in-person program that also offers an internship that costs so little. This was a huge factor for me.
What did I think of the teachers, curriculum, pair programming...
My teacher left 2/3rds of the way through the program. This may sound like a red flag, but it wasn't because of Epicodus. We still keep in touch and while he was there he worked very hard.
The founder replaced him. He doesn't have a background in Java or Android. Realizing we were kind of on our own at this point, I chose to spend more time studying with online courses through Udemy. That ended up being extremely valuable, as I knew much more going into my internship.
I always felt very supported by the staff and my fellow classmates. I had an amazing cohort.
Sorry, I cannot give a favorable review here. The curriculum for the Java/Android portion was very, very incomplete. Basic building blocks of Android were not covered. Even as beginners, we knew it was not good. It would not have prepared anyone for Android development. I learned way more from some Udemy courses than Epicodus. You might be wondering, "how can I tell if the curriculm is any good now?" All of Epicodus's curriculum is online. My advice is to reach out to someone in the community and ask for their opinion.
Please keep in mind that this was the first run through of a course which is now 2 years old. I know several people have put a lot of work into the curriculum. I don't think anything I said applies now. Unfortunately, that was my experience with the program...so it goes in the review.
I both loved and hated this. When you pair with someone who is very passionate then you learn a lot. I really looked forward to pairing with certain people because I did not have much confidence at the time, so I didn't want to "drive" very much.
It's good practice because at your internship and job you will need to know how to talk through bugs / issues you find with your peers. It's also a good exercise in patience... :)
Tips for during and after program
Network network network. If you don't get hired out of your internship then you will need to fall back on your network. I can't emphasize how important this is. Network like a crazy person. Follow recruiters for your favorite companies. Accept random recruiter invites. Some people will tell you to do the opposite, but I got a job at Nike by accepting a random recruiter invite.
When you are not networking, study study study. I know they emphasize work life balance there, but if you are like me, and not working for 6-8 months is a big financial risk, then you should be studying studying studying. You can't afford to fail here.
The staff worked very hard to find interviews for me. However, I ended up getting an interview that turned into my first job through a friend... What did I say about networking, again???
My point is, Epicodus is not trying to prepare you to be a mobile developer. They state very clearly on their site that they are teaching you how to program and pick up new things quickly. I am an Android developer not because of Epicodus, but because of the extra work I put into learning Android, and the luck I had in getting an Android internship. You are not guaranteed an internship in your field of study. Of my 30+ class, only 6 of us have jobs in mobile development.
If you are trying to change careers and do not really care where you get placed, then this is a great choice for you. You won't get the same value for your $$ anywhere else. I don't know any other place that offers internships, and this is huge.
If you have played around with mobile development and really love it, and want to be an Android developer, I would advise you to look elsewhere. Udacity & Google offer an apprenticeship program, for example.
Financing was easy to obtain, staff was very helpful with any question that I had pertaining to the the enrollment process.
On the first day of class I was surprised at the classroom environment. It was very open and they were just setting up in a new building. For about a month my class was the only one in the building, but every few weeks a new class began and the empty building filled with more desks and computers.
One of the biggest perks was the pair programming environment. It really fostered effective communication--a crucial skill in any work environment. My group did not have any experienced programmers and I think that worked to our benefit.
We all worked day by day through trial and error. Not a single day I can remember was easy; the curriculum was challenging. Sometimes it was frustrating, but if you don't make any mistakes how can you learn a lesson?
There was some instruction involved, and instructors were available when pairs got stuck. Most of the time we were left to ourselves to figure everything out after a quick morning briefing on the days topic. We would ask other pairs for help before asking the instructors; this was also beneficial.
Every pair approached handling the exact same problems in different manners. Some of us had a clear understanding of object-oriented programming. Some of us understood design. Some of us understood databases. You get the point. Everyone had their strengths and weaknesses, good days and bad days.
I would be lying if I said you could skate by without studying at home. There is a lot to take in. I will say, however, that if you don't want to work hard to gain a new skillset why are you thinking of going through a full time course?
