Recent LearningFuze News
- Become a Developer at these 21 Summer Coding Bootcamps!
- Alumni Spotlight: Sean Mee of LearningFuze
- Your 2017 #LearnToCode New Year’s Resolution
Recent LearningFuze Reviews: Rating 4.98
Full-Stack Web Development Bootcamp
- $1,000 Seat Reservation
- Payment Plan
- Payment Plans Available for 12 and 24 months through the bootcamp and 3rd party lender (PAVE)
- Prorated within the first 3 weeks of the program
- $600 off for veterans and women.$1,000 discount for students in the process or have acquired a CS degree
- Minimum Skill Level
- It is important for students to have taken the initiative to learn on their own with specific recommendations outlined on the LearningFuze application pagehttp://learningfuze.com/full-immersion-application-guide/
- Placement Test
- Prep Work
- Students that have reserved their seat take the Root Level 1 class for free.
Root Level I Course
Root Level 1 is a 2-week remote/in-class web development training program built for beginners that want to learn how to code and are considering a path to becoming professional developers
Application Deadline:July 5, 2017
- None required
- Minimum Skill Level
- Some understanding of HTML and CSS and ability to effectively navigate a computer
Application Deadline:June 12, 2017
- Minimum Skill Level
- HTML and CSS
- Prep Work
- See LearningFuze part time courses
$500 LearningFuze Scholarship
LearningFuze is a full immersion 12-week web development training program that aims to bridge the gap between the growing demand for capable developers and the vast shortage in supply. The Course Report community will get a $500 scholarship to LearningFuze!
- Offer is only valid for new applicants to LearningFuze. Applicants who have already submitted an application cannot claim this scholarship.
- All courses and campuses in LearningFuze
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If you're a recent college graduate who is having a difficult time finding a place to gain experience. Take some time to look into this program. It's been 12 weeks and I can confidently say that all the time I've spent here has taught me new set of skills that I'm can't help but be grateful for.
The lead instructor Dan is very knowledgeable. There have been countless times where my logic has been challenged to allow me to gain more perspective on how to approach and solve problems. At the end of the day, the long hours spent here boiled down to stregthening my logic and collaborating within an atmosphere where we can apply our problem-solving abilities.
The program is going to be difficult, but if you're ready for the dive, be prepared to be exhausted during multiple stages of the experience. You'll be happy that you worked hard.
LearningFuze gives its students a wonderful opportunity. It is still up to the student to grab it and run with it, but who could ask for more? Dan is a wealth of knowledge and a patient teacher. You truly can get out as much as you put in. The real-world setting is really paying off in the workplace, as I already have experience with many aspects of life as a web developer beyond just coding. In addition, the ratio of students to instructors is fantastic and help is always just a question away.
With their assistance, I was able to get a job quickly after graduating, and even now that I'm out of the program, Dan checks in on me regularly to make sure everything is going well. I'm sure that if I encounter any challenges,the team at LFZ would all be available to me as an ongoing resource.
I had a great experience at LearningFuze learning web development. I was doing graphic/web design originally and had wanted to delve deeper into the development side. The curriculum focuses on teach a set of core programming languages before splitting into front-end and back-end technologies. I enjoyed how project-based the curriculum was and the applications that you get to develop really help you to hone your skills and allow you to learn how to build fairly sophisticated and polished apps. The program is very fast paced and intense and you have to put in a lot of effort and work to learn the material in 3 months time. Although regular hours are from 10-6pm,the facility stays open after hours and many students stay late (8 or 9pm) to continue working on practice problems and projects.The instructors here are smart and knowledgeable about web development and know their material really well. Dan, the lead instructor, is very passionate and dedicated to teaching and usually will stay late to answer questions and help out students. LearningFuze also provides job assistance once the program is done to aid you in your job hunt. You are encouraged to come back and continue learning, and I came back several times after graduation to listen to lectures again and get help with improving my projects and portfolio.They will make sure that your portfolio is polished and completed, and once ready, introduce you to their network of contacts. This was very helpful for me as I find the job search to be a frustrating and drawn out process. With their help, I was able to find a job at a startup company working as a programmer.
So advice for potential students?
-Before coming, make sure you can fully dedicate yourself to learning web development for 3 months. This program is intense and will take up all of your energy and time.
-Don't fall behind on assignments/ projects. The material is cumulative and builds up quickly
-If you need help with anything, just ask!
- Come to one of LFZ's info sessions and talk to the instructors and students there to make sure this program will meet your needs.
Coming from a non-technological background, it was a big relief for me that Learningfuze caters people who have or have not had experience.
Things I really appreciate about LF:
-The course is 12 weeks, but you also get two weeks of additional class that will prepare you for the basic such as HTML and CSS.
-During and near the end of your time, someone will be there to help you assemble your resume and assist you in the job search.
-You will be given the opportunity to choose if you want to go back-end or front-end, but they don't limit you if you want to learn both.
-Advanced topics are offered to anyone who is willing to come early on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings before regular instruction begins.
-Alot of guest speakers (past students and professionals in the field) are invited, which provide great opportunities for you to network.
The curriculum is focued on learning the principles of computer programming, which to me was more important than just memorizing code. They will teach you how to approach solutions, and place an emphasis on learning the logic behind it. The course is tough, and you will need to be self-disciplined if you want to succeed. Noone will be here to hold your hand, but they will be here if you ask for help! Be ready to feel vulnerable, but it will eventually make you a better programmer. You get more out of the program, than just learning how to code. You also learn how to ask better questions, as well as learn that its ok to not know everything. If you do join Learningfuze, you will find yourself surrounded by funny, helpful, and passionate people who truly love what they do.
I graduated twenty years ago with a computer science degree, I never made use of it as I was simply out-dated in my knowledge before I even finished school. I have been a graphic designer for the past twenty years and, was interested enough in getting back into coding that I started learning on my own online and by reading books.
I ended up deciding to go to an accelerated web development program because I knew I had gaps in my knowledge and, wanted that extra push as well as to work with people that wanted to learn as much as I did. I did my research before choosing a program, I went to meet ups at various locations, talked to current and in one case a person that had already finished the program before making my decision about going to LearningFuze.
The result has been to solidify my knowledge in areas I know I needed help in. You definitely not just learn to code but, you spend far more time coding and doing so productively that many things become second nature. You also learn how to code which is just as important. This includes learning to find answers, learning to figure out how to solve tough problems, learning to ask questions when necessary and, how to use developer tools properly.
More than this, you also learn to work with others as several projects are done in groups. We all code and think differently and, learning to work with others of varying skill levels, communicate effectively and, still put out something that you can be proud of is an experience all in its own. For our cohort, the first group projects also helped bring us closer and, got us started in talking with each other more. You will learn real world skills that are designed to simulate a real work environment so that when you do find a job, you have the knowledge to be productive immediately.
The part that is hard to describe is the amount of effort and dedication that you will need to have as you will get from the program what you put into it. It is a rewarding experience and, there are reasons you see nothing but rave reviews for LearningFuze. It may seem like a leap of faith but, it is one I wish I had taken far sooner.
Feel free to send me a message or ask any questions... https://www.linkedin.com/in/eriknuber/
After an intense 12 weeks, I am happy with my decision to enroll and complete the Learning Fuze Web Development Program.
The best part about Learningfuze was that instructors were very passionate in teaching and helping students to learn thoroughly. No matter how early or late you want the instructors to come in or stay late, they will spend extra time to help students out. For example, instructor Dan held early morning sessions for me and one other student because we weren’t confident on some of the topics that we covered. Not only that, they helped a lot with preparing for job searching and interviews.
Exactly one month after I graduated, I was offered with two great opportunities. The 12 week course was very challenging and intense but it was worth it. The only regret I have is that I didn’t start this sooner.
LearningFuze is fantastic. Dan, Scott, and Tim are all extremely invalueable resources on the coding journey. One of the coolest aspects of LFZ, aside from the teachers, is the overall environment. I couldn't have asked for a better group of students to work along side with. Everyone is positive and is always willing to help in any way they can.
This three month long program is by no means easy, but it is as rewarding as you can imagine. A couple months after the program was over, I was offered a position with a very nice salary as an entry level developer. In short, I went from a graphic designer to a web developer is just three months. Anyone who is looking for a career change needs to check this school out.
I'm going to review the Job Assistance that LearningFuze provides since most of the other reviews here seem to focus on the actual teaching part of LearningFuze. Although just to put in a quick word backing up what everyone else has been saying, the instructors are awesome and the curriculum is great. Dan the lead instructor is an amazing teacher and he cares deeply about everyone's personal development as a programmer. The other developers there working at LearningFuze also really know their stuff and are almost always available for any questions you may have.
