Guild of Software Architects
The Guild of Software Architects is a 12-week combination apprenticeship and mobile programming bootcamp based in Dallas, Texas. Courses are offered in either iOS or Android app development. Technologies covered include Java, Swift, Android Studio, Xcode, Objective-C, Git, and more. Scholarships for Women in Tech, and military veterans and their spouses are available. Job placement is offered through our partnerships with local recruiters and our ever growing list of hungry start-ups and mobile dev shops.
Courses are taught by industry professionals such as Founder & Lead Instructor, Kevin Harris. Prior to launching The Guild, Kevin was the Lead Wearables Architect at Fossil where he developed the watch faces and micro apps for Fossil's new series of Android Wear-based smart watches. Before Fossil, The Guild's lead instructor was the mobile architect at ilumi, an IOT startup in Plano, TX which appeared on Shark Tank. His mobile experience includes working on such apps as Words with Friends, Hanging with Friends, Doodle Jump, the official CarMax app for iOS, and mobile games for LEGO. In addition, students will learn from a lead instructor who has taught for 10 years as an Adjunct Lecturer at the Guildhall at SMU, a Master's level program in interactive game development.
The Guild of Software Architects believes that when it comes to picking a coding bootcamp, students should not settle for a program that uses former students as teachers. A proper apprenticeship program should involve working under a master craftsmen with the war stories and experience to drive home the proper way to build software.
Recent Guild of Software Architects News
- Ultimate Guide to Mobile Development Bootcamps
- Student Spotlight: Melissa Phillips of Guild of Software Architects
- 7 Reasons Why Veterans Make Good Coders
Recent Guild of Software Architects Reviews: Rating 5.0
With a much wider support for mobile hardware, combined with a desire by many companies to create Android versions of their iOS apps, Google’s Android OS has not only caught up to iOS in popularity, it has pushed the demand for mobile developers into the stratosphere. Our Android apprenticeship course is a 12 week long immersion into the world of Android development. The course is designed for students who have the potential, but lack the professional experience required to land a junior level Android developer position. Therefore, the goal of the course is to arm the student with all of the basic skills required to become a useful and contributing member of an Android development team.
- $2000 is required to hold your seat. The remaining balance will be required prior to the courses start date.
- $2000 for women or $5000 for qualified veterans and their spouses.
- Minimum Skill Level
- A basic understanding of the Java programming language is highly advisable, but not required. Students who are familiar with at least one other object-oriented programming language should have no problem transitioning into Java.
- Prep Work
- If you're new to programming you may contact the Guild for recommended learning resources and materials.
Apple released the first iPhone in 2007 and it not only redefined the term “smart phone,” it has created an ever growing demand for iOS developers as more and more companies fight to create the apps that will make their presence felt in this new mobile space. Our iOS apprenticeship course is a 12 week long immersion into the world of iPhone and iPad development using the Swift programming language. The course is designed for students who have the potential, but lack the professional experience required to land a junior level iOS developer position. Therefore, the goal of the Bootcamp is to arm the student with all of the basic skills required to become a useful and contributing member of an iOS development team.
- $2000 is required to hold your seat. The remaining balance will be required prior to the courses start date.
- $1000 for women or $3000 for qualified veterans and their spouses.
- Minimum Skill Level
- A basic understanding of the Swift programming language is highly advisable, but not required. Students who are familiar with at least one other object-oriented programming language should have no problem transitioning into Swift.
- Prep Work
- If you're new to programming you may contact the Guild for recommended learning resources and materials.
$300 Guild of Software Architects Scholarship
The Guild of Software Architects is a combination apprenticeship and mobile programming bootcamp based in Dallas, Texas. Course Report is happy to offer our readers an exclusive Guild of Software Architects scholarship for $300 off!
- Offer is only valid for new applicants to Guild of Software Architects. Applicants who have already submitted an application cannot claim this scholarship.
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Guild of Software Architects Reviews
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The coding bootcamp at the Guild of Software Architects was exactly what I needed to change career paths. In 12 weeks I went from knowing very little about mobile development to having an app in the Apple App Store and many new job opportunities to choose from. I appreciate the in-person and hands-on approach that it provided and Kevin is one of the best instructors I have ever had. Before the class started I was able to meet with him in person to talk which a lot of other bootcamps wouldn't do. Best decision I have ever made!
