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Avg Rating:4.51 ( 169 reviews )

Recent Galvanize Reviews: Rating 4.51

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  • Data Science Immersive

    Data Science, Python, SQL
    In PersonFull Time40 Hours/week13 Weeks
    Start Date
    Rolling Start Date
    Class size
    Phoenix, Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, Boulder, New York City, Denver
    We partner with Climb and Skills Fund for students who need help financing their tuition.
    Tuition Plans
    Yes, we work with lending partners.
    Refund / Guarantee
    Yes, as per contract
    We offer scholarships based on merit, demonstrated financial need, and increasing participation in technology among underrepresented groups such as women, veterans, minorities, and people who identify as LGBT.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill Level
    Prior experience in coding Python, math & stats is needed.
    Prep Work
    Take Home Technical on Python & Stats challenges
    Placement Test
  • Python Fundamentals

    Data Science, Python
    In PersonPart Time5 Hours/week6 Weeks
    Start Date
    Rolling Start Date
    Class size
    Denver, Phoenix, Austin, Seattle, Boulder
    Refund / Guarantee
    100% of your tuition for this part-time course will be applied as a discount to our Data Science Immersive.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill Level
    Desire to learn.
    Placement Test
  • Software Engineering Immersive

    AngularJS, HTML, JavaScript, SQL, CSS, React.js, Front End
    In PersonFull Time64 Hours/week12 Weeks
    Start Date
    Rolling Start Date
    Class size
    Phoenix, Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, Boulder, New York City, Denver
    We partner Climb and Skills Fund for students who need help financing their tuition.
    Tuition Plans
    Yes, we work with lending partners.
    We offer scholarships based on merit, demonstrated financial need, and increasing participation in technology among underrepresented groups such as women, veterans, minorities, and people who identify as LGBT.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill Level
    Advanced Beginner
    Placement Test

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Our latest on Galvanize

  • April 2019 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup

    Imogen Crispe5/1/2019

    Each month, the Course Report team rounds up the most interesting bootcamp industry news that we read and talked about in our office. In April, we were showered with a ton of exciting fundraising and acquisition news, ISAs (income sharing agreements) continued to be a hot topic, and coding bootcamps began getting approved for a new veterans program called VET TEC. We also saw some great diversity initiatives and scholarship opportunities for bootcamps in the US and abroad. Plus, a report from the Christensen Institute looked into bootcamps as disruptors, and two schools are planning to expand the bootcamp model into healthcare – read to the end to find out more.

    Continue Reading →
  • January 2019 Coding Bootcamp Podcast

    Imogen Crispe1/31/2019

    In January 2019, the top news in the tech bootcamp industry was all about Income Sharing Agreements and university coding bootcamps – it was a flurry of fascinating news! We start with a potential policy change being discussed in congress, talk through a $30 million fundraise, and summarize articles about ISAs from the New York Times, Fortune, Vice, and TechCrunch. Plus, we will tell you about some student success stories, and the 11 new bootcamps we added to the Course Report directory in January!

    Continue Reading →
  • From Jack-of-All Trades to Machine Learning Engineer with Galvanize

    Liz Eggleston1/22/2019

    Logan Weir believes in continually learning to grow and improve his skills. After five years at a startup, he felt like a jack-of-all-trades and decided to hone his skills in data science with Galvanize’s data science bootcamp in San Francisco. His combined startup and data science bootcamp experiences gave him a competitive advantage and he landed a job as a Machine Learning Engineer at Hustle, a tech company that believes in using data for good.


    What was your background before Galvanize?

    I graduated with a degree in Economics in New York along with my now-wife. We were both poised to go into finance and didn’t really want to. She found General Assembly and did the Web Development Immersive, while I did a part-time Data Science course. That got us both into programming and we loved it. Transitioning to data science fit in perfectly with my favorite part of my degree. My favorite class was called Econometrics, which is - put simply - linear regression in terms of economics. I did the data science bootcamp, loved it, moved home to the Bay Area, and joined a really interesting startup called Appallicious that was founded on doing public good with public data.

    At Appallicious, I was technically called a Data Scientist, but because it was a startup, I was doing whatever needed to be done to move the company forward. The work I did there was varied, and that was thrilling. One day, I learned Ruby and worked on permissions, the next day I switched to Docker and Kubernetes, and another day I developed a DevOps setup script using Ansible. Even if I wasn’t doing data science per se, I was organizing a data-driven app and seeing what modern infrastructure looks like, and how to keep consistency in data in a data-driven app. I was able to use inconsistent data to make a product that’s production-ready with models that perform in a homogeneous manner with strange data fields. It was a crazy but fantastic learning experience.

    Why did you need to do a data science bootcamp on top of your degree?

    The Bachelor’s in Economics could translate into data science relatively well if you take the right courses in statistics, probability, and applied economics. I had focused more on economic theory so I had more to learn when it came to applied concepts. At data science bootcamp, I learned Python and everything you could do with it – that blew my socks off. I ended up getting a lot more applied data science knowledge from Galvanize and it really honed me as a data scientist.

    After working as a Data Scientist for 5 years, why did you feel the need to do another data science bootcamp at Galvanize?

    I chose to do Galvanize because I was becoming a jack-of-all-trades developer with a data science background and I wanted to redefine myself as a data scientist. After five years of the startup environment at Appallicious, I was missing the in-depth element of analysis. I missed concrete data fields with a concrete objective. I was doing data engineering 90% of the time, even when I worked with data.

    Why did you choose Galvanize – did you research other options?

    I actually had a fun A/B test going on with two of my good friends - one was studying at Galvanize in San Francisco for six months and the other was doing an MS degree in Data Science, which took two years. I got to see their results and for me, Galvanize seemed to be the most efficient way to get where I wanted to go.

    Even before I decided on Galvanize for myself, I had actually met the founder of Galvanize at a conference, told my friend to check out the course, and he now works as a data scientist at Nextdoor!

    What was the classroom experience like and who were your classmates?

    It was a very diverse group! There were about 30 people from all walks of life, ethnicities, and a better gender balance compared to other tech environments. There were a lot of applied science backgrounds and degrees who wanted to transfer into tech, as well as people from a research background who knew the scientific process but they didn’t have the technical programmatic skills to apply their research. There were some people with industry experience and some people who were fresh to the industry and were really excited and worked really hard.

    Everyone I met was just fantastic. The teachers went above my expectations but so did the students. It was a great way to meet people and better understand yourself as a data scientist.

    What was the learning experience like at Galvanize and how did it compare to your expectations?

    The most surprising part of the data science bootcamp curriculum was the required Pair Programming exercise every afternoon. We’d have a morning lecture, a morning assignment, an afternoon lecture, and an afternoon assignment – and the afternoon assignment was always paired. I was incredulous at first, because, like a lot of people, I assumed I would work better alone. In Pair Programming, one person types and one person drives – which is funny at first to tell someone what to type. But in working through new problems with a second mind, you’re able to look at it in a different way, giving you a more solid foundation in discussions or approaching a new problem for the first time. Additionally, if someone already knows what they’re doing, they can act as a second teacher – it democratizes the knowledge.

    We would also do regular case studies, where we broke into groups of four or five and spent a day working on a specific project. The course ends with a final capstone project that you work on by yourself for 2 to 3 weeks. For my capstone, I tried to predict the San Francisco public bus arrival times at stops using historic bus location data and I tried to beat the current prediction times. It was a very complicated project and I didn’t hit all my goals, but I learned a lot and I’m glad I did it.

    What did you learn at Galvanize that helped you complete your Capstone Project?

    Galvanize teaches you how to learn and how to learn quickly. I learned something new every single day – continuous learning is critical for your professional career and Galvanize was key in helping me structure quick learning.

    I had learned how to acquire data from my days at Appallicious – because we used so much public data, I had a pretty good sense of the library of public data available. But at Galvanize, I was able to use a project to optimize the model. The decisions I made to optimize my model and optimize my approach to the data were all informed by methods that I learned at Galvanize. I hadn’t been able to conceive of a general approach, but Galvanize taught me how to optimize it in a rigorous and statistically-backed way. I could figure out what sort of error range to give bus arrival times, when does a bus become totally inoperable, and using different standard deviations to classify different bus routes.

    Congrats on landing a job as a Machine Learning engineer at Hustle in San Francisco! Tell us more about the company.

    Hustle is a peer-to-peer text messaging platform for connecting organizations to their followers. Essentially, organizations like Sierra Club can enlist their followers to send text messages out to their followers to come out to an event, support legislation, contact a senator, etc. It’s a way to promote conversation between agencies and their users and has been extremely effective. We’ve had an amazing impact already and I think it’s encouraged a lot more people to care about and be engaged in politics.

    Did you go into Galvanize with the intention to be a Machine Learning Engineer?

    I went to Galvanize to become a data scientist again, but as I started talking to people in my class and exploring the job market, I realized the skills I had gained at Appallicious were really useful and set me apart. I knew the ecosystem and knew how to get data into the set in the first place, in addition to deploying the model, reviewing its performance, and updating it. I ended up applying for a few positions for Machine Learning (ML) engineers. Machine Learning seemed to be the role where I could be most helpful to a company – it feels good to be useful.

    In 2019, everyone is suddenly very aware of data privacy – is it important that you choose roles that are using data in an ethical way?

    Absolutely. When you’re applying to jobs, you always have your priorities. My top tech companies are going to be doing ethical, socially responsible work with data, and are people who believe in open source data. People call data “the oil of the information age” and while it can be used in terrible, terrible ways, it can also be used in some pretty amazing ways to benefit people. Working at Appallicious showed me the possibilities of data and what it can do. I’ve had the ability to follow a moral compass in my career. It’s not easy, and not everyone gets the opportunity to do it, so I feel very lucky to be able to include that in my decision making process.

    How did you get the job at Hustle and how did Galvanize help prepare you for the job search?

    I got the job through a referral from an old friend, but Galvanize had an amazing career coach, James Van, who was critical in putting me in a successful mindset. A lot of scientists aren’t good salespeople because we’re naturally skeptical – especially of ourselves. But because of James, I was able to speak to my abilities much better and to formalize my experiences into words.

    At Hustle, are you using what you learned at Galvanize or have you had to learn on the job?

    It’s only been a few months, but a lot of what I learned at Galvanize I’ve been able to translate to my job, like knowing different model trade-offs and methods. I work a lot with Natural Language Processing (NLP) since we work with text messages. At work, if I haven’t worked on a specific model, I get to work with other data scientists and get context from how they approach it. I’m both indirectly and directly using what Galvanize’s bootcamp taught me.

    What advice do you have for other folks who want to go to Galvanize or another data science bootcamp?

    Don’t be afraid to try to break things. A lot of the way I learned was by trying something crazy, different codes and models, breaking things, and then discovering why it broke. When you understand why you’re breaking things, you better understand what’s going on under the hood. Don’t be afraid to break things, learn, and figure out how to fix it.

    Find out more and read Galvanize reviews on Course Report. Or check out the Galvanize website.

    About The Author

    Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students considering a coding bootcamp. She loves breakfast tacos and spending time getting to know bootcamp alumni and founders all over the world. Check out Liz & Course Report on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube

  • 2018 End of Year Coding Bootcamp Podcast

    Imogen Crispe12/27/2018

    As we near the end of 2018, we're rewinding and reflecting on the most interesting and impactful coding bootcamp news of the year. Come with us as we look at trends, digest thought pieces, break down the ~$175 million in new funding, and more. We’ll also look at our predictions for 2019 and our hopes for the future of coding bootcamps!

    Continue Reading →
  • November 2018 Coding Bootcamp News Podcast

    Imogen Crispe11/30/2018

    This November has been super busy in the immersive coding education world, and at Course Report! We read about how Amazon’s new headquarters will impact the coding bootcamps in New York City, we celebrated successful coding bootcamp grads, we were sad to hear that a school is closing, we heard advice for being successful at bootcamp, and found out about new initiatives to improve diversity in tech! Plus we look at new schools and campuses around the world and discuss our favorite pieces on the Course Report blog.

    Continue Reading →
  • How to Get Into 7 Coding Bootcamps

    Imogen Crispe10/15/2018

    So you’re thinking about applying to a coding bootcamp. What should you expect in the application and interview process? And how do you ensure you get accepted to your dream coding bootcamp? We invited representatives from 7 coding bootcamps to ask all the tough questions about getting into coding school. In this live panel discussion, hear tips and advice about coding challenges, prep programs and more from Flatiron School, New York Code + Design Academy, Fullstack Academy, the Grace Hopper Program, Hack Reactor, Galvanize, and Codesmith! Watch the video, listen to the podcast, read the summary or transcript.

    Continue Reading →
  • August 2018 Coding Bootcamp Podcast + News Roundup

    Imogen Crispe8/30/2018

    We are rounding up all of the most interesting bootcamp industry news that we read and discussed at Course Report in August! This month we heard about a $43 million fundraise and a big acquisition, we saw the decline of CS degrees in the tech job market, we read about a bunch of interesting alumni who were featured in the news, we looked at how coding bootcamps can help us avoid “robogeddon,” and we celebrated an initiative teaching women in prisons to code. Plus, we’ll talk about all of the new bootcamps in August and our favorite blog posts!

    Continue Reading →
  • July 2018 Coding Bootcamp Podcast

    Imogen Crispe7/31/2018

    What happened in the world of coding bootcamps in July 2018? In our latest news roundup we look at the fascinating merger of two prominent bootcamps, an exciting fundraise for a bootcamp which focuses on apprenticeships, and a settlement worth $1 million. We also delve into the college versus coding bootcamp debate, celebrate lots of successful bootcamp graduates, and look at the proliferation of coding bootcamps in up-and-coming tech areas. Finally we look at new, innovative ways to finance bootcamp (and the potential for predatory behavior in them), and what the job market is looking like for grads right now. Read this blog post or listen to our podcast!

    Continue Reading →
  • Galvanize Buys Hack Reactor: Everything Students Need to Know

    Liz Eggleston7/24/2018

    Hack Reactor and Galvanize, two of the largest coding bootcamps in the US, are merging – and we’ve got all the details from Al Rosabal, the CEO of Galvanize. Why did this acquisition make sense for both schools? What will happen to Hack Reactor campuses? And how will this change affect future students, current students, alumni, and job outcomes? Find out below!

    Continue Reading →
  • 8 Steps to Minimize Your Coding Bootcamp Debt

    Rachel Seitz6/12/2018


    If you’re planning to take out a loan to pay for your coding bootcamp tuition, READ THIS FIRST. Borrowing money can be confusing and stressful, but there are a number of ways to make sure your debt doesn’t pile up more quickly than you were expecting. The team at Climb Credit, a student lender focused on career-building education, drew from their experience working with bootcamp students to put together this list of ways to be smart about your loan, and avoid accruing unmanageable debt by the time you graduate.

    Continue Reading →
  • March 2018 Coding Bootcamp News Podcast

    Imogen Crispe3/29/2018

    In our March 2018 technology bootcamp news roundup, we discuss all the industry news that we've been talking about at Course Report! We have some fun celebratory announcements, we looked at news about the positive impact bootcamps are having on individuals and companies, and the debate continued between coding bootcamps and computer science degrees. We heard about some great student experiences at bootcamp, some wonderful diversity initiatives, and new scholarship opportunities. Plus, a good number of new coding bootcamps and campuses launched in March. Read the roundup below or listen to the podcast!

    Continue Reading →
  • January 2018 Coding Bootcamp News + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe1/31/2018

    Welcome to the first News Roundup of 2018! We’re already having a busy 2018 – we published our latest outcomes and demographics report, and we’re seeing a promising focus on diversity in tech! In January we saw a significant fundraising announcement from an online bootcamp, we saw journalists exploring why employers should hire bootcamp and apprenticeship graduates, we read about community colleges versus bootcamps and how bootcamps are helping to grow tech ecosystems. Plus, we’ll talk about the newest campuses and schools on the scene, and our favorite blog posts. Read below or listen to the podcast!

    Continue Reading →
  • 2017 End of Year News Roundup + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe12/28/2017

    In our End of Year Podcast, we're rounding up the most interesting news of 2017 and covering all the trends, thought pieces, controversies and more. Many schools are hitting their 5 year anniversaries – a reminder that although there is a lot going on in this industry, it’s still nascent and there is still room for new innovative approaches to the bootcamp model. We’ve chosen the most defining stories, and it was a very eventful year – a couple of big bootcamps closed, a ton of new bootcamps launched, some schools were acquired, and other bootcamps raised money.

    Continue Reading →
  • November 2017 Coding Bootcamp News + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe12/1/2017

    On the Course Report Coding Bootcamp News Roundup, we keep you up to date with the blossoming coding bootcamp industry. This November, we're covering the WeWork/Flatiron School acquisition, over $2M in funding to various bootcamps, and why tech is booming in "Heartland" cities. Of course we also look at new schools, new campuses, and our favorite pieces to work on this month for the Course Report blog! Plus, is The Iron Yard back from the dead? Read the summary or listen to the podcast.

    Continue Reading →
  • October 2017 Coding Bootcamp News + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe12/5/2017

    October 2017 was a busy month for the coding bootcamp industry with news about growing pains in bootcamp outcomes, mergers, acquisitions, investments, a trend towards bootcamp B2B training, and diversity initiatives. To help you out, we’ve collected all the most important news in this blog post and podcast. Plus, we added 12 new schools from around the world to the Course Report school directory! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.

    Continue Reading →
  • September 2017 Coding Bootcamp News + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe9/28/2017

    Need a rundown of everything that happened in the coding bootcamp industry this September? You’re in luck! We’ve collected all the most important news in this blog post and podcast. This month, we kept up with the status of the bootcamp industry, learned about how bootcamps are thriving in smaller markets, and explored different ways to pay for bootcamp. Plus, we added 7 new schools from around the world to the Course Report school directory! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.

    Continue Reading →
  • August 2017 Coding Bootcamp News + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe12/8/2017

    Why do journalists and industry leaders think that two coding bootcamps are closing? And despite these “shutdowns,” why do companies like IBM still want to hire coding bootcamp graduates? We’re covering all of the industry news from August. Plus, a $3 billion GI Bill that covers coding bootcamps for veterans, why Google and Amazon are partnering with bootcamps, and diversity initiatives. Listen to our podcast or read the full August 2017 News Roundup below.

    Continue Reading →
  • 3 Months vs 2 Years: How Long Should Your Coding Bootcamp Be?

    Imogen Crispe6/13/2017


    For some students, the traditional 12-week, full-time coding bootcamp may not seem like enough time to acquire the skills that employers want. As the coding bootcamp industry has evolved, longer coding bootcamps such as Turing, Galvanize, C4Q, Ada Developers Academy, Learner's Guild, CODE University, Holberton School, Make School, We Think Code, and 42 have emerged with courses ranging from 6 months to 5 years. These schools emphasize computer science concepts, offer apprenticeships, and provide in-depth, cutting-edge technology education, without the opportunity cost of a traditional computer science degree. Think a longer coding bootcamp could be for you? Start your research here.

    Continue Reading →
  • Episode 14: May 2017 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast

    Imogen Crispe6/5/2017

    Need an overview of coding bootcamp news in May? You’re in the right place! We’ve collected all the most important news in this blog post and podcast. This month, we read about a number of insightful surveys about employers, programming languages, and learners. We read advice about choosing a bootcamp, learned about efforts to encourage women and veterans to learn to code, and heard about student experiences at bootcamp. Plus, we added a bunch of interesting new schools to the Course Report school directory! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.

    Continue Reading →
  • Episode 13: April 2017 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe7/22/2017

    Missed out on coding bootcamp news in April? Never fear, Course Report is here! We’ve collected everything in this handy blog post and podcast. This month, we read about why outcomes reporting is useful for students, how a number of schools are working to boost their diversity with scholarships, we heard about student experiences at bootcamp, plus we added a bunch of interesting new schools to the Course Report school directory! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.

    Continue Reading →
  • How to Keep Learning After a Coding Bootcamp

    Lauren Stewart4/24/2017


    Learning to code at an intensive bootcamp takes dedication and focus. And even though you’ll reach that finish line (we promise you will!), it’s important to remember that the learning doesn’t end at graduation! Whether you’re acclimating to a new technology stack on the job, or you’ve decided to add to your skillset through online resources, there’s always room to grow. A great developer's job is never done, and the learning will continue. So how do you stay on top of the ever-evolving tech scene? We’ve collected advice from bootcamp alumni and employers in our 8 steps to keep learning after a Coding Bootcamp.

    Continue Reading →
  • Episode 12: March 2017 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe7/21/2017

    Haven’t had time to keep up with all the coding bootcamp news this March? Not to worry– we’ve compiled it for you in a handy blog post and podcast. This month, we read a lot about CIRR and student outcomes reporting, we heard from reporters and coding bootcamp students about getting hired after coding bootcamp, a number of schools announced exciting diversity initiatives, and we added a handful of new schools to the Course Report school directory! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.

    Continue Reading →
  • Episode 11: February 2017 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast

    Imogen Crispe3/1/2017

    Here’s what we found ourselves reading and discussing in the Course Report office in February 2017! We found out the three most in-demand programming languages, we read about how coding could be the new blue collar job, and looked at how new schools are tweaking the bootcamp model to fit their communities. Plus, we hear about a cool app for NBA fans built by coding bootcamp graduates! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.

    Continue Reading →
  • December 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup

    Imogen Crispe12/29/2016


    Welcome to our last monthly coding bootcamp news roundup of 2016! Each month, we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to fundraising announcements, to interesting trends we’re talking about in the office. This December, we heard about a bootcamp scholarship from Uber, employers who are happily hiring bootcamp grads, investments from New York State and a Tokyo-based staffing firm, diversity in tech, and as usual, new coding schools, courses, and campuses!