Aside from what I just mentioned, I would say that the employment tips and job assistance LearningFuze provides might be worth the price of admission alone. Some of those tips come in the form of specific lessons and feedback from Savrut where he gives advice on dealing with salary negotiations, helps you understand the mindset of recruiters/ hr people, and also conducts mock interviews. Dan will also conduct mock whiteboard interviews which although rare for jr web developer interviews, they pop up enough that you should be prepared for them (I was only asked by one company to do one in my interviews).
As for the actual job search itself, before you start applying for jobs, they recommend that you submit a personal portfolio, resume, github, and online presence (linkedin, angel list, etc.) to them so that they can pore over the details and make sure everything is finely tuned. This way that you don't start off on the wrong foot with buggy projects or bad resumes when you start applying. This process can take multiple submissions before getting everything up to their standards (I had to make 3 submissions) but once they approve of everything, you will have the utmost confidence to start applying to jobs. And once you start you won't be alone either as they will be sending out your resume to companies in their network as well. Every couple days Bill will check up on your progress to give you words of encouragement and ask you how you're doing while also passing along potential opportunities ("such and such company told me that they're looking for a PHP developer. a job posting should open up soon on their website so you should apply and mention that you were referred by me."). The job search can be grueling (they recommend applying to at least 3 jobs a day) so having LearningFuze send out resumes along side you is a huge benefit. And what's even better about all that is that the response rate was much higher for the companies LearningFuze had talked to for me than for the companies I applied to totally on my own. In the end after about 2 and a half months of my job search (although honestly only a month of serious applying as I wasn't hardcore applying initially and more focused on continuing to improve my web dev skills since there's always more to learn!) I was eventually offered a web developer position for a digital agency in Irvine. I'm incredibly pleased to finally be able start my web development career and I just have to thank LearningFuze for everything they've done to help me get here.
After working in retail for most of my professional career, entering a coding bootcamp was way out of my comfort zone. I always had an interest in computers and computer science but was past the point of returning to college to get my Degree.
Finding LearningFuze was a huge relief for me. As a current student enrolled in their full immersion camp I can say that they will teach you the knowledge to go out and get a job as a web developer! They know what they are doing.
Main Instructor Dan is very knowledgable and is a very good teacher.
While the course is tough and can be draining, It is one of the best things I have ever invested in. Highly recommend LearningFuze for your choice of coding bootcamp!
I recently graduated from Learning Fuze and have to say that it was one of the best learning experiences that I’ve ever had. It was extremely challenging for me, but the instructors there are awesome and helped immensely. The environment is one of cooperative learning and is definitely fully immersive, which is essential to learning web development as it takes constant practice and learning.
I am currently about eight weeks into the LearningFuze 12 week full immersion program, and I have been consistently surprised by the process. It has ups and downs as do all things in life, though in my opinion the positives far outweigh the negatives. I had looked into a few boot camps in the area and was not sure about which one (if any) would be the right fit. I've never thought of myself as an overly intelligent person and coming into the program I had next to no programing skills when it came to computers. So, needless to say I was very nervous. I attended an info session at LearningFuze on a whim and met the lead instructor, Dan, for the first time. I have worked with quite a few passionate people in my time, but Dan shot to the top of the list with his energetic attitude. I signed up the very next day! Once I was accepted into the program I realized how much work it would actually require. During the week, I have no time for anything else (the only conceivable downside that I've seen) which some view as a negative. However, I have come to love the 'grind' and I am sure that most if not all of my classmates would agree. Now just over two months into the program, I am eons ahead of where I thought I could be at the start of the program. The curriculum is constantly evolving so that the students are getting the most up to date information. All of this is taught in a way that is aimed towards you internalizing the material, rather than the classic 'cramming' method that most schools inadvertently teach. I believe whole heartedly that this program is well worth the time, money, effort, and stress. In the end you will be not only more knowledgeable, but also it helps you 'learn how to learn' as you will hear a myriad of times if you attend this program. I can't imagine where I would be or what I would be doing if I hadn't stumbled upon this program. I truly believe that not only am I being properly trained for a future, but I am also becoming a harder worker. This experience will be something that I will look back on as a major turning point in my life. I cannot stress how much I support this program and all of its instructors and I cannot recommend a better learning experience. Please check these guys out at https://learningfuze.com/!
Web development is such a fast moving career that even though I was a mixed developer at my old job, that didn't prepare me to being a full time developer at a real web development company.
I was planning on making the jump and tried for years to being a full time web developer but the barrier to entry was really steep. LearningFuze really help dispell any myths i had about being a web developer.
Prior to joining LearningFuze I had a lot of freelance experience and some work experience coding; but to be a web developer requires a certain type of mentality. It's not just a job but a lifestyle. You really have to question yourself if being a web developer is your thing.
The main part of being a web developer is that you're always a student. There's always more to learn in this field and that's the scary but fun part! LearningFuze teaches that very well, and emphasizes on how to become good at learning. I got so many insights into the industry from their lead instructors and fellow mentors, that the idea of keeping up with the industry was more of a welcome challenge than a burden.
They really know what they're talking about and they are there for you 100%. The teachers gives you all the support you need, whether it's extra hours, side lessons or personal tutoring. They do whatever it takes to prepare you to become a junior developer that tons of companies in OC will hire.
I became highly in demand with the skills I was able to demonstrate on paper and in interviews. So if you're committed and ready to learn, I advise you to pick Learning Fuze because they not only teach you how to code but how to learn, which is so crucial in this industry.
In my case, it put my career on steriods where I'm more confident than ever than I've ever been.
Attending a coding bootcamp had been on my mind for over almost two years before I finally decided to “take the plunge.” My only regret now that I’ve been through it at LearningFuze, is that I didn’t do it sooner.
Fast forward 14 weeks, LearningFuze has exceeded every expectation. I’m actually surprised at how confident I’ve become in my skills in such a short amount of time. LearningFuze teaches you to think and to learn like a developer so that you can go on to be successful.
If you are considering “taking the plunge,” let me end this review with a few words of advice. If you’re like me, you might be expecting the course to be pretty difficult, but nothing that a little hard-work and brainpower can’t handle. Well, stop that line of thinking. The course is HARD, and if you want the most out of it, you’re going to be coding almost every waking hour and sleeping less than you’d like (though you should definitely try to get enough sleep to be cognitively efficient). You will get out of the program what you put in and the difference is night and day. It takes a lot of hard work to get there, but like anything worth having, it’s worth it!
Going through both a 4-year university and LearningFuze, I can confidently say that LearningFuze was a better value. It taught me hard skills that I did not get in school that directly translated into my current job. LearningFuze exposed me to many technologies and removed the mysticism with programming. The curriculum is challenging, relevant and interesting.
The lead teacher, Dan, is one of the most passionate and helpful people I have ever met. It was his energy and charisma that made the topics even more interesting. Part of my success through the program was his guidance and ability to push me further.
Tips on how to succeed: Before attending, make sure you're prepared to make sacrifices - mental, physical and financial. This program is intense and if you put in the work, you will reap the benefits.
Get plenty of rest and sleep. The amount of information you will learn requires that you be at 100% every day.
Do not compare yourself to other students. Focus on yourself and what you want to achieve.
Be honest with yourself. If you find that you are falling behind, make sure that you reach out and getting the support you need.
And last, get to you know teammates. They're going to be your support system during the program and after. Potentially even your reference to your next job.
Conclusion: Worth every penny. Intense. Exciting. Worth it. Grateful for what I have. A big thanks to LearningFuze.
LearningFuze is one of the best opportunities I've ever had. Having had next to no prior experience I really feel like a capable and confident developer with everything I've learned. LearningFuze doesn't just teach you how to code, they prepare you to work in actual dev environments (and job search prep) and are dedicated to teaching you all the skills a good dev should have. The course is tough but in the best way possible. You will struggle, but trust me, you'll be better for it. For as tough as the curriculum is, the staff was nothing but helpful and dedicated, they will go above and beyond to make sure you get the assistance you need but its up to you match that dedication. The lead instructor Dan is one of the best there is. There is no one I would have rather had teaching me programming and he has been one of the best mentors I've ever had.
If you're serious about a career in development I would absolutely encourage you to checkout Learning Fuze. Its a great learning environment, and an excellent cultural environment. I loved what I learned LFZ and I loved learning there. I could not be more excited to go into a field I was already excited about and I am incredibly grateful for the experience I had there.
Change is difficult and often scary, but it can definitely be worth it.
I had 20 years experience in a career as a pastor. We didn't have much savings, and I had a wife and 2 kids to think about. My main question while I was considering any of these schools was, "Will it work? Will it really work?". I continued to ask myself that same question all throughout the program. I loved every part about the program, but always wondered, will this actually work.. will I be able to start a new career and make enough to provide well for my family.
The answer for me was a resounding, 'yes'. It worked better than I could've imagined. I graduated the program this September, and landed an amazing job, doing challenging, invigorating, creative work. I love every minute of it, and it pays more than I had hoped for.