The instructor was very knowledgeable and effective in explaining difficult concepts to the class. The lectures were well organized and planned accordingly to the overall class structure during the course of the program. I was able to receive a lot of help and recommendations while working on my projects and learned a lot of useful skills that helped me further push my career choice. Overall, I highly recommend this program to anyone who is willing to put in the effort in learning a new lanuage that is in high demand in today's job market.
I am a current student of the iOS bootcamp at GuildSA. It is a traditional 12 week full time boot camp which gives me the structure, camaraderie and accountability I need. Currently they offer iOS as well as a separate course for Android development. I chose GuildSA because it is very affordable as they have scholarships for women as well as veterans and spouses. On top op that, Frisco is a much more affordable city than SF or NYC or even Austin. You can rent a room here for $500 a month and the cost of living is amazing. It’s a wonderful place to live my opinion. The tech scene in Dallas is growing rapidly and there is less competition for junior Dev jobs here in this area than other cities. It is a new bootcamp and I am in the first cohort, however they have had two apprentices (part time students who primarily study independently) get developer jobs in the past few months.
The curriculum is pretty thorough and the time commitment is considerable both in and out of class. This intensity is needed if you really want a career change after completing the program. You can take it as far as you want to and the instructor, Kevin Harris, is both a seasoned engineer and instructor who definitely can help you get wherever you might want to go in your studies. While there’s definitive assignments you must complete, there is also time in the course to go more in depth in special topics you are interested in and of course ample opportunity to develop your own app idea that will get in the app store.
I came into this course with some self-taught knowledge in front end web development as well as the introductory swift courses on Treehouse. I would definitely recommend preparing for the program with at least having a beginner level understanding of programming as it moves very fast and you will have to comprehend some rather advanced concepts in a very short amount of time. If you're interested in attending, I would highly recommend you join the GuildSA group on meetup.com and come to some of the events here. You'll meet other graduates and tech professionals and get a sense of whether you feel it would be a good fit for you.
Update: I received numerous interviews and a job offer within a few weeks of graduating the iOS bootcamp.
Kevin is an awesome instructor. Learning to code is hard, but he makes it very understandable and breaks it down in everyday life examples, which makes it easier. He is very approachable and you can tell he has a passion for teaching. I had a couple of local options when I considered picking an in person boot camp and I'm extremely happy I picked The Guild.
I haven't finished my course yet, but I'm positive that I will come out of this with enough knowledge to be able to complete my goals.
Guild SA offers two main tracks: the mobile bootcamp (iOS or Android) or the apprenticeship program. This is a review of the apprenticeship.
Guild SA's Android Apprenticeship program is tailored for those who've grasped the fundamentals of Java but need guidance and mentorship to take their skills to the next level. That fit my situation well. My goal was to release an Android app to the Google Play Store and that the app be designed and built as if a professional developer created it. This standard likely won't be achieved by watching YouTube tutorials or taking college courses, which is what I did for about 6 months prior to joining. When I became a Guild SA Android apprentice, I saw my skill jump up right away. The greatest benefit of having Kevin, the lead architect and instructor, as a mentor is that 1) you literally have an architect answering your questions and reviewing your code and 2) he explains why the code does what it does. Not knowing why a piece of obscure code is written can be frustrating but Kevin can be relentless in researching the answer and then explaining how it works. That's so much better than waiting hours, days or even weeks for an answer on StackOverflow.
Already after a month, I have an Android app under my belt and my confidence as a mobile developer grows every day knowing that I'm learning the right way under Guild SA's mentorship.
If you're over being a novice and have the drive and initiative to build a portfolio of apps to show off to the world but need guidance to do it the right way, check out Guilda SA's apprenticeship program.
I'm currently an apprentice and couldn't have made a better decision. The instructor is very knowlegeable and patient when it comes to dealing with mobile app questions. I learned in a few weeks what would have taken me months on my own. I highly reccomend the program for anyone that is interested in mobile app development!