    Continue Reading →
  • Student Spotlight: Tommy Gaessler of Galvanize

    Lauren Stewart12/22/2016


    Young, motivated, and fresh out of high school, Tommy Gaessler knew that he wanted to learn more than high school coding classes offered. So he took it upon himself to opt out of the 4-year university degree and instead learn new exciting technology through an intensive bootcamp at Galvanize. Learn why Tommy decided to take the road less traveled after high school, and see how his current tech education is giving him the tools needed to work as a developer in a startup and run his own company!


    What were you up to before Galvanize?

    Before Galvanize, I just graduated from high school, Regis Jesuit in Denver. I actually took all the coding classes my high school offered (mostly in Java), but I wanted to learn more. I really wasn't being challenged in high school, so I took some night-time workshops at Galvanize.

    I would finish my high school classes during the day, and then come to Galvanize and learn more about coding and web development. I really developed my passion at those Galvanize workshops. From there, I already knew I wanted to go into the longer six-month program.

    Tell me about your decision-making process of choosing between college versus going to Galvanize. Why not just take a traditional route and get a computer science degree?

    I did some research, and I learned that in a computer science degree, you don't really start coding until you’re two years into the program. Colleges are old school. They teach a lot of theory and older languages such as C++ and I wanted to learn the newest, hottest technologies. I knew Galvanize offered that.

    Also, Galvanize is a six-month program, and college takes four years. Let’s compare two students who start at the same time: one goes to Galvanize and another student gets a computer science degree. The student at Galvanize graduates in six months, knowing all the hottest, latest, and greatest technologies, and has 3½ years of work experience before the college student even graduates. The Galvanize student is basically a senior developer by the time the other student graduates college.

    Were your parents supportive of your decision or did you have to convince them that Galvanize was a legitimate option?

    I had to convince my mom, because she really values a college education. She still wants me to take some classes and go to college, which isn't out of the picture but for now, I just want to learn how to code. My dad, on the other hand, co-founded Cloud Elements, a fast-growing, VC-funded API integration platform. They started at the first Galvanize coworking space. I actually fell in love with Galvanize’s entire culture, the building, and the people before I started taking the workshops, through my dad.

    My dad told me about the Galvanize immersive bootcamp. He told me about this different path to learn how to code, and I was totally for it. I didn’t see myself going to college for four years because I was already bored in high school and I was ready to get my life started– Galvanize was perfect for me.

    Have you been able to work with your dad at his company?

    I actually interned with them a few years ago, and they do hire a decent amount of Galvanize grads and grads from other coding schools. Cloud Elements is very involved in supporting Galvanize as they recognize it’s importance in producing future coders.

    One question we get all the time is how to pay for a coding bootcamp- any tips?

    Galvanize’s scholarships are really for people underrepresented in tech, and for veterans. Galvanize has a great GI Bill program. We have three veterans in our class now that served overseas or in the Navy, in the Army, and the Marines even, which is really cool. But I personally didn't get a scholarship coming to the program.

    There are a lot of lenders that offer loans specifically for a coding school like Galvanize, which is great for people who can't afford to pay the full tuition. Galvanize really puts you in a place to be able to pay off that loan, whereas if you go to college, you might be paying that loan for half of your life.

    Tell me about the application process for Galvanize.

    I applied online and told them about myself, and then they give me a coding challenge. I knew some coding, but not much JavaScript, which is what’s required in the coding challenge. I think I actually failed it the first time, but once I understood my mistake, I refactored and submitted it again. Before you submit the coding challenge, Galvanize gives you a ton of resources to learn on your own and learn what you need to be able to complete the challenge. So if you're new to coding, it's perfectly fine.

    After the challenge, you get a phone call for an interview to see if you're a good fit, and it’s also a chance for them to answer any questions you have. After that, you do a pair programming interview over Skype. You're paired with one of the developers here at Galvanize, and you go through coding challenges.

    Was everyone at Galvanize supportive of you starting a bootcamp fresh out of high school?

    The Galvanize team was totally supportive, but obviously high schoolers are young. Right off the bat they found out how driven I was, how mature I was, and they understood that I would be a great fit for the program.

    Do you have any interview or coding challenge tips for readers who are thinking about applying to Galvanize?

    Since programming is so popular right now, there are a lot of resources out there. I would go on and learn some JavaScript. After about half of that course, you’ll know enough to complete the coding challenge. But there are also so many resources available from Galvanize. Stack Overflow is a huge resource that I still use today to answer questions. If you know how to learn, and you're driven and passionate about trying something new, I think Galvanize would be perfect for you. You'll definitely be able to crush the interview if you put some time into it.

    Tell us about the diversity of your student cohort in terms of gender, race, life and career backgrounds.

    My cohort was originally 28 people. You figure out pretty quickly if you're going to make it or not, and three people ended up dropping out within the first week or two. We have three women which is relatively few, but the other class at the Platte campus has about 10 women. One of the women in our cohort is from Japan. We also have three veterans in the program.

    Are you the youngest in your cohort?

    I'm technically the second youngest. It’s cool that there’s another high schooler in my cohort. Everyone else came to Galvanize after being unhappily employed or being unable to get a job out of college. So most students are in their late 20's to mid 30's.

    Have you had any particular challenges being on the younger side of the age spectrum?

    Yeah, it's definitely harder to relate to the people who are older, have more more experience, and have gone to college. But everyone is super nice and we're all in this as a team. Once you start a programming job in the real world, you continue working with a team, developing, and pair programming. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses- for example, I may be better at front end development, when my team member is better with back end development. There's a lot of teamwork to it and it's great. You don't feel awkward at all because we’re all taking on a challenge– a new path in life– to learn how to code and get a new career.

    Does the teaching style at Galvanize match your learning style as opposed to how you were learning in high school?

    In high school you learn a subject, you take notes, you take a quiz, and then you take a test. After the test you never touch the material again. At Galvanize, you're learning, and you're coding with the instructor, and then you're building upon it.

    In quarter one, you learn how to make a website, and then you use that to learn how to make an API and a server. You connect all that together to then have a full stack web application. On top of that, you then learn more languages and frameworks. It's different from a high school or a standard traditional path because you're building upon everything you learn and there's no grades. It's all self-motivation. If you're going to come into Galvanize and not put in any work, they're not necessarily going to kick you out. They're going to be unhappy, but they're not going to fail you. It will be on you because you didn’t do the work to learn the skills to get a job.

    People who are coming to this program are driven, self-motivated, and they want to learn something new. They want to be able to get hired, and change the world with their skills. A lot of people work really hard, and they learn as much as they can so they can benefit themselves.

    In the mornings, class starts at 9am. Usually, I get there a little earlier to work on some projects. At 9am is when we have standup, where we get in a circle, and we talk about what we need help with, anything interesting, and then any events or meetups that are going on in the week. We are encouraged to network. You can be the best programmer, but if you don't have any connections, you'll still have a hard time finding a job.

    We then have a morning warm-up exercise. After the morning warm-up around 9:30am we get into the lesson. Then we have lunch, and we do another lesson. That lesson can either be a lecture, learning a new technology, or just coding along with an instructor. You're coding all day which is great. Since you're always building, you learn so much.

    In quarter one you learn basics of making a website HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. And then the next quarters you're using all those tools you learned to build upon on it with either Angular or server side stuff with Node.js and Express. You're always learning, and building. so you gain a lot of momentum and just learn so much.

    When you face challenges at Galvanize, is there a clear and open feedback loop when problems arise?

    Galvanize has a system where instructors meet with you daily, one-on-one, to look over your code, which is awesome. They can see where you're struggling with the work you submit, and then you can always go up to them with questions. Since there are four teachers, the student:teacher ratio is really good. There's always a teacher available to answer questions. Galvanize really has some of the smartest teachers in the world.

    We have four instructors; one of which is a resident. From every cohort, Galvanize hires one Student to help teach the next cohort. Plus, we have a lot of mentors and counselors– even a happiness counselor! We also have a Career Services team to help us find jobs and help us with our resumes.

    At Galvanize, we're in a building where there are hundreds of companies coworking together, so you can walk up to anyone with help or questions. That’s a big opportunity, and it’s what differentiates Galvanize from other coding bootcamps. It's really an awesome community for learning.

    Do you have a favorite project that you’ve built at Galvanize?

    I have a few! For my capstone, I made a crowdfunding app for photographers, Fundsplash. Photographers can raise money to go on a trip, then they travel and take pictures, and give those pictures along with other incentives back to their supporters. I used HTML5 on the front end, AngularJS for client site templating, and SASS which is like a better version of CSS. For the server side, I used Node.js and Express, which is a JavaScript framework for Node. And Postgres for the database.

    In quarter three at Galvanize, you're encouraged to learn a new language, because regardless of where you're going to work, the technology is going to change. I learned Swift (Apple's programming language) and made an iPhone app called Trip Charge that finds the closest charging stations for electric cars either near you or along a route. Say you're driving from Colorado to California; the app finds all the charging stations on your way. I worked with Austin Mahan, the other high schooler in the cohort on this project. He learned Go (Google's programming language) and we combined forces.

    Our quarter 2 group project was great for learning how to divide up work and be productive as a team. We built a WordPress for developers, called SiteKite. If a developer has all of their projects on GitHub, and wants to quickly host those on a personal website, then they can use our app to pull in all their projects so employers can see them. It also integrates SendGrid to connect the developer with interested employers with a message. We used Node.js, Express, CSS and HTML and Postgres.

    You can check out more of my work at

    What do you recommend specifically to other high school grads who are wondering about their job prospects after a coding bootcamp?

    What differentiates a high school grad is that you don’t have a college degree or work experience. However, after Galvanize, you’ll be more technically advanced than someone who's 10 years older than you. Because you’re young, you learn fast and you don't have any bad practices in development. Most companies see a kid who is tackling something new and someone who is adventurous and they love it. They see your energy, your drive and passion and they love it because that's what startups are. Even larger companies also want to hire fast-learning, energetic, driven people, to help their company grow.

    Some people actually get hired even before they graduate. One student in our class is 22, and he didn’t go to college. He did half of Galvanize, and he got hired by Allstate in Chicago with a starting salary of $80K, and a signing bonus of $5K.

    At Galvanize, we’re prepared by the Career Services team. We go over resumes, how to write cover letters, negotiate salary, and network. There's no lack of jobs around the Denver community. Career services helps us put a list together of companies we will apply to, and they help us track all of it. We have meetings twice a week to go over how the job search is going and they're there every step of the way. Galvanize has a great network of companies and people. We basically have our own LinkedIn for Galvanize, which it's a way for companies to hire great talent.

    Did you have a career goal when you started at Galvanize? Are you looking for jobs right now and if so, what types?

    I want to be an entrepreneur and start my own company (I love Shark Tank). Before Galvanize, I knew that I loved technology, so my main goal was to learn how to code in order to build. I also wanted to learn more about business, so hopefully I'll join a startup or a smaller company in Denver, where I can wear a lot of hats and learn a lot about code and business. I want to grow with my coding abilities, and also grow in my knowledge of business to start my own company.

    I have interviewed a few times in the tech industry. I like cloud startups, software/tech startups. Technology is my passion. We actually practice interviewing at Galvanize because mostly when you're interviewing for a tech job, you're going to do some whiteboarding and some technical interviews, so we practice for that. We actually write code on a whiteboard, it is way different than having a text editor there with you.  

    I want to stay in Denver, I'm a native. I love to ski Vail, and I love tech startups that are growing fast. My dream job would be to be a dev evangelist. You get to code, travel and build your brand. You get to go to conferences, speak, and showcase the company's technology that you work for. Being a developer would also be a fun job, but I’d also like to have more of a customer side facing role.

    What advice do you have for any other recent high school students or 18-year-olds who are considering a coding bootcamp, but may not necessarily have the professional experience like applicants?

    Coding is the most valued skill in the world right now. Try to learn on your own and go on If you're more of a visual person and you like art, I would start off with HTML and CSS. If you like numbers and math, I would do JavaScript. If you're looking at the Galvanize program, I would start with JavaScript. It's an easy language to learn, and you can build some really cool stuff with it.

    Try to learn as much as you can on your own. Galvanize wouldn't exist if you could learn everything on your own, so learn as much as you can. Learn JavaScript and then try to build some cool projects. People like to see you can build things, it shows that you're a driven, motivated person. Then apply to Galvanize if you think that you want to tackle learning to code.

    Read more Galvanize reviews on Course Report. Be sure to check out the Galvanize website!

    About The Author

    Lauren is a communications and operations strategist who loves to help others find their idea of success. She is passionate about techonology education, career development, startups, and the arts. Her background includes career/youth development, public affairs, and philanthropy. She is from Richmond, VA and now currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.

  • Episode 9: November 2016 News Roundup + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe12/1/2016


    Continue Reading →
  • Instructor Spotlight: Liz Howard of Galvanize

    Liz Eggleston11/30/2016


    Liz Howard is a coding bootcamp veteran; before landing at Galvanize as a Curriculum Developer, she was a founding instructor at Hackbright Academy and taught at Tradecraft. And at Galvanize, she’s found a unique support system for instructors that emphasizes blended learning and iterating to keep up with changing technology. Liz sits down to talk about the length of Galvanize’s Web Development program (hint: it’s important, but doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a Senior Developer job), how her role contributes to student success, and what Liz predicts for Galvanize’s next big curriculum change.


    Can you tell us how you first got involved with coding bootcamps?

    I was first involved with Girl Develop It in San Francisco before coding bootcamps really existed (in 2012). We were teaching women only, at night, for $20 per class. That was where I learned to teach programming and pairing, and I learned that you can't just lecture. Students have to do coding.  

    I saw students able to do so much after just a few weeks of nights and weekends classes, and started to think that if I offered enough classes, people could get developer jobs. So in 2012 I started competitive analysis to start my own school. Hackbright Academy had just started its first class, and Dev Bootcamp was on its second class. I noticed that neither of the coding bootcamps had any female instructors and after arguing with them about that on Twitter, I joined the founders of Hackbright Academy. We didn’t even really have a curriculum when we started, but we had a lot of ideas about how education was done.

    How did you originally learn to code on your own without a coding bootcamp or a even a high school degree?

    I am autistic, and I didn’t have a ton of friends growing up because I didn't have a great host of social skills. When I was 12, my dad taught me to code to connect with me, and I took to it pretty well.

    When I was about 14, I started working on software for his startup and going to meetings with him, hearing what customers needed. I wasn't doing awesome in school and it wasn’t rewarding, but I was good at coding. So eventually I dropped out of school, when it was really cool to be a young computer prodigy.

    If coding bootcamps had existed when you were learning to code, would you have attended one?

    I probably would have done a summer bootcamp when I was younger and learned to code at something like a three-month Girls Who Code summer camp.

    This is an angle of coding bootcamp that no one really talks about, but coding is very good for people who like to get obsessed with things. People on the Autism spectrum or who have Asperger's are able to focus on one specific thing for a long time and can get as in-depth with that subject as you want.

    What about Galvanize stood out to you and made you excited to work on their team?

    There's a problem in Silicon Valley, especially when disrupting an industry like education, that we don't take any of the lessons that people have already learned. I could tell that a lot of the things we were screwing up were things that the education industry had already solved. I wanted to have someone on the team from the education industry who could help us.

    I went to interview at Galvanize, and I met Evan Moore, the Director of Instructional Design. Just the fact that there was a Director of Instructional Design, inspired me. Many bootcamp instructors in the industry don't have any background in education and don't have much experience, but they had an education expert on the team. I met Galvanize’s Director of Web Development, and he was very into educational theory, as well as the cool stuff we were going to teach. I realized that I had stumbled upon a little enclave of teachers as craftsmen and I got very excited about that.

    Another thing that I really liked about Galvanize was that when I joined, they were about to change the curriculum to full-stack JavaScript, they didn’t have a lot of materials, and I was able to pull together a lot of stuff that I knew and had worked on for that change.

    You mentioned that you developed your teaching style at Girl Develop It. What is your personal teaching style and how did you find that coming from a non-traditional education?

    I found that explaining the conceptual steps of programming is not always how you should teach. In a real-world job, you usually talk to your lead engineer who's running the project and they give you a task and a hint as to how to go about it. That hint could be an example somewhere else in the code base, or they tell you what to look up, or they send you a tutorial. That was where I learned the most programming – being given a task, a general guideline on how to go about it along with some code examples, and then figuring it out.

    Teaching programming is like assembling machines. You show students the part of the machine they've got to install, a picture of what it looks like when it's installed, and then you set students on their way. The “figuring out” happens on their own. You can't do that part for them, and really the art of teaching is in not giving too much away at once.

    I also try to show where everything fits into the overall context of programming, and how technique is valuable. After conceptual rigor, technique is really what an engineer employs.

    Should a bootcamp instructor be hands-on or let students struggle?

    I think being hands-on is very important. Even more, I think that you should have a relationship with your instructor who you feel comfortable struggling through something with. There are so many little parts to learning, so if you struggle through it alone, you're unlikely to hit on all those little things. Having a really intense relationship with a student is very important.

    What do you think is the ideal student:teacher ratio?

    In a class of more than 12, it's very hard for the lead instructor to have a relationship with every single student, which is why student:teacher ratio in these environments is so critical. It’s difficult to know what it is that students don't understand. There's only so much that automated testing can really accomplish, because an instructor has to be able to sit and watch someone reason through a problem in order to set them up with a good mindset for reasoning through problems.

    That's a hands-on activity. In order to form a picture of how a student’s mind is thinking through the problem, that requires human-to-human interaction.

    Does Galvanize have TAs in the classroom as well as instructors? And do you hire Galvanize graduates as TAs?

    We have several levels of instructors at Galvanize. Lead Instructors run the class and have quite a bit of industry experience. Associate Instructors are either industry developers, or sometimes they are extremely good students.

    There's some controversy in the industry about hiring graduates as TAs. I think it comes down to how you hire them. The biggest problem is that it helps your placement numbers, and so it’s tempting to hire students who are really nice, but not the best developers, to give them something to do for three months, then push them on their way. I’ve seen a lot of schools fall prey to that, and I think that's because the placement rate is so important to many bootcamps.

    At this point, the best schools have gone through that and realized that it screws them over. It's never good to hire somebody who's going to struggle as much as your students. Once I got to Galvanize, we were past that phase. I think that everybody's learned the lesson that you can't just hire a bunch of student TAs.

    What does it mean to be a Curriculum Developer at Galvanize?

    There are not many curriculum developers in this industry. It’s a role that realistically gives me the freedom to do some curriculum development and some research. In order for me to do that research I have to interact with students, so I regularly come up to the classroom and check things out to see who needs help, what are they working on, and what are they struggling with. I want to know if the material is confusing or if it could be restructured.

    I feel like you can't really understand how someone is learning without doing some hands-on instruction. I've never really just done curriculum development by itself, because once you get too disconnected from the students, then you’re just writing how-to articles on the internet.

    Almost every coding bootcamp is bootstrapped, started with no money, and nobody spends a whole lot of time laying out the curriculum beforehand. A lot of times, schools write a curriculum as they go in response to what they know the students need to learn, and then they supplement it with outside materials and books. As a result, most schools that I've worked with are fairly disorganized, but Galvanize already had a lot of people on staff who are very good at writing curriculum. So, a lot of my job is sharing curriculum between different campuses, testing what works best, hearing anecdotes, and trying to see how we can improve the ways we present information.

    You mentioned that you started at Galvanize when they moved from Rails to JavaScript? Is that the biggest curriculum change you can remember?

    It was rough, but it was very important, because at the time, especially in San Francisco, the number of Rails jobs were falling like a rock. We didn't want to take another six months to build a new curriculum and have students graduate into a field where they weren't going to use Rails. We were rewriting the curriculum as we were going, but I had done that kind of curriculum rewrite before.

    Because Galvanize is six months long, how do you approach curriculum iteration?

    If we're going to change actual content– for instance, right now we're thinking about switching from Angular to React– we wait until the numbers show us that hiring from React overtakes hiring from Angular.

    The approach to learning at Galvanize is called blended learning, which means that students get to choose their own path. We've already built out a React curriculum, so now we're iterating on it and shoring up materials. Materials are continually being made bit better so that when students get to that point in the class, they get the latest and greatest curriculum.

    What do you predict will be the next big curriculum change at Galvanize?

    First, we'll probably change over to React. But the main change in the curriculum right now is to allow for more Blended Learning ie. “Choose Your Own Adventure.” In San Francisco, Node.js is hot shit, but you may be better off learning .NET in Seattle or Java in Austin.

    We're trying to modularize the curriculum so that we can allow students to navigate their way through, and lean on instructors to figure out where students want to work and learn the most useful technologies. If you want to get a job at Dell and work there for 10 years, start with Java, but if you want to go get a job at a hot startup, you probably want to learn Node.js. If you want to work at a midsized company, you might want to focus on Node, or Rails, or Python. If you want to become a Data Pipeline Specialist, you can learn Java and Python and choose a Computer Science module and not focus on front end at all.

    We're trying to provide enough flexibility in our curriculum, so that we can learn who you are and what you want, and give you exactly what you need and what the industry needs, rather than just having a one-size-fits-all curriculum.

    Because Galvanize is six-months long, do you see your students taking more senior developer roles than graduates from the three month bootcamps you’ve worked with?

    Six months does make a difference, because students get more time with mentors. Blended learning also means that students can choose their own paths, and are a little more free to go further.

    Students join bootcamps with all levels of experience. I've taught students with DevOps experience, engineering experience, and Objective-C developers who want to learn web development. In every class that I've graduated, I’ve had somebody land a senior position. But that seniority is the measure of your experience as an engineer – it's not something that you can just get taught at a coding bootcamp.