I would caution readers though. Don't be fooled into thinking that simply signing up and going through the motions will get you there. It's a rigorous program, and hard work is the key. I dedicated 6 days a week to learning to code. I showed up early and stayed late and constantly asked the instructors for more.
The great news is that LearningFuze is an amazing place to help you get there. The instruction from their main instructors is excellent. I've been involved in teaching for 20 years, and can honestly say that the main instructor Dan is one of the best teachers I have ever seen. On top of the instruction, they provide great guest speakers from top notch compaines (blizzard, kelly blue book, cornerstone were some that came for our cohort). They also provide great job preparation with mock interviews / whiteboards etc.
If you're interested in a change, and youre willing to put in the work, you owe it to yourself to check out LearningFuze. I'd strongly suggest attending an info session and attending a meetup at LearningFuze to see for yourself.
I went to learningfuze in 2016. Commutted 40 min to get there. Got there around 9:15am and stayed until 7-7:30 each day. At night time I would watch YouTube tutorials. Still hung out with friends on the weekends.
After applying to about 4-5 jobs a day for 4 weeks, I went through an intense interview process with a popular tech company in LA where they tested all my skills. Ended up getting the job, it pays great and I love life.
All the people that I know that are successful from my class do more work than required and have little side projects to further apply what you're learning.
LearningFuze is a top tier program. A lot of work but really fun with great instructors.
If you're serious about the program, make sure you do the required/recommended work they give you before you can take the course. All the people that did it were at the top of the class.
LFuze has a decent network of companies especially in OC. Go to all the speakers. Very insightful and they might know people hiring.
What a long, strange trip it's been.
One bleary morning a year ago I woke up and realized just how much I abhorred my job and dreaded going in to work. I was formerly a Project Manager in the construction industry and I spent the better part of six years trying to convince myself construction was something I was passionate about.
I always wanted to learn how to program so I attempted teach myself over the course of several weeks. Frustrated with the progress (or lack thereof) I was making I began to look into these coding bootcamps I kept hearing so much about. After doing extensive research and attending over a half dozen information sessions at various coding bootcamps I decided to enroll in LearningFuze.
The determing factor that ultimately convinced me LearningFuze was my bootcamp of choice was Dan (the lead instructor). Typically, coding bootcamps have information sessions conducted by a program manager that take place around 6 to 7 in the evening after all the students and instructor have gone home. Much to my surprise, I walked in at 7 in the evening to a classroom that was nearly full and saw that Dan was walking around and assisting students. Dan even walked in to the information session and answered prospective students' questions. Seeing how dedicated Dan was to his craft to help mold and mentor absolute beginners like myself late into the evening spoke volumes to me.
If you are serious about pursuing and jumpstarting a new career in web development, choose LearningFuze! It will be the most mentally arduous and grueling three months of your life but you won't regret it.
I look fondly back on that day nearly a year ago. LearningFuze changed my life. It can change yours too! I graduated back in June as part of Cohort 8 and secured a position as a Front End Developer for a great company.
Some advice for prospective LFZ students:
- One step forward, two steps back - Do not compare yourself to others in the class. It's OK if it takes you longer than others to absorb and understand the material like myself. To my detriment, I always tried to keep up with the class without solidfying my knowledge base.
- There is a common misconception that once you graduate from a coding bootcamp you are guaranteed a job. This is not the case. While LFZ will provide you with a bountiful amount of very helpful career advice, it is ultimately up to you as an individual to hustle and put in the effort to go through the interview and application process just like you would do with any other job.
- Be persistent! It took me a bit longer than expected (over 2 months) but I applied a little over 250 positions before I found my secured my first job.
- Try not to overload on those Nature Valley granola bars they leave out. They're super calorie dense!
Registering for LearningFuze was not only one of the best career choices I've ever made but also one of the best life decisions I've ever made as well. I joined LearningFuze as a member of their 9th cohort. During my time there I learned so much about web development, the web dev environment, the web dev market, and I learned a lot about myself as well.
The support system is great and all the instructors and staff encourage everyone to work as a team. Somewhere around the 3rd week mark I had been so discouraged and felt so poopy. I didnt feel like I was able to continue down the web development path but the instructors and my classmates really helped me through my questions, pushed me to keep fighting, and supported me the whole entire way.
If you're on the fence about whether or not you want to join a bootcamp or are trying to decide between which bootcamp you want to join, I definitely reccomend LearningFuze. Absolutely, hands down one of the hardest, most rewarding, and fun experiences I've ever had.
Attending a coding bootcamp was probably the best decision I made regarding my career so far. I've always wanted to be a web developer since I was a child. I earned a CS degree at a university, but I did not come out of college as a programmer because there were very little opportunities to gain real, hands-on experience creating projects. I knew I had to do something more.
I loved attending LearningFuze every day. The work is fast-paced and it feels great to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time. My fellow cohort-mates were driven, positive, and friendly. The learning model is fantastic; you learn pieces at a time (through lectures and prototypes) and gradually incorporate everything you've learned into projects. The staff is always there to answer questions (and you WILL ask questions!). Being able to deliberately practice is a valuable skill that you can apply to other things in life.
LearningFuze also teaches soft skills and offers practice interviews. The scary reality of the job market is that you'll be competing against hundreds of other bootcamp grads. So, you've got to stand out not only as a skilled developer, but also as a team player and an overall nice person to work with. I worked in several group projects meeting deadlines, practiced both soft skill and technical interviews, and learned all about the job application process.
It took me around 2 months since I started applying to jobs to receive an offer. Please don't be discouraged if you struggle getting offers. Everyone is going to struggle because we don't have experience. Have faith in yourself and keep pushing forward.
LearningFuze is as good as you make it. Don't go in expecting to slide through and have a job fall into your lap! Listen to the advice the staff gives you. Those who do turn out to be the most successful.
I have nothing but fantastic things to say about Learning Fuze from top to bottom. The instructors possess extensive technical expertise and share it with passion in an encouraging and supportive environment.
As you can imagine, learning a full stack of web technologies in twelve weeks is a daunting task. Learning Fuze provides the collaborative, positive environment in which each student can achieve their maximum potential.
When the twelve weeks are over, the job search begins and Learning Fuze supports their graduates with superb job assistance! Their job placement staff assist students with preparing their resume, crafting their online presence, and improving interview skills. They remain actively involved with each student until they are employed.
If you are considering attending a full-immersion boot camp, look no further.
I am part of the Cohort 9 which will end this coming September 2016. I attended the info session first before finally deciding to enroll. Starting from the info session, enrollment process to the actual live class, all of the mentors and staff at LearningFuze have been helpful. They tell you from the very beginning before you even enroll that it really takes time and effort when you decide to go in a bootcamp (I suggest you take that seriously). The mentors are there to help you with whatever question you may have or if you feel like you're stuck. Instructor Dan would even come early to spend time with students who want to take the extra mile. Bootcamp is a fast-paced learning environment. It would help if you have read or have taken some online courses or watched video tutorials prior to the bootcamp. The curriculum simulates a real-life working environment but at the same time mentors are there to guide you.
This will be a review for the job placement.
Finishing the bootcamp was challenging. Refining my portfolio and working on personal projects afterwards was a lot of work also.
After that came the real adventure. Trying to get a job with the work that I had done. This was a scary task because just 3 months before I didn't really know how to code at all.
On my first few interviews I was very nervous, but the LearningFuze staff coached me on how to handle myself during an interview. Savrut, their job placement expert, checked in with me when I progressed to the next round of interviews and when I made rookie mistakes. Eventually I was interviewing at a company that was excited to meet me, and they eventually hired me.
I am extremely happy with LearningFuze and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in becoming a web developer.
Our latest on LearningFuze
In the summertime, when the weather is hot... it’s a great time to learn to code! If you’re a current college (or high school) student, teacher, or professional looking to enhance your coding skills, a summer coding bootcamp can be a great opportunity to learn new skills in about three months. Many coding bootcamps offer summer course offerings to help you become more tech savvy and get you to that next level to launch a new career in tech. Check out your options below and transform your summer vacation into something far more productive in 2017.Continue Reading →
Sean Mee was a restaurant server before deciding to learn to code at Southern California coding bootcamp LearningFuze. He had started teaching himself to code when he was 13, and decided to revisit his passion for coding after discovering an intensive bootcamp would accelerate the web developer coding skills that employers seek. After Sean completed LearningFuze’s two-week Root 1 preparation class, he began the full immersion bootcamp with newfound confidence. We sat down with him and learned more about his transition into the world of coding, his thoughts on bootcamp prep courses, and his job search plans once he finishes the bootcamp.
What is your pre-LearningFuze story? What was your educational background and career path before you decided to do attend a coding bootcamp?
