After three 3 months of instruction, each student interns at a local San Diego-based tech company to apply their new skills in a real-world work environment and make valuable connections in the industry. As well as teaching students how to code, LEARN covers everything students need to know to land that first job in tech – writing resumes, developing a portfolio, negotiating a good salary, preparing for interviews, learning how to network, and setting up a LinkedIn profile. Even after graduates get that first job, LEARN will help develop your career through ongoing support, alumni events, and additional training.
Recent LEARN Academy News
- August 2017 Coding Bootcamp News + Podcast
- 14 Alternatives to Dev Bootcamp
- How to Get Work Experience Before You Graduate from Coding Bootcamp
Create a Mobile-Responsive Website | HTML + CSS + Bootstrap
Full Time Web Developer Bootcamp
- We are now offering partial Scholarships & Military Discounts
- Minimum Skill Level
- Mostly we find that the best candidates are students who have been learning on their own via online learning for a few months. They are now at the point where they want to take the next step.
- Prep Work
In PersonFull Time40Hours/week26 Seats
Application Deadline:October 1, 2018
In PersonFull Time40Hours/week26 Seats
Application Deadline:November 26, 2018
Jumpstart Weekend Bootcamp
$500 LEARN Academy Scholarship
- Offer is only valid for new applicants. Applicants who have already submitted an application cannot claim this scholarship.
- No eligibility restrictions.
- Full Time Web Developer Bootcamp (San Diego)
$500 LEARN Academy Scholarship
- Offer is only valid for new applicants. Applicants who have already submitted an application cannot claim this scholarship.
- No eligibility restrictions.
LEARN Academy Reviews
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Our latest on LEARN Academy
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 →
With the closing of Dev Bootcamp (slated for December 8, 2017), you’re probably wondering what other coding bootcamp options are out there. Dev Bootcamp changed thousands of lives, and built a great reputation with employers, so we are sad to see it go. Fortunately, there are still plenty of quality coding bootcamps in the cities where Dev Bootcamp operated. Here is a list of coding bootcamps with similar lengths, time commitments, and curriculums in the six cities where Dev Bootcamp had campuses: Austin, Chicago, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle.Continue Reading →
How do you get a job after coding bootcamp if you have no relevant, real-world work experience? Only 1.4% of bootcampers have worked as developers in the past, but most career-changers have little – if any– client experience when they start looking for a developer job. Some bootcamps help students overcome this hurdle by offering opportunities to work for the bootcamp itself, or with real clients through projects, internships, and apprenticeships. These opportunities can give students substantial experience to add to their portfolios and resumes, and kickstart the job hunt.Continue Reading →
Jenny Pletner worked as a program manager in the tech industry and even managed teams of developers, but she always wanted to work on the software development side of the industry. See why Jenny decided to learn to code in San Diego at LEARN Academy, how she’s navigating the career change as a woman in tech, and how she landed her job at Parallel 6 through an internship during LEARN!
What was your educational background and your last career path before you decided to work in software development?
I graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in Management Science and I worked as a program manager for about 15 years. The last gig that I had before LEARN was managing a team of Integrated Master Schedulers for SPAWAR 6.0. Prior to that, I managed a software development team for several years.
When did you decide that you wanted to transition from management to being a hands-on software developer?
I was always interested in math and software development, but something held me back from pursuing it. I actually started college as a math major and then switched to a degree that offered a combination of business, economics, statistics and corporate finance. Back then, there wasn't much encouragement for women to learn to code like there is now so I chose the career I thought would give me the most stability instead of pursuing my passion. Hindsight is 20/20, but in the same token, maybe I wouldn’t appreciate what I have now if I had taken that route. With my past experience, I know how good it is to be doing what I love.
I loved the people I worked with, and I was lucky enough to have amazing bosses, but something about my job was just never challenging enough. I really admired the developers I worked with and envied their ability to create tools that directly enhance people's productivity and quality of life. I really enjoyed introducing efficiencies by creating automated Excel forms and MS Project Schedules but it just never seemed to be enough. I was hungry for more knowledge.