    What do you think successful mentorship looks like at a company that hires coding bootcampers? More importantly, how can bootcamp students choose a company that they know will be a good fit?

    That's a question I get a lot from my students. Any worthwhile coding bootcamp is building a culture of learning and error and asking questions. But the reality is that there are plenty of companies that don’t believe in those values, and that may not have been the culture that people experience in their typical education. At Galvanize, we've broken our students’ brains because we teach them to expect a lot of help and a lot of guidance. Once they join the real world, they may have to reckon with a lack of guidance, and it's a very abrupt transition.

    First of all is, students should know if this company has hired bootcamp graduates before and are they still around? If there are a couple of graduates on a couple of different teams, then it’s probably a good environment. Those people have been able to survive at that company, and they've probably gone through a similar experience to you. Looking for evidence of past success is probably your first step.

    If there are no bootcamp graduates and you’re very junior, you're going to need a lot of mentorship, some hand-holding, and some help debugging. So you want to find a company where your lead developer (the person who's in charge of the team that you’re on) has time talk to you for at least 2-4 hours per week.

    Do you think there should be a specific number of developers on a team that you choose?

    That's hard to say, but you don't want to be the first coding bootcamp grad. Also, keep in mind that this is advice for the middle-of-the-road bootcamp student who is very competent and very useful right out of the gate.

    If a company can give you an idea of where to start, has a fairly established code base, etc, then that's great. You’re looking for an employer who understands what you need to succeed.

    I see difficulties for the top 25% of graduates, who are often placed in situations where it's very hard for them to succeed. They take jobs at tiny startups where they're the first or second person on the team, and they don't have a mentor to demonstrate how to go about anything. They don't need somebody to walk them through everything, because they can figure it out themselves. But what they do need help with is what to learn next and they need a little bit of introduction to a big subject.

    How do you assess student progress at Galvanize?

    The way that we assess at Galvanize is through a set of Standards of Education. A Standard is basically a task like “Build a RESTful API.” And in order for us to set a Standard, we have to have an assessment with it – a realistic task that students complete to prove that they meet the standard.

    Would failing a “Standard” ever cause attrition? Can a Galvanize student “fail out?”

    No, we operate based on “Mastery-based education.” So you're allowed to try again until you get it. We assume that the first time you try something, you're not going to get it.

    Attrition happens usually when somebody is completely falling behind the rest of the class to a serious degree. Generally, people keep up with the pace. You can be at the back of the class, but still be keeping up, and that's fine. But if everyone else is building servers and you're not sure how to make a function work, then you either need to spend a lot more time working hard, or maybe you’re not as interested in coding as you think you are.

    So we've talked about future changes to certain parts of Galvanize, but what do you see for the future of coding bootcamps as an industry in 2017?

    A lot of coding bootcamps are really starting to experiment with blended learning. I think that blended learning is the future of coding bootcamps because it enables more personalized education.

    Before the election, I was thinking that we would start to see a little bit more regulatory support. Coding bootcamps aren’t a replacement for college, and they’re not a trade school either. They’re a different, interesting method of education. I think that we will start to see more subjects taught through the immersive model. For example, I think of 500 Startups as a bootcamp version of an MBA. At Galvanize, one of our member companies is called GrowthX, and they do a sales bootcamp.

    I think we’ll also start to see a mix of Masters programs and bootcamps. Bootcamps are socially acceptable to attend late in life, and people tend to pursue Masters programs later in life as well. If you did an 18 month MBA and a 3 month coding bootcamp, you'd graduate with a set of skills that you just couldn't even argue with. I think we'll start to compose masters programs of different kinds with coding bootcamps, and that will expand our audience segments.

    It’s interesting that you bring up the regulatory environment...

    I think that the regulatory environment for the next four years is going to be very difficult to predict and I think that consumers will need to be pretty savvy with what they accept from their educational institutions and how they vet them. I think Course Report will be really important to that vetting.

    What sort of resources or meetups or groups do you recommend for aspiring Galvanize students in San Francisco?

    We host a meetup at Galvanize called Learn To Code SF, where we do some free introductory learn to code lessons. NodeSchool is also a really great group to get started with. There are meetups that happen about once a month, and you can do it online.

    Is there anything we totally missed that you want to share with Course Report readers?

    One thing that I recommend is that students physically go to the school that they are interested in attending and meet the actual instructor who will be in charge of the class, because your personal chemistry is really, really important. The instructor probably has an outsized effect on your actual success in the class.

    To learn more, read Galvanize reviews on Course Report or visit the Galvanize website!

    About The Author

    Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students considering a coding bootcamp. She loves breakfast tacos and spending time getting to know bootcamp alumni and founders all over the world. Check out Liz & Course Report on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube

  • Alumni Spotlight: Tim Chan of Galvanize

    Liz Eggleston10/17/2016


    After 10 years in the pharmaceutical industry, Tim Chan was ready for a change and saw his future in data science. With a Ph.D. and an M.B.A., the last thing he needed was another degree, so he enrolled in Galvanize’s Data Science Bootcamp in Seattle. After graduating in April 2016, Tim networked like crazy and is now a data scientist for a product analytics team. Tim tells us how he prepared for the Galvanize interview, why the cohort experience was integral to his success, and even shares his final project with us (how much do you know about cheating in the Boston Marathon??).


    What first motivated you to change career paths?

    I always wanted to design drugs in the pharmaceutical industry, so I got a Ph.D. in Chemistry (and later an MBA). Pharma research is somewhat on the decline, and I found that during my 10 years in that industry, I was gravitating more towards analytics and statistics. Instead of just making the molecules, I was actually using data, correlations, and trends to guide which molecules we should make next.

    Once you discovered Data Science as a career, did you think about getting another graduate degree in addition to your M.B.A. and Ph.D.?

    Nope, I didn’t consider it. The last thing I need is another degree. When I was evaluating opportunities, the bootcamp made a lot more sense to me. Especially when I heard that Galvanize, in particular, wasn't designed to take students from “0 to 60.” They were looking for students with a solid foundation in math and some programming skills, who they could upgrade into the world of data science. And that seemed a lot more appealing to me.

    Did you research other data science bootcamps in Seattle before you chose Galvanize?

    I looked far and wide all across the US for Data Science Bootcamps (and I used Course Report)! I didn’t have a straightforward quantitative Ph.D. background, so I didn’t apply for fellowships like Insight. Also, I was looking for a longer program. Galvanize was the right fit for me in terms of curriculum and admissions.

    I hear that the Galvanize campus in Seattle is pretty cool.

    Yeah. I was living in Boston at the time, and had wanted to move to a West Coast city for a long time. Seattle was high up on my list. And when I found out that Galvanize was actually starting a Data Science program in Seattle, I said "That's it. I'm moving."

    I come from the pharmaceutical industry, so this was my first introduction to a tech incubator; it’s got a very cool vibe to it. The Galvanize campus is in Pioneer Square, which is pretty central and fun.

    Did you already know some Python or a statistical programming language from your time in pharmaceuticals?

    No, not at all. I was pretty into coding starting at  ~13 years old, but I hadn’t been coding for over 15 years. I went to a Galvanize Open House before I applied, and they mentioned that they want to see math skills (meaning Linear Algebra, Statistics, and Probability), and Python skills.

    I was familiar with all three of those math fields, but I wanted to be certain that I had the depth of knowledge they were looking for, so I took a few online classes.

    Which online classes did you take to prepare for the math part of the interview?

    I don’t remember the exact numbers, but they were in the MIT Open Courseware. I took an online introductory statistics and a year 2 linear algebra class.

    How did you prepare for the Python part of the application?

    I really didn't know how difficult the process was going to be. I tried to find information online, tried to hear from other alumni, and tried to find out what the actual questions and scope would be.  

    Galvanize recommended playing around on HackerRank and being able to do Level Medium questions, which I found quite challenging.

    During the Galvanize application process, they actually weigh your math skills and coding skills, and you can be somewhat proficient in one if you at least have a strong background in the other. So they’re looking for a balance between math and programming.

    Tell us about your cohort at Galvanize. Was your class large? Was it diverse? Were there a lot of different career and life backgrounds amongst classmates?

    After hearing about other Galvanize cohorts, that was actually a big draw for me. I didn’t want to do an online program. I really wanted the cohort experience. That was something that I actually learned a lot from my MBA – I wanted those connections, and I wanted to be able to learn from my classmates. The Galvanize experience definitely gave me all of that and more.

    My class was 18 students – roughly a third had Ph.D.s, a third had master’s degrees and a third bachelor's degrees. People came from a wide variety of backgrounds. There were a few people who were fresh out of college and some people who had been working for 10 years. Some people were very strong in coding, while others had a whole career in science or analytics, and they wanted to strengthen their coding skills.

    I definitely learned a lot from my cohort, and that was a selling point for Galvanize.

    Tell us about a typical day at Galvanize?

    In a typical day, we would have a quiz in the morning just to recap previous learnings. Then we had lectures from roughly 9am to 11am. After that, we did a morning coding sprint from 11am to 12am. After lunch, we had another lecture. Then we did an afternoon pair programming exercise where you'd have to team up with a member of your cohort and complete a more complicated exercise to solidify your learnings for the day.

    Since you started Galvanize with very little Python skills, how did you get up to speed quickly?

    Galvanize has an optional Week 0, and the main focus was on Python and a bit of linear algebra. Week 0 is essentially for people who wanted to get up to speed on the basics. Week 0 helped me start in Week 1 with above-average Python skills, but even in Week 1 and Week 2, I was still learning a lot of Python.

    Galvanize promised me that when I graduated, I would be a professional programmer. I didn’t really believe that could be done in 12 weeks, but I definitely feel that now. The Python skills I learned are over and above what I need in my current job. I can talk to other software engineers about Python and feel pretty comfortable in that environment.

    Can you tell us about your favorite project that you built at Galvanize?

    The capstone project is emphasized strongly, and Galvanize helps students pick projects that reflect their personality. I lived on the Boston Marathon route for 10 years, and while I’m not a runner, I always enjoyed watching the Marathon and hearing the stories of individual runners and their accomplishments. I knew that I wanted to do my capstone project about Boston Marathon data, and I actually used data on prior running histories to figure out who cheats in the Boston Marathon.

    Whoa! What did you find? Are people actually cheating in the Boston Marathon??

    It's never easy to verify these things. I did get in touch with a blogger, who helped describe what cheating looks like in the Boston Marathon. Runners have to actually qualify, so while they don’t actually cheat in the Boston Marathon, they cheat to get a qualifying time.

    Once I learned that, I started to pull people's prior running histories from other marathon events and factor in the course conditions like the temperature and the weather. If I had data from them five years ago, I could do a correction in term of just normal age curve.

    Did you use Python for that project?

    That project was a lot of Python, and I had to get pretty good with web scraping. Anyone who's written a scraper knows it's actually a lot of work to write one scraper, but to write four of them is four times as more difficult.

    Is the project live now? Can we share it with our readers?

    Sure, it’s at

    What are you doing now? Tell us what you do in your new job as a data scientist!

    I work in Product Analytics, and essentially I'm the source of data-based knowledge. I scour through the data to answer questions like how is the product doing, where are the problems, and which demographics are enjoying the product.

    Do you feel like you learned at Galvanize what you actually need to know for your job as a data scientist today?

    There's nothing like actually doing data science for a real company. There's a lot you have to learn in terms of getting up speed with the company. And especially when you're trying to make recommendations to engineering teams- that requires a certain amount of confidence. However, I would say that Galvanize actually prepared me with all of the skills that I needed for my first job. The skills I learned at Galvanize will keep me relevant for many years, and I feel I could perform well in a wide variety of different data science roles.

    Anybody who graduates from a bootcamp goes through some level of Imposter Syndrome- how have you built up your confidence as a Data Scientist?

    The mentorship that my company provides is pretty solid. I also have a fair amount of work experience, so I've learned how to trust my team with giving me feedback on how I'm doing in the role. I constantly seek feedback, and find that people are pretty honest. You just have to rely on that mentorship and feedback, and continue to grow in the role and just accept the fact that this is a new job, and nobody is going to be perfect on day one.

    How did Galvanize prepare you for that job hunt?

    We had a hiring day, which actually turned out to not be the most successful event for my cohort in terms of job placements. Previous cohorts had better luck, but for me, I found that Galvanize did prepare me by helping me make sure that my resume was appropriately written like a data scientist resume and with my LinkedIn profile.

    Galvanize has an Outcomes Manager who is there to help you with any questions and frustrations you may be having on the job search, networking skills, and setting the bar for a successful job search.

    How did you end up getting the job?

    I did a lot of networking. I tried to make sure I went to one or two networking events every week. And I know a lot of data scientists will cringe at that because there’s a stereotype that data scientists have an introverted personality type. It's always tough, but you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. I had three onsite interviews after graduating from Galvanize, and when I look back, all three were from in-person networking.

    What is a data science interview like? Are you whiteboarding or coding in Python?

    All three of my interviews were pretty similar, but I never had to whiteboard in Python. I did get one short, small coding question, but I did a lot of whiteboard SQL. For a product analytics role, they presented me with a product and a problem, and I had to talk through how I would approach finding the answers in the data.

    For example, Twitch may ask you to find the ideal broadcast length. And then you would have to describe to them how you would look in the data to find that answer.

    Are there similarities between that world of drug research pharmaceutical business and doing data science work for a tech company? Has your past career been useful to this new role as a data scientist or have you just left that life behind?

    I definitely learned a lot of skills as a scientist that are still applicable to my current role. Especially how to define the problem, being absolutely rigorous with your conclusions, making sure that you have accurate data that supports your recommendations or statements. That sounds simple, but you actually learn in the world of science by being burned many times. Also, I learned about using your instinct and following the trail of data in order to get to your ultimate conclusion.

    What was the biggest challenge or roadblock in your journey to becoming a Data Scientist? Any advice that you have for people thinking about doing the same type of career change?

    For me, the hardest part was actually quitting my job, moving across country and putting all my eggs in this one basket. That wasn't the most intellectually challenging part of the process, but that was the part that I was the most scared about. As a typical scientist, I made sure I had done as much research as I could about that transition, ensuring that the job prospects and salary were indeed in Seattle, and making sure I was taking the right bootcamp.

    My advice is to do all of your homework in advance. Make sure you know exactly what you're getting yourself into, and then just go for it.

    Have you stayed involved with Galvanize since graduating?

    Yeah, I do keep in touch with my alumni network. Like I mentioned before, I think the cohort experience is a very important part of the process, and it pays dividends even after you graduate. You have a network of data scientists who know you well and who can help you out. These are people who you have a bonding experience with, and you've been in the trenches with. To be honest, what I got out of Galvanize was way beyond my expectations going in, so I'm very happy with that experience.

    Find out more and read Galvanize reviews on Course Report. Check out the Galvanize website.

    About The Author

    Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students considering a coding bootcamp. She loves breakfast tacos and spending time getting to know bootcamp alumni and founders all over the world. Check out Liz & Course Report on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube

  • September 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe1/18/2018

    Welcome to the September 2016 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month, we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to big fundraising announcements, to interesting trends. Of course, we cover our 2016 Outcomes and Demographics Report (we spent a ton of time on this one and hope everyone gets a chance to read it)! Other trends include growth of the industry, increasing diversity in tech through bootcamps, plus news about successful bootcamp alumni, and new schools and campuses. Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast!

    Continue Reading →
  • Instructor Spotlight: Wesley Reid of Galvanize

    Imogen Crispe9/21/2016


    With a background in nonprofits, Wesley has paired his love for coding with a longtime passion for helping people, to become an instructor at Galvanize’s six-month coding bootcamp in Denver, CO. He is really enjoying seeing students succeed and find their dream jobs, just like he has. Wesley tells us about the difference between 12-week and six-month coding bootcamps, how he brings real-world projects into his coding classroom, and tells us about some of his most successful students.

    Tell me about your background and experience before you joined Galvanize.

    I have a degree in Philosophy and Anthropology from Columbia University in New York.  After graduation, I worked in non-profits at Teach for America for a bit, and then at a nonprofit called New York Needs You, where we helped first generation college students find and secure their first internships. I loved helping students get a leg up, but I wanted something more challenging. My days were spent in Excel spreadsheets, (which I found I was good at) so I decided there was something to that.

    Were you interested in coding before working in Excel spreadsheets?

    I'd been playing around with the internet for as long as I can remember. My first website was a GeoCities Pokemon fan website. I was one of the first members of my extended family to go to college, and I didn't know people actually did coding for a living. However, to me, coding seemed like a great challenge and happened to be fun for me. So in 2013, I actually enrolled in General Assembly's third ever Web Development Immersive, and then I worked in the industry for about three years in New York. I moved to Denver about two and a half years ago to work as a developer for a company called Democracy Works.

    Helping others has always been an important part of my career trajectory. Now, teaching at Galvanize has been like a great merger of all my passions. It brings together the technological aspect with teaching, and supporting students. I started at Galvanize in October 2015.

    I think there are actually a few bootcamps in Denver, right? What was it about Galvanize that convinced you they were doing something special?

    When I visited the Galvanize campus, you could tell how invested everyone was in the company and the students, and that was a signal that they really care. It seemed like other bootcamps were solely about technical skills, and at Galvanize we're really invested in teaching people how to learn and making sure that we're doing so in a methodological but exciting way. It's exciting to see the education realms and tech realms truly intersecting.

    Where does your teaching experience come from?

    At New York Needs You, we had biweekly day-long conferences where I led workshops on topics like How to Build a Resume, How to Interview, etc. Those were super exhausting and completely exhilarating. It was all the good parts of work where I felt spent and tired, but it was when I had the most fun.

    What’s the teaching structure of the web development bootcamp at Galvanize?

    I teach the Web Development Immersive class in full stack JavaScript. It's six months and we take a one-week break every five or six weeks. We're taking students from beginner level all the way to full stack applications and beyond. With our slightly longer timeline, we also go over single page web applications (SPAs), and spend more time on front end frameworks like Angular and React.

    Our last unit is dedicated to the students’ big capstone projects, computer science fundamentals, and the job process. We spend a lot more time at the end getting them to be beyond just developers, and hopefully good, competent developers.

    Since you've been at Galvanize, what have you found is your personal teaching style?

    One thing we try and do is engage students at all moments, as opposed to a lecture style where we're at the front of the classroom talking for 30 or 40 minutes. Students could expect five minutes of instruction, then three or four questions, then another five minutes of instruction, and then a group exercise. We're always trying to get better at doing less lecturing and more hands-on-keyboard work.

    One of my favorite parts of teaching is bringing in both funny and real examples for students to use. Trying to bring things back to the real world with superheroes and tired TV tropes is super fun. We have a lot of fun, we're always laughing, and I think that’s the best way to learn.

    As an instructor at Galvanize, how have you been able to contribute to the curriculum? Does it change often?

    We are a curriculum-based bootcamp to start, so we don't have to reinvent the wheel whenever we do want to make changes. Typically, we'll create a new project for students that we think better elucidates a concept, or we'll build out part of the curriculum depending on where we are in that unit, for students interact with.

    One example is that we just started talking about the server side, and getting students started on Node. And I was trying to talk about how servers interact with each other and what the interactions look like. So we built a little game called Castle Crashers and everyone had their own castle and when you hit different HTTP routes, it would shield the castle or do damage to it. We got everyone up and running on that so they could play around with each other and attack each other's castles.

    My contribution to the curriculum is really thinking through different exercises and ways to teach concepts. All of these concepts can be super dry, but it’s exciting to figure out new ways to present content.

    What differences have you noticed between the way people learn in a 12-week program like you did at General Assembly, versus Galvanize’s six-month program?

    Just this last week I was pointing out to my students that they were three months through Galvanize and at the end of the unit you'd be where most bootcamp grads are, but you actually have another three months. One of my students came up to me and said, "I can't imagine being done with the bootcamp at this stage!"

    I think what students get out of having a longer timeline is just a little bit more breathing room. That’s something we try and stress. We shove so much information at them, there's no way they're going to get 100% of it, and some of it just needs to sit on the back burner while the students figure out "what other questions can I ask to understand this concept?"

    I think the 6-month timeline gives them some security. I hope that helps students in terms of their stress level.

    Do you think with the slightly longer program, that students don't feel a need to put in such intensive hours or are you seeing students still putting in the same kind of hours that you would have when you were doing GA?

    I think it's a little bit less intensive, because we really encourage that during the class. We say "If it gets to be 9pm or 10pm and you're still working or frustrated, go to bed. If you're tired your brain cannot absorb anything new." I do think it allows students to lean off the gas pedal a little bit, so they’re not just accelerating at such a fast pace.

    But we still push our students super hard, and we expect them to be working throughout the week and on weekends. Ultimately they do get more breathing room, but they also end up learning a lot more throughout the six months. That's the balance we try to find, and I think we do it well. We want to make sure students have time to mentally recover from a really tough week, while ensuring they get the most they possibly can out of the six months that they're here.

    What kind of hours do you normally see Galvanize students put in each week?

    It definitely depends on the unit and of course the student, but I would say once we reach the middle of the class, students are doing at least a couple of hours of homework every single day, and working for four or five hours on a bigger project in the middle of the week.

    The idea is that they have one day on the weekend to rest and nothing, but the other day they're coding the entire day.

    Our core hours are 9am to 5pm. Typically instructors and students show up earlier. I know students who get here as early as 7am, 7:30am sometimes to work on stuff in the morning. My hours are usually 8:30am to 5:30pm, just helping students who are there before and helping students a little bit afterwards.

    How many instructors and mentors are there in a classroom, and what's your student teacher ratio?

    I think we are currently at our ideal student:teacher ratio – we have four instructors for a class with a max size of 28 students. There's usually one TA, who is usually someone from the prior class who we've hired, then an assistant instructor, an instructor, and a lead instructor.

    How do you assess student progress throughout the program?