It is a very fast paced environment for those who want a career change quickly. If you're trying to socialize, if you're just trying to breeze through a program to get a job quick, if you're just trying to develop a new hobby, do yourself and your future classmates a favor. Stay home and study through Google, Youtube, Lynda, or an online course.
This program requires a lot of focus, time, dedication, motivation, open-mindedness, and effort. A majority of your classmates WILL be grinding away at school and at home. Living and breathing code because they are dedicated to changing their, and their family's, lives. A handful of students dropped the course. Some due to circumstance, some because they didn't believe they could do it.
Am I a master at any of these things? NO. Nobody in my class is, but plenty of my classmates found their niche with what they enjoyed most in class and are now employed. The job is where you'll master your skills and If you know HOW to program you will be able to find a job.
Speaking of jobs, Epicodus also offers job assistance and internships. I haven't taken advantage of this as it isn't the route I'm going down, but everyone who wanted an internship was placed with a company for a month.
Some of my classmates have even been hired from their internships.
Epicodus is specifically for those who don't know how to program or think like a programmer.
Have you tried to teach yourself and failed? Have you had a desire to learn but haven't had the time to do it?
This program offers your the opportunity to learn, and I guarantee you won't have the time to do it. You'll be scared about dropping your life for six months. If you can dispel the fear, MAKE the time, and put in the work while you're there, I believe that you will find yourself comfortably employed as a developer in a position with plenty of room for growth with a new skillset that is highly valuable.
That's my two cents--best of luck to you.
Epicodus is one of the single best decisions I have ever made. My new career is more day-to-day enjoyable, more rewarding, the environment more relaxed, and yes, the pay is better, too. Meanwhile, I still regularly get together with my classmates, a remarkable network of friends. To understand just how wildly successful Epicodus is at what it does, there are a number of things you need to know, things that I personally found helped me.
Without their deferred payment option (pay $200 up front, the rest after the class is done), I simply could not have attended Epicodus. While the intellectual diversity of the class is something Epicodus intentionally aims for, it's the follow-through of things like deferred payment that actually make it possible for the school to cast a wider net and allow more people to attend. The pre-class work online gave me specific, actionable goals so that I would know I'd be ready for Epicodus. Before that, I'd been going it alone, having more trouble figuring out what to learn than actually learning it.
Epicodus takes advantage of a "flipped classroom," where your homework is to watch a class lecture/introduction to new material, and your classwork is the actual coding, right there where you can check in with instructors and other classmates. Pair programming helps accelerate everyone's learning. On my very first day I paired with someone who understood the command line and took the time to teach me; I was soon passing that information along to others. Ideas and discoveries ripple through the class as the environment allows for an easy dialogue. And this is where the diversity of the class really adds something special, a magic that I can't very well describe here. Where else can a writer and an MBA pop over to ask the meeting planner and mechanic how they solved that code challenge? Growth mindset is something you'll hear about a LOT at Epicodus. Taking a cue from the growing body of research that talent is more of an illusion than we realize, Epicodus has the attitude right to help you fight through the frustration of tough days (which everyone will have when learning something new). The best part for me personally was that the instructors have taken this to heart; when they come to help you with a problem, they're not really concerned about getting you an answer for That Problem. Instead, they use the problem as an example to help you figure out HOW to figure things out. They are constantly adapting/evolving. You'll have weekly one-on-one check-ins with instructors, and they're actually listening. The Epicodus team is constantly revising the curriculum to improve the experience, so each new class benefits from the one before. Some of those changes can be immediate; our class began to have more two-day projects during our Rails unit due to my and others' feedback that we wanted to dig deeper into some of our projects.
The internships offer direct, immediate experience as the final quarter of the class. (Mine led directly to my job!) Epicodus is constantly growing its web of connections within the Portland coding community, and this means they constantly have a number of partners who take interns, come to job fairs, speak at events, and co-host other events. There's a team dedicated to helping place students into both internships and, afterwards, help them on the job hunt. In an industry where job openings for senior developers are sitting unfilled because there simply aren't enough experienced people, Epicodus is helping companies figure out that they're going to have to grow their own...and providing a number of us a leg up as we step in and say, "We're new, but we're ready to learn." Quite simply, Epicodus was a remarkable, positive experience, and it set me up for my current success, and more.