I received my bachelor's degree in communication advertising about three years ago from Cal State Fullerton. I started going down the communication advertising path, while at the same time also serving in various restaurants, which can be a difficult transition. “You need a certain amount of experience” is what I kept hearing from employers when I was looking for careers in advertising and I never received that experience; so it was tough.
I kept working in restaurants and eventually moved back to California from Colorado. I started looking into programming because I'd done a little bit of it when I was younger. I learned HTML and created some websites on my own when I was 13. I started to get back into it just for fun and then started to think about it as a career because it came back to me really naturally.
What kinds of resources did you use to get back into coding?
I went to Cypress Community College to get some programming certifications in C++ and Visual Basic. I thought that certificates were good, but that it would be better to have a degree when trying to get a job. Then my mom mentioned coding bootcamps. At first, I just brushed it off, thinking certificates would be more viable than a three-month course. But then I looked into bootcamps and thought, "Oh, wow. This seems incredibly legit." So I started researching reviews for all the different bootcamps.
Did that exposure to programming classes at the community college help you focus on what type of technologies you wanted to learn at a bootcamp?
What made LearningFuze stand out in your search?
From the reviews I read, LearningFuze just seemed to be the best bootcamp. There were other bootcamps nearby but LearningFuze was the closest school to me. When I started looking at other coding bootcamp reviews, it just seemed like the other bootcamps changed instructors a lot so it was hard to get the same instruction.I liked that LearningFuze had consistent instructors that had extensive industry experience.
I went to a free seminar at LearningFuze and talked to the staff. LearningFuze is honest; they told us "This is going to be really hard. Just so you know, if you want to do this, make sure you really want to do this." They don't really try and sell you on it so much. They kept saying, "Make sure this is something you want to do." After looking at their success rate, I knew I really wanted to do the bootcamp. I completed the Root Level 1 Course, and it was a lot of fun, and I learned a ton of stuff. Root Level 1 is the 2-week prep program for the full-time immersion program which I’ve just recently started.
What motivated you to do the Root Level 1 program first? Were you already thinking about doing the full-time bootcamp?
People should do Codecademy before doing the Root course because it gives you a very good base. I had to do a lot of work for the Root 1 course. I learned a lot, but I feel like I learned more because I already had the basics. I didn't have to learn how to set up a style sheet because I already knew that, so I got to learn the cool stuff about what you could do with the style sheet.
Can you explain the Root Level 1 schedule and what a typical day was like for you?
The course is three days a week. It was Tuesdays and Thursdays remotely, and then on-site on Saturdays. Even though it was only three days a week, I was still programming several hours a day for the Root course. The way they set it up is really good. Any time I had a question, I could just go on Slack and I could ask anyone a question. Daniel, Collette, Tim, Shawn, or any of the main instructors would get back to you really quickly.
LearningFuze gave us an agenda every day. They would say, "Here are a couple of things to read, here are some slides, here's a video. Now go over all the things on the slides." It's like they give you the CliffsNotes version on the slides, but then when you watch the video, they go in depth with each little note they have. You also have a project each day. It started off with basic HTML, then advanced HTML, a little bit of CSS, advanced CSS, then got into bootstrap. They give you big projects to do with media queries and making sure that what you're designing can be seen through all different spectrums, be it a laptop, desktop, phone, and or tablet.
How many instructors were teaching the Root 1 program?
Daniel Paschal is the director of the course and he has two additional instructors that are there for any kind of support you need. There were probably about three instructors on site each day. The class is only 12 people, so you get a lot of hands-on help.
What was something that stood out to you within this prep program and was there anything that solidified your decision to do the full immersion course?
LearningFuze makes the learning process really fun, and the personalities of the instructors really convinced me. Daniel, for example, really wants to make you a programmer. He wants people to think like a programmer, and it's really helpful. You can tell he wants you to succeed. They all want you to succeed. If you go to community college, it's just not the same. They're getting you in and getting you out – there's not really any independent help.
Did you work a lot with other students in Root 1? Was your cohort diverse?
On Saturdays, when we were in class together, we got to spend time working together. They paired us into groups of 3-4 for exercises. LearningFuze also gave us survey questions a few times throughout Root 1. We did a quiz, then got together, discussed the answers, and if you have any questions, the whole class discussed it. I would talk with the other cohort members a little bit on chat and then more in the classroom.
As far as occupational backgrounds go, it was pretty varied. There were people like me who were servers in restaurants. There were musicians. There were people who work in insurance who were there to help understand how to talk to programmers who they work with. There were younger students, but I'd say the age range was early 20's to late 30's. All different kinds of ethnic backgrounds were represented and it was probably 3:1, male to female ratio.
Has Root Level 1 helped you decide the type of job you’d like to pursue?
I think I'm waiting for the full immersion course to make that decision. I know that front end web development would be nice because it’s rewarding to see what you code. Eventually, I'd like to get into game development, but that would be down the road. I just enjoy coding, regardless of the job. If it's a program that does something cool, I’d like to work on it. Back-end is important, of course, but I just get a little bit more satisfaction from front-end development.
Did LearningFuze touch on career prep and the job search in the Root 1 program?
In Root 1, they did touch on career prep in the intro course and the Root 1 program. I heard more about interviewing when I went for my interview; The Director of Operations talked about how LearningFuze is connected to different companies and recruiters and that they also teach you how to effectively interview for jobs in the programming industry.
Did you have to reapply for the immersive bootcamp after you finished Root 1?
I didn't have to reapply because the LearningFuze team knew from the start that I wanted to do the full immersion course. They constantly asked who was considering the full immersion course, and every time I'd raise my hand they’d say, "We know that you are, Sean!"
Do you feel prepared for the full immersive course?
The instructors suggested to mostly focus on for-loops and CSS bootstrap before starting the full immersion bootcamp. It was really helpful to know the important things to concentrate on beforehand.
What’s the Irvine, CA tech scene like? Will you stay in the area after the full immersion course?
The tech scene in Irvine is huge. Another great thing LearningFuze does is constantly help you build and update a portfolio for your resume. Once I finish LearningFuze, I’ll be able to start getting experience to include on my resume.
Another really good resource that they talked about at LearningFuze is meetup.com. I looked at web development in like the Los Angeles area and there are hundreds of meetups for game developers, web designers, back-end programmers, and front-end programmers. LearningFuze teaches you how to network like crazy.
Once I‘ve got some experience, I'll probably leave Southern California and go back to Colorado. I've looked on Monster and Indeed, and there are so many jobs out there. I have friends in Colorado who have said multiple times, "We need a good front end web developer. Our website looks like garbage." I see that I could already do way better from what I've learned in the Root course.
How has the first week in the full immersion course been?
What has been your biggest challenge in your transition into tech?
I feel like the biggest challenge is going to be that first job – that's always scary. You don't want to fail. But so far it's been nothing but good. I do a lot of active stuff, and I exercise a lot. As a server in a restaurant it's really hard to do that because I don't want to go out and run six miles and go rock climbing, and then go and run around a restaurant for six hours having people yell at me. I see programming as exercise for my mind. Computer programming and physical exercise go hand-in-hand in a way. You're getting a mental workout and a physical workout.
What advice do you have for people thinking about making a career change and attending a coding bootcamp? Should they do a prep course first?
I would say do a prep course first because coding is definitely not something that's for everybody. Do a two-week prep course and see how you feel. If it's not clicking, it might not be for you. But if it is, and you get it at all, keep going with it. If you like it at all, there are so many options. Bootcamps are great. If someone is already doing a computer information science degree, my advice is to keep going, and supplement it with a bootcamp later on. It's a lot of fun, and there are a lot of opportunities out there- you can move anywhere and make a lot of money.
It’s that time again! A time to reflect on the year that is coming to an end, and a time to plan for what the New Year has in store. While it may be easy to beat yourself up about certain unmet goals, one thing is for sure: you made it through another year! And we bet you accomplished more than you think. Maybe you finished your first Codecademy class, made a 30-day Github commit streak, or maybe you even took a bootcamp prep course – so let’s cheers to that! But if learning to code is still at the top of your Resolutions List, then taking the plunge into a coding bootcamp may be the best way to officially cross it off. We’ve compiled a list of stellar schools offering full-time, part-time, and online courses with start dates at the top of the year. Five of these bootcamps even have scholarship money ready to dish out to aspiring coders like you.Continue Reading →
If you’re wondering what type of career help you’ll receive if you attend LearningFuze’s 12-week full stack coding bootcamp in Orange County, CA, look no further. We chatted with Director of Operations, Bill Cunningham, to learn more about the job placement process and how they are helping students find new roles as software developers. See why LearningFuze focuses on teaching students how to learn, find out the top technologies for Southern California employers, and what tips they have for improving a student’s online presence for potential employers!
Tell us about the career placement team at LearningFuze and how they guide students towards their first jobs?
We have a staff dedicated to the employment prep and search process led by our program manager. However, everyone at LearningFuze plays some role in the placement process given that the instructors have relationships in the marketplace and often interact at different functions in which LearningFuze participates or sponsors.