    We assess progress in a number of ways. We do assignments during class. We check for understanding throughout the entire lesson to check where students are at. And we always have some sort of project or homework that goes over the ideas from before.

    Finally, at the end of each unit, students have their own project where they get to build whatever they want with the tools we've taught them. They need to use things like servers and databases, but the requirements around that are pretty loose in terms of topic or subject.

    Grading everything is tough. We try to distinguish between practice projects where we give them very minimal feedback. And then for some of the bigger projects we’ll have them create pull requests and give them notes on GitHub. Or we'll give them notes in our learning system called Learn, where we give feedback like, "Here are some ways you could restructure this program," or, "Hey, your indentation is off here, you're using a weird syntax.”

    And then do you do any kind of tests or assessments?

    Yes. Our assessments are still project based. Usually when we come back from a break we’ll have an assessment that relates to the prior unit, but those are still project-based. So we’ll give them essentially a whole bunch of Pivotal cards and they’ll have to finish those within a time limit.

    What happens when someone starts falling behind and then struggles to keep up with the program? Do you have methods to help that person catch up?

    It definitely depends on the situation. If someone's having health issues or family troubles, we will try and accommodate the student as much as possible. But if they need to leave, then we are as supportive as possible about them leaving.

    If they're not understanding the material or falling behind, we have a process in place called a PIP, a performance improvement plan, which is a way for the instructors and students to sit down and say, "Let's identify the ways in which you're struggling and identify some ways you can catch up." That usually includes some extra work or redoing some exercises.

    For a lot of students, the overwhelming part is trying to figure out how to prioritize their learning. “If I don't understand two things, what's the most important?" Those conversations usually just go down to "Here are four things we really need you to know now so we can move forward in the class. These are the three complex topics worth more time to catch back up on later on."

    Are you involved at all with the jobs placement aspect of the program?

    Not as much. It's the outcomes team that brings in people who are hiring as well as guest speakers throughout the class. But of course as instructors, we're with students the entire time, so we end up helping them as much as possible. We are definitely involved in terms of making sure they're ready for interviews, that they can talk about code, and they can solve coding challenges.

    What's the goal for a student that comes out of a six-month bootcamp? What kind of roles are students prepared for and are they more prepared than someone who's done a 12-week program?

    We want them to be ready to be junior full stack developers and start in the industry at an entry level. With that said, students want to do a variety of different things. The large majority of them will start as developers, but some will also find tech adjacent roles, or find they're doing more testing, or if they have a passion for Design, then they might want more front end roles. We're really trying to leave it up to them in terms of where they want to be because ultimately this is about them getting a first job they love and will learn a ton in.

    In terms of whether our students are more prepared than a 12-week bootcamp, I hope so. I think a lot of our students get jobs that require Angular or React, and they've had actual, extended practice with that in the classroom, which I think is super helpful for them on a very practical level.

    The other thing we do is in unit three we talk about application analysis in an unfamiliar environment. We show them code they haven't seen before and have them try to figure out how to use it. That gets towards Galvanize’s core mission of teaching people to learn how to learn so that if they work somewhere where they know three of the technologies not the fourth, they're not terrified of having to pick the fourth one up. They have so many different tools available, and feel comfortable saying, "Great, I can learn Python! It can't be any worse than trying to learn Java for a week and a half or something like that."

    Do you have a favorite example of a student success story that you've witnessed?

    Everyone has an interesting story, which is one of the most fun parts about this job.

    One that comes to mind- and that I think is very indicative of Galvanize- is a student called Kevin. He liked being in our Atrium, which is our member and student shared workspace, and just chatting to people. He made a lot of friends in the building and met this guy, Nick, who's working remote for a company in Boston. After talking for a long time they started working together on weekends and he eventually got hired by Nick at his company.

    Another example: Galvanize Golden Triangle accepts the GI Bill so we have a lot of veterans come through Galvanize and do really well. One student, Tyler, was expecting a child and the due date was our graduation day! He was able to graduate with an amazing job in Colorado that actually utilized his previous top security clearance, and a new baby. And so that was just very emotional and amazing.

    Another student Lina, who you can actually read about in our Galvanize blog, is from the Ukraine, and has an amazing story of how she came to be here. She is super smart and is now working for a cool company that's having her travel all around the world.

    Do you have any recommendations of resources or meetups in the Denver area that would be great for beginners?

    I would say the first places to start are Code School, and Codecademy, or do a Udemy course. I think those are great because if you start to do those and don't like it, that's a good sign that maybe coding is not for you.

    For in-person meetups, come to Galvanize! We host a ton of different meetups, and many of them are super accessible. The HTML5 meetup in Denver is particularly accessible to beginners. The Node.JS Meetup is run by one of our instructors, so it's a great place too. Even if it’s a more advanced topic just talk with some students who will usually be there, and people are excited to talk to newbies. In Denver at our local library, there are usually little free coding sessions where people come and learn some code. Girl Develop It, Rails bridge or Clojure Bridge are great places to start as well. There are plenty of in-person events, but I think finding some hub like Galvanize with tons of events is a great place to start too.

    Is there anything else that we didn't talk about or that you want to make sure our readers know about Galvanize?

    I would say come to our classroom and meet the instructors at the place you're going to be at for multiple hours every single day. Meet some prior students, and talk to them about what their experience was like. There's nothing better than getting a real life perspective of a student’s experience, and at least at Galvanize, we're 100% open to doing that.

    Creating a diverse classroom is another thing Galvanize is passionate about, so we’re continuing to push for and create spaces where everyone can come to learn. I want to see more ladies and people of color and queer people in my classes- so apply!

    Find out more and read Galvanize reviews on Course Report. Check out the Galvanize website.

    About The Author

    Imogen is a writer and content producer who loves writing about technology and education. Her background is in journalism, writing for newspapers and news websites. She grew up in England, Dubai and New Zealand, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

  • August 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe8/31/2016

    Welcome to the August 2016 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month, we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to big fundraising announcements, to interesting trends. This month the biggest news is the Department of Education's EQUIP pilot program to provide federal financial aid to some bootcamp students. Other trends include job placement outcomes, the gender imbalance in tech, acquisitions and investments, and paying for bootcamp. Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast!

    Continue Reading →
  • May 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe5/31/2016

    Welcome to the May 2016 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world, from acquisitions, to new bootcamps, to collaborations with universities, and also various reports and studies. Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup podcast.

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  • Which Coding Bootcamps Have Been Acquired?

    Liz Eggleston6/8/2018

    Since the first bootcamp acquisition in June 2014, we’ve seen several coding bootcamps get acquired by a range of companies from for-profit education companies (Capella Education), to co-working companies (WeWork), and other coding bootcamps (Thinkful + Bloc)! With rapid market growth in the bootcamp industry, for-profit education companies are taking note. These acquisitions and consolidations should come as no surprise, and some have been very successful, with schools going on to increase their number of campuses and course offerings. As coding bootcamps become more mature, we are seeing them get snapped up by more well-known companies, for increasingly large sums (e.g. General Assembly for $413 million!) We’ll keep this chronologically-ordered list updated as bootcamps announce future acquisitions.

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  • January 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup

    Liz Eggleston1/18/2018

    The January News Roundup is your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles in the coding bootcamp space. If you're part of the bootcamp world or just want to stay current on coding bootcamps, then check out everything you may have missed in January!

    Olivia Vanni from BostInno argues that Computer Science degrees in 2016 don't really make sense (coding bootcamps are one reason).

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  • Employee Spotlight: Jeff & Michael of Galvanize

    Liz Eggleston11/27/2015


    Since changing their name from gSchool to Galvanize, the bootcamp has implemented some pretty big changes. We talk with Jeff Dean and Michael Herman, both at Galvanize Denver, about their transition from Ruby to full-stack JavaScript (the MEAN Stack), opportunities for Galvanize graduates and what a student needs to succeed at a bootcamp.

    Liz:  How have things changed at Galvanize (other than the name)?

    Jeff:  The biggest thing is that we switched from a Rails curriculum to a MEAN stack curriculum. It’s amazing to see how much earlier students are progressing using our JavaScript and MEAN stack curriculum.

    Also, we have nearly doubled in size since we last spoke. We now have classes in Seattle, two in San Francisco, another in Denver, one in Boulder and most recently, Fort Collins.

    Liz: We’ve seen a few other bootcamps transition to JavaScript/MEAN stack. Having so many students and campuses, how do you change the curriculum across the board? Has it been difficult?

    Jeff: We have a mix of instructors and developers working on the curriculum. Our ideal model for a classroom is a lead instructor, an instructor and an associate instructor. Our lead instructors have either deep industry experience or experience in other code schools, and they help with the curriculum.

    We did have a curriculum director for a while and now we’re thinking about bringing that role back.

    Liz: What are your roles?

    Michael: Lead instructor.

    Jeff: I’m the Full Stack Director. I’ve been teaching more or less full-time since I got here up until a couple of weeks ago.

    Liz: How do you balance being an instructor while also staying abreast of the latest technologies in the industry?

    Michael:  People ask me that question a lot. I’ve been in tech education for a long time; I actually started at Dev Bootcamp in one of their first cohorts with Jessie.  I’ve been working 80 hour weeks for the past 6 years, and, at times, I don’t know how I do things. I don’t really have the answer to that but I definitely don’t encourage people to work as much as I do.

    Jeff: Generally speaking, instructors love technology. I’m creating Angular 2 apps on the bus and it never stops.

    I don’t think the question is how do instructors stay abreast of technology? The question is how do you find a work-life balance? One is making sure that the company is dedicated to giving instructors the right amount of time away from class.

    We just launched a called Galvanize Experts where instructors actually work on consulting projects. One of our instructors here in Denver has been working on a project for the last few months. First she was taking two days and now she’s taking a day a week to write code for an actual client. She’s gaining industry experience that will allow her to move up in her career.

    At Galvanize we say you’ll never become a lead instructor without having experience.  We’re really optimistic that the Galvanize Experts program will provide an avenue for instructors to hone their skills while also working a regular work week. Our staff maintain employable skills. For us, it’s not about staying current, but learning to maintain a balance.

    Liz: What are your standards for hiring a Galvanize graduate? What positions do they get hired into and how do you decide who’s going to be a TA or instructor?

    Jeff:  There are two ways Galvanize students can come into the program. The first one is as an associate instructor, and a number of previous graduates have gone into those positions. We advertise those positions publicly and we take students through the same interview process an external associate instructor candidate would go through. They would interview with an instructor from a different campus for the technical interview, just to remove some bias from the process. Our graduates that have become associate instructors are amazing and we’re excited to have them.

    A lot of students want to be here, but still work as a developer.  Our resident program offers contract positions for a fixed length of three or six months. It’s a way for students to say solidify their knowledge and remain in the community.

    It’s been working really well. We made a full-time offer to our first fullstack resident. I anticipate that our associate instructor roles will be filled less by students, because the competition is getting steeper and because we still have alumni present in the fulltime resident program.

    Michael: I definitely agree with that. Sometimes I forget the struggle I went through while learning how to code, so having a recent graduate keeps me accountable. After I finish a lecture that is either too advanced or full of jargon - or both, for that matter -, the resident can let me know and also help students better understand the main points from the lecture. It’s really good to have that balance between instructors that have a lot of industry experience and residents that just graduated.

    Liz: I get a lot of questions about what type of person should do a bootcamp. You’ve been through Dev Bootcamp, RefactorU and now, Galvanize. Is there a particular type of student that does really well at Galvanize or is there a typical bootcamp profile that  you’ve seen?

    Michael: Those that are passionate, driven and excellent problem solvers.. Many think that they can do a bootcamp without first trying something like Codecademy.  I always tell people that are interested to try Codecademy or even Thinkful, which only costs $1,500 to see if they even like coding!

    There’s nothing wrong with wanting to come out of it and make a lot of money, but you still need to understand that it is a struggle and very difficult.

    Liz: What does a student accomplish in a six-month bootcamp like this one as opposed to the shorter 10 week programs?

    Michael: I can teach them another language. We can go into SQL, advanced data structures and other CS fundamentals; there’s so many different avenues we could take.  It’s exciting because now they can start solving higher level problems and getting – not quite midlevel—  but a bit beyond junior level positions.

    Liz: Do you think that you can get a job as a developer after 12 weeks?

    Michael: Yes, but it is quite absurd thinking that anyone could become a developer in 12 or even 24 weeks. I talked to Shereef (founder of Dev Bootcamp) about this when I was studying at Dev Bootcamp. You could redo certain modules, and I remember thinking, “why wouldn’t I redo all of the modules?”There’s so much more to learn.

    Jeff: In the beginning we were able to take students with much less experience than other bootcamps because we had a longer format.

    What we’re seeing now is that we can still take students who are beginners, but as an organization we’ve learned that they get so much more when they come in with experience.  We’ve introduced a significant portion of first year algorithm practice into our curriculum that students would get while earning a CS degree. A higher percentage of our students are leaving with knowledge of two or more languages.  We have about a third of the class in one Denver cohort learning technologies in addition to JavaScript and Rails.

    We’ve leveled up our interview prep program quite a bit.

    Liz: What does that entail?

    Jeff: We’ve increased algorithms, timed practice, and tutorials on how to turn interviews into conversations, rather than answering unrelated questions and waiting for a Q&A at the end. I believe strongly that as an industry, tech companies are in their infancy in terms of being able to identify talent. I see students who I would hire for a developer job rejected from multiple interviews that are poorly designed.

    We're seeing students do better than before. The companies are surprised by how fantastic they are, and they’re sending the students back to our hiring days to hire more students.

    Liz: Those alumni networks are probably one of the biggest value additions to any bootcamp.

    Jeff: Our alumni network happens to be in the building in a lot of cases. We’re not just thinking of it as an alumni network, but as deep, sustainable relationships with companies that are going to influence the curriculum and the decisions we make. The alumni networks help pave the way.

    Liz: Do you still see companies that refuse to hire bootcamp graduates?

    Jeff:  Absolutely.

    Liz: How has that changed since you’ve been in the industry?

    Jeff: Companies who have already hired a graduate are particularly open to bootcamp graduates. In markets like New York, San Francisco and places where there are a lot of options, getting interviews is really tough. Especially in a lot of the shorter programs and remote programs, students don’t have the skills to get through more complicated challenges.

    I have friends who are hiring managers that say, “When we see a code school on a resume we don’t do it.” I don’t worry about that because ultimately, it’s their loss.

    These are amazing developers! People who are fixing their mind about this are losing out on big talent. Pretty soon, companies that hire bootcamp grads will have thriving 

    These are amazing developers! People who are fixing their mind about this are losing out on big talent. Pretty soon, companies that hire bootcamp grads will have thriving development cultures. Eventually, experienced bootcamp graduates will work at more companies and will be instrumental in recognizing and hiring bootcamp talent.

    Liz: I agree. Bootcamp grads know how to learn and have interesting different backgrounds too.

    Jeff: When I was on the hiring side interviewing graduates of middle-tier CS programs, I can’t remember one that I hired out of the dozens I interviewed.

    Maybe this was an experiment a couple of years ago, but in a year people are going to take for granted that this is the way to become a software developer. We’re starting to see that.

    Liz: Have you graduated the first Galvanize U cohort yet?  I’m really excited  to see the results. A lot of 4-year colleges are thinking about how to partner with bootcamps and how to offer the same kind of thing.

    Jeff: I believe that’s in a couple of months. But we’ve started our second cohort.

    Michael:  For my undergrad, I started in CS and ended up with a Business degree with a minor in Philosophy. I value the critical thinking skills that I got. it’s all about balance. Undergrad students could really use this to their advantage. By coupling the practical education from a bootcamp with the theoretical from undergrad, you can really come out of school with a strong foundation while also being able to contribute practically. CS programs should partner with bootcamps, allowing students to take a semester off to gain those much-needed practical skills.

    Interested in learning more about Galvanize? Check out their CourseReport page!

  • Alumni Spotlight: Deseanae Bluiett of Galvanize

    Liz Eggleston10/28/2015


    After dabbling in data science in her Analytics career, Deseanae wanted a career change without racking up debt for another degree (she already had a Bachelor’s in Engineering and an MBA). Enter Galvanize! Deseanae shares the differences between R and Python, her stellar final project and tips for other future data scientists on the interview circuit.


    What were you doing before you came to Galvanize?

    I have a background in engineering and an MBA. Most recently I was doing business and market analytics. I enjoyed using data-driven models to discover insights.

    I started looking at related positions and found that most positions required a PhD in statistics or coding experience. But, I was already building models in R and I’m the type of person that can teach myself anything. However I quickly realized there was a lot more to learn than could be feasibly self taught.   So I looked at my options and was actually considering a second masters.

    Thinking about going back to school, what was that decision making process like?

    I was thinking about a masters in statistics or data science, which is a branch of statistics. It was a hard decision because I have a monthly student loan payment that is bigger than most people’s mortgage. It was really hard for me to consider taking on more debt.

    One of my coworkers told me about Galvanize. I was already thinking about moving to Denver and when I moved here a neighbor mentioned it too. So I checked it out,  and the data science program seemed like the additional step that I needed.

    It is a hard decision. The Galvanize program in Denver is $16,000. It is expensive but it’s a lot less than 140K. One thing I will say, you do learn a lot very quickly and we are here learning 11 hours a day. Even though it’s 12 weeks, if you compare that to a college program, it’s probably three semesters of school.

    What was the application process like?

    There’s a written application, two coding assignments and a statistics assignment. There’s a coding assignment that you take home and another coding and statistics assignment during a Skype or Google Hangout where they’re actually Skyping with you and watching you code – which is a little unnerving.

    You mentioned R. Is that the language you learned in the Galvanize class?

    No, we learned Python, which I crammed in about two hours. I learned enough to take the test. A lot of my classmates had a lot more than two hours of Python. The first week was very hard for me just trying to pick up the language in addition to picking up the statistics.

    There are a couple of data science schools in New York that teach R. What is the difference between R and Python?

    They’re both open source, but R’s a lot older. The thing with R is because it is open source and older there are a lot of libraries but it’s not really standardized. You use one library to do something one day and a week later, you come back and you can’t.

    Python, which is newer, is more robust. Even though it only has a couple of libraries, the libraries are very well-defined, very well documented. When there’s an issue, you can upload your issue and the people who are writing it will fix it and do the update. You don’t have to change your code, which is  why people are moving to Python, because it’s just stronger.

    Can you do things in Python that you can’t do in R?

    You can do things easier in Python because it has stronger libraries. The big library that people use is Panda’s. In Panda’s library, I can do one line that would have taken several lines of code in R.

    Another big library is SK-Learn which is like a statistical package. Someone with a math background might take three pages front and back to do a task, but the same task would only require a few lines of code in SK-Learn. The library is so robust that one line can accomplish a lot of things!

    What other technologies and frameworks did you learn at Galvanize Data Science?

    We used Hadoop, SPARK, Amazon Cloud, EC2 and more. Everything was based in Python. We built onto Python then we moved on to Hadoop and SPARK for the larger data sets.

    Since you have many years of traditional education, what was the difference between your undergrad program and your 12 weeks at Galvanize in terms of teaching style?

    I like the teaching style at Galvanize better. It might be because I already have the foundation; I’m not a bright-eyed 18-year old anymore. I went to Cornell for undergrad and I remember my entry level engineering classes felt overwhelming. I was just completely lost because the classes are so big and you don’t feel comfortable asking questions, that’s just part of being young and naïve.

    At Galvanize, since our class was small and our professor was in the industry, if I didn’t understand something I could ask the professor to explain it in more detail or I would ask my classmates, “How did you learn this?” They would either bring in a textbook the next day for me to read those chapters or they would email me an article that explained it from a different approach.  In that way, I really thought it was different.

    Were there women in your Cornell undergrad engineering program?

    Yes, there were always one or two girls.

    Was the class at Galvanize a diverse class?

    No, I’m the only girl.

    Who was the instructor for this class and do you know their background?

    Dan Becker; his background is in economics and statistics. He started doing Kaggle competitions. In a Kaggle competition, a company poses a problem for a group to work on and the group or individual that solves the problem can make really good money, about 50 to 100 K.

    So, he started winning Kaggle competitions and getting job opportunities, which led him to data science. From that he started doing consulting work and now he’s teaching. He's transitioning to a startup role so we’ll be getting a new teacher.

    What did you do for your final project?

    I created a predictive model that utilized gender, education level and other demographic factors to determine the probability of a customer buying a particular product with 98% accuracy. I was able to do this using machine learning.

    If you’re using your gut to predict consumer behavior, which salespeople use a lot, there’s no way to quantify that. Whenever I used Excel and Excel Miner the highest accuracy rate I achieved with real data was 70%.

    After I created the model, I created an interactive dashboard hosted in an app. If my sales people were meeting customers in the field, they could easily type in their demographic information and determine if a customer is going to buy a product and what product features are important to them.

    What was the biggest challenge of these 12 weeks?

    I think the biggest challenge, which might sound very trivial, is learning how to use an Apple computer.

    What are you looking at after this?

    I’m looking for jobs right now, which is the scary part. When you graduate from a university, they have everything kind of lined up for you.

    Here we have connections with companies, but they don’t have positions set aside or developed. I want to find a position that combines my management skills with business and data science. I would like to find a big data product management position or a data science marketing/project management position. Right now I’m sending applications to get in front of people and explain my skill set, because I feel like a lot of times people are looking for certain keywords. Because I have such a diverse background talking to them allows me to explain how everything lines up and how I have all of the necessary skills.

    Have you gone on an interview yet?

    I’m interviewing with one company now, but they’ve put their interviews on hold. It’s a consulting company that works with data science solutions for external companies.

    Do you have any advice for people who are looking at data science boot camps in general or people who are looking at Galvanize specifically?