Kevin Harris served as my Adjunct Lecturer at the SMU Guildhall for an Art and Scripting Course. He did a fantastic job of exposing us to mobile development and, more specifically, Lua and Corona SDK. From the outset of the course, we built upon the basics, reviewing concepts for those who were unfamiliar with coding languages. By combining lecture and practical applicaiton, each student, regardless of skill, successfully created their own version of a mobile game project. If I had the opportunity, I would jump at the chance to participate in this program!
Our latest on Guild of Software Architects
There’s something about a good mobile app that just helps you throughout the day– be it your Linkedin, Google maps, CNN, Nike+ Training, or ESPN app– we depend on our smartphones for a lot. Due to the global rise of smartphones and tablets, mobile apps can be the go-to source for information, entertainment, productivity, e-commerce, and more. By 2020, global mobile app store downloads will reach 288.4 billion! With the rise of mobile applications on the market, the demand for mobile software developers continues to grow. We thought it was only right to give you a breakdown of what it really takes to be a mobile applications developer. From educational requirements to general stats on the profession to the top mobile coding bootcamps around the world– read below for our Ultimate Guide to Mobile Development Bootcamps.Continue Reading →
Melissa Phillips was a graphic designer, a teacher, and most recently a stay-at-home mom before deciding to go to Guild of Software Architects mobile development bootcamp. Melissa tried to teach herself to code while at home with her young daughter, but wanted a faster way to jumpstart her career to re-enter the workforce. She moved from Killeen to Frisco, Texas and enrolled at Guild of Software Architects’ 12-week iOS bootcamp. Melissa explains why she wanted to study near Dallas rather than Austin, why mobile development is a good alternative to web development, and how she juggled her responsibilities while studying full time.
Tell me about your background before you decided to do a bootcamp. What was your education and career background before Guild SA?
I started out in graphic design. I then did some early education for a while, and then I had my own business for a little bit as a stay-at-home mom.
I have a bachelor's degree in art. I thought I wanted to be an art teacher, but then I realized that wasn’t for me. I got into web development, and I was teaching myself through Free Code Camp. But I got to a point where I felt like I just really wanted to jumpstart a career rather than just dabble.
What was it about tech, web development, or coding that made you want to get into that field rather than your previous art background?
I really enjoyed working with children, but I got to the point where I wanted something different. In that field, it can be hard to advance. It can take a long time to advance. So I just started looking at different careers. I actually talked to somebody that was a web developer and designer, and she told me how it just changed her life– she now has more work than she can handle.
I started looking into web development and realized how in demand it was. I was able to pick up the concepts pretty quickly, and I could do it. So I was like, "Yeah, I'm going to do this."
You were mentioning that you did teach yourself for a little while. Why did you feel you needed something more than that?
I think I could've taught myself, it would’ve just taken a lot longer. Obviously when you're teaching yourself, you can find help, but it can be hard to find. Sometimes on the Free Code Camp forum there are lots of people there, and other times it's a ghost town and you just never really know. The more advanced you get the harder it is to find help. When you have really simple questions, people can easily give you answers, but the more you progress, the fewer the people there who can help you.
So that's part of the reason– the other reason is when I was teaching myself, I was a stay-at-home mom, and it was hard to find time. I would work on it when my daughter was napping or at night or early in the morning. Now I can work all day long because it's an accelerated program and it's 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.
Did you research other Frisco or Dallas coding bootcamps? What made you choose Guild of Software Architects?
I was living near Austin when I first started looking at bootcamps. I met with one of the directors of an Austin bootcamp, and she asked me, "What are you looking for?" and I said, "I want to get a job after this." She told me it takes six months to find a job in Austin– that's what their graduates were seeing because so many developers are moving there. I thought, "I don't have six months to go job hunting." She told me, "If you're open to it, in Dallas it usually takes three months or less to find a job."
So I started looking at Dallas web development bootcamps, and I came across Guild of Software Architects. They are not a web development bootcamp, they're a mobile development bootcamp. I wasn't even considering mobile development at that time, but because I saw them, I looked it up.
Part of the reason I chose to go to Guild of Software Architects was because they offer a very generous scholarship for veterans and their spouses. I'm a spouse of a veteran. That was very appealing because I didn't have a lot of money. Because I'm in the first cohort, they had introductory pricing, which now I think they've raised it, but that combined with the scholarship, you just couldn’t really beat it. I didn't want to take out a huge loan to go to a bootcamp, as I'm already paying for my daughter to go to daycare while I'm doing this without an income. So the financial aid was amazing.