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 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.
I was drawn to Epicodus by their low tuition, which I think is outstanding amongst its peers. You never get the feeling that you're being ripped off in any way, which was something I was generally apprehensive about when searching. The school is genuine and transparent, which as much as anything made my experience there cherished. Staff there was always engaged and helpful - albeit w/ an air of having a lot on their plates!
And that's something you have to understand about Epicouds - it's not an experience that's going to be able to hold your hand the whole way through. You're really working with your fellow students to wade through the world of resources available to you, guided of course by the Epicodus curriculum.
You pair with another student everyday and work through assignments together - so take note that this 'pair programming' is at the core of the experience. There are pros and cons, but personally I'm very appreciative of this system. You really get to know your fellow students and your all a big jolly group of friends by the end of the course, was great for me as I had just moved to town.
Personally I think Epicodus could offer a little more solo time for those like myself who felt like they really needed days to just spread their wings -- you do work on a solo project every Friday, but I did sometimes feel stagnant due to partners at a lower level or a slow curriculum day and it would have been cool to have spent that time wayfaring the didactic playground of the internet. That being said though, I really do dig the system - you develop A LOT of soft skills from working w/ a variety of different partners and it's great for exposure to a diversity of insights & perspectives. If I would offer one other criticism, it's that the teachers can sometimes be a little more rigid than they need to be, focusing more on curriculum grading criteria than what I think is the bigger question: whether we know what we're doing and are learning. But that's definitely no biggie, and I can also be a bit delightfully mischievous :P
I was hesitant about doing a bootcamp because I'm a big self-starter, so learning to code felt like something I could have done on my own. But the experience of going to that space everyday and coding as part of our community of students really was truly invaluable, I learned a ton while there and can't imagine getting started without something like that. So as an educational experience: A+ (especially because of the program's duration).
Epicodus leads you into an internship as the final part of the expierience, great for me as I'm now working where I interned. The school matchmakes students w/ companies it has relationships w/, which can be kind of hit or miss. But it is a big step forward in terms of experience and finding an internship yourself (or a job of course) is just so harrowing that I'm grateful that process was kind of streamlined for me. I wish I could comment more on job prospects/assistance after Epicdous, but I really can only say that most of my comrades were not hired on by their internships and in the few months since we finished I'd say many of us have found employment and many haven't. I only have a limited experience of the Portland job market, but I really think this is an industry in which you can take advantage of unemployed time to improve yourself as a coder and a candidate. It's hard to stay motivated, especially when you could be getting paid for that self-development, but you really can just progress on your own and make employment more and more inevitable.
TL;DR Epicodus is a fantastic environment to learn to code and kick off your career, you'll meet great people and get great educational exposure. The more ambition you have to immerse yourself deeply into the dark arts of code, the more you'll guarantee your success.
If you're someone who wants to get into web development but don't know how, Epicodus is the place to be. The transition from learning the materials, to internship, and transitioning into the web development world has been smooth! But due note, you get what you put into it too! If you're only here for a job and not putting effort with what you're learning, then you're going to have a tough time looking for jobs and learning the materials! Employers will see that in your work/portfolio. Networking has been an important success for me. I met people who were in development during the course, volunteered to work on projects and etc..this helped strengthen my skills as an applicant for jobs. I had a nice fancy portfolio to show with my proven skills - my current employer told me my application was on top of the stack! So don't forget to be driven and keep up with your skills no matter where you are. Even with my current job, I still code and keep up with other skills I don't practice at work. I'm just that driven! :) I am happy with where I am now compared to 6 months ago before Epicodus. I work close to home, great hours, have a nice and professional team! I am forever grateful to Michael and the Epicodus team! :) Thank you and I'd recommend this to anyone!
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