    Though we’re using data science as a statistical base, everything still has to do with code. Definitely brush up on your coding skills or buy a Python or Linux book. I bought Intro to Python.

    I actually bought a SQL book also and am learning to answer CS questions because there’s a misconception about what data scientists are really doing. A lot of interviewers ask CS or SQL questions even though in your role you would never use SQL or code as a programmer does. You’re not going to be using SQL unless you’re a database manager which is a completely different skill set.

    Any general advice to bootcampers?

    The last thing I would say is because these bootcamps are so fast and it’s like going into a new world, especially if you’re not in New York where it’s crazy exploding, I would say take the time to go to meetups and talk to people.

    Before you know it you’re going to be done with the program and you haven’t made those connections to see who’s actually hiring and what they’re looking for. Galvanize has a lot of meetups in their space.

    Interested in learning more about Galvanize Data Science? Check out their website or Course Report page!

  • Instructor Spotlight: Martha Berner of Galvanize

    Liz Eggleston10/23/2015


    Course Report recently chatted with student-turned-instructor, Martha Berner of Galvanize. Martha shares her experience at 3 Galvanize campuses and why she turned down outside job offers and instead joined Galvanize as an instructor after graduation. As a student of Ruby and Rails who later switched to JavaScript and the MEAN Stack, Martha provides insight into her transition and why Galvanize made the switch.


    You’ve worked and learned at Galvanize in San Francisco, Boulder and Denver. Which campus was your favorite?

    I was a student in Boulder, taught in San Francisco and now Denver. At each campus I had a different role. Here in Denver I’m coming into my own, but I think that’s just because of where I am it in my career. As a student you freak out, but you also learn so much.

    Then, as a TA I had to work really hard to shed my student complex like most young engineers who have imposter syndrome, so I was still working that out.

    Then I came here to Denver, and with more teaching experience and being on my second language, you just get more comfortable and your knowledge grows.

    What were you doing before you went to Galvanize?

    I was a touring musician for over 10 years and a freelance videographer. But oddly enough that’s how I found software development - because being a musician doesn’t pay very well! I thought, “What job can I do to make money on the road?”  I started to teach myself really basic front end development. Then I began to freelance, building websites and stuff.

    I got to the point where I realized that I love music, but not being a professional musician anymore so I thought about what career I wanted to do. I really liked programming, but I didn’t know enough to get a job. It just so happened that I moved to Denver, unrelated to Galvanize. But I was really looking for a career change and I did a Google search and found Galvanize. Now there’s Turing, but there wasn’t anybody else around then.

    So you were a student at Galvanize when it was called gSchool. At that time, the full stack program was teaching Ruby on Rails, right?

    Yes. Now the classes are called Galvanize Full Stack, but the reason they started the numbers is because in programming array indexes start at zero. So the first class was G-0 then G-1 and G-2.

    I understand now that it’s switched to MEAN Stack. Why was that decision made and how does a school like Galvanize choose to make that decision?

    Our mission here is outcomes. So really, we’re committed to adjusting things as necessary to stay relevant with what the needs of the field are.The demand for jobs on JavaScript developers is now outpacing the demand for Rails developers.  JavaScript is having this rebirth – it’s definitely on this huge upswing with Node and the variety of Back End Tools being developed for it.

    I was a student that went through Rails curriculum and now I’m an instructor (this is my third cohort). I’ve witnessed the evolution in student growth, and I’m a huge fan of teaching JavaScript. Ruby and Rails are a  great language and framework but I think for beginners, there’s too much abstraction. Students don’t get enough experience with what’s going on under the hood.

    What did this change mean for you as an instructor? Did you have to learn how to teach JavaScript, changing everything that you had experience with?

    Yeah, it was a real hustle. I got my feet wet when I graduated and started teaching. At the time, we called it a TA role so I didn’t have as much responsibility. I saw the curriculum swinging towards JavaScript so I began to teach myself and do whatever I could to learn it.

    How did you decide that you wanted to teach after you graduated?

    I share the values of Galvanize and its leaders about disrupting the education system. I agree with that because you’ve got numbers and numbers of young people going to college to get some degree and paying astronomical fees for that. Sometimes those educational experiences are really valuable if you’re in a specific field. A lot of them are getting generalized degrees, coming out with 100,000 of debt and finding themselves unable to get a job.

    I was really passionate about the vision, and it’s still a growing thing, but I want to be part of this change. It was a tough decision because I went to the program to go out and get a job as a developer. I did have offers.

    What led you to accept the instructor position over your other offers?

    I had other offers, but when it came down to it I thought “I like this teaching thing because I am also passionate about people who decide to make the kind of commitment to “clear my plate, quit my job and do whatever takes for 6 months to dive into this.” That takes a lot- it’s scary.

    I wanted to support those people. And also, as a woman, I wanted to be a role model for other women so they could see that this is something they can do. You need empathy for teaching.

    What do the classes look like? Are there a lot of women?

    Since I’ve been here most of the classes, save for one, have been almost 50-50.

    That’s also a big part of the Galvanize dream; diversifying the tech world. So we definitely - through scholarships and partnerships with strong female leaders and ambitious women - have worked hard to reach that demographic.

    That’s awesome. Realizing that you’re going to be taught by a graduate and a woman who went to Galvanize, I think that’s huge for potential students.

    It is my job. It’s all of our jobs to be doing that. You know, we’re all evangelists; I hope that everybody working here would be an evangelist.

    What’s the leadership structure like at Galvanize?

    It’s evolved since I started. Now each class has a lead instructor, an instructor and an associate instructor. We have a new role, FSR, which is a “Full-Stack In Residence.” It’s a role that we sometimes offer students. This role is different in that it is a contract hire position helping out part-time in class but also part-time working on coding projects.

    Now, it would be a rare case if a student were hired as an associate instructor. Senior Instructors  typically near a decade of working experience. It’s really important that the lead instructor be a senior, seasoned developer that’s been out and working in the world.

    What are your future plans? Do you want to transition to a full-time programming role at some point?

    For sure. I’m also working on production code right now, in addition to my teaching. As part of Galvanize, we’ve got this internal “level up” program. Instructors are able to continue to do production work while teaching.

    So I’m doing a client project unrelated to Galvanize as well, which is an awesome balance.

    Interested in learning more about Galvanize? Check out their CourseReport page or the Galvanize website.


  • Student Spotlight: Zoe Adelman of Galvanize

    Liz Eggleston10/22/2015


    Zoe Adelman was working as an eCommerce Manager when she discovered her interest in web development. Now she’s  6 months into the Galvanize Full Stack Program. Zoe talks with Course Report about learning to code without prior experience, choosing a bootcamp and funding. Zoe breaks down the components of the MEAN stack and has some great advice if you aren’t sure you have what it takes to attend a bootcamp.


    What is your pre-boot camp story?

    When I graduated from the University of Colorado, I went out to Los Angeles and worked for a small eCommerce company. I was the eCommerce Manager and worked with developers constantly tweaking things on our website. And I thought, “Hmm, I think I could do this.” So I started to see websites in a different way, more from the development standpoint and less from a consumer standpoint, which was really interesting for me.

    Did you try to learn on your own before you thought about a boot camp or did you just dive into the camp?

    I just dove in. I’m very impulsive and I hated L.A. and was ready to move again; I missed Colorado. I started looking at boot camps pretty much on a whim, and within a week I decided on Galvanize. It was set - that’s what I wanted to do.

    Did you look at other boot camps or just Galvanize?

    I looked at a lot of different bootcamps. It was really Galvanize or Turing for me. What really ended up swaying my decision at the end was the space.  At Galvanize, you’re interacting with other companies on a regular basis. Because of my background working in an incubator space that was very similar to this, it was a no-brainer that I could get an amazing education and be immediately immersed into the Denver startup community at Galvanize.

    Did you look at other boot camps that were shorter than 6 months?

    I looked into it, but for me I wanted the longest possible experience. I felt that since I had no previous coding experience, in order to really feel that I’d be a valuable employee coming out of this program, I wanted the most intensive long program that I could find without getting a 4-year CS degree.

    Did you think about doing a 4-year CS degree?

    No! I have a BA in Anthropology and Spanish, nothing related whatsoever.

    Is your class right now diverse; is it a good mix of people?

    Yes and no. From what I’ve heard about previous classes, almost every Galvanize class has been 50% female and 50% male. We are a very unique class in that it’s about a quarter female and that’s not the norm.  Galvanize is really great in that they offer scholarships for women, LGBT low-income, and minorities. They do push that and make it a point during the application process.

    I get this question all the time – how did you pay for it?

    I took out a loan with Earnest. There’s two main lending partners that Galvanize uses and most people can get a loan through one of those two partners. If you can’t, they’ll actually fully fund you. There are a couple of people in my class who are funded by Galvanize.

    Was it difficult to get approved?

    No. I got approved by two companies. Another company offered an 11% interest rate, but Earnest offered a 5% interest rate if I paid the loan back within a year. I'm a little stressed out about making sure I get a job right out of the gate so I can pay it back, but I think it’ll be fine.

    Does Earnest take into account that you're going to be in school for 6 months when setting your repayment terms?

    Yes. With Earnest I’m not paying anything for 6 months, and I have a month after that before the payments start.

    Did you get a scholarship from Galvanize?

    I didn't, but women usually get a partial scholarship, between $1000 and $5000.

    Was it a big deal for you that Galvanize was teaching full stack JavaScript?

    Now that I have a better understanding of programming languages, I'm so glad we're doing JavaScript because there really are so many Ruby developers coming out of those programs that I think it's harder to differentiate yourself. Learning JavaScript first is making it easier for me to conceptually understand other languages.

    I've heard from people in previous cohorts that  it's more difficult to learn Ruby before JavaScript because there're a lot of things built into Ruby that you have to write out in JavaScript. I'm very happy that we're doing JavaScript.

    So you're halfway through, what have you learned so far?

    We’ve covered the MEAN stack. Being a Full Stack developer you have the full knowledge necessary, languages and frameworks, to create the front-end (client-side) and back-end (server-side) of an application. The MEAN Stack is MongoDB, Express, AngularJS and NodeJS which together provide the necessary tools to create a full stack Javascript app.

    I think that during the second half of the bootcamp, in addition to learning some additional programming languages or frameworks that can help us, we're going to delve deeper into each component of the stack. We have a base knowledge of all of them, but I think we're really going to build it out.

    Are you able to retake a section of the course if you feel like you’re falling behind?

    Very quickly you see that there are different people moving at different speeds because some people come in with previous experience. In my case I had no previous coding experience.

    The assessments allow everyone to work at their own pace. At any given time there are 12 different things you can work on. In the beginning it was very much “Here’s an assignment, everyone’s gonna do it then we’ll talk about it.” That was when we were getting used to JavaScript.

    Now it’s more of an open dialogue. I can choose to work on what I feel I need the most help with or am struggling with the most.

    Have you done a project yet?

    I've done 3 on my own right now and I jump back and forth between them, adding new features, fixing bugs, etc. We’ve had one formal project so far. Every 6 weeks, we get something new. We're starting another one next week.

    What has been your favorite project? Do you get to use your own ideas?

    In the first few weeks of school, we have to make certain types of projects. Our first or second project was making some kind of game.

    I built a sign language learning application for my first project so you can practice learning the alphabet. And now I'm working on a job tracking site so as I apply I can keep all the information on my own database so it looks aesthetically pleasing. So I really enjoy the front end.

    Do you prefer front-end or back-end?

    I love both. I think we're at the point now where some people are leaning towards back-end, some are leaning towards front-end. So when I start looking for jobs I want to be a full stack developer that has a heavier focus on front end.

    What's been the biggest challenge?

    The first few weeks were a real struggle for me. I was the overachiever type at school that didn't really try hard.  I could memorize and get A’s on all of my exams, but a few weeks later, I probably couldn't remember most of it. The toughest part was learning how to learn.

    At bootcamp it's "Here's a 15-20 minute overview of this framework, now here's more exercises and you go teach yourself how to do it.” It's been the most rewarding experience because I feel like I actually know how to learn now.

    Do you want to stay in Denver when you graduate?

    For a little while, because I just moved back in May. I love Denver and the fact that the tech scene is just about to burst here is really exciting. I'd like to get in before it gets too crazy.

    Do you have an idea of what type of job or company you want to work for?

    I'd like to be in a team with less than 20 people just because of my startup background. I don't see myself in a big corporation. Finding something in the branding/social media marketing/advertising space, that's my dream  - but I'm open to anything, it's more about the team and the culture.

    What advice do you have for people considering a bootcamp?

    Don't think that you're not the right person for a bootcamp. If you're willing to work hard and to learn, anyone can do it - my dad's actually applying for the next cohort and he's in his 50s. He’s thinking about moving out here for 6 months just for bootcamp. Anyone can do it if they commit the dedication and energy.

    Interested in Learning more about Galvanize Full Stack? Visit their Course Report page.

  • July Coding Bootcamp News Roundup

    Harry Hantel8/6/2015


    The July News Roundup is your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the coding bootcamp space. Want your bootcamp's news to be included in the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!

    Continue Reading →
  • April Coding Bootcamp News Roundup

    Harry Hantel5/5/2015


    Welcome to the April News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Want your bootcamp's news to be included in the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!

    Continue Reading →
  • Data Science Bootcamp: Which is Best for You?

    Harry Hantel4/16/2018

    You don’t have to be a data scientist to read into these statistics: A McKinsey Global Institute report estimates that by 2018 the US could be facing a shortage of more than 140,000 data scientists. The field of data science is growing, and with it so does the demand for qualified data scientists. Sounds like a good time to pursue data science, right? No kidding! Data scientists make an average national salary of $118,000. If you’re looking to break into data science, or just trying to refresh and hone the skills you already have, Course Report has you covered. Check out this comprehensive list of the best data science bootcamps and programs in the U.S. and Europe for technologies like Hadoop, R, and Python.


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  • 8 Traits found in the Ideal Coding Bootcamp Student

    Liz Eggleston2/27/2015


    What makes for the ideal coding bootcamp student? Experience? Perserverence? Natural Skill? We've compiled advice from instructors and founders at top programming bootcamps like gSchool, Dev Bootcamp, Wyncode, and Fullstack Academy- aka the folks making admissions decisions every day. Read on for the 8 qualities that bootcamps tell us they look for in potential applicants. [As of December 8, 2017, Dev Bootcamp will no longer be operating.]

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  • gSchool Alumni Stories

    Liz Eggleston2/25/2015

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  • Mike Tamir on GalvanizeU and the Zipfian Acquisition

    Liz Eggleston11/21/2014


    Since raising $18 million in June to broaden its education focus, Galvanize has made major moves in the bootcamp space, including the launch of GalvanizeU and the acquisition of popular data science bootcamp Zipfian Academy. Mike Tamir, Head of GalvanizeU, talks to us about both projects- we get the scoop on the broader vision of data science education at gSchool, their partnership with the University of New Haven to offer Masters degrees, and the motivations for acquiring Zipfian earlier this week. 

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    What is your background? 

    I’ve been a practicing Data Scientist for several years now here in the Bay Area.  And have led multiple teams and data science labs across the Bay. Originally, my Ph.D. research was actually more in the area of foundations of mathematical physics (General Relativity and Quantum Statistical Mechanics).


    Why is it this partnership with University of New Haven important to Galvanize?

    The driving philosophy of education for Galvanize is to take education from the ivory tower to the industry tower. We see a lot of great things coming out of the immersive coding model where you’re close to industry, learning the skills that you need in order to be successful in the business world – particularly in the technical industry.

    There’s a huge need for qualified data scientists. Galvanize U is a program that touches on the three pillars of being a successful data scientist in the industry.

    The first pillar is the academic side; understanding the theory, mathematics, statistics and machine learning. You need to understand how algorithms work, how to model and manipulate data and draw good insights from that data.  As a satellite campus for University of New Haven, we are offering a fully accredited Masters degree to our graduates. This means that our faculty is University appointed, and our curriculum undergoes every accreditation requirement expected of a traditional Masters program devoted to providing the theoretical understanding expected of students graduating from an established academic institute.

    But the academics alone aren’t enough. The second pillar is on-the-job training beforehand to get to the point where you can be a high-performing top tier data scientist. That’s where we leverage the immersive programs. We have coding labs on the floor. Students will learn the theory but then they’ll walk right out into our coding lab area and get a chance to sit down, get their hands dirty, do some heavy lifting, and work on coding.

    The third piece is the experience piece, which is something that only Galvanize can do. At GalvanizeU, we’re approaching learning how to become a data scientist much like we approach learning how to become a doctor. And how do we train our doctors? We don’t just give them a textbook and train them on differential diagnoses. We also let them learn by experience and shadowing and attending physicians in hospitals.

    Each of our faculty is also a practicing data scientist. We have over over 350 member companies at the Galvanize San Francisco campus. We also have pipeline and large enterprise industry partners. Each of these is an opportunity for us to listen to business problems and turn them into data science solutions, and teach through experience.

    By the time our students go through 8 months of education and instruction with that hands-on experience, they are ready for jobs as high performance professional data scientists.


    There are 12-week data science programs already in the U.S. Where do you think those fall short and why doesn’t Galvanize go down this path?

    These 12-week programs have their strengths and there’s a place for them in the data science training world. What do you get out of GalvanizeU? You get the experience of 8 months of instruction and hands-on training, shadowing practicing data scientists followed by a multi-month period of capstone work and internship practicum. And you graduate with a fully accredited Masters degree certifying your expertise.

    The capstone project is something the students are going to be working on throughout.  From day one they will start thinking about their thesis for the capstone and we will be introducing them to various partner companies who will sponsor these capstone projects.

    The degree reflects this deeper experience and capability gained through a more intensive 12 month education program.


    Do you envision this Galvanize U model extending to topics other than data science? For example, a web development year-long degree-granting program?

    Yes and no. There’s a lot to learn in order to be a high performer as a data scientist because there’s a lot of theory and a lot of experience necessary to succeed. The reason why Galvanize  will work so well is that there’s a lot of theory but there’s also a lot of hands-on work and both of these are vital.

    When it comes to other technical skills, sometimes you need a deep understanding of the subject matter and practical experience. Sometimes the best model is to give someone a little bit of practical experience, enough to learn on the job and that works best.

    Often, learning just a coding language for instance can be very effective that way, or learning a full web stack for a certain web development tool can be very effective that way. So it really does depend on the particular subject matter.


    Are admission standards going to be similar to gSchool in terms of background and qualifications? Do people need to be at a certain technical level before they apply to Galvanize U?

    They do. The expectation is high but the reward is high. We are going to be reviewing every single applicant we get. This is a top tier program. We are creating the next class of data scientists and because of that, students don’t necessarily need to have any experience with data science but should have the core fundamentals. Data scientists can come from all different professions. Some of the best ones that I’ve met come from fields that are not necessarily traditional computer science routes.


    But they do need to have a quantitative background?

    Yes; quantitative ability. Particularly, we’re going to be looking for ability to meet minimal coding requirements and minimal analytical reasoning requirements.


    Since GalvanizeU is granting a degree, does an applicant need to have an undergrad degree before they apply?

    They do. Part of the requirements for being eligible for receiving the masters is that you must have a bachelors in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics area, but we will be accepting students who are able to make the case that their undergraduate training fits this broad requirement.


    Do applicants need to take the GRE?

    GRE is optional and it can help students but it’s not required.


    Along the same lines, will there be grades?

    Every course has its own unique structure but there are going to be regular skills exam and regular lab exercises that they’re going to be working on throughout the week, and in most cases there will be final exams.

    Depending on the subject matter, we’re going to be testing them in very different ways  and a lot of it is going to be hand-on working with the instructors. We want to make sure that students who come out of the program with the degree are completely capable of performing on every single one of the skills that the 8 months of materials covers.


    Do the instructors need to have certain qualifications?

    Our faculty instructors are appointed through University of New Haven. So for instance, I am part of the UNH faculty which means when I teach a course, I am teaching it with that hat on.


    Were you involved with UNH first or with Galvanize?

    I connected through Galvanize originally. I heard about this fantastic collaboration that they wanted to do and I was very excited to help them build it.


    Did University of New Haven create the curriculum or was that Galvanize? What’s the partnership like?

    The faculty that’s appointed by UNH to teach these courses are especially suited for data science. They have industry experience; we have very strict standards on education requirements. The Galvanize faculty and I are working very closely with the campus faculty; going through the entire process on the department level, the university level and ultimately the state level. I sit in on faculty meetings just like anyone else to talk about and adapt the curriculum to make sure that everyone is in agreement that it’s top notch.


    Have you seen any pushback from the university or from Galvanize about the partnership?

    Across the board at UNH, they have been very welcoming. As we propose and develop the curriculum with their team, I have not received anything other than excitement.

    From Galvanize’s perspective, I think there is an understanding that there’s a lot that needs to be learnt in order to become a top data scientist. And it’s appreciated that whether there’s an accreditation or not, there might be some reticence about going to more old school qualification in the larger bootcamp community.

    We’re taking all of the quality assurance that you get from an traditional accreditation body but we’re also taking the best from immersive programs when it comes to preparing students to become professionals. We’re really trying to integrate what’s best about both worlds.


    Have you had to work with any state or federal agencies to get this collaboration to happen?

    We work with all of the regulating bodies with auspices over a satellite campus of UNH located in San Francisco, we are following their guidelines and making sure that we have all of the approvals necessary.


    Are the goals of this program to get your graduates employed as with gSchool or is GalvanizeU more of an academic endeavour?

    The principal expectation is that we are generating the world’s next class of top data scientists for the industry. I can certainly imagine some students might be fantastically intrigued by the theory and machine learning; I know I am!  Because we have given them a deep understanding of this field I would expect them to be attracted to continuing investigation of deep and powerful cutting edge algorithms and continuing their learning. But we are preparing our students for top track performance in the data science industry and everything else that comes with that is a bonus.