Once you saw that Guild SA was teaching mobile development, what made you think "This actually could be good for my future career."?
Similarly to web development, mobile is a field that has really taken off, and in some cases it's even more in demand than web development. Part of the reason for that is there are less mobile developers to compete with than there are web developers.
Once you get over the hurdle of looking at code and not being like, "Oh, it's scary," then it's pretty much up to you what you want to do. Once you learn to code, the language that you code in is just really what your preference is or what the local economy is calling for. You can pick up any language you want once you realize you can do it.
Are you learning Android or iOS?
I'm in the iOS development course learning Swift. The way Guild SA does it is they offer an iOS cohort and then an Android cohort. They don't do it simultaneously yet.
Did you specifically want to learn iOS development over Android development?
I've had both iOS and Android phones. I actually like both of them, and I'd actually be open to learning Android in the future. I would have probably done either. I think it was just timing more than anything.
Did you ever consider going back to college to do a computer science degree?
I actually did look into that. The reason I didn't go back is because they require a lot of calculus to get a computer science degree. I took math in college, but it wasn't that high of a level of math, and I wasn't really ready to take that on. And I think a lot of the coursework that a computer science degree requires isn't really necessary to get a job.
What was the Guild of Software Architects application and interview process like?
It was pretty easy. First you just fill out a little questionnaire about yourself, your experience, and your goals. Then I came in for an interview on campus with the lead instructor (and founder) Kevin Harris and the director at NTEC, which is the building that the school is in. I wanted to see the campus and see the area, and meet with Kevin, and ask any questions I had. Then I was accepted and I paid the deposit.
How many people are in your cohort and how diverse it is in terms of gender, and race, and backgrounds?
Actually, they have a scholarship for women too. So it's very diverse. I think we have seven people, including me, so it's very small. There are a lot of moms, a lot of different ages, different races, and veterans. One of my classmates came from HR, one came from the healthcare industry, and one came just straight from college. Another classmate has a background in biomedical engineering, and she's like me. She took time off to be a stay at home mom and now is trying to reenter the workforce. So there are lots of different backgrounds.
What’s the learning experience like at the bootcamp? Maybe you can give me an example of a typical day.
Right now we're towards the end of the program, so it's a lot more independent work. The schedule of the majority of the program has been a lecture in the morning on a topic, maybe it's implementing a feature, and then it's going off on your own to use that in your own project, or to create a sample where you implement the feature. If you have any questions, you can ask for help and get it done. That's usually how it goes.
Do you do pair programming and group work?
Mostly just pair programming with the instructor. Occasionally, some of us are more advanced than others on certain things. If we think somebody knows the answer we'll ask, and we can help each other out a little bit, but typically we don’t pair program with other students. I have a design background, so I've designed a logo and app icon for one of my classmates.
We're all working on a group app together, but we all have our own apps that are the primary apps right now. So there's a little bit of group work, but it’s really up to you to collaborate with others.
What sort of hours have you found that you and your cohort mates are doing? Do you find people who tend to stay later than the core hours?
Yes. The building that we're in is open until 9pm or 10pm. The hours are something like 6am to 9pm and I think it's open on weekends too. So lots of people come in and stay late, or like me, come in early. You can pretty much choose your own hours. There's no clocking in or clocking out as lots of people work outside of class. It's just you're here because you want to be here and you show up to get the information and the help.
Did you just have the one instructor or do you have teacher assistants?
No, just the one lead instructor right now because this is the first cohort and there are only seven of us. Kevin is looking to hire other teachers.
How are you finding the teaching style compared to the sort of teaching style you had when you were at college?
It's actually pretty similar to college. There's a lot more time now toward the end to work on your own. But at the beginning when we were learning programming fundamentals and stuff, it was very similar to a college class. We had a lot of lectures, a lot of advanced topics, theoretic topics. Now, toward the end, we're just pretty much doing more application work. Now it's more like a job or an internship.
What's your favorite project that you've worked on so far?
