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Front End, JavaScript, MongoDB, HTML, Rails, SQL, Sinatra, jQuery, Ruby, CSS, Express.js, Node.jsOnlinePart Time20 Hours/week

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12/14/2016
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11/13/2016
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Our latest on Launch School

  • Alumni Spotlight: Matthew, Tealeaf Academy

    Liz Eggleston12/23/2014

    Matthew Barram had done some website development for his side-business, but had doubted his ability to be a full-time web developer. Based in Brisbane, Australia and too far from in-person developer bootcamps, Matthew decided on Tealeaf Academy, the online, mentored Ruby on Rails bootcamp. Find out what convinced Matthew of the Tealeaf approach, how Tealeaf manages to create a supportive cohort of students online, and how he landed a job as a developer at NetEngine.

     

    What were you up to before you started Tealeaf?

    Before and during the Tealeaf course I was doing project management work on big infrastructure projects. On the side I owned and recently sold a business called DoneItNow which does audio transcription.

    I was exposed to software development through DoneItNow, having to develop the company website. I am passionate about making great solutions for people and so I decided I needed to learn how to code. Before this time I had doubted my abilities to be a developer and I wasn't confident that I could do it. This desire to solve problems took me to Tealeaf Academy.

     

    Did you quit your job when you decided to do the Tealeaf course?

    During the whole Tealeaf program I was working full time. It required a fair bit of dedication outside of my job, but it wasn't an issue and I was able to make it through.

     

    Did you have any technical background before you decided to apply to Tealeaf?

    I’d done a bunch of Codecademy and Code School courses beforehand. I enjoyed them but never felt like I learnt anything substantial from them. I had also project managed a few technical projects include a the development of an inhouse iPad app.

     

    When did you do the bootcamp?

    I started it in November 2013 and it took me 4 months.

     

    What was your motivation for doing it?

    Wanting to solve problems was the biggest one. I had things in my everyday life that I wanted to be able to do better and more efficiently. I also wanted to do something different and continue learning.

    At the time I didn't even consider that I would end up working as a developer.

     

    Is your plan to launch your own product eventually?

    Yes. I’ve got a few products that I’m working on at the moment. Nothing particularly exciting- just solving problems that I have. They’re more like applications to continue my learning and to have fun with at the same time.

     

    Once you decided you wanted to do a bootcamp, why did you decide to do an online program over an in-person boot camp?

    I live in Brisbane, Australia. There are some bootcamps in Sydney, which is a much bigger city than Brisbane. I looked at those and they cost $12,000 to $15,000.  But because I was working full time and didn't want to move I ruled them out as options. I also looked at Thinkful and Bloc. I selected Tealeaf because they focused on awesome content, hard work and support.

    It was also easy to get started as the first course was only four weeks and a few hundred dollars. If I didn't like it I wouldn't have wasted lots of money and time. This was reassuring from an initial purchase perspective.

     

    What was the application process like for you?

    I had a bunch of questions I wanted answered from the Tealeaf team. As far as their standards go, they’re very clear that it’s not an easy program and is not designed for people who are doing it as a hobby. They’re doing it to educate people who want to get a job in the sector or develop their own product. It was clear from the outset to only apply if you’re serious.

    I didn’t feel like the interview process was intimidating because students sign up and if it’s not right for them, they are free to leave at anytime.

     

    Were you interacting with other students throughout the program?

    Absolutely. It was an essential part of the program for me! I would have my chat window open and all the students would be in the chatroom. We would help each other out with questions and problems.

    I’m quite good friends with a lot of the students in my cohort now. That was something I enjoyed about the course, the way that relationships between the students were formed. It made it easy to keep on track.

     

    Were you working with a mentor or were you working one-on-one with an instructor?

    We had several teachers throughout the program. All the teachers were super supportive and great to work with. I valued how all the instructors and teaching assistants took lots of time to make sure I understood the content on a deep level.

    There were forums where I could ask a question in at anytime. I would get an answer really fast, which meant if I was stuck on Friday night I didn't have to wait until the following week to get support.

     

    How personalized did you feel Tealeaf was to your needs? Did you feel that you could learn things that weren’t a part of the curriculum or did you all stick pretty closely to a curriculum?

    I thought the course had a good mix of structure and flexibility. We would get a clear course outline of the things that we were going to learn and also the flexibility to learn about other things of interest. I remember we had did a bunch of sessions outside of the normal curriculum to show us how to build a web server from scratch. We asked for it and we got it, it was fantastic.