    How does the Zipfian acquisition work with GalvanizeU? Will they operate separately or together somehow? Will you incorporate aspects from the Zipfian data science program into GalvanizeU?

    Zipfian’s is now a part of gSchool, running as our 3 month Data Science immersive offering.  While the GalvanizeU curriculum and classroom instruction exists as part of an independent program to receive a masters degree through UNH accreditation, the open lab space where students practice their coding skills and receive immersive style support working through data science coding labs will be located in the community data science area of the Galvanize campus.  We anticipate that this will foster a special comradery and atmosphere of mutual support offering students from both programs the opportunity to learn and develop their skills as part of a unified data science community, and this is what Galvanize is all about.


    Will the Zipfian immersive (now the gSchool data science immersive) be 3 or 6 months long? Will the curriculum change? Who is teaching the course?

    The Zipfian curriculum has continued to grow and improve with each cohort, and we are exploring a number of options to drive continued enhancement of this fantastic program.  The upcoming iterations of the program to be hosted at the Galvanize SF campus this spring will continue as a three month program.  All instructors for the gSchool data science immersive program must successfully pass a vetting and training process that is separate from the faculty hiring process for the GalvanizeU program.


    What is it about Zipfian that drove this acquisition? gSchool/Galvanize has so much experience in the immersive education space- why not create the data science course yourselves?

    Zipfian Academy has distinguished itself as the leader in immersive data science education.  As Galvanize continues to expand its immersive education offerings, the strategic acquisition of Zipfian Academy increases our capacity to provide the benefits of industry-focused technical education to an even larger student-base.  Our mutual alignment on what works best in immersive education when it comes to getting students ready to enter the industry, coupled with their impressive placement track record, convinced us that this acquisition was right for Galvanize.


    Want to learn more about gSchool? Check out their School Page on Course Report or their website here!

  • Last Week at gSchool: Three Pieces of Advice

    Cameron Buckingham11/19/2014


    Cameron Buckingham is a student at gSchool, a 6-month coding school in Colorado. He blogs each week about his experience at gSchool- in his final post, Cameron gives future bootcamp students three pieces of valuable advice. Congrats and good luck, Cameron!

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    With graduation coming up this Thursday, November 20th, our entire class is thrilled to be stepping into new careers. Now that we are done a lot of people have spent the majority of their time interviewing, practicing coding exercises, and researching jobs to apply for. Myself, I have been lucky to be going to interviews all over the US because I prefer to move away from Colorado after school. 

    Since this is my last post for Course Report, I want to leave you, the reader, with some words of wisdom to think on before, during, and after you have gone through gSchool:

    Study hard and you will reap the benefits.

    Like I said before, the class is tough and in order to stay afloat you will have to incorporate studying into your daily life. No longer can you clock out at 5 and go home, veg out, and watch "Sherlock" on Netflix all night. You have to be disciplined enough to accept the challenge of learning something like this. Bear in mind, studying does not mean just sitting at a desk and reading and pounding through exercise all night, it can include fun things too. A great way to learn is to attend meet-ups, lectures, and HH with other developers to grow your network and learn around people. 


    Check out when you need to.

    If you are really good at mapping out your time and following lists, make sure to schedule in some downtime as well. This may seem contradictory to the first point I make, but I strongly believe that if you incorporate breaks and time-outs from coding you will benefit in the long run. Yes, coding is something that can bring you lots of happiness and thrills but it is also an activity that can make you unceasingly grumpy and agitated. Find a happy balance in what you do and make sure to reach to other see how they let loose and unwind. Sometimes a role model or mentor has already cracked this problem and can help you find a way to bring more balance to your life. 


    "Diamonds are made under pressure."

    Finally, a mantra that helped get me through this experience was "Diamonds are made under pressure." Let that saying sink in for a second... Putting yourself in circumstance that are new and weird help you grow as a person. Sometimes when you back is against the wall and you feel overwhelmed, you are forced to think differently. In the programming word, that is good! You are encouraged to think differently and sort through problems. I urge you above all else to take this mantra and use it to help you solidify a thought in the back of your head, "this experience is hard, but it will make me a better person."

    With that being said I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience. Overall the experience I had at gSchool was very positive and has given me the confidence to feel better about the direction in my life. 

    Cameron Buckingham


    Want to learn more about gSchool? Check out their School Page on Course Report or their website here!

  • Instructor Spotlight: Cory Lanou, gSchool

    Liz Eggleston11/12/2014


    Working out of Galvanize in Denver, Cory Lanou informally mentored gSchool students before he was even officially involved with the program. When the opportunity arose to teach the Go language at gSchool, Cory got to work. We talk to Cory about Go, the general-purpose programming language that is in high-demand in cities like Denver and San Francisco, who should apply to this gSchool course, and how they're incorporating soft-skills into the curriculum. 

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    Cory, tell us about your background and how you got involved with Galvanize and gSchool.

    I’ve been writing code for two decades, with a lot of experience in web development, e-commerce, and social media. I had a startup and we had a suite in Galvanize when we first opened. I worked long hours on my startup and was here after hours every night and weekend. gSchool was in full flight and many of their students were also here all the time, and they would come and ask me all of their questions.

    Inadvertently, I was mentoring the first class without officially being part of the mentoring program. To date, I’ve mentored every single gSchool class that has run at Galvanize.

    When my startup fizzled, there was an opportunity to teach Go at gSchool so we put this program together.


    When did you start programming in Go?

    A little over two years ago, our startup was actually pivoting their model and we had a chance to do a full rewrite of the stack. Go had just been released that month in 1.0. We gave it a try and it was absolutely amazing, so we’ve been using Go almost since it was released.


    Aside from that mentorship, what stood out to you about gSchool and convinced you that it was a path that you wanted to go down?

    What struck me was that it was completely different. I had mentored a ton of people in my development career already but this was a course unlike traditional computer science degree programs. What I found really interesting about gSchool is they really introduce students to modern programming. If you’re working on open source, open-stack development and using Rails, Go, or any of the modern open source technologies, there’s an entire community around that. There are meet-ups and conferences and a whole social aspect. gSchool immerses the students into that social world quickly. They made sure students had Twitter accounts and were following and interacting with the leaders in technology on Twitter.

    Few developers really get involved at that level like they should. They encourage the students to talk beyond just teaching them how to code. Students are taught to do lightning talks and give presentations as well. And gSchool teaches students to program in a way that they would actually be doing on the job.

    But what I found really interesting is that by the end of the course, their daily efforts are really parallel to the daily activity a developer would do on the job. When they leave this 6-month course, they can transition into a job.

    I went to traditional computer science college, then went into the real world and nothing I did at my job was like college.


    Tell us about Go and Go Microservices?

    Let’s separate the topics: What is Go the language and what are microservices (they’re not specific to Go).

    Go is basically a general-purpose programming language. In the same way C is a lower level language, Go was designed at that level as well. It was designed to take on a wide variety of programming tasks. So while you can use it for web development and API design, it can do much more than that. If you think about modern technology and engineering teams, your real cost is in the HR and your salaries. You will get these big companies like Google with these massive projects and they take forever to compile, task, and integrate.

    That’s a ton of money they’re losing with developers so they said there has to be a better way; so it was all about scaling.

    We talk about scaling all the time in software and what we don’t talk about a ton is scaling on a team; how do you scale at a human level as a technology language? That’s what Go was invented to do. Go scales at a human level as well as at a machine level and that’s a really big distinction.


    What’s the job market like for Go developers?

    It’s awesome. There are companies right now in Denver that have between 30 to 50 open Go reqs right now. I just got a call from a small recruitment firm last week who had 5 different companies she was hiring for. Go is taking off at an astronomical rate right now. It’s really catching on; people have realized you can do amazing things with it and you can do it really fast.

    The job market for Go is fantastic right now and it’s getting crazier. Denver’s market is above average a bit because the Go social community around it was built really early. In San Francisco, Go is a super-hot topic. You could ask Ryan, he knows a ton of companies out there doing Go already: Dropbox, {Inaudible} which is owned by Rackspace and, Segment IO etc.


    Is Go used mostly by large companies or do you see Go used by startups and small companies?

    Its being used by startups as well. I think between the Galvanize Denver and Boulder campuses, there’s about a half a dozen companies using Go.


    The students that you are taking for this first class need to already be experienced developers, right?

    Yes. Our goal is to bring in experienced developers because we’re doing this in 12 weeks instead of 24 weeks. A lot of people say you can’t teach Go to a new developer and that’s not the case at all. Go is designed to be very quick to pick up. It’s probably one of the easiest languages anybody could ever learn. It was designed that way on purpose because if  you need to teach it to an engineering team, you need a very simple way of understanding the concepts.

    The reason we’re not taking in people and producing junior developers for the job market is because the job market doesn’t exist for junior developers yet but I think within a year it will. Then I’m certain we’ll want to be doing a 24–week Go course.


    What else are you looking for in an ideal participant in this program other than being technical and having a couple years of experience as a developer?

    We’re looking for the same things we look at in all of our gSchool programs. We’re looking for people that want to make a real change in their life. We’re looking for people that are going to push themselves very hard because we are going to throw lot of material at them. This is not for somebody who wants to kick back 9-to-5 and cruise through life. This is a real game-changer for them. They will leave any of our courses and change their lives- they are now in control of their destiny. So we look for people that we think are going to work well with others.


    Do you see applicants who are being sent by their current companies to get new skills in Go?

    The applicants that we’re getting right now are definitely looking to level up their skills. They’re looking to super-charge their current technology and they want to move into Go. They know Go is really becoming a hot topic and they want to get that extra edge.

    We have had several companies approach us recently looking to re-train large segments of their company. They want to engage us at a different level than even gSchool, so those are things that we’re still trying to figure out.


    How many students will you be having in this first cohort?

    There will be 28 students.


    Are you the main instructor?

    I’m the main instructor and we’ll have another co-instructor full-time and 2 full-time teaching assistants.


    Are there plans to expand the Go program to Boulder and San Francisco if this one is successful?

    Yes, there definitely is.


    gSchool is known for the 6-month curriculum- why is this course only 12 weeks?

    There are two pieces of it. One is because we’re accepting people that have experience with being a developer. The other piece is when we’re dealing with Go and microservices, it’s different than dealing with web development. Web development is a massive universe of technology. To be a full stack web developer you have to master a dozen different languages to graduate. On the other hand, with Go and microservices, we don’t deal with that massive world. We do a lot more API design so it’s a much smaller universe to teach them.


    Have you decided on the curriculum and how have you build that curriculum out?

    It actually was pretty easy. Basically, we identified what a developer needs to know to write Go with microservices and cluster technology in the real world. We thought about a project like building Google Analytics, and then we worked backwards all the way to Go fundamentals- it fell into place really quickly.


    What will a typical day look like?

    We have a pretty structured day. Even on day one, we explain to students what they’ll learn. Traditionally you come in the morning, spend time doing some warm-up, you reengage yourself. Then we start lecturing. Typically, we don’t do more than a 25-minute. It’s pretty highly interactive in the morning so we lecture a little bit, do interactive stuff, then  we break for lunch.

    We come back from lunch, we start to work on larger projects and exercises where they’ll break out in pairs. Then we come together at the end of the day and finish up with social soft skills. We’ll talk about Twitter, Github and LinkedIn, and interviewing. So as the class progresses, we’ll cover all those soft skills topics as well.


    So even though these are experienced developers, you still expect that they would need that soft skill training.

    We don’t like to assume that just because you’re a developer, that you’re engaging with the community or that you’ve done well with Twitter or LinkedIn. Those things are still very important.


    Will they be working on a capstone project or a final project?

    We’ll have one project that everybody does. If the students finish this then I know that they definitely completed all these topics. But because we have such a compressed time frame, I don’t know if they’ll have time to have their own but I will give the student the option for it.


    Do you know what that project will be or what that will look like?

    The goal right now is basically to create a scaled-down version of Google analytics.


    How much of an emphasis are you placing on job placement and getting your graduates ready for interviews once they graduate?

    We have our entire partner program. I expect we’ll have very little problems placing our graduates.


    Does gSchool have formalized relationships with those companies? Do you take referral or hiring fees?

    We do have partnerships but we don’t get in the way of hiring. We don’t believe that’s part of what we should be doing. I think that once the students have paid their class fees, it’s our job to get them a job and that’s part of the deal.

    Pivotal made an announcement last week about our program and said that they’re committed to hiring up to 10 of the first Go graduates, so we’ve already got a commitment from the that they’re going to hire a third of the class.


    Want to learn more about gSchool? Check out their School Page on Course Report or their website here!

  • October Bootcamp News Roundup

    Liz Eggleston11/6/2014


    Welcome to the October News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Want your bootcamp's news to be included in the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!

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  • Week 19 at gSchool: Front End Technologies

    Cameron Buckingham10/28/2014


    Cameron Buckingham is a student at gSchool, a 6-month coding school in Colorado. He blogs each week about his experience at gSchool- this week, Cameron talks about an interesting article in the bootcamp community and focusing more on front-end technologies!

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    Thanks everyone for reaching out to me to ask questions about gSchool. I am glad this blog is helping you all understand what is out there and how gSchool separates itself from other similar schools.

    For anyone that is interested I included a very interesting article written by notable tech writer in the industry: A little about Zed Shaw can be found on the about page, but in essence he has very deep roots in the tech education industry. If you are interested in going to any dev bootcamp be sure to read this article to get some other perspective. I feel like when I started looking for schools I only read positive articles but this one does not qualify as a positive article. It seems he is frustrated with how much people are falling into the "trap" of what dev bootcamps are promising and extremely frustrated with the inner workings of some schools that he feels operate in a really abusive manner. Give it a read and let me know what you think :)

    In terms of gSchool, we are officially entrenched in the job hunt here. Since Ruby is a solid practice for most us, we have pushed our instructors to do more JavaScript and some other front-end stuff like Angular JS. As we are getting into the job hunt, our time is stretched pretty thin. I would say that 1/2 of my day is on just correspondence with potential employees, interview prep, actual interviews, tech interviews, and working on tech interviews. The other 1/2 is doing class projects and the occasional lecture or two. gSchool does a great job expanding its network with potential employers. I would say we still have at least 2-4 employees looking for RoR developers come into the office and recruit us. 

    On a more fun note, since our class has only about a month left we are all pushing for a lot of morale events. With the holidays coming up, we have a Halloween party and even a "Prom";  so it looks like I will have to break out the suit and tie for that one. Also a month ago, when it started to get cold, we started having weekly "Soup Parties" that are located at various students' houses where we throw back some delicious soup and brewskis too. 
    Anyways I hope this entry was interesting, I will shoot another one out in two weeks, hopefully I will be employed by then. Fingers crossed.


  • Week 17 at gSchool: Job Placement and Testing

    Liz Eggleston10/3/2014


    Cameron Buckingham is a student at gSchool, a 6-month coding school in Colorado. He blogs each week about his experience at gSchool- this week, Cameron talks about prepping for job placement and interviews, and focus on testing!

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    And we're off! gSchool is officially hitting the ground running with job placement and interview preparation. It is a really exciting time. This week alone, we have had three companies, who are actively looking for Ruby on Rails programmers, come in and pitch their companies too us. We have also been concentrating on logic tests and interview prep skills for the imminent technical tests. In some ways we are circling back to the basics which helps to solidify our ruby skills. 
    Our daily workflow has also morphed to more of a free-flowing structure. Our days still start at 9 am with a stand-up meeting and then a warm-up or assessment exercise and then a follow up lecture, but after that the day is mostly ours. Our instructors still offer breakouts and smaller lectures to go over tough exercises but we are given the opportunity to opt out of those if we have too much on our plate. 

    One thing I have really put a lot of focus on is testing in my applications. It is really fulfilling to create an application but it feels a lot better when your app is supported by a full passing test suite. I know that at the beginning of the program I was quite upset that I spent so much time writing tests that sometimes didn't pass and slowed up the process, but now writing tests seems like second nature. Currently I write tests after I create a feature and make sure it passes. My goal is to incorporate the agile development of writing a test before I write the feature, so hopefully by the end of the program I will be able to do this!

    I also wanted to put my email out there for anyone reading this blog to reach out and ask questions about the program. I have loved it so far and have seen so many rewards from it. My email You can also find me on twitter and github at cpbuckingham. Feel free to reach out to me about questions about gSchool or if you're looking for a ruby on rails developer!


    Want to learn more about gSchool? Check out their School Page on Course Report or their website here

  • Week 15 at gSchool: Interviews

    Liz Eggleston9/22/2014


    Cameron Buckingham is a student at gSchool, a 6-month coding school in Colorado. He blogs each week about his experience at gSchool- this week, Cameron talks about his first interviews with Pivotal Labs!

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    Well, Rubyconf sent me an email last night saying that our talk would not be part of the 2014 San Diego Rubyconf schedule. As much as I was excited to do a presentation on the Developer bootcamp business, I saw this as a blessing in disguise. Since we are still working with local businesses, finishing our personal projects, and working on our class project; we have a lot on our plate at the moment and maybe coordinating a large-scale presentation would not be the best. All that aside, I put a proposal out to Rubyconf Australia, so we will see how that goes!

    In other news I had my first interview last week with Pivotal Labs. The interview itself was pretty difficult, but worth it. Even though I interviewed with PL, I was actually interviewing for another company. My instructor had seen that a recent client of Pivotal Labs based out of Dallas (TX is my preferred location to end up in) was looking to pivot their business and build out their site in a major way. So they were looking to hire a larger dev department. Unfortunately I did not get the position because the company was looking for someone more senior but it was a good experience to go through nonetheless. The interview itself was me explaining a testing spec but in a different language than I was used to. This was done purposefully because it shows the interviewer the candidates aptitude for communication and  cognitive process. 

    Other than that, the past couple of weeks have flown by. And I look forward to the next couple of weeks to hunker down and focus on getting some more things done!


    Want to learn more about gSchool? Check out their School Page on Course Report or their website here!

  • Week 13 at gSchool: Local Business Projects and thoughtbot Tutorial

    Cameron Buckingham7/12/2018


    Cameron Buckingham is a student at gSchool, a 6-month coding school in Colorado (now Galvanize). He blogs each week about his experience at gSchool- this week, Cameron talks about working on projects with local businesses, a thoughtbot-sponsored Ruby on Rails tutorial, and updates us on the RubyConf San Diego conference he's applied to speak at. 

    Continue Reading →
  • $500 Discount to gSchool!

    Liz Eggleston9/2/2014

    gSchool is a bootcamp in Denver, Boulder, and San Francisco that turns smart and driven beginners into marketable, contributing members of development teams over the course of our 24 week long developer training programs. For a limited time, the Course Report community will get $500 off tuition to gSchool! 

    To claim your $500 scholarship, simply enter code Course Report in the referral field of your gSchool application, and your discount will be applied once you're accepted to the next gSchool cohort. Be sure to email once you've applied to confirm your discount.

    Continue Reading →
  • Week 11 at gSchool: Alumni and Personal Projects

    Cameron Buckingham8/23/2014


    Cameron Buckingham is a student at gSchool, a 6-month coding school in Colorado. He blogs each week about his experience at gSchool- this week, he talks about interacting with alumni and shares a sneak peak at his project deployed on Heroku!

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    What a tremendous week! We got to see the Boulder class graduate this week. As they wrapped up their 6-month long course, we are just over 3 months done with ours. The graduation ceremony was fun and included student presentations, words of wisdom from various mentors, and some words of wisdom from the gSchool CEO. Each student brings a diverse background to this program and Boulder's graduating class showcased these talents and attributes.

    In terms of curriculim, we have circled back to rails now. We got some exposure to Javascript and jQuery last week which was very helpful. Now we are really dissecting rails and getting to know some of the backend process that rails provides as defaults. We also got word that gSchool will be assigning projects to us shortly with some local businesses that reached out and needed some coding help. This is an excellent example of how gSchool reaches out to local business and develops its networks as well as showcases its worth to potential employers. 

    Not only are starting to be assigned projects to do for other business, but we also still working on our personal projects. I released my project the other day and I am pretty excited about it. Check it out:

    The site is basically a location tracker that people can use to mark the locations they have traveled and earn points based on their travel. I am really excited about map development and data manipulation with maps. I will continue to go down this route and explore and the endless possibilities of maps. I plan on making some minor tweaks to this site by adding an Expedia API to the dashboard to embed some travel tips and local accommodation options for travelers. 

    Anyways that is how my weeks have been so far, I look forward to posting more in two weeks. 

  • Week 9 at gSchool: Rails and Ruby Conference

    Cameron Buckingham8/8/2014


    Cameron Buckingham is a student at gSchool, a 6-month coding school in Colorado. He blogs each week about his experience at gSchool- this week, he talks about working with Rails and submitting an abstract for a Ruby conference!

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    This week we were introduced to Rails. Rails is basically an operating system that pairs well with Ruby. Since we had been using Sinatra, Rails was a drastic change for most of us because the structure and format is very different when constructing an app. For some people in our class this transition was long anticipated. Rails has loads of internal functions that cuts down on some longer processes that must be implemented in Sinatra. One idea of programming that I came in with was that I needed to memorize as many commands as I could and once I knew that, then I would be set. Well in some ways I was right, but when it came to Rails, I was wrong. Rails is set up very much as a map format. Once you open a new Rails project, you have some folders that houses content that you need to route to enable. This may not make that much sense, but people that have a lot of experience with Rails understand this completely. For instance, in Sinatra when you have commands that effect the dynamic nature of the site, you call them out within the app itself. In Rails, organization is key. You must place most of your executable commands in other folders that end up referring to with method commands. This makes the organization of the app crucial. 