With that said, career placement is a partnership between the student and the bootcamp, and both parties need to be wholly dedicated to the process. There is some misinformation in the market that pursuing a job in a vocation where there is strong demand is relatively easy. It takes dedication and hard work just like the commitment and passion needed to learning software development. It’s about finding that company that is the right fit at the right time, and that takes work.
When does the job placement process start at LearningFuze? Do you believe that students should start the job search before they graduate?
The search portion of job placement should optimally begin once a student has completed and polished their portfolio and resume. We encourage students to not begin looking for employment until the completion of the program so that they are completely focused on learning and acquiring the necessary skills. It is important to be focused without distractions during the training so that graduates are best prepared to compete to land that dream job once the search begins.
What types of jobs are LearningFuze students prepared for when they graduate? Even though LearningFuze teaches PHP, could a student apply for a Rails job or even a front end developer job?
We teach students to think programmatically and we teach students to learn as well as gain the skills technically. This is the reason we go very deeply in the technologies in which we focus. We have had students land positions across the spectrum of development from front end to back end and across a myriad of technologies not even necessarily taught in the program. Often, companies want problem solvers and people they want to work with as much as they may want specific technologies.
The technical interview is notoriously tough. How does LearningFuze train students to get through that process?
We conduct mock interviews, resume reviews, mock whiteboard interviews with senior instructors and discuss the importance of soft skills and effective presentation in an interview. In addition, employers often come to the facility to address the students and provide valuable perspective on the importance of soft skills, culture fit, and technical skills.
Where do you suggest LearningFuze students start their job search?
We work with students on the job search in a number of different ways:
- Connect them with our employer relationships directly or through different events we host or in which we participate
- Connect them with specific recommended recruiters
- Connect them with alumni and other developers in the marketplace
- Provide a structured approach to the job search so that we and the student are able to track their progress and assist with specific companies in which they have applied
How important are meetups and networking to a LearningFuze students’ job search process?
A large percentage of positions (60% to 70%) are often never even posted, but rather the positions are in the mind of the hiring manager, or an executive at the company. Tapping into the unseen job market through networking is an important part of the process. We encourage graduates to network with the mindset of how he or she can help someone else. This magnanimous approach is much more effective and leads to stronger relationships and often helps to reduce the reluctance to network. LearningFuze hosts several Meetups and collaborates with others in the tech community to either sponsor or host different networking/educational events.
What sort of advice do you give your students for creating their online presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, or a personal portfolio site?
A job seeker’s online presence starts with LinkedIn, and graduates need to have a profile that is appealing. The profile should include a picture that is appropriate as well as contact information, projects, GitHub profile, and of course experience. Twitter profiles should also have an updated picture, background and bio, and include projects and GitHub profile. Leveraging Twitter can be equally powerful to LinkedIn in making contact with hiring managers, mentors, companies, and others. A word of caution from many employers that have come to the facility to address the students is to ensure that the online presence (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) best represents them and does not detract from their character by containing offensive or questionable content. One of the first things that employers will do is to Google applicants to see their online presence!
Is there a Job Guarantee at LearningFuze?
LearningFuze will continue to help students until they find a position. If you successfully finish the program, you can obtain a position in the industry with the help of our employer connections and relationships. Students have the option to receive a prorated refund on their tuition up until the end of the first week of the in-class session should they not be satisfied with the program or unable to continue.
Do most LearningFuze students choose to pursue their first job in web development after graduation? How do you support entrepreneurial students?
Students have started their own business as well as landed employment as developers. For instance, Ingen Concepts was created by LearningFuze students. LearningFuze supports all graduates and we are always available to alumni to answer any questions technically or otherwise. Once we make a commitment to a student, we are all in!
In your experience, what do employers like about LearningFuze graduates? What makes LearningFuze grads different from other Orange County developers?
LearningFuze teaches very deeply in the technologies most needed in the Southern California marketplace. This is to ensure students have a sound and fundamentally strong understanding of those languages that are most critical to employment. The program emulates a worklike experience so students not only learn the technologies, but also how to function in a Dev environment. Our motto is that we want to produce students we would would want to hire in the commercial marketplace!
Once we accept a student into the program we feel strongly that we have made a commitment to that student and have an obligation to ensure that we provide the necessary resources and time so that the student is able to acquire the necessary skills. This is a partnership however, so students are equally committed and passionate about their education and the program, which leads to the best learning experience for all involved. We also have four senior level developers with commercial development experience that all instruct or assist students in their specific areas of expertise during the course of the program led by lead instructor Dan Paschal. In addition to the seniors, there are three junior level instructors to assist students during the day-to-day interaction. This leads to a very favorable student-to-teacher ratio.
Finally, the curriculum is administered through a proprietary platform so that students have access to the materials and content 24 hours a day if necessary. Given that students are essentially working on projects that are eventually used in their portfolio throughout the day, it is important that they have ready access to the instructional material.
Can you give some examples of the sort of jobs your graduates are in now?
It runs the gamut from large companies such as Intuit, Kelley Blue Book, and Nike to small to medium size companies. We’ve had students hired before leaving the program and some the day after the cohort concludes. We’ve also had students that want to take their time, or decided to start their search after tackling personal issues. Anyone that is committed, has a passion for development and problem solving, and is willing to continue to learn while putting the time can succeed!
What does a LearningFuze + Hiring Partner relationship look like?
We have developed relationships with numerous companies in the Southern California market, with students gaining employment in Orange County, LA, San Diego and the Inland Empire. Students are introduced to employers that are looking to fill positions through the LearningFuze staff at the conclusion of the program.
Have you noticed that employers are looking for a specific language or specific soft skills in LA/OC/Irvine?
Do employer partners have influence over the LearningFuze curriculum? Is there a feedback loop in place?
We are constantly talking to employers and gaining feedback on what is taught in the program to ensure the curriculum is meeting the needs of the market. LearningFuze has received valuable feedback from Kelley Blue Book, BigRentz, and Experian.
Does LearningFuze have current stats on acceptance rates, job placement stats, and average starting salary for graduates?
The hiring rate slightly varies from one cohort to the next, but approximately 96% of graduates engaged in the employment search process will be employed within 2 (2.08) months of beginning their job search.
Stan was a lab assistant who moved to the HR department while pursuing his marketing degree. But he soon realized that marketing wasn’t for him, and decided to switch gears to learn code at LearningFuze web development bootcamp in Orange County, California. Stan is now a web developer at YoloCare and loving it. Find out why LearningFuze “was the best, most intense, and most fun learning experience” he’s ever had, and how he’s now giving back by mentoring new LearningFuze students in his spare time.
What was your educational or career path before you attended LearningFuze?
My path before LearningFuze was somewhat of a mess because I didn't really have a career. I’m originally from Singapore and moved to the US at 17. I had been in California for about four years or so, and had been doing different office and restaurant jobs. I also worked at Quest Diagnostics as a lab assistant and the HR department while getting my degree in marketing all the while looking for my passion.
I did try a job or two in marketing, and concluded it wasn’t really for me. I'd always really liked working with computers, so I did some research into bootcamps and specifically LearningFuze.
What made you want to learn to code after getting a marketing degree?
I've always been very computer oriented, and in my marketing roles, I had the opportunity to set up Wordpress sites. Many were crummy sites with very limited capabilities but my interest was piqued and wanted to be able to do greater things around building applications and websites.
In doing my research, I thought to myself, "Okay, I want to do this and I'm not really doing anything right now." I had quit my job at Quest and had gone to Peru to do some traveling. During that time, I made the decision to apply to LearningFuze and after working through the application process a week later I was in the program!
One of the things that helped me make the decision was that one of my friends at the time, had attended a coding bootcamp. She kept saying, "This is awesome. I'm making a lot of money. I can work remotely. I can vacation all the time. I’m coding in Hawaii!" It just made me realize, "Oh, yeah. I want to do that."
Did you research any other bootcamps besides LearningFuze?
I looked at other bootcamps, but the amount of good press on the internet for LearningFuze far outweighed other options.
Did you use any online resources to teach yourself web development before you attended LearningFuze?
I used Codecademy and Treehouse, and pretty much anything that I could find. Sometimes it made more sense to watch additional videos on You Tube about a certain concept.
What was your LearningFuze admission process like?
LearningFuze encourages you to go over the recommended study material, and they also provided practice problems to answer and I got most of them right. Then I was interviewed by the founder and staff to see if I was really capable of keeping up with the pace of the program. I guess they thought I was capable because I was admitted a week later.
Could you walk me through a typical day at LearningFuze?
I would wake up really early and get there at 7:30am, way earlier than the 10am class start time which was recommended by the lead instructor. I was a part of the morning bunch where we would do practice problems to get the day started. The learning would be nonstop until about 7:00pm or 8:00pm at night. The experience was pretty intense, especially during lessons that were a bit overwhelming. Because the learning is nonstop and LearningFuze is throwing new material at you, you’re completely immersed in it.