You have a unique perspective, with a background in managing developers. How’s that shift in perspective?
It's nice to have that background because I know what my bosses are looking for and I understand their unique perspective. Though now that I’m a developer, I see another side and it’s definitely been eye opening. As a manager and a scheduler, I didn’t really understand how difficult it is to estimate how long a project is going to take, but because of my past experience, I am able to understand why those estimates are so important.
As a program manager, did you learn or teach yourself any programming?
I definitely did some self-teaching, but I treated it more like a hobby and something I thought was fun. I never really thought that after 15 years, when I was in the prime earning potential of my career, I would throw it all away and go back to be a junior-level employee! I wouldn’t have believed that I would have the guts to do that, but my husband saw how much I enjoyed programming and encouraged me to pursue it. If it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't have found my way to LEARN.
Were you considering other coding bootcamps in San Diego? What stood out about LEARN Academy?
I looked at a lot of options: online bootcamps, community colleges, going back to get my master’s degree, and even extension programs at UC San Diego. Meeting with Chelsea and Rob, the founders of LEARN Academy sealed the deal for me. You could tell they really cared about what they were building. They are passionate about nurturing the growing tech scene in San Diego and truly want their students to succeed. You're not just a dollar sign to them, I could feel that, and wanted to be a part of it. Choosing LEARN Academy was the best decision I ever made.
What was most important to you when choosing a coding bootcamp: programming languages taught, location, price range?
I definitely wanted to stay in San Diego since my family is here. The price range seemed reasonable for three months of all-day schooling, and then a one-month internship– which was invaluable.
Could you tell me about the LEARN Academy application and interview process?
They had an online application with essay questions and a coding test. The coding test was great because it gave me a taste of what I’d be learning. I found it pretty reasonable, so that was exciting to me.
After that, I heard back from them a week or two later to schedule an interview. In the interview, it seems like they are assessing your willingness and desire to learn. They can teach anyone as long as you're willing to do the work. I definitely was and still am now. The learning really never stops. Shortly after the interview, I was accepted into the program and the rest is history!
Can you tell me a little bit about your cohort? Was it diverse in terms of gender, race, life and career backgrounds?
Yes, yes, and yes. I think I had the best cohort. We had one of the largest classes with about 22 students and about 30% were women. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to dedicate 4 months, full-time to pursuing my passion. Those were some of the best 4 months of my life. I really had an amazing experience. The people that were in my class all came from different backgrounds and different levels of experience but shared the same passion and gratitude for being there. It was a bonding experience that I’ll never forget. A lot of us became friends who I still talk to on a daily basis.
I didn't expect to get that out of a coding bootcamp– a big support system to help each other if we have problems. We all stay in touch on Slack, and we help each other with daily work issues and personal projects. It's been really nice to be a part of such a supportive network of bright people.
How has it felt transitioning into the tech industry as a woman?
Well, I am the only female developer on my current team but it hasn’t really bothered me. The team of guys I work with is supportive, collaborative and extremely smart. They’ve been great mentors so it really hasn’t mattered much. The team of .Net developers that I used to manage were all women oddly enough. I see the ratio of women growing in tech so hopefully some day we’ll have better representation.
In class at LEARN, the women banded together. We try to get together regularly and created our own Slack channel to stay in touch. Some of us are even planning to go to a Rails or Ruby conference together this year.
Did the teaching style at LEARN Academy work with your learning style?
LEARN prioritizes teaching students how to collaborate and how to learn. Typically, our teacher started the day with a demonstration and a discussion period. Then we would go back to our desks and pair program.
LEARN Academy’s whole goal is not to have you memorize a bunch of syntax. Instead, they want to teach you how to learn and how to solve your own blockers. The project-based learning made it so much more interesting than a lecture type setting. It was fun to be hands on and I really enjoyed it.
LEARN had a couple of TA's and a teacher or two walking around at all times. They were always there to support you, but they didn't spoon feed you the answers. So if you asked a question, they would guide you to reach the answer on your own. Their goal was to prepare you for real world experience. Now that I've been working for a year, I'm grateful for their approach because it set me up for success in my current position.