I have a lot of fun doing the DishRate app (see my portfolio). This is actually something that anyone can do if they're interested. Apple has tutorials about apps you can do, and they have one that's a meal tracker app. As a class we all did that app together and then we just added more and more functionality to it because it's a very basic app. Now mine is a whole different animal. I had a lot of fun adding features to it and adding my own designs to it.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge for you while studying at Guild SA?
Any challenge you have, you can get the help that you need here, but I think in the job market it's still hard. A lot of the employers in Dallas don't really understand what a bootcamp is, or a lot of jobs want you to have experience right after you attend the bootcamp. So that's a big challenge.
Because I have a gap on my resume from being a stay at home mom, people ask me about that, and you don't want to make excuses for yourself. It's a challenge of just breaking back in– but from what I hear, once you break in, you're set. Getting that first job is really hard, especially with a new bootcamp that people don't know about yet.
How have you found balancing motherhood and any other responsibilities that you’ve had to do while you've been doing the bootcamp?
Actually, we moved into an apartment that's right next to campus so it's so easy for me to get to school. Luckily my husband works so I don't have to juggle that. I know one of my classmates has a job that he does outside of class. I don't know how he does it. My daughter goes to daycare and they're really good with her and she enjoys it so that's not a problem. It can be challenging with a child to work on projects outside of class, but what I always tell other moms or dads is, early in the morning or late at night, that's your golden hour.
What is your overall goal, job-wise, after going to this bootcamp? What kind of jobs are you going to start looking once you graduate?
I'd like to find an iOS development internship or junior level iOS app developer job, but I'll also look at UX/UI jobs too because I have the skill set to do that. From what I hear, it's easier to get a development job just because there's a lot of competition in the design aspect, but I'm just going to apply for a bunch of things. Mostly, I just want to work in mobile if I can because I prefer mobile– I really have fallen in love with it.
Is Kevin helping students with the job search?
There's actually going to be a demo day where recruiters are going to come and look at our apps, so we can show them what we’ve built and worked on. And I think that's the main event for connecting us to jobs. That's going to be toward the end of the bootcamp.
Have you started applying for a job or internship yet? How much longer do you have left at Guild SA?
I think I have three or four weeks left. But yeah, I have started applying for jobs. I don't really even have my portfolio in order so I really shouldn't be, but I’m applying here and there, just casually.
What sort of advice do you have for other people in a similar situation as you, who are wanting to either change jobs or reenter the workforce, and thinking about a coding or mobile development bootcamp?
I would say, prepare as much as possible. Most people like me don't come from a software engineering background, so all this stuff is new. I think in order to get your brain to work in that way you just have to really immerse yourself in it and just embrace the challenges. Listen to podcasts, read books, check out books from the library, read blogs, and take courses.
There are lots of free courses online, like Codecademy. There are also free introduction to computer science courses you can take online. Just do as much as you can to immerse yourself in it and practice as much as you can. Really make sure you're dedicated to it before you do something like a bootcamp because once you go in, there's no turning back.
Kevin Harris is familiar with bootcamps – military bootcamps. He joined the US Navy aged 18, and 26 years later he’s created his own bootcamp. Unlike a military bootcamp, this one doesn’t require boots or a camouflage uniform. Instead Kevin is launching mobile development bootcamp Guild of Software Architects, an intense 12-week long course in Frisco, TX, with a focus on veterans.Continue Reading →
Kevin Harris is the founder and lead instructor of Guild of Software Architects mobile development bootcamp in Frisco, TX. He and his wife started the bootcamp last year with part-time night courses, and they are about to launch a full-time immersive Android program in May 2016, and an iOS program in August 2016. Kevin tells us about his background developing mobile game apps, why mobile development is ideal for beginners, and how his experience in the military prepared him to be a successful programmer.
What’s your career background and experience?
I’ve been a programmer for 20 years. I started out doing desktop programming for Windows 95 and 98, then transitioned into doing 3D graphics programming for military and aircraft simulators. I was really excited when the first iPhone came out because it was the first smartphone that could be programmed like a regular computer. So I decided to move over to mobile development. I got a lot of experience doing contract work, worked with Zynga for the Words With Friends app. I also worked for Blockdot (now Soap) programming their Carmax app and a Lego mobile game called Galaxy Squad. Then I worked on the Doodle Jump game for Lima Sky. I also ported iPhone games to different platforms like Android and Samsung. I am currently the Lead Wearables Architect at Fossil, programming their new line of Android Wear watches.