There were some breaks throughout the day where you could go outside and play badminton to clear your mind. Usually, those breaks allowed you to figure out the solution to the problem you were working on. Then it would be time to get back to coding.
Describe the instructors at LearningFuze.
We had two instructors, Dan, the lead instructor, and then there was Eric, one of the senior developers who also provided instruction. Dan was a warm and caring teacher so I really gravitated towards him. There were also other LearningFuze junior developers that assisted during the course of the day. A large portion of the instruction was done by Dan, and he's really excellent at it! This was the best and most fun learning experience I’ve ever had. It blew everything else out the water. If I could just learn at LearningFuze forever, I would do that.
What was your LearningFuze cohort like?
Our cohort was a really good group of people and we're still great friends. There were about 25 people, including about five women, and we had a hodgepodge of backgrounds. One guy turned 21 during the cohort, so the students took him out and did a little “celebration” on his birthday. That was fun!
LearningFuze conducts a small personality test pre-cohort when you're still doing prep work from home. We were told the majority of the cohort were really more introverted except for me and a couple of other people. We were the party starters and the dynamic worked well.
While you were at LearningFuze, was your favorite project that you worked on?
At the beginning, when you don’t really know what you’re doing, there's a big feeling of togetherness throughout the cohort. Everyone felt that, "oh, I don't really know what I'm doing. How do you do that?" So you would try and help each other. Towards the end, you have real, complex team projects where it's six of you on a team, and you're each doing your part. So this was a different kind of togetherness. I liked the whole experience and every project. There was no real favorite.
Did LearningFuze help you with job search preparation?
Yes, LearningFuze had mock interviews on whiteboards where you'd actually answer technical questions on the whiteboard, which was terrifying. Instructors would purposely make the questions difficult but it was great preparation for when you’d have to do a real technical question in an interview.
LearningFuze also worked to get your LinkedIn looking good, and our resumes and portfolios had to be submitted for review. They also brought in a guy who helped us with job placement. I trusted the process and listened to him because he’s helped a lot of other bootcamp grads find jobs.
What are you up to now that you’ve finished at LearningFuze?
I'm now a Web Developer for YoloCare and decided to go with a smaller company where we make websites for nursing homes. We have a lot of different clients and I also maintain and manage the servers and the websites. Whatever the support team can't do on the backend of WordPress, I also do.
Congrats! Tell me what the interview and hiring process was like for your new role.
It seemed like I was putting in a bunch of resumes, and for about a month, I wasn’t hearing anything back. It was kind of depressing because then I thought “Did I do the right thing? Did I make the right choice? Oh man, that was a lot of money.” Then everyone started asking me for an interview at the same time.
So the week I met with YoloCare, I had an interview with other companies every single day, so that felt great. I had applied to YoloCare the night before, and the very next morning I got an email asking if I could be there in an hour. Fortunately, I was available so I went. Everybody was super nice and super chill. Almost immediately, I felt that I wanted to work there. It seemed like the stars aligned and everything clicked.
What's a typical day like for you as a web developer at YoloCare?
I’ve been at YoloCare for about three months. The company is really flexible because when there is less to do, it's okay for me to study “stuff”, like topics I'm interested in because ultimately it will help the company. The more I know, the more I can do. So I love that about this job.
What was the ramp up period like for when you first started as a web developer?
I was so terrified. There’s one other developer on the team and he was on a surfing trip in Mexico when I first started. When I came in, I didn't know how everything was set up. Tickets would start coming in and it was pretty much, "yeah, fix this, fix that." It took some initial adjusting and at first I kept thinking, "oh, they're going to fire me!" And then he came back from his trip and he showed me how things were done at the company and I was set.
Are you utilizing the same languages that you were taught at LearningFuze in your current role?
Oh, yeah. One of my favorite parts of the job is coding on the server side in PHP. It’s great because I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do.
What would be your biggest challenge on your journey to learning web development?
I honestly think the hardest part is polishing your portfolio after you're done with the bootcamp. You're not always at the facility anymore so it’s important to stay focused, never stop learning and to stay motivated.
Are you still connected to the LearningFuze community?
Yes, I was there just yesterday helping out. I like being there because it's fun and it’s a good environment. LearningFuze gave me a lot, so I like to go back and help others with their problems and projects. I can sit down and talk them through by asking questions like, "Why is this working like that? What exactly are you trying to do? Have you really identified the problem?" and then they get to work, it feels great.
What advice do you have for people who are considering attending a coding bootcamp?
Just do it. I am 100% glad I did it because my life is so much better.
Eric Johnson started programming in the “dot-com” days, and has worked since February 2015 as a senior instructor and developer at LearningFuze, which is a web-development bootcamp and code school in Orange County (Irvine), CA. We talk to Eric about hiring developers without Computer Science degrees, the types of jobs LearningFuze students are landing in Southern California, and how the program has changed over the years to offer the most updated and relevant curriculum to future developers.
First tell us about your background and experience. How long have you been programming?
I started programming 17 years ago when I was bored and decided to experiment with a build-your-own-site platform to create template versions of certain websites. I saw that when I used the HTML version, I could see the results of changing code which was exciting to me. Soon after that, I had a mentor who was a computer programmer and got me more into computers.
I worked in several jobs to figure out what I was passionate about - from I.T. at a real estate company, to database work, to Flash animations. It wasn't until I went on Craigslist and found my first web position at a small company that I discovered what I really loved.
Did you get a traditional Computer Science degree?
I actually never thought about getting a CS degree. While CS programs do teach a lot of good things, they take a lot of time and money, and I think a lot of what makes someone successful comes down to the individual person. I’ve had experience hiring people who had CS degrees but who ended up not having practical knowledge and didn’t meet expectations. And I’ve hired people without CS degrees who have done really well. Knowing what I know now, if I had to choose between going through a bootcamp followed by getting 3+ years of job experience vs. spending four years getting a CS degree and no experience, I’d choose the bootcamp route every time.
That being said, one of our senior instructors has a CS degree, and we value students having one as well because they’ve already learned a lot of programming fundamentals. This reduces how much instruction they require in that area, so we offer discounts to people who already have a CS degree or who are part-way through a CS degree program.
Since you spent 17 years as a self-taught developer, did you have to be convinced of the effectiveness of the bootcamp model?
Actually, I was more into the idea of a bootcamp because I was self-taught. I know you can’t fit 12 years of knowledge into a 12-week bootcamp, but you can certainly fit a lot in, and it forms the basis for how you learn. When I was learning on my own, I was essentially learning the hard way. A bootcamp turns the lessons others have already learned into a curriculum to help jumpstart someone to becoming a developer way quicker than they could have done on their own.
Did you have teaching experience before teaching at LearningFuze?
My teaching experience before LearningFuze comes from managing a team of developers which entails a lot of teaching, one-on-one instruction, best practices, and knowledge transfer, and I’ve done that for many years.
Now that you’ve been an official instructor at LearningFuze for a year and a half, what have you learned about being a teacher?
I’ve learned that my passion for teaching actually is energized by the students’ excitement for learning to code and that I don't tend to give answers as much as help students find out how to ask the right questions. Instead of giving an answer, I look for ways to respond with another question to help reason through to the solution. Some people really appreciate that style because they know they’ll need to be able to learn the right questions to ask, to solve problems on their own in a real-world work environment. That’s not to say I never just give answers, but as the saying goes, if I can teach someone to fish rather than give them a fish, that benefits them more.
Are you involved in the admissions process at all? How do you filter for those ideal students at LearningFuze who are actually going to be passionate about learning?
Sometimes I am directly involved, but a lot of the time it’s behind the scenes work such as enhancing the process, upgrading the registration system or flow, changing how we assess people, etc. We want to admit people who we think will be successful in the program, whether they have little experience or a lot of experience, and we are continually trying to improve our assessments to gauge that.
In my job before LearningFuze, I hired probably 50 or 60 people over five or six years, and what I found after major modifications to the interview process is that there are certain questions and responses that are valuable in predicting someone’s success potential, and certain questions that aren’t very reliable.
How has the curriculum changed since you've been at LearningFuze and what warrants a change to the curriculum?
We change the curriculum every cohort and in iterative ways, not in wholesale changes. The students in each cohort learn differently, so we tailor and refine the curriculum with each cohort. We’re always trying to better engage students, make the projects even more interesting and relevant, or focus on specific technologies, concepts, and frameworks that we think will best benefit students in the job market. We cover a lot of things, but we spend the most time on technologies that are used by major sites like Wikipedia and Facebook and also are used by a huge percentage of smaller sites and are in demand both in the area and nationally.