     

    Why are the courses split into a Ruby course, a Sinatra course, and then a Rails course?

    As someone who had very little programming experience, if I was to be thrown into Rails, it can look very much like “magic”. For example, I type one line and thousands of lines of code appear. I needed to understand what was happening before starting to use the “magic”

    During the first two courses, you’re learning the foundations of how Rails actually works. It allowed me to have a different perspective on Rails when I actually got to it.

     

    How long were you spending on Tealeaf each week on average?

    I’d say between 20 and 30 hours a week on average, that was mainly in the evenings and on weekends.

    My advice to other potential Tealeaf students when it gets hard, stick with it. It is worth it. For me, I just had to stick with it to come out the other side with the actual knowledge and understanding.

     

    How did you stay on track?

    It was the connections with the other students and having people that I could talk to and chat with. It reminded me that I’m not the only one going through this.

     

    Tell us about what you’re doing now. Where are you working?

    I work at a software solutions company called NetEngine. I work on a bunch of applications such as our team collaboration tool Trigger. We’re a small rails shop with a focus on quality and awesome solutions.

    I enjoy getting to put into real life practice the skills and knowledge I learnt during the Tealeaf program. It is fun working with other developers (some a lot more experienced than me). They’re always helpful, always happy to answer questions. I think Tealeaf Academy set me up for that.

    At Tealeaf they do everything as if it’s within a real company. They do things like sending pull requests and having experienced developers do code reviews. I use the same system of code review at work that we used during the Tealeaf program.

     

    How did you get your job? Was it through Tealeaf?

    One of the assignments was to go to a meetup. I didn’t want to go, but I forced myself to do it because it was part of my assignment. I met someone through there and before I knew it I was working as a developer.

     

    Is there anything we didn’t touch on that you want to include about Tealeaf?

    One of the things I really appreciated about Tealeaf how good it was for someone living outside the USA timezone. Being in Australia, even though my time-zone is completely different to the U.S. time zones, I was still able to get support anytime.

    For people who aren’t in the U.S. or near an in-person bootcamp, an online one is probably the only option for a lot of people. For me, to get support in my time-zone is important, otherwise I’d be waiting 12 hours or more for a reply.

    I think Tealeaf Academy is ideal for anyone serious about learning to code wherever they live in the world. It has helped me land a job doing what I love - coding and building applications.

     

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

  • Free Webinar: Which Online Coding Bootcamp is Best for YOU?

    Liz Eggleston8/14/2014

    Online, mentored coding bootcamps offer convenience and structure without forcing you to quit your job or move to a new city. But not all online programs were created equally, so which one is right for you? We'll learn from alumni at each online coding bootcamp, ready to answer your questions about their experience during class, how they found mentorship and community online, and how their careers have skyrocketed afterwards.  

    Continue Reading →
  • Student Review: Luke Tower, Tealeaf

    Liz Eggleston6/12/2014

    Luke Tower graduated from Tealeaf Academy and shares a review of his experience with Course Report!

     

    When I started Tealeaf Academy, I was planning a career change. As an English teacher with practically no experience programming, I had attempted some of the free online tutorials but completed them with no knowledge or understanding of what I was actually doing.  Within the first two weeks of starting at Tealeaf, my learning was progressing at a rapid rate.  I knew I had made the right choice.  The Tealeaf Academy curriculum is rigorous, in-depth, and effective.

    The instructors and teacher assistants at Tealeaf were available nearly 24 hours a day to answer any questions that I had.  It was very common to receive a response to a question within an hour, if not minutes, of posting on the forums. The coursework focused deeply on only the most important topics.  Their in-depth approach was much better than learning "a little bit of everything."  Learning one thing very well is far more valuable in the work place.

    Aside from the stellar content Tealeaf produced, the instructors were caring and dedicated individuals who possessed a passion for education. They were always open to discuss, through email or over the phone, career options or further development.  I have never had anyone take more of an interest in my growth as a developer. They truly enjoy helping people and their kindness and honesty was refreshing.

    I am happy to say that I am now a working Software Engineer and owe that reality to Tealeaf Academy.  When I interviewed for my new position, the senior developers at the company were impressed with what I had accomplished through Tealeaf.  Although my job brings new challenges, I feel well-prepared for my daily work and use the skills that I learned from Tealeaf constantly.