    I also have been venturing down another path with my studies while here at gSchool. Along with my normal workload me and a partner in the class has been formulating a proposal for the upcoming ruby conference in San Diego this November. We wanted to do a talk on the growing business of developer bootcamps and how employers handle the new influx of professionals. Here is the abstract that we finalize a couple of days ago:

    In the last year we have seen the Dev bootcamp business blast off. With over 45 schools existing in the US, and grossing nearly $59mm in 2014, it is surely a force to be reckoned with. Dev bootcamp schools were graduating nearly 2,000 students a year at the beginning of 2013, but now the graduation rates are up 178% to just over 6,100 students in the past year.  It is estimated that in 2014 the US will graduate over 48,000 Computer Science majors, but at what costs? Most four-year degrees students can anticipate to spend anywhere between 25k-40k for their degrees; whereas most dev bootcamps average about 2 months and only cost about 9k. But what are some of the pros and cons of this? How do employers compare these two resumes? Who actually nails the job? These questions and more will be answered. We hope to shed some light on the industry by gathering testimonials, sorting through empirical data, analyzing the program selection, and interviewing business leaders. We also plan to incorporate our experience as current dev bootcamp students. This perspective will afford us the opportunity to examine both sides of the coin and hopefully help employers in determining who best fits the bill for their company. 

    If selected, we plan to work with to help us gather some of the pertinent data for the talk. But until then, wish us luck on getting in! The process for submitting a proposal is quite intense and if we get selected, that could be great for our professional development. It is also important to know many dev bootcamps are excited to see their students go for things like this because it not only helps spread their brand, but also it is rewarding to them to see their students becoming engaged in the community that is Ruby on Rails. 

    Until next week!


    Want to learn more about gSchool? Check out their School Page on Course Report or their website here!

  • Student Spotlight: Rachel Logie, gSchool

    Liz Eggleston7/31/2014


    Rachel Logie was introduced to software development after working in healthcare and travelling- once she had completed some online courses, she knew it was time to take her education to the next level. So she applied to gSchool, the 6-month Rails-based course in Denver, Colorado. In this Q&A, Rachel tells us about why she decided to choose gSchool (hint: diversity is key!), what a typical day looks like, and how she deals with burnout at a coding school. 

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    Tell us what you were doing before you went to gSchool.

    I got a college degree in economics and then I started working in healthcare; I worked in healthcare for almost 4 years; I was conducting studies and after about 3 ½ years I quit and went travelling, My roommate out in the Bay area was a software engineer – no surprise, they’re all software engineers out there! He introduced me to coding.


    Had you taken any computer science courses in your undergrad?

    I took no computer science courses at all – nothing.


    Did you do any online courses or anything like that before you applied to gSchool?

    Yes, I did. I did this Stanford intro to programming course. It’s a massive open online course so anybody can take it and you can just follow along. It’s really well done, the teachers are good so that’s what I did. It’s not like doing a course, it’s following along with the others.

    So I did that; that was really helpful I think, before I got into Ruby because Ruby’s kind of a more magical language. That one was in Java; I thought that was a good base. Then I started to do Chris Pine’s book; I did that before gSchool. Then there was Code Academy and that sort of thing but I didn’t find those to be very helpful.


    Why did you decide to apply to gSchool?

    I was looking at a bunch of different boot camps and I went on all their websites to do research. I think I looked at Hack Reactor and Dev Bootcamp closely.

    What really made me feel like gSchool was a good fit was diversity. I would look at all these bootcamps and it was a bunch of 22-year old dudes… I could tell I wasn’t going to fit in there. Our cohort at gSchool is almost 50% women.   For learning I think it’s good to be in an environment where you feel comfortable.


    Do you see other types of diversity like age and race?

    There is age diversity. I think the youngest person is 23 and it goes all the way up to I think 50 and then there’s people all round in the middle. It’s really good for age diversity and gender diversity.

    I asked gSchool about how they keep their students’ lives balanced while they’re doing the boot camp. I don’t want to kill myself and sacrifice my health; I think my health is pretty important.  


    Did the fact that gSchool is 6 months long factor into your decision? How about the fact that gSchool teaches Rails? 

    Yeah; I think it was a good thing ultimately. At first I wondered what the point was. If people are getting jobs in 12 weeks what’s the point of doing 24 weeks? Now I think it’s good and it’s more balanced. You don’t have to be at Galvanize 80 hours a week. So ultimately, it was a really good thing.

    I wanted to do Ruby on Rails because it’s really hot right now. Some bootcamps do Javascript but I feel like I really liked Ruby. I feel it’s easier to get into than Javascript, and once you get into Ruby you can get into Javascript, obviously.


    What was the application like for you for gSchool? How many interviews were there, were they super technical?

    You write your application; In your application you can link to any code you’ve already written or if you haven’t written any why you want to do it. Then they contact you if they want to interview you.

    During the interview, it’s normal interview questions but then also there’s a logic portion to it so you have to pass both those portions then they decide.


    How are you paying for gSchool?

    My mom borrowed money from her home equity line of credit and then I borrowed that money from her. I’m paying the interest rates. That’s how I paid so I could pay it all upfront because then you save money by paying all upfront.


    Did gSchool have pre-work for you to do this time before you started?

    They did but it was pretty useless to me. We did some Code Academy and some typing practice, which I think is fine. You have to start somewhere, right? I don’t want to trash Code Academy because it’s great. It’s cool to go in and play it around but I personally did not find it useful for understanding programming concepts.

    But basically, I wish it had been more like the Chris Pine book. I think they’re using that book now for pre-work.  

    My advice to potential students is to go out, find all the resources you can and just do them. You don’t have to wait for somebody to tell you what to do.

    I would hope that you would have done a bunch even before you apply.  I don’t feel like gSchool is somewhere you would go to find out if you like coding. You should probably already know that you like it before you apply. If you haven’t done any coding, how do you know that you want to do this as a career? This is really intense.


    What’s the teaching style like for you? Does it mesh with your learning style?

    There’s a heavy emphasis on pair programming because the instructors  have connections  to Pivotal Labs. There’s a heavy emphasis on Test Driven Development as well, which is awesome.

    Pair programming is a harder way for me to learn personally because I really feel I need to do things on my own.   While I’m at gSchool I’m doing a personal project, and I enjoy that. But the in-class group projects have mostly been pairing.


    What does a typical day look like? Are you all doing lectures in the morning and projects in the afternoon? 

    That’s typically the structure. Right now it’s a little more free form because people are starting to apply for jobs, people are out for interviews.  In the beginning it was a lot of lectures in the morning and pairing in the afternoon.


    What was your personal project?

    I’ve created an app that helps people with certain dietary preferences to find restaurants. I used to be a super paleo health nut, and I always had the worst time trying to find restaurants.   I would always worry: Do they have gluten-free stuff, do they have dairy-free stuff, do they have this, do they have that? Where do they cook their French fries?  That sort of thing.  The app I created helps solve that for similar eaters.


    How did you deal with burnout over the last six months?

    I was going really hard for the first few months. I would just come home and work at home for till 10p.m. so it was every day and all the weekends, too. I would never take a day off, I would just keep going.

    After a few months I realized that was not sustainable. I think breaks are really, really important. Maybe it is sustainable for 9 weeks. But for a 6-month school, you have to take better care of yourself because it’s almost three times as long.


    Does gSchool do assessments? Do you ever take tests?

    Yeah, we just had one this week.


    What is it like?

    It was 4 hours total; 2 hours for Ruby, 2 hours for Rails. It’s 2 hours Monday, 2 hours Tuesday.

    Basically the idea was to turn requirements into working software. The instructors look at how you’re doing, and then they go into your Github and see if you finished, how good your code looks.  They see if you were you being hacky, if you were you doing things right, and if you tested everything -- that sort of things.

    We’ve also had an assessment where they kind of simulated an interview - where they give you a problem like that and sit over your shoulder with a clipboard and observe.  That was pretty horrible.  


    Do you get graded? Has somebody failed it?

    No, there’s not grading so much as they kind of put you in a bucket of telling you where you are and where you need to be.


    I know you’re still 6 weeks away from this, but has gSchool started approaching job placement?

    We mainly rely on our instructors’ connections and the connections of the larger Galvanize community.


    Will you do a hiring day where you do demo your projects?

    We have demo days but they’re not hiring days. We’ll do demos and they invite people from the community, but it’s not specifically to interview.


    Want to learn more about gSchool? Check out their School Page on Course Report. Join gSchool in San Francisco or Boulder this fall. 

  • Week 7 at gSchool: Guest Speakers and Weekend Trips

    Liz Eggleston7/28/2014


    Cameron Buckingham is a student at gSchool, a 6-month coding school in Colorado. He blogs each week about his experience at gSchool- here, he talks about working with CRUD and how gSchool is keeping Cameron sane and fit with tubing trips and hikes!

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    After digesting SQL commands and working with basic CRUD these past couple of weeks we moved into more complex commands and CRUD structure. As I mentioned in my last post, SQL commands are commands that I can give to Postgres in order to access database information. Once a database has been established and joined with the app then users can start logging in and performing user-only functions. Logging in is just the tip of the iceberg; a developer can establish a database for almost anything such as maintaining login preferences, calculating commerce transactions, or developing a metric monitoring system. 

    The amount of outside speakers and lecture-based talks has increased as well. What I am most excited for next week is to start working with Rails. Up until now we have only used Sinatra to stage all our applications. Sinatra is an excellent tool to help publish sites onto the web, but has its limitations. From my understanding, rails is seen to have more fluidity and a higher functionality for implementing more complex ideas.

    As a requirement for the completion of this course, the instructors require us to have a least one personal project of our choosing completed by the end of the course. It can be any complex site that involves multiple techniques and tools that we learned in class. We are set to give demos on our progress this friday on all the work we have done so far. I am super excited for this because I feel that I have a good idea, but that is not what excites me. I am just happy to already (only 7 weeks in) have the knowledge to build out the framework for the site. That is what is super cool to me!

    Another great thing about gSchool is their built-in social activities. It is important as a programmer to get out every once and a while. It is easy to get lost in a problem and forget there is a beautiful world full of people to meet and experiences to be had. Last week we went tubing in Boulder and this next week we will be doing a group trip to Pike's Peak down in Colorado springs to summit our first 14er. 

    More to come in two weeks. 

  • Week 5 at gSchool: Databases

    Liz Eggleston7/11/2014


    Cameron Buckingham is a student at gSchool, a 6-month coding school in Colorado. He blogs each week about his experience at gSchool- here, he talks about his experience with databases and teaches us what pseudo code is!

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    This week we dove into database creation and migration. We are using Postgres for all of our database commands and storage. I was much more comfortable learning this and happy to move away from ruby for a while. A little break goes a long way. We also started requiring test writing as we moved through our various exercises this week. This is still difficult for me as I am not fully comfortable on the commands needed to implement these specs; therefore pseudo code is used for most of it. 

    For those who do not know, pseudo code is basically writing out a description of the code you intend to write to help understand what code you want to write. It is extremely helpful for developing your thought process and also very useful because you can occasionally  stumble upon some action commands that you did not know but are included in the ruby library. I have been doing this way more since I first began here and it has helped me explore new commands and helped my paring experiences when we hit a wall or am having a harder time understanding how to solve a problem.  

    Our instructors and material continue to be outstanding and extremely helpful as we move through the program. We also have experienced increased mentorship from the Boulder class and outside mentors.


    Want to learn more about gSchool? Check out their school page on Course Report or their website here!

  • Week 4 at gSchool: Challenges and Exercises

    Liz Eggleston7/2/2014


    Cameron Buckingham is a student at gSchool, a 6-month coding school in Colorado. He blogs each week about his experience at gSchool- here, he talks about his struggles with arrays and hashes, and learning what a "wheelhouse" is and how it helps people learn!

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    As I roll into the Fourth of July weekend, I feel pretty happy with how much I have accomplished and learned so far. Since my last post, our instructors have been able to touch on many other platforms that were both illuminating and complex. Challenges and exercises are a main part of our learning curriculum and I love that. This program is set up to expand on everything you learn each day, so not only are we learning new things, but we also continue to build on our current knowledge. As of today we have successfully pushed several programs via Sinatra, learned more complex expressions in Ruby, basic CSS layout, HTML, test-driven development, and much more. 

    I struggled early on with understanding iterating through arrays and hashes, but as time went on I realized several key actions that could be done to help me do that or even bypass it entirely. Also I had a couple of hiccups early on because I did not have an established "wheelhouse". A "wheelhouse" as I understand it is a set of established actions on how to deal with programming problems that you develop through experience and muscle memory. Sometimes that can be the hardest barrier for me when learning something new. That is why bootcamp programs such as these are critical for me because they allow more time to practice.

    My favorite thing about entering week five is having the knowledge on how to create, manage, test, and push a program out to the world! That is a tremendous power that not many people have. I did not know going into this program that this knowledge would come so soon. I am very happy with that. 



    Want to learn more about gSchool? Check out their School Page on Course Report or visit their website here

  • Q&A with Rachel Reinitz, BlueMix Garage

    Liz Eggleston7/2/2014


    Rachel Reinitz is the CTO and Director of IBM’s BlueMix Garage, a unique consultancy lab that aims to bridge startup and enterprise communities in the Bay Area. In light of the recently announced partnership with Galvanize and gSchool (Galvanize’s educational arm), we sat down with Rachel to learn more. In this Course Report Q&A, we talk to Rachel about integrating BlueMix technologies into the upcoming gSchool curriculum and why IBM chose to partner specifically with Galvanize.

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    Rachel, can you explain to us what the BlueMix Garage is and how it operates?

    The BlueMix Garage is a consulting lab where we bring IBM clients of all types in to work with us in the lab and we help them to develop a great application for a new business innovation they want to try out. We work with them on both the business side of shaping the application that they want to build and then on the technical side, we build it and teach them how to build great agile applications and then deploy it on a platform (IBM BlueMix) that supports agility and innovation.


    How does Galvanize fit into that?

    Galvanize as a whole fits in as a critical component of helping us to mesh with the startup and innovation community. Galvanize provides us with the physical space and allows us to be surrounded by startups who we will work with on innovative projects. Galvanize helps IBM really to become part of this startup community.

    Our relationship with gSchool provides us with a means of training developers on IBM BlueMix Cloud Foundry, and creates a great source of junior developers for the Garage. We plan to hire a couple current gSchool Boulder students, and will be hiring at least two from the San Francisco program as well.  


    Have you gotten to interact with the current gSchool students?

    I’m in Boulder right now meeting with the current gSchool class to expose the students to BlueMix and Cloud Foundry and also to talk to them about opportunities at the IBM Garage. The graduates from gSchool have a terrific set of skills for what we’re looking to do in the Garage for building cloud applications for our customers.


    So students who are in the current gSchool cohort should be prepared to start a job with BlueMix Garage once they graduate?

    There are things they’ll need to learn in terms of BlueMix and other technologies, but they have a strong foundation thanks to the rigorous training they’ve received at gSchool -- specifically around pair programming and other agile methodologies.

    Students in the San Francisco program, who will be actively working with Cloud Foundry, will be an even better fit for the garage.  We plan on hiring at least 4 students this year.


    Will the gSchool course that launches in the Fall in San Francisco be more geared towards IBM technology?

    I would say no. It will be a modified curriculum for deployment onto Cloud Foundry, including IBM BlueMix. But it is based on the same core curriculum today, which is a strong curriculum. It will emphasize some IBM capabilities but it will not be an IBM--specific course.


    Will IBM be providing any of the instructors for that cohort at gSchool?

    Galvanize is providing the instructors and IBM will provide guest lecturers. The Blue Mix Garage is part of the Galvanize/gSchool campus on 543 Howard Street in San Francisco, and we’re excited by this physical proximity to students.  There will be formal mentoring but there will be lots of other interactions. Our desire from an IBM standpoint is to expand our relationship with gSchool to potentially other locations and certainly as there are more classes done on San Francisco and as we learn more, sponsor some specific projects for the students, things like that. We see this as the beginning of our relationship with gSchool and actually with Galvanize as a whole as well.


    Do you expect to see the same make-up of students in the September class as you do in past gSchool classes? Are you looking for the same type of student in the admissions process?

    I hope we get the same type of applicant for the San Francisco program, since I’m interested in students with diverse backgrounds.


    Rachel, you were talking with some gSchool students in Boulder today or this week. How did that go, was there a lot of interest?

    There was a lot of interest in understanding IBM Cloud and IBM BlueMix and how that fits in with the cloud that they’ve been working with.   In terms of interest of potentially coming to work in San Francisco at the Garage, I would say a third of the students were interested in learning more about it. Of course it’s a geographic move, but I I think that the type of work that we’re doing had strong interest.  


    There are a ton of coding bootcamps these days. Why do you think that it’s strategic to be involved specifically with Galvanize and gSchool?

    What stands out with gSchool is the quality of the instruction. I’m very familiar with the instructors - they’re very strong developers with years of production experience.  The approach that gSchool is doing again around pair programming, test-driven development and teaching the full stack is a great fit for us.  In addition, the length of the program and the way they immerse students in developing real software projects truly prepares students for a role as a junior developer.  Other programs aren’t doing this.

    We’re also interested in Galvanize as an entrepreneurship eco-system builder as well; so it has both dimensions. We have the partnership with gSchool, and we have a partnership with the larger Galvanize community in which to grow IBM’s BlueMix Garage.


    Rachel, as a potential employer, do you give gSchool more weight or validity because it’s a 6 month program compared to the 12-week bootcamps?

    What I like about the 6-month program is that people can come in from a really wide variety of backgrounds and come out as solid junior developers. I don’t think you can accomplish that in 3 months.


    At the end of the 6 months, what types of roles do you envision gSchool students will start as?

    I would hire them as developers. In fact, I think that the Garage is a terrific fit for them because we will be doing pair programing, working with senior developers, and we’ll have visiting experts from IBM to further increase their learning opportunities.


    That sounds like a neat continuation of the students’ learning at gSchool, almost like an apprenticeship. That’s an awesome initiative by IBM.

    We view this partnership as helping the Cloud Foundry open source community and building skills, not just for IBM .  BlueMix is based on Cloud Foundry and we’re very committed to that open source community.


    Want to learn more about gSchool’s San Francisco program? Check out their School Page on Course Report or visit

  • Week 1 at gSchool: Pre-work

    Liz Eggleston7/1/2014


    Cameron Buckingham is a student at gSchool, a 6-month coding school in Colorado. He blogs each week about his experience at gSchool!

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    After several months of anticipation and angst, gSchool Denver has finally started. After coming from a marketing background, I was a little nervous about shifting gears and embarking on this new journey. But after my first week all my worries and concerns were lifted away. A large reason for this is the knowledge that our instructors bring to the class and the level of evolvement they expect from their students that goes beyond the classroom. gSchool employs instructor with practical knowledge and experience of the highest caliber. I must say that I am astonished by how much knowledge I leave the classroom with everyday. Before even starting school we were required to do some pre-work which included typing exercises, reading some entry-level materials, watching tutorials of command line manipulation and basic programming exercises. These assignments were very helpful and aiding in my understanding of programming. If it weren't for those exercises, I would have come into this with so many more questions and less confidence.

    The pre-work was crucial because it familiarized us with the basic tools that we would be using throughout the class. Our first week at school included quite a handful of experiences. We learned about using the Command line, Git, GitHub, and touched on Ruby some text editor exercises. We also got accustomed to some internal tracking tools that would aid our instructor in seeing our progress, and ultimately help us monitor our own progress and successes in class. My favorite thing about this program so far is that is is very personalized. The class sizes are small and all the other students are happy to help their peers once they finish their coursework. gSchool Boulder classmates also dropped into our class to help us complete some exercises. The instructors are eager to get our feedback as well. We rounded out the week with One-on-One's and a retrospective exercises that called for the students to speak on what complemented or brought down our coursework apprehension. This was very powerful for promoting our group's cohesion and gave us more command on our learning experience.

    Great first week so far! Only 23 more to go!


  • Week Two at gSchool

    Liz Eggleston3/24/2014


    Ever wonder what those first couple weeks in an intensive coding bootcamp are like? Ellie Schneiders is a student at gSchool in Boulder Colorado, and blogs here about her second week...

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    After graduating from college in 2009, I lived and worked in New York City.  While living in the city, I was able to participate in two yoga teacher trainings.  I realize now that one of the key things I have learned to practice through yoga, which I believe will help me as I learn to code at gSchool, is cultivating a beginner's mind.

    During the first two weeks of gSchool, we have been swimming in information about github, test driving development, ruby basics, and a basic framework for many of the moving parts that need to work together to build software.  I think everyone in class has experienced new concepts clicking (big and small) and has also experienced being thrown off a cliff unsure whether anything would be there to break the fall.  I know I have!  Although, I think the thing that saves me is this idea of approaching learning to code with a beginners mind, which in my point of view translates to approaching learning to code with a sense of wonder and play, assuming we know nothing for certain.  In fact, when we tried to fork our first repo from Git in the first week, ruby had an updated version and so even Mike and Jeff (as teachers!) had to keep a beginner's mind posture toward code they had put together for us to use!  


    My hope is that over the next 22 weeks, I am able to maintain a daily practice of keeping a beginner's mind because I think this leaves a lot more room for Mike and Jeff to teach me new concepts and the creative process of writing software that wouldn't be possible otherwise.  I read a quote once that said that "in a beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in an expert's mind there are few."  I think this is so true in learning to code! 


    Stay tuned for more First-Week perspectives!

    The next six-month course at gSchool starts June 9th in Denver. Does gSchool sound like the school for you? Check out their website or school page on Course Report!

  • My First Week at gSchool

    Liz Eggleston3/19/2014


    Ever wonder what those first couple weeks in an intensive coding bootcamp are like? Paul Wenig is a student at gSchool in Boulder Colorado, and blogs here about his first week...