Wow – that’s an extensive career! Why did you want to start a mobile development bootcamp?
I had been teaching night classes at the Guildhall of Southern Methodist University (SMU) for nine years. I developed and taught three courses as part of a Masters degree program in game development – 3D modeling, level design, and coding. I was excited about the rise of coding bootcamps because I really enjoyed teaching at a university, but because I don’t have a college degree, I couldn’t work full-time.
I realized a coding bootcamp was an opportunity to actually teach subjects that I want to teach and feel passionate about – and that is mobile development.
If you didn’t have a college degree, how did you teach yourself to code?
I went straight from high school into the Navy for the first Gulf War, from 1990 to 1994. When I left the Navy I had a lot of technical skills, but they didn’t translate into a civilian job. I was already a hobbyist programmer so I decided to do programming full time. At first it seemed impossible to get a job without a college degree or equivalent. But I looked up all of the Texas software companies in the Yellow Pages, told them I knew how to program, and offered to work for free for a few months to prove my skills. My first job was in the back of a server room where I was making only $12,000 a year, but it was an invaluable experience. After a year, I was hired by Fujitsu Network Systems as a software developer with a $64,000 salary.
When did you launch Guild of Software Architects coding bootcamp?
When I had the idea in 2015, we met a business incubator called North Texas Enterprise Center (NTEC) which specializes in taking founded businesses to move to the next level. My business idea was literally a startup, it was just me and my wife working together. NTEC is now providing the Guild/SA training rooms and my office.
We launched Guild/SA with night courses called Career Accelerators. We expanded to include apprenticeships. The night classes are on hold now while we focus on the apprenticeships and the immersive program. We have two apprentices now, and we have two more arriving soon.
Why did you choose to focus on mobile development?
In the Dallas and Fort Worth area, I see considerably more job openings for mobile developers than web developers. I can’t speak to other markets, but in Dallas there are a ton of startups that are eager to create mobile apps. Yes they need a website, as a marketing tool, but the real business of many startups are mobile apps. So we have a lot of companies looking for junior devs to do mobile apps – which is great for a junior developer who is eager and hungry.
Why is mobile a good platform for a beginner to learn?
I like teaching mobile development because mobile platforms are very self-contained learning environments. In web development, there are numerous platforms, different tools, languages and ways of doing things.
Some people think of mobile development as extremely complicated, but I think mobile development is actually easier because you’re isolated to a specific platform so your job is more straightforward. When you become an Android developer, you just use Java. And if you become an iPhone developer, you have just two language choices – either Objective-C or Swift. Both platforms are very self-contained learning environments, and in many ways I believe are easier to pick up than jumping into web development.
What’s the difference between the immersive program and the apprentice program? Are those aimed at people with certain backgrounds?
The apprenticeship program was created for students who have a background in development and are good at self learning, but need mentoring help in certain areas. Apprentices bring their own projects to work on, and we suggest certain technologies, but there is no highly structured classroom system. They pay monthly to work in our space, and we spend some time each day helping them make progress on their projects.
What sort of background or experience do students need to attend the Guild/SA immersive bootcamp?
We do prefer students to have some development experience as a hobbyist, but we are totally open to taking students who know almost nothing. Total beginners should expect the interview to be a bit longer, and we’re looking for excitement and passion about the topic. Hopefully, by the time students come to the bootcamp, they will have learned the basics. We do cover the basic language of each platform in Java and Swift, but we move forward pretty fast as we want to get to the actual development platform.
Do you alternate between iOS and Android for the immersive program? What technologies and languages are you teaching?
The Android bootcamp starts in May and that will be the only active bootcamp at that time. So we will be focused on Android for three months, teaching Java.
The iOS program starts on August 15. In the iOS program, we mainly teach Swift because it’s the new up and coming standard. But we will also cover backward compatibility to Objective-C – that’s very important because there is a lot of legacy code hanging around.
We also cover wearable technologies – Android Wear, and Apple Watch. And I have other interests like IOT devices and iBeacons. When students come up with a mobile app idea, I like to suggest they reach for something that’s new and cutting edge. I like to think of future students and apprentices involved in the Guild as being part of our own little skunkworks projects where we hack around on new tech and brainstorm new ideas.