Since I came on board at LearningFuze, we’ve also tracked progress better. We have our own custom learning system and a specific agenda for students to follow; whereas before, we just stuck to a verbal curriculum. We’ve built a learning platform that students log into and see their progress and how their skills are progressing, and we continue to build onto and enhance this so it’s more and more valuable to students.
One thing we have done to branch out to different topics, even more so recently, is host a lot of meetups for graduates. Those aren’t necessarily public meetups, but rather for alumni to be able to learn something specific that we may not have covered in depth in the program. Once we have enough graduates who ask about a certain subject, we’ll refine new projects and topics during a meetup, and then consider introducing it to future cohorts.
Do most of your students still get jobs in PHP when they graduate?
Do you have a student success story that stands out with you?
About six weeks into a cohort, one student was really struggling. He had trouble articulating what a variable was at that point. We had a serious conversation with him and told him this wasn’t going to get any easier, so if he really wanted to succeed, he’d have to put in time, energy, and effort. By the end of the program, he was middle to upper tier because he buckled down and put in the work that was needed. He has since graduated and now he gets excited about things on a daily basis, and sees those challenges as something fun to solve. It's cool to see someone come so far, and it says a lot about them as a person.
Is there an ideal student to teacher ratio at LearningFuze?
Our goal is to stay at 5:1 and to keep everyone actively engaged by having at least one or two senior level and one or two junior level developers per classroom. If a student has a question, a junior developer is there for them, but can also quickly escalate it to senior developers. What’s great about our junior developers is they’ve been through the program so they know the curriculum and aren’t just coming up with whatever they may think is best.
Besides myself, there are two other senior instructors. There’s our lead instructor who started programming before I did, who has professional experience with a lot of different programming languages and platforms. He worked for many companies including leading very large teams and companies. He also has prior instructional and educational experience and is really committed to the students. The other senior instructor has a computer science degree, certifications in PHP, MySQL, ASP.NET, and Javas, plus 10 years of experience at a digital agency where he was the director of web development and worked on a wide variety of sites for big name companies.
What resources or meetups do you recommend for aspiring bootcampers in Southern California?
LearningFuze also hosts the Orange County New Developers Meetup which we’ve tailored to very junior level developers. That’s a great way to learn what it takes to be a good developer (both technically and non-technically).
David was working in technology sales when he discovered his passion for coding. He tried to teach himself but had too many unanswered questions, so decided to attend LearningFuze coding bootcamp in Orange County, CA. He graduated in early January 2016, and is now a developer at digital agency Taylor Digital. David tells us why he wanted to learn PHP, why he continued coding and learning during the job search, and how the fast paced nature of LearningFuze prepared him well for his new job.
What is your pre-bootcamp story?
I graduated with a health policy and administration degree from Penn State, then went into technology sales. I worked at an IT reseller for two years, in Chicago then I moved to California for another technology sales job. While I think sales is a fulfilling career, I wanted to find something I had more of a passionate interest in.
Why did you want to go to a bootcamp?
My goal was to transition out of sales. Without a finance or business background, it was hard to find a job I was qualified for outside of sales. I actually didn’t know that coding bootcamps existed until a friend of mine who works in tech told me about them. I realized I didn’t have to go back to school, and started researching coding bootcamps. My goal in going to a coding bootcamp was to get a job as software or web developer.
Did you try to teach yourself to code before investing in a coding bootcamp?
Since I work in tech sales, I had always tried to teach myself to code a little bit and dabbled in Codecademy, but it was just too difficult to learn on my own. I struggled personally because I had so many questions to ask. After LearningFuze, I can Google anything and even if the answer is written in code I can understand it and figure it out. But when I didn’t have a strong understanding of programming, it was hard to move forward.
Did you research other coding bootcamps or only LearningFuze?
At first I was also looking in San Francisco, but my girlfriend and husky are here in Orange County, so disappearing for 3 months wasn't really an option. Also a lot of the coding bootcamps in San Francisco told me that their employer network is only the Bay Area, so I was looking primarily around OC for bootcamps.
I went to a couple different open houses. I looked at Sabio, I went to an info session at Orange County Code School, and then LearningFuze.
I chose LearningFuze because I could tell that I wouldn’t be afraid to ask questions in their environment. I went to a front end web development intro class to see if this is an environment where I’d be supported. I wanted to know if my questions would get answered, what’s the student to teacher ratio, etc. I found that in one day I learned more than I did over two months of studying and learning on my own. It was incredible just how rapid the learning was. Going to the classroom and seeing how amazing it was is what got me hooked.
Was it important for you to learn a specific programming language or stack?
I looked at all the job opportunities in Orange County, and I realized that the coding bootcamps were all teaching different technology stacks. As I was researching, I saw the majority of jobs posted on LinkedIn and Indeed were LAMP stack – PHP and MySQL, and LearningFuze focuses primarily on that.
One of the instructors informed me they were not only teaching us the languages, but also the fundamentals of programming itself, so regardless of where you end up or what you’re doing, you’d have a strong fundamental understanding of how things work.
All the cards aligned perfectly, from what they offer, to what the market is demanding, to what I wanted out of a program, to where I thought I needed to be personally. I made a very calculated decision to make sure LearningFuze was going to get me to where I wanted to be in my career.
Did you think about doing a 4-year Computer Science degree?
My parents asked me that too, and I don’t think I need one. Once you know enough to be able to research and Google questions on your own, you don’t need a CS degree. Before LearningFuze I couldn’t teach myself because I had so many questions, but now I can answer them myself. Plus there were also people with CS degrees in my LearningFuze class.
How did you pay for it? Did you use a financing partner? Did you get a scholarship?
Fortunately I was able to pay for it myself. I saved up a bunch of money, and my parents helped out as well, since they’re happy to help with education. I know LearningFuze has a financing program, but I didn’t have to use it.
How large was your class? Was it diverse in terms of gender, race, life and career backgrounds?
There were about 20 people. All of the sales jobs I had were like boys clubs- very macho. It was nice being in an environment where it’s the opposite of that and very diverse. My class was half women, half men. As far as demographics, there were people of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds. We were able to learn to program and make friends. I still talk to plenty of my colleagues now over Hipchat, part of the alumni network.
What was the student:teacher ratio at LearningFuze?
The teacher student ratio was about 1:5. Dan and Eric were the senior instructors and we had two junior instructors – Scott and Travis.
What was the learning experience like at LearningFuze — tell us about a typical day and teaching style?
At around 11am there is a lecture for around 30 mins on a new topic. The instructors try not to talk to us for too long, because they want us to actually be programming.
LearningFuze was very fast paced. I wouldn’t be halfway done with one project and we’d already been assigned another one or a group project. You’re constantly working on different things, different projects, debugging problems in your code. There would be a feature list of requirements on the board that you need for certain projects, so you’re constantly working on building and implementing those. And of course a big part of the program is getting stuck, figuring out problems, and having a support team of people there to help you move along. It was shockingly similar to what I’m doing now at my new job – I’m working on 15 different projects, jumping around, fixing stuff, building in new features.
What was your favorite project that you worked on?
I also liked my final project, an apartment finder. I continued working on it after the end of the bootcamp for a month before I started applying for jobs. I built it in a new framework. Doing that, while getting my portfolio together, and interfacing with LearningFuze on job search, was a really cool experience. It’s hard when the program is over because you really have to figure things out yourself. Working on this project was the first time I was set free, and had to figure everything out on the front and back end.
How did LearningFuze prepare you for job hunting?
We had about 5 or 6 projects we worked on during the class. Almost 100% of getting in the door for the first interview is having a presentable portfolio. You can be the most knowledgeable programmer but if you don’t really have a portfolio, or no experience on paper, why would someone interview you? It was important to have a solid, presentable, clean, unique portfolio. I had the projects I’d done in class and the work I’d done on my own outside class.
As far as the job hunt goes, Bill Cunningham (the founder of LearningFuze) was instrumental in helping me get a job. He’s like your job hunting partner. I found a job in just a couple of weeks. I was in sales so I knew how to crawl LinkedIn, mass apply to everything, and reach out directly to a bunch of recruiters, and HR people. I was doing my part and getting about 50% of my own interviews, but on top of that Bill was throwing interviews my way.
There were also soft skills mock interviews during the course. Most of us had never interviewed for a developer job, so the instructors did technical interviews with us, then Bill was handling the soft-skills. I’ve learned you can be very technical, but if you can’t articulate that, it’s going to be tough to get a job. You can also be very articulate, but if you’re not technical enough then you may not know enough. You have to have to be strong in both areas which is something LearningFuze tries to help you polish throughout the program.
Tell us about your developer job now!
I work at a digital agency in San Clemente, CA called Taylor Digital. They build custom web applications and websites for clients throughout the state and nationally. I’m primarily a backend web developer, working with PHP and frameworks like Laravel, CodeIgniter, and I’ve started learning ColdFusion.
What’s your role, and what does your day to day look like as a new developer?