    If you are a dedicated learner and are looking for the opportunity to work hard and learn the necessary skills to begin a career in web development, you will not find a better place to do that than with Tealeaf Academy.  The flexibility of learning online matched with the superior educational content makes the value of their program unmatched in my eyes. I would recommend it before any of the in-person programs that are usually 5x the price.

    I am deeply grateful for what Tealeaf has created and recommend it to any person that is looking to learn the necessary skills to becoming a professional web developer.

     

    Want to learn more about Tealeaf? Check out their School Page or their website here

  • Student Spotlight: Jose Casanova, Tealeaf

    Liz Eggleston5/22/2014

    Jose Casanova graduated from Tealeaf Academy and shares a review of his experience with Course Report!

     

    My only regret is that I did not sign up for Tealeaf sooner. I started off with only the first course and thought it was really good. I finished that course with a great understanding of Ruby and felt I can debug any Ruby issue. I ended up enrolling in the other two courses (I wish I did all three at the same time to save money) and they were exceptional. The course material is organized in a way for you to get a great understanding of Rails if you put in the time and effort. I was doing the unstructured courses/tutorials route (one month rails, hatl's rails tutorial, codeschool, lynda, books and the list goes on), but its nothing like having a group of experienced developers there to help you.

    Whenever I ran into an issue during the course, and couldn't find the answer on Google, I knew that I was able to turn to the Tealeaf discussion board/mentors for help, which is nice because they don't solve the issue for you, but explain the ways to go about figuring out the answer. About a month after finishing the last course, I did my first hackathon and was in hot demand as a Rails developer. Not only did I build an idea that I've been wanting to build for some time, but built it within the 24 hour time window with all of the features that I wanted too! This was really amazing for me because I had been wanting to build that idea out for YEARS but never knew how. Tealeaf taught me how. 

    Anyways, not only did Tealeaf prepare me to be technically proficient for a Rails job, but also let me other non-technical aspects of working as a developer (type of job interviews, culture, etc). Its been less than a month since I finished the last course and I already got hired to be a developer-in-residence at a startup incubator! The best part? I wasn't actively looking for a job, but was sought out due to my online presence (Github) and the quality of code I produced for my Tealeaf projects.

    Thank you Tealeaf!!

     

    About the reviewer: Jose Santiago Casanova is a seasoned digital executive, leader and strategist. He is an expert in financial services, marketing, web development, and efficiency. Jose not only has knowledge of technical languages, such as HTML, CSS, Javascript, Ruby, & Ruby on Rails, but is excellent at trouble-shooting. Jose's diverse background includes: providing marketing consulting to Loop Pay which helped the company raise over $120k on Kickstarter, web developer, marketer, and author of two books available on Amazon. When he is not hacking away on code, he enjoys riding bike, working out, and writing. Check out his website here: http://josecasanova.com

  • Interview with Kevin Wang, founder of Tealeaf Academy

    Liz Eggleston2/25/2014

    Tealeaf Academy is an online, Rails bootcamp that offers three robust courses in web development for students with varying levels of experience. We talk to Kevin Wang, a cofounder of Tealeaf, about what makes their online program effective and the types of students who excel in their courses. 

     

    How did Tealeaf start?  What’s the story behind it?

    We started about 2 years ago, before there were many coding bootcamps. My cofounder, Chris, and I just wanted to teach. We ran the first course in February 2012 under a different name - RailsTutors. We both came from a software development background. Chris went through a few senior technical roles before building and launching his own startup; I worked for one of the top Ruby shops in the world, after spending a few years building technical training solutions for IBM's Data Management division.

     

    Take us through the curriculum. What will students master after going through your program?  

    We designed the curriculum to mirror the natural learning path for a junior developer. First, we guide our students to learn foundational skills and the basics of the Ruby programming language. You move on to learn a specific toolset- we focus on Ruby on Rails. Then, we take our students beyond this, to learn how to build a project. Learning to code is not enough, in our opinion. It’s about learning to be a programmer, solve complicated problems, and apply tools towards specific projects in a methodical way. That’s why we divided Tealeaf into three courses.

    Our curriculum is designed to take our students beyond just a beginner level developer. The truth is, it is not so difficult to read a book, follow a tutorial, or launch a simple, toy app and become a beginner web developer. It is, however, very difficult to reach the next level of proficiency without professional working experience. Our program is designed to bridge that gap. We don’t want you to leave our program and still feel like a beginner; we want to take you far along enough and introduce you to the workflows, concepts, tools and best practices of experienced developers. Of course, you will need more practice to let things settle, but we will have expanded your horizon much broader than just learning a framework and building a simple prototype.