What is your personal teaching style?
The first half of the day we have lectures, then typically, after lunch we have coding challenges. I like to start off with high-level concepts like push notifications. Then we get into the code, I give code samples, and we discuss how it works. As the bootcamp progresses I become much more open to questions about specific topics. Today an apprentice asked about how to monetize a mobile app. So I gave an off-the-cuff hour-long presentation on how to make money on apps.
One thing I like to stress with new developers is not to become overwhelmed by the apparent complexity of a problem. You must learn to break big problems down into a set of smaller problems, then research the solutions to those smaller problems. Once you have the solutions to the smaller problems you can reintegrate the solutions back together for the final solution. Sometimes, you need to take baby steps so you can sneak up on success.
How much time do students spend working on portfolio projects?
As the bootcamp progresses forward, lectures get replaced with project work. Building up a portfolio you can show an employer is important, so students build mobile apps that can prove their skills and knowledge. Towards the end of the course each student will work on a showcase app. The showcase apps should look as polished and complete as possible and have lots of bells and whistles so students can present them at our Demo Day.
How do you assess students’ progress? Are there tests or assessments?
I don’t have plans to give tests. I give out coding challenges, and then organically as students ask questions I try to gauge what concepts students are struggling the most with. If they are having trouble with a topic, I’ll identify where the problem is. The bootcamp is very structured, but everyone learns at a different pace.
What’s the interview/application process like? Is there a coding challenge?
We’re pretty lenient for now. We have an application candidates fill out, and we do a lengthy phone interview. I’ll talk to the student, get a feel for where they are at, why they are interested, and gauge how passionate they are about the field. I know some people want to go into bootcamps as a career switch, but you have to have a certain level of enthusiasm backing you.
I know you have a special focus on veterans at Guild/SA. Can you tell us about the sort of scholarships you offer for veterans? And why you think coding is a good career for veterans?
The mobile bootcamps cost $6000, but tuition is $3000 for veterans.
My personal experience, and I think this applies to a lot of veterans, is when you go into the military you have to go through a real bootcamp. That’s where I really became aware of self discipline, which had a big impact on my life. I tell students one of the most important things I learned in the military was how to learn. After the Navy, I had this fresh concept in my mind that I can I could learn anything if I had the right materials. Now it’s even easier, you can find thousands of videos online to teach you anything. I think in general veterans have some unique discipline to them – they have the willpower to focus, they can learn on their own, and many veterans have been in leadership situations. I think those are great traits to have in mobile development.
How do you help students with job placement? Do you have a career advisor or hiring partners?
We’ll have a Demo Day, where local recruitment companies and startups who are looking for junior developers can talk with our students, look at their projects and try to get them jobs.
I encourage students to show me their resumes, their LinkedIn profiles, and I give them general advice about applying for jobs. I tell students to be professional, and always be cognizant that people can find you on Twitter and Facebook, so you need to be careful with social media.
Tell us about the tech scene in Frisco and Dallas!
We have a lot of tech companies and startups in the North Texas area, especially Frisco, which are looking for mobile developers. I feel very confident that once we start producing graduates they are going to get snatched up pretty fast. There is a huge demand for mobile developers everywhere.
What resources or meetups do you recommend for aspiring bootcampers in Frisco?
We have a meetup group which is focused on people who are new to mobile programming. A lot of meetups have extremely advanced topics, which can be like drinking from the firehose for new developers. Our meetup is more for newbies who are just getting into tech and the topics are more basic, like How to Use Android Studio. We’ve also sponsored two hackathons this year, one of which we founded - HackEd.
Is there anything else you want prospective students to know about the Guild/SA bootcamp?
This is my biased opinion, but being a mobile developer is fun. Compared to web development, there are more opportunities at startups, you’ll likely work in smaller teams, and have more input about app design.
When you go back 15 to 20 years, when people talked about personal computers, they meant a big beige blocky thing on your desk. Today, everyone has a personal computer in their smartphone. A lot of people live their whole lives through this smartphone. If you want to work on the cutting edge of personal computing you should be in mobile app development.
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