The internship is a unique part of LEARN Academy- how was the intern selection process?
It was a really interesting process, and LEARN Academy put in a lot of work to make it successful. The intern companies came in and presented to the whole class. Then we put a list together of our top rated intern companies that we wanted to interview with. I wanted the interview practice, so I interviewed with about five companies. When I was done interviewing, I made a list of my final selections and the internship company made a list of their top students that they wanted. LEARN looks at you and the company’s preferences and matches you up.
What were you looking for in an internship?
Tell us about Parallel 6- what was your first internship like?
Parallel 6 has a platform that is primarily focused on patient enrollment, engagement, and management of clinical trials through websites and mobile applications. For the internship, myself and one other student from Learn were in charge of planning and executing the upgrade of their Rails platform from version 3 to 4.2. It was a big project for us and we were completely and totally overwhelmed at times, but it was a great experience, and we learned so much more than you can ever learn in class. Plus, I ended up getting hired and am still here a year later!
How did the LEARN Academy team support you throughout the internship?
The LEARN team was available to us via Slack, ScreenHero or by phone throughout the experience. My partner and I did use our LEARN phone a friend lifeline a few times!
Did you have to learn anything new during your internship that you didn't learn at LEARN Academy?
We were upgrading the Parallel 6 platform from Rails 3 to Rails 4.2, and that's a huge jump. It was a pretty large, complex platform, and there were over 2,000 RSpec tests at the time. Once we got the platform up and running after making several changes to the configuration, syntax and various gems, several of the tests were still failing. To get the tests passing again, we had to refactor a lot of code and replace unsupported gems as needed. It was a really good way for us to get familiar with the P6 platform since we touched so many aspects of it.
Congrats on being hired on full-time after your internship! How was your transition from an intern to full-time employee?
I feel really lucky because I get to work with a great team that is invested in my growth. Someone on our team is always available to answer questions or work through an issue with me, though I try not to take up too much of their time. It's been challenging but fun and I absolutely love what I do every day.
I feel like I have so much more to learn, but when I look back over the past year, it’s hard to believe how far I've come. I can't imagine how much more I’ll know a year from now. My biggest challenge is being patient. I want to know everything I need to know immediately, but I’m learning to accept that it takes time. I work hard on adding to my skill set by reading books and articles, listening to podcasts, and doing tutorials on new languages. As a developer, you can’t ever stop growing. Even the mid and senior level developers are constantly teaching themselves new things– it’s just part of the job.
How well did LEARN Academy prepare you for your role at Parallel 6?
I didn't learn everything I needed to know at LEARN Academy because it's impossible for them to teach you everything in three months, but I definitely learned how to find the answers to my questions. Also, Parallel 6 is using Angular as a front-end framework, and we didn't learn Angular at LEARN, so I've had to learn that myself. LEARN gives you the confidence to be able to teach yourself new languages. Every day I'm learning something new- a new syntax, a new design pattern, etc.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking about making this career change and attending a coding bootcamp?
My advice would be to think about the “why.” I think a lot of people may hear that programming is a lucrative career, but if that is your only motivation, then it may not be the career for you. Programming isn’t for everybody. This is just my opinion, but writing code has to be something that you at least like, or even love.
The great thing about this field is that there are a lot of online intro courses that you can take to see how you feel about it. It's definitely a unique thing to do all day- sit in front of your computer and code. Personally, I think it's the greatest use of my time. I absolutely love it. Even though sometimes it can be frustrating and challenging, I still wouldn't want to be doing anything else. If you enjoy it, you absolutely have to pursue it.
Read more LEARN Academy reviews on Course Report and be sure to check out the LEARN Academy website.
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.]Continue Reading →
After founding Notch8, a Ruby on Rails consultancy, in 2007 and working with several Epicodus graduates, Chelsea and Rob Kaufman decided to expand into education, launching Notch8 LEARN. We talk to Chelsea and Rob about the LEARN Ruby on Rails bootcamp, why they're excited to teach new programmers in San Diego, and their partnership with Epicodus.