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    Nothing quite prepares you for the first week of gSchool. Sure, you can do the Code Academy exercises, read all of the required books (I <3 Chris Pine), and get your personal life in order. But none of that gets you ready for that initial push into the cold, dark waters. Think polar plunge at night!

    Our first day started off slowly with improv exercises designed to get to know our fellow classmates and instructors. Lawyers, surgical assistants, nuclear engineers, yoga teachers. Denver, Boulder, Chicago, Grand Rapids. Men, women, young and old. Everybody is represented and the diversity is inspiring. We all found our way here for one common goal – to learn to write code! We leave laughing and excited.

    And then day two starts! Our instructor tells us the plan. We’re going to push through a lot of content in the next couple of weeks so we can get a good, strong foundation. The sooner we can get our heads around the basics the quicker we can get to actually building applications. HTML, CSS, Ruby, Git Workflow, Heroku, RSpec, Command Line, etc., etc. We’re shown the deep end of the pool and are shoved in.

    Some of us float and some of us drown. Fellow classmates help search and rescue. Maybe that improv really worked? All of us try to get our bearings so we can at least tread water and, ideally, swim. The feeling of frustration moves in and takes over. At the same time, your subconscious is screaming “Quit!” But, you don’t.  Instead, you tell it to shut up and persevere. You read, you study, you do the assignments over and over again. And you just breathe through it. Week two is right around the corner!


    Stay tuned for more First-Week perspectives!

    The next six-month course at gSchool starts June 9th in Denver. Does gSchool sound like the school for you? Check out their website or school page on Course Report!

  • Student Spotlight: Rolen Le at gSchool

    Liz Eggleston3/6/2014

    gSchool is a unique six-month, intensive program based inside the exciting Galvanize community of start ups and innovators. gSchool student Rolen Le dishes the details on how he made sure he was committed to a career in coding, why he chose a six-month school, and how practicing your LSAT review can actually help you ace the gSchool interview!

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    What were you doing before you attended gSchool?

    I was at LivingSocial for three years, during the startup stages, watching it grow, and I really saw how Ruby on Rails could really make a big impact especially in the e-commerce space and that really sparked my interest.


    Did you have any technical background before you applied?

    None at all, I went to George Washington University to study marketing and that’s how I got to LivingSocial. But it’s something that’s always been interesting to me. I guess the people in my generation, mid to late 20s, grew up seeing the dot-com era. Ever since then it’s always been a passion of mine, learning about online businesses and what differences you can make with that technology.


    Did you apply to other boot camps? Why did gSchool stand out to you?

    I made a very conscious decision in early 2013 that by the Fall I wanted to be in a dev boot camp or a program of some sort. I was looking around and I had known Jeff [Casimir] earlier from Hungry Academy; I saw him every day and was able to talk to him. Also, he and a couple of the other staff members at gSchool do a lot of conference talks, which really clued me into how engaged they were in the community. So it’s not just a school, but you’re also being invited into this Ruby community that’s already really close and you’ll be able to talk with people in the industry that have practical experience.


    Did you apply for Hungry Academy when you were at LivingSocial?

    Yes, I did. Not getting into that program is what really inspired me to go to gSchool. I decided to take a couple of years and think about this seriously as a career. Then at the beginning of 2013, I went down that road of teaching myself Ruby, teaching myself Sinatra, which is a smaller version of Rails and teaching myself Rails and some HTML and CSS. I wanted to make sure that if I was going to be doing this for the next 20 years of my life, I needed to be able to do it for 4 hours a night before I go to bed for 4 months.

    I was able to make a small project; it pulled from a Gem that another LivingSocial person made about the Nationals and I would track if the Nationals had won that night or not.


    In the bootcamp world, 6 months is on the longer side; did that concern you with gSchool or was that a deciding factor for you?

    I would say it’s a deciding factor. Even if other schools teach the same material in 12 weeks, just doing something for 6 months in a learning environment where you can get feedback will make you better at it. I’d rather take the extra 3 months to make sure I’m proficient and be in a solid position coming out of it, have better opportunities, and just increase my exposure to things. I saw that it had a major upside. I know not a lot of people have the opportunity to just take 6 months off, but I’d rather like, go in debt than trade in 3 months of valuable learning time that could drastically improve my coding ability.

    There’s people in our program that didn’t hit their stride, I would say, until month 4. And when they hit that stride, they were able to catch up with the upper echelon of the class. It’s not linear progression, like, week 1, week 2, week 3 but there are different points in time where people just get it. And the longer they have that environment to make sure they get it, they’re going to be set up for success.


    What was the application process like for you? Was there a technical test, did you feel like there were culture questions?

    It’s very similar to the Hungry Academy process. There was a 5-minute video answering 5 questions. Then from there you had to either give a writing sample or a code sample. So I gave them the code sample I did for my project, “Did The Nats Win?” walked them through that. Then they get back to you, if you got in or not.


    How long was the interview process from start to finish?

    From start to finish I would say that it was a little under under a month. So you get the video, you get the code review or a short essay. Then they contact you for a Skype call interview. Then you solve an LSAT logic problem together; they are problems like “ X, Y and Z, X came before Y, Y came before Z “; just so they understand how you function in understanding logic problems, which is one of the easiest non-programming interpolations of how to program, I would think.


    Once you were accepted to gSchool, what was the pre-work like? Did you have a pre-course curriculum that you had to complete?

    There wasn’t any pre-work. I think a lot of people are familiar with the Flatiron pre-work. I think that’s become the gold standard of things people should do before a boot camp, which is something I worked on myself just as a guide to learn. But really what we focused on was more of the idea of mastery of something. So we read a lot of books like, How to Think Like a Programmer  and Drive.

    One of the things they wanted us to do before we got to gSchool was to do 20 minutes a day of typing on If  you’re a hunting and pecking typer then getting the code from your brain to your fingers is probably one of the most crucial things. If you can’t type out your thoughts quickly and concisely, you’re at a disadvantage. Practicing typing takes time and it makes you a better developer because you can move faster.


    So if there was no technical pre-work, what did you think on the first day? Did it seem like all the students were at a different level? Did you notice that your cohort had a diversity of background or did you all start at square one on the first day no matter what level people were at?

    No matter what the level was we all started at square one. There were people came from computer engineering backgrounds and some people were coming from blue collar backgrounds. But we did all the same tutorials together the first week. Day two, everyone did the same exercise: Ruby in 100 minutes. You kind of get the basics, and instructors are there to help you out if you don’t understand anything. That’s where people who are already strong can get ahead because there’s a series tutorials that they could do on their own if they wanted to- you can move at your own pace because you work individually or with a partner.


    Describe the teaching style and the curriculum.

    I think the course is structured amazingly because Jeff, the head of curriculum has a Teach for America background and he taught in DC Public Schools for a couple of years, and was the principal of the Hungry Academy. He has experience in education so he’s really good on pedagogy, how teaching affects learning. It’s not just the material, it’s how you present the material; what are the best theories on how to learn and how to teach.

    So we spent the first month and a half just learning Ruby. We didn’t touch Rails, we didn’t touch any kind of web framework. We were solving small puzzles, parsing CSVs and not relying on a lot of stuff Rails did for free.

    Then from there we moved into Sinatra; it’s the very same framework so we were writing a lot of things Rails would give you for free, to understand why we were writing these things. There’s lots going on under the hood that if you’re doing this with just Rails, you’re not really learning, you’re just waving a magical wand without any appreciation of how it’s running underneath.

    Then the remaining 3 months we really flipped the focus on Rails and how it works. We started off with a basic blogging app, a content management system for posts. Then we moved into creating an e-commerce store then creating something that’d be similar to a Seamless where it’s one site that has multiple stores then from there incorporating APIs together to flesh out full products then finishing it with building multiple apps, making them tie together and having a service oriented architecture.


    Did you work on a capstone project at the end of your program? What did you choose?

    I’m actually working on it right now. There’s two of them. There’s the curriculum capstone which was the last one of building a service-oriented architecture of different apps. Then it’s your own personal/mastery project, and mine is going to be a small mobile app that tracks your table tennis scores.


    That’s cool!

    In table tennis, there’s always some guy telling us he’s the best or whatever and you want to keep track of all those statistics. Obviously you want to keep it on your phone so that’s a cool challenge; integrating Twitter so you could tweet at somebody like “Hey, do you wanna play? Meet me at the table in 20 minutes” and stuff like that.


    Could you partner with a robotics person and do a physical table tennis set that actually links to your app?

    Yeah. That’s another interesting thing that we do at gSchool. We do have “hardware days.” So we get to play around with that. After we finish a big project we’re all tired. There’s always cool, neat things we’ll do like go to a code retreat and talk about code or like, “Hey, we’re gonna do hardware today because you’re probably sick of doing Ruby after doing it for the last 4 months.” So there’s always little outlets like that. It’s interesting.


    Describe your experience towards the end of gSchool. Have you been interviewing with companies? Do you feel like you’re fully prepared to be interviewing?

    I’ve been on a couple of interviews so far, I think they’ve all gone well. We do a lot of – I wouldn’t say interviewing prep but doing things that will make you a strong candidate.

    We write a lot of technical blogs or solve computer science problems. I’m working on this very simple encryption that all programming languages give to you for free. You just type in 4 characters and it’s done. But it’ so obscure under the hood that you have no idea how it works. Then I think there’s a smaller project I’ll be working on, on my own and it’s probably writing a blog post and hopefully getting more discussion around that.

    I think there’s a lot of encouragement to first be a good member of the community; to open source, help out other people, mentor. If you’re a good person and you work hard, the jobs will come to you. You’ll gain trust, people will like you, you’re doing good and that will also attract the right companies too, companies that you want to be a part of because if those are things they care about, those are things you care about, you’ll probably align.


    What’s one difficult part of interviewing and how do you prepare for it?

    There’s a lot of these bootcamps coming out and all of them are different. What is special about what I learned have learned through my program will not only separate me from the  computer science kids coming out of MIT or Harvard or Stanford, but also the other boot camps. Also, I think from an industry standpoint we need to work together holistically.

    We’re all kind of in the same boat right now, we’re all junior developers and there’s all this stigma that we’re needy or we need to  be supported. We need to think about what we can do as a group to make that better. Overcoming the obstacle of people not hiring junior developers is something as a community, we need to figure out how to solve.


    A lot the bootcamps offer a partial refund to the student if you end up accepting a job with one of their partner companies. Does gSchool have partner companies and has that been a part of your experience?

    No; Jeff has made a very explicit choice and once he explained it to me, I really agreed with him. That’s why the tuition’s a little higher than the other ones, because it’s a single payment model as opposed to creating a marketplace. The main thing is he wants you to be happy; he wants you to do what you want to do. So if he has some incentive to say you should work at a certain company, you may not be getting a fair deal.

    I now know 100% if I ask him where I should work, I know he’ll give me a honest answer without having to worry.

    Actually, gSchool’s network is very strong because the instructors are so ingrained into the Ruby community that the last few cohorts have gotten jobs all around the country. And the support afterwards is  amazing. People from Hungry Academy always stop by- they’re mentors. It’s more about caring about the network than just the job placements.


    What kind of person would you recommend attend gSchool or even a bootcamp in general, but particularly gSchool, and what kind of person do you think won’t really succeed?

    I think there are a lot of blog posts talking about these kinds of schools. I think the students who will succeed have a very high “locus of control.” At the end of the day, you’re building things that have not been built before and you have to just believe in yourself. That sounds very cliché and cheesy but I think it’s true.

    You’re going to fail a lot and you’re going to feel a lot of pain; so having the perseverance to get back up is important. I think a successful student also has to have the passion for learning because it’s not like other careers; you’re going to always have something to learn because no one knows everything as a programmer and you have to sometimes realize that and just keep going. You may not get it as easy as you did in your last career but if you keep working hard it, you’ll make headway.


    Thanks so much to Rolen for sharing his experiences as a student. For an exclusive look at the instructor staff, check out our interview with gSchool instructor, Jeff Dean. For more information about gSchool, visit their website or their school page on Course Report


  • Q&A with Jeff Dean, Instructor at gSchool

    Liz Eggleston2/27/2014

    gSchool is a Rails-based bootcamp based in Colorado, set in the middle of exciting Galvanize Labs, and is one of the only six-month immersive bootcamps in the US.

    We talk with gSchool instructor Jeff Dean about his history at Pivotal Labs, why he beleives six months is necessary to produce well-rounded developers, and how excited he is for the upcoming Boulder cohort!

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to gSchool!


    Tell us about your story and how you got into the coding bootcamp space.

    Originally, I went to school to be a music teacher, and left that to travel. I ended up teaching English to Fifth Graders in Argentina. I came back to the States and worked as a camp director and taught lifeguarding, swimming, environmental science, things like that. From there I transitioned into IT for these summer camp programs and moved into programming. Most recently, I worked at Pivotal Labs for several years. gSchool is currently contracting a Pivotal Labs developer, Mike Gehard, to instruct the next Boulder course.  Mike put me in touch with Galvanize, and here I am.


    What’s the relationship between Galvanize and gSchool?

    gSchool is a program of Galvanize. The idea behind Galvanize is to provide a community for tech entrepreneurs. There’s a space to work, access to events, and other folks related to the venture capital/funding side, and then there’s gSchool, the education arm, which is potentially even grooming developers to work at some of the companies at Galvanize.


    Do the companies at Galvanize get to interact a lot with students, and vice-a-versa?

    They do. The physical space is such that there’s a big open floor, and companies have suites around the outsides with glass walls. So when the students aren’t in the classroom, they’re in the atrium. You can’t walk around without seeing gSchool students. There’s a bar and a lounge area - so in addition to the formal mentorships that we establish between gSchool students and people in the building, there’s a lot of “hanging out.” We host a lot of meetups here in Denver. The space we’re building in Boulder is similar, but it’s also right in the middle of the Boulder startups. It will be on West Pearl right by SendGrid.


    Have you gotten a ton of applications for the Boulder course?

    Yes, and the application process is closed for Boulder - we have 26 students and they’re starting on March 3rd.


    You use Rails as your teaching language. What else do students learn in their 6 months?

    The goal of gSchool is to teach a full front-end development stack. So everything from breaking down stories to managing Git, front end HTML and CSS, a little bit of JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, a lot of time on Ruby fundamentals, and a lot of time on breaking down problems. A lot of what we hear from people coming out of 12-week bootcamps is that they’re really good at Ruby, but when it comes to solving a new problem that they haven’t encountered, it’s a lot more difficult for them. Their time has been very scripted and regimented. So we focus on breaking down problems; it starts with translating human requirements into stories in a backlog and goes to writing tests that are communicative and easy to maintain. When it comes to code, how do you break down complicated problems into things that are easy to understand?

    As far as why we picked Rails, we did that because it’s a good starting point. There’s a high demand for Rails developers, which is easy, but there’s probably more of a demand for Java developers. Ruby is very welcoming- the meetups here are friendly and there’s an energy in the community. It’s not the most diverse community in the business world by any stretch of the imagination, but the people are friendly and open. The companies in Galvanize use Rails more than any other single technology, so that helps with mentors. This isn’t a statement that we think Ruby / Rails is the best language / framework, but we think it’s a good starting point. gSchool grads right now diversify very quickly once they get into the workforce. We think you need to teach one thing well in order for students to transfer that to other technologies.


    Your course is six months long- one of the longest coding bootcamps. Why 6 months? What do students get out of those extra three months?

    It’s funny that you say the “extra three months,” because we’re struggling to fit everything into the six months. Mike and I both worked at Pivotal Labs for a long time, and we know what it takes to build high quality software on a daily basis. What it takes is a set of habits and discipline, and that only comes with practice. We could teach Ruby syntax in a short period of time, but the rest of the course is when we rehearse. So when you start a job and someone gives you a complicated problem, you don’t have to think about it as much. There’s no judgement here about these other courses, but we haven’t figured out how to get that level of training and education in 12 weeks. We also recognize that when students leave, often junior-level positions don’t encourage pair programming and testing and being agile, so we like to give students that extra time.


    What are you looking for in potential students?

    We do take complete beginners. The cohort that is starting on March 3 is probably the most diverse from a skillset standpoint than we’ve had before. We have a number of students who have graduated from other, shorter form code schools. Some of them are coming in having deployed Rails apps to Heroku, but the majority are coming in with little to no code experience. Some have gone through Codecademy online tools and some have gone to meetups; others are just excited about getting in the field, but haven’t had time to dig into programming on their own. That diversity in skill levels completely scares me, but in a good way.

    We look for drive more than anything- you need to know what a programmer’s day is and still be excited about it. There’s a bit of a myth going around about programming, that you have a super high salary, high creativity. We make sure that students understand that there’s a lot of sitting down at a computer, typing characters. And the salaries on the coasts may not apply here in the Denver - Boulder corridor.

    In our interview process, we select for the ability to handle frustration and for a good mix of personalities and skills. Our current age range is 23-55 and we have everything from hungry, young people, but also people with families.


    Since you have students from varying backgrounds, what kind of pre-work do you require before students start?

    Our main message is to come well-rested and ready to focus. The pre-work is online, ( One is the Five Elements of Effective Thinking and the other is XP Explained. They go through the Codecademy courses primarily to get familiar with the vocabulary. We don’t ask them to do code challenges or complete things before they get here. People do their best work when they’re awake and alert, and can work at a sustainable pace.


    How many cohorts have you graduated and how large are your cohorts?

    We graduated one last spring, another graduated February 28th. We like to stay between 24-26 students. Right now, we have two lead instructors and a TA for each class.


    How many of those students are women?

    The cohort starting on March 3rd is 46% women. With each cohort we’re seeing higher female applicant numbers. I think people are starting to realize that this is not a frat.


    Do you get a lot of students from outside of Colorado?

    We got more applicants from out-of-state than I would have anticipated and of those, not too many ended up coming. It’s a pretty big commitment for someone out of state, between the tuition and uprooting your life. As more code schools open in smaller markets, my guess is that more students will end up staying local.


    Describe the curriculum at gSchool and explain your teaching style.

    Days are typically structured similarly. In the morning, there are warmups in the classroom. Instructors will give an exercise to work on, we’ll review. There’s some new content, a short lecture. And then in the afternoon, it turns into project and pair work. In the beginning of the course, it’s more structured classroom time. As it goes on, the projects become more intense.

    As far as content goes, we start with Ruby basics, Git, HTML, CSS, Rack and Sinatra, and then move to Rails, SQL and working with REST web services.  We also cover topics like interview prep, personal branding, conference talk prep etc...


    Who are your instructors at gSchool?

    Right now Mike Gehard and I will be teaching the next Boulder class, and we’re in the process of hiring other instructors for the classes we’ll be running later in the year.  Finding good instructors is difficult for us. The people who you want to be teaching are the ones in the highest demand in the industry right now. It’s hard to staff a class with instructors who are both personable and killer developers, and we’re really lucky to have Mike. Mike and I have been working a lot on figuring out what we value, and what we care about is helping people solve their own problems, so we’ve been designing a curriculum for that.


    It sounds like gSchool is really focused on educating students, but do you also help students find jobs at the end of the course?

    So far, we’ve offered a guarantee that we’ll help you find a job with a $60,000 salary or more, or we’ll refund a portion of your tuition. I think that Jeff Casimir added that guarantee originally because there were so many doubts about what we were doing. It seems like at a certain point, that will become less necessary. Job placement has not been super hard. We do a number of demo-days throughout the course and we hold it in the Galvanize space. We invite Galvanize employers and outside employers. We facilitate a lot of those relationships and we leverage our own relationships to arrange for interviews etc. We do interview prep and resume building (for companies that still think resumes are a thing). For example we’ve gotten feedback from some employers that women applicants do poorly in whiteboarding interviews, so that’s something we’re going to focus on more. We don’t think that whiteboarding is a good way to interview or figure out if someone is going to be a good developer, but if people are doing it in the industry, we’ll prep them for it. Our professional and social networks are mostly in the Denver area, although in the first cohort, about ⅓ got jobs outside of the Denver area.


    Is gSchool considering going through the accreditation process?

    We would love to open in California at some point, and so going through the BPPE is now a requirement for that, and something we’ll do happily. Internally, we consider ourselves more of a job-training program than a purely academic education. So when the California regulations started surfacing, that made total sense to us. I don’t know the extent to which we’ve been working with Colorado regulatory agencies since I mostly focus on curriculum. I see regulation as a good thing. I get the sense that everyone in the industry right now is really well-intentioned, but at a certain point, supply will start to meet demand, and these job guarantees will start to decrease and people might get less truthful in their marketing. I know there was a bit of a stir a few weeks ago when the story came out, and how this was “stifling innovation,” but it’s hard for me to imagine that a couple thousand dollars in regulatory fees and a couple of Word documents is the difference between being innovative or not.


    If students come to gSchool and don’t want to get jobs, but rather want to start their own businesses, is that a red flag?

    We’ve had a couple students in that boat. Our philosophy is that if you think this is right for you, we welcome you. But we make sure that students know that this is probably not the best way to spend money if you’re specifically focused on running your own company. We’re not focused on Lean Startup principles, customer development- things that are important to being a technical cofounder. If, after they know this, they still want to come, we say absolutely.


    Does gSchool sound like the bootcamp you've been looking for? Check out their School Page or visit their website for more information. 

  • Which New York Coding Bootcamp is Best for You?

    Liz Eggleston2/2/2018

    How do you choose a coding boot camp in New York that's right for you? New York City is home to 13 full-time coding bootcamps, teaching everything from Web Development to Mobile App Development to FinTech. With so many options to choose from, you should consider factors like your learning style, professional goals, and language preferences.  

    Lucky for you, we've done all the hard work!

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