    In fact, our graduates have told us that when they talk to graduates of other in-person bootcamp programs, they feel that they (our graduates) know much more and have much more confidence. We’ve had people who run consultancies, CTOs send their experienced developers to go through our 3rd course. As far as I know, nowhere else online can you find this type of non-beginner , profession level training program.

     

    What are you looking for in potential students?  Do students need to have a technical or programming background?

    Our philosophy is that anyone who wants to learn to be a developer, we’re willing to teach them. But we tell our students that it won’t be easy and they have to work hard to become a professional-level developer. One of the goals of our first course is to show complete beginners how real programmers work and think, and solve problems systematically. It's not just introducing the programming syntax, but introducing a mindset and temperament.

     

    So you never reject an applicant?

    It’s not that we reject them, but we talk with each of them. We’re not a good fit for everyone, so we explain our structure, and our teaching philosophy. For some people, this is not the best fit, so we may suggest Bloc, Thinkful, or an in-person program.  

     

    What makes you different from Bloc & Thinkful?

    The biggest difference is that we focus on depth. It’s very easy to become a beginner- there are a lot of materials out there, and it’s not too difficult for someone to use a tutorial or a book to build an application. But if you look at where companies are hiring, they’re looking for people with more experience. We take you further than any other bootcamp, which includes online and in-person programs. I’ve visited a lot of in-person bootcamps myself and we actually have many graduates from the in-person bootcamp, and they skip the first two courses and start in our 3rd course. Even after their weeks of training, they still haven’t gone deep enough. We want to take our students to an intermediate level, get them exposed to non-trivial problems and learn to build production quality applications.

     

    Even though Tealeaf is online, is there any in-person aspect of the program?

    We staff TAs, we have about 10-15, all over the world. In a week, we have five days of TA-led sessions, where our students can come in with questions and get help- we’re around to help them. We also have a running chatroom for quick help.

     

    Do you have cohorts, or are your students all on their own track?

    We have a prep course, which everyone has to take. It's fully supported by us, including live interactive sessions - we want to make sure our students are well prepared to go through our intensive program. There’s no time limit on that. Then, we have monthly start dates, and students can complete it at their own pace. The 3 courses are designed to take 4 weeks, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks to finish, respectively, but students are free to take longer time if necessary. We charge by courses, not time spent with us - our students pay us for specific goals, and we want to make sure we deliver values and match their expectations.

     

    How many students have gone through Tealeaf?

    That’s a hard question, because we now have three courses. We’ve probably had about 100 people go through all three courses, but some people do one or two courses.

     

    Does Tealeaf offer a refund policy?

    Yes, a full refund. For two reasons: first, our program may not be the best fit for everyone, so if someone realizes that, then we don’t want to take their money. They can take those funds and put them towards a better experience for them. We don’t do one-on-one tutoring, but someone might benefit more from that. Second, we want to take the pressure off of our students. If they commit, we’ll take them there, but we want to remove the risk.

     

    How many of your students are outside of the US?

    About half & half. We’re online, so we don’t push people away if they’re not in the US. Antarctica is the only continent we don’t have students in.

     

    Does Tealeaf help graduates find jobs in tech once they've completed the program?

    Chris and I have professional experience in the US, so our network and connections are most relevant to people in the US. We have used our connections and contacts to help students get an introduction, but because we have students from all over the world, we can't provide a guarantee. Also, we get a lot of professional developers,or existing Rails developers who are already employed. And we have companies who send their employees to be trained with us. We’re not purely a get-a-job school.

    With in-person bootcamps, after you spend over $10,000 and take 3 months off of work, you’re probably going to be looking for a job, because that’s a huge investment. But we’re flexible, online, and more affordable, so we have a more diverse body of students with different goals.

     

    If a student sticks to the schedule of the program, what is their time commitment?

    It depends on the experience level. For a professional developer, maybe 15 hours/week. Someone with less experience could spend 20-30 hours/week.

     

    After the California regulatory agency story came out, is Tealeaf concerned at all about becoming accredited as an online post secondary institution?

    It doesn't impact us, so we're not concerned about it.

     

    Thanks, Kevin!

    Interested in learning more about Tealeaf Academy? Check out their School Page on Course Report, or the Tealeaf website