Tell me about both of your backgrounds!
Rob: I founded Notch8 in 2007, but I’ve been working in Ruby full-time since 2003 and started doing Rails in 2005, during that very first wave of Rails. My goal at Notch8 was to work with startups as well as larger companies to build really cool web applications and get them out into the world. I care a lot about the craft of software development.
Chelsea: My background is actually in the theater arts; my degree is in theater education and arts administration. Most of my background has to do with community-building and bringing groups together and creating a community around a craft.
I am most excited about infusing the community with some new talent and then connecting some of the different communities with the tech scene. There is a thriving art scene and there's a thriving tech scene but they don’t connect often so that’s exciting to me. I’ll bring my education background into the school and support the community so that our students know that we are investing in this community and a making a long-term impact on it.
Rob, how did you get involved with programming and with Ruby in particular? Were you self-taught?
Rob: I’m a second generation software developer. My dad works in NASA and has been if software development since college days, so it was always available to me. I went to school for it and got a CS degree. Then I had to overcome that degree in order to actually program! That’s how I got started in it.
I interned for Johnson & Johnson and I was tasked with building tools for the developers to help speed up their efforts. I just knew too much about programming to write bash scripts for a living. I wanted a language that was good at integrating systems, and that was one of Ruby’s original purposes. At the time I started, there weren’t a lot of American Rubyists; it was a cool language but I was young and just finishing up college so it was the perfect market for something brand new; I got really into it from there.
What motivated you to create Notch8 LEARN, the coding bootcamp?
I run the San Diego Ruby user group right now, so people kept asking me about classes and longer courses. San Diego is booming as far as startup companies go and we just don’t have enough developers to fill the demand so we had to get busy training more.
We were looking to grow Notch8 and we had partnered with Epicodus in Portland. At the end of their program is a one-month internship, and we brought on six interns for a month. I work with these folks every day and they’re outstanding. That convinced us.
Tell us about the partnership with Epicodus.
Rob: Epicodus has been really fantastic about keeping their curriculum open. We went to Michael Kyser-Naiman at Epicodus and asked how we could arrange a partnership. Their curriculum is open, and he offered to give us advice. The key motivator is more about community building and location and less about hoarding that knowledge.
Is there anything that you decided to exclude from or add to the Epicodus curriculum?
Rob: Yes, we absolutely are expanding on it. One of the things that we feel really strongly about is working more with legacy code. One of the things about a class like this is that you build something and then you throw it away.
That’s really good for learning but a real world situation is working on an application that’s already started or has three years of history. I want to give our students more experience with that – because especially junior developers are often tasked with maintenance.
The class is four months long but does that include three months of learning and one month of internship?
Rob: Yes. We had some preliminary talks about who’s interested in hosting interns, their thoughts on the program and how can it serve the community; the response has been overwhelming.
There’s definitely some serious demand for interns in San Diego and everyone I talked to so far is really hoping to bring on several people, really get a good feel for them during that month and make some hiring decisions.
How many students will you have in the first class?
Rob: Our current target is around 15, though if we were to get overwhelming demand we would start adding assistant teachers. We want to keep the first class on the smaller side so we make sure the students are getting the personal attention that they need.
Tell us about the job market in San Diego and the Ruby community and what makes you particularly excited to do this bootcamp in San Diego.
Chelsea: I think that the community is really growing right now. Forbes named San Diego the best place to launch a startup last year so there are lots of small companies growing here and we want to make sure that they’re hiring local. By giving these companies quality talent I think that we will just continue to grow. And it would just be good for San Diego as a whole.
Rob: There are also some fairly large players in town that are doing national recruiting campaigns, trying to fill their open seats. Places like Sony and HP and Intuit all have Ruby teams now. They’re hiring headhunters and searching the world to get developers. The more of our folks that work there, the more engaged they are in the community. They tend to live in ivory towers a little bit so we want to break those walls down and get the larger companies more involved as well.
Rob, are you the main instructor for this class?
Rob: I’m not the main instructor. We’re bringing on an instructor. His name is Guyren Howe. He’s a local San Diego developer and has been doing Rails for six years with other web experience before that. He wrote a book on object oriented programming for Real Basic once upon a time. He’s got a really great background for the day-to-day instruction. I’m going to be in the space every day as well, helping students. They’ll essentially have the equivalent of two fulltime teachers in that first class to make sure that we have more than enough person power to make it happen.
Chelsea: I think it’s really important that we aren’t the main instructors, so we have that outside eye. We can see the bigger picture and make sure that the course is excelling in the way what we want it to and the students are getting what they need out of it – and it’s really hard to do that when you’re the teacher. It’s hard to evaluate yourself and it’s hard to evaluate the progress of a class because you’re so close to it. It was important to have this outside eye to make sure that the class is really excelling in the way we want it to.
How will the class be taught? Will it be lecture-based or lab-based? What does a typical day look like?
Rob: We’re using an inverted curriculum so students will have a lesson plan that they can do either in the evening or first thing in the morning, depending on if they’re an evening or morning person. There will be a video and an explanation of what you’re going to learn and work on each day.
The majority of their time will be spent in the classroom working in pairs. Programming is very much about getting really stuck and then figuring out how to get unstuck. We joke about how programming is really 60% good Googling these days – and we want the students to experience that from day one because we want the curriculum to be as close to actually doing the work as possible.
Is the LEARN course intended to get graduates jobs? Can somebody do it if they’re not looking for a job?
Rob: The goal is to get students to a place where they can build Rails applications. That’s going to translate into jobs for a lot of people but we are seeing some students who are interested in programming as a hobby and want to just learn and get over that hump.
We’re also seeing some folks that are managing technical teams; serial entrepreneurs that struggle with finding technical co-founders, which is a common story. They just want to have a little more expertise because when you’re working with a dev team, just knowing a little bit about what you’re doing can go so far.
Are you looking for applicants who have experience or a technical background?
Rob: We’ve put together a really simple application process. It’s two essay questions and then a really straightforward programming exercise that we kind of guide you through.
It’s as much about desire as it is about technical knowledge. We’re not expecting students to start with a ton of knowledge but what we’re finding is that many students have some experience. I think before you sign up for something that’s this intensive, you try other things first. There are so many free or fairly inexpensive online resources out there.
But the truth is that not everyone is a solitary learner. Most people are social learners. Up until fairly recently, the most accessible way to learn programming has been to be a solitary learner. You can’t really expect the community to be super diverse if there’s that barrier in front of it. Your solitary learners turn out to be solitary workers a lot of the time. So we think that bringing a more social learning environment where you’re collaborating from the get-go will really help us bring a wider audience to development.
Will you assign pre-work that student need to complete before they start the class?
Rob: We’re going to keep that fairly minor. If we do have applicants that seem like they’re further behind, then we absolutely would assign prework. So far we haven’t had any applicants that don’t have any HTML experience. Almost everyone that’s applied so far has built a web page or two at least. But if we did have applicants that were starting from zero we will work with them.
Chelsea: I think it has a lot to do with aptitude. There are so many people out there that don’t even realize that web development is something that they would be good at. If you have that kind of aptitude then you can be successful in this class. The exercise we put together helps us see what their aptitude is and whether they’re able to work through the problem then we know they have the right skills in order to succeed.
Are you making an effort to get more women and underrepresented minorities involved with LEARN?
Chelsea: I’ve been very excited that we’ve had more women apply than we’ve had men. Honestly, I don’t know at this point why that is- it may have something to do with our marketing.
Rob: It’s subtle things, really. Our involvement in the community is strong, so the audience we’re pushing for hears about it. It’s also little things like making sure that our site has some female examples on it. We try to be really clear and open that this really is for anyone. It’s a hard enough thing to commit to and there’s enough social stuff out there that gets in your way and we want to make sure that none of our things are adding to the social barrier.
Chelsea: And I think that having the both of us working on LEARN makes it easier for either gender to come in, talk to us and see that it is a world for anyone.