I’m the lead developer on a couple projects, and it’s a small team, so I often help out on other projects too. Every day, I don’t know exactly what I’ll be working on – it’s always something different and new. That’s why LearningFuze designed their bootcamp to be very fast paced and constantly jumping from one thing to another.
I work under the direction of very experienced senior developers, so I get to learn a lot, not just about languages, but about the web, best practices, how things should run, and how to make efficient sites which can handle 1000s of hits. It’s a really good opportunity to be in an environment where I can keep that bootcamp mentality alive, keep pushing forward, accelerating, and learning at a rapid rate.
How did you stay motivated during the job search? Any advice for future bootcampers?
It was frustrating getting out of the bootcamp mindset, and moving into the job hunt mindset. But it’s important to keep coding and keep moving forward. Balancing out the 12 hours a day of coding I was used to doing with the 8 hours of job hunting that I needed to do was tough.
I would try to send out 30 to 40 resumes per day, using websites like Zip Recruiter, Indeed, and LinkedIn. I found if I shot out 30 resumes one day, the next day I’d have 1 or 2 people call me back. So every day I’d block out an hour or two to send out applications, then spend the rest of the day coding and learning. There were so many jobs with different technology requirements, so I was trying to learn different build tools for those. The job hunt is no different from the bootcamp- you’ve got to work hard every day. The whole point of LearningFuze was to get a developer job.
Are you using the PHP stack that you learned at LearningFuze? Have you had to learn new technologies?
Yeah it’s been crazy. I’ve had to learn a new text editor called Coda, a front end system to combine your files called Gulp, and a backend language called ColdFusion. I’ve had to work with two different content management systems, WordPress, and OpenCart, a PHP framework built on CodeIgniter. I had to learn another PHP framework called Laravel as well for another project. The terminal is huge in this job. I’m learning something new every day.
What was the ramp up period like? How did you learn all of these new technologies?
There was an expectation that the faster you learn, the faster you can start diving into these projects and working on them. I was given two days to learn Laravel. Even though it could seem overwhelming at the time, it was no different from what I was doing before I started the job. I was already spending 12 hours a day coding and learning.
Programming really feels like more of a hobby than a job, which is one of the reasons I wanted to do it in the first place. If I came home from work at 5pm, I’d spend 3 to 4 hours learning at home. I still spend that time coding, either doing Laravel or learning new technologies that I find interesting.
How do you stay involved with LearningFuze after graduation? Is the alumni network strong?
LearningFuze is always hosting events, and we’re invited to all of the guest speaker events. For example, they hosted a hackathon last week, and I recently guest judged the final projects for a cohort. Every week there’s a lunch, events, alumni meetups, so I try to go to some of them. The alumni network is going to be my biggest resource, so I try to stay engaged and involved.
Plus, I had such a great time at LearningFuze; it’s almost like going to summer camp for three months. You get to learn real world skills, and you’re learning skills to get a job, but you also make friends, have a good time and build relationships with the instructors and the people there.
What advice do you have for future bootcampers who want to make a career change like you did?
First, you should definitely try Codecademy and make sure that coding is something you want to do every day as a lifelong commitment, as well as something you can find passion in and do as a hobby at home. It’s not just a three-month ride at a coding bootcamp and then you’re done. I’m still working every day to learn new things, whether for my own personal gain or for work. And that’s not going to end. One of my instructors put it well when he said, “it’s a marathon not a race.” Programming really is a 20-year journey. I’ve come so far since LearningFuze, but I’m still light years away from where I want to be. You need to understand that before you do a bootcamp, otherwise you can get burned out.
As far as researching bootcamps, find one that teaches the skills that will help you get a job in the market you're applying in, because the tools in demand are going to be different in every area. And, make sure you find a bootcamp with an environment you can excel in.
A coding bootcamp can propel your career in tech to new heights, but that often means quitting a job, uprooting your life, or moving to a new city. Maybe you’re moving to a new city to become a developer and need a short-term housing option. Or perhaps you’re an international student without credit history. Regardless of your background, funds can become tight when committing to a full-time, intensive bootcamp, and suddenly expenses like rent and food can be stressful. Luckily, there are coding bootcamps that make housing easy.Continue Reading →
Trevor Linan discovered his love for code when a friend asked him to help design a website for an underground music label. He quit his job as a museum store associate, and started LearningFuze’s full time coding bootcamp in Irvine, CA in June 2015. After graduating he quickly found a job as a front end developer, but had his sights set on starting his own business. He is now co-owner and CTO of startup Hero Cybernetics, and a web designer at inGen Concepts.
What were you doing before LearningFuze? What is your educational background? Your last career path?
I spent the past 10 or 11 years in retail. Right before LearningFuze I was working at Bowers Museum in their gallery store, running the register, helping customers, and helping the manager with graphic design work for the TV displays. I started at Cypress College right out of high school, but had no real direction. Then about four or five years into my studies I really got into philosophy and decided to major in it. And doing philosophy is how I met my current business partner, Jose. We were both class presidents, and took a symbolic logic class together.
What made you decide to quit your job and focus on web development as a career transformation?
My best friend wanted to start a record label for underground music and build a website for it. His mom, a programmer for Boeing, started to put together a website, but she had no design experience at all. I don’t have official education in design, but I’m good with design, so she asked me to help her out. I was using an outdated web design tool, called WebEasy Professional. As much as I enjoyed designing the website, there was a lot of stuff I couldn’t do but wanted to do. It intrigued me to figure out how to do it on my own, so I decided I wanted to dig deeper into coding. That led me to learn HTML and CSS which I absolutely loved. I was hooked from my first HTML class.
What tools did you use to start learning to code? How useful were they?
Did you look at other bootcamps or just LearningFuze?
I looked at a couple of online coding bootcamps, but that was pretty much it. LearningFuze was the first one I found that I really wanted to go to. So I set up an interview with them and went to check out the school. Purely based on their presentation on website, and my initial interview with them, I knew right away that’s where I wanted to go. There was no question, it was really simple for me to decide.
What factors were important to you when choosing a coding bootcamp?
Price definitely mattered, but most of the bootcamps I looked at were in a similar price range. My concern was more with quality of people and education. I absolutely loved interviewing with Fabian and Bill from LearningFuze. They were super friendly, informational, and interested in me and what I wanted to learn. It was very easy for me to decide go to their bootcamp.
Their curriculum was a huge factor also. Most other bootcamps I looked at were offering specific languages or frameworks, like Angular or Mean Stack, but LearningFuze focuses on core concepts behind the languages, not a specific language. That was exactly what I wanted to learn. If you don’t know the basic concepts behind programming, you’re not going to be able to get very far. Having that knowledge was very valuable.
Did you think about doing a four-year CS degree?
When I was getting into Codecademy, I did a day or so of research on CS degrees, and decided I wasn’t going to do it. It was too extensive. When I was at Cypress the highest level of math I took was stats, and I’d have had to continue with the math part. A CS degree didn’t make sense to me, I didn’t think it was necessary. I wasn’t really planning on being a general software engineer, I was more interested in web development and design.
Tell me about your class. Was it diverse in terms of gender, race, life and backgrounds?
There were 14 of us. We had two girls in our cohort and it was diverse in terms of gender and race. I still go see LearningFuze once a month, and I know they have quite a few more girls now. It was pretty diverse in terms of background, we had people with electrical engineering degrees, people from finance. We even had a married couple in our cohort. And some people came a long way to do the program – one gentleman packed up from Arizona and moved here.
A popular question we get is — How did you pay for it? Did you use a financing partner?
I had family help in paying for the school, I didn’t use financing or anything. I feel very fortunate I was able to do that. There were financing options, so if I hadn’t had help from my family, I would have used financing, no doubt.
What was the learning experience like at your bootcamp?
The required hours are 10am to 6pm Monday to Friday. But I was there from 8am until 8pm on weekdays, and 10 hours each day on the weekends. I put a lot of time and effort in. When I got there early, our main instructor Dan was always there. If you’re willing to put the time in, they invest their time in you too.
Throughout the course we also had tests, to see what we were or weren’t comprehending. Then they would give us feedback, and help us where we were struggling. Those were very valuable.
What was the coding environment like there?
Coding can be very stressful, but at LearningFuze, the staff emphasize that you need to take breaks. They say “hey, take a 10 minute break then go back to it.” It was so much fun. We had badminton competitions, there was an Xbox there, and all kinds of stuff to get your mind off coding. They made sure you were not only working hard, but also taking care of yourself. I really felt like they cared. It was like a family in there.
What was your favorite project that you created?
Tell me about the job you got after you graduated. What were you doing there?
This is a long story. After graduating from LearningFuze, before I started job hunting, I spent a month improving my portfolio, and working on a project for my friend Jose. Then right when I started looking for jobs, Jose asked me to partner with him and start a company – Hero Cybernetics. I said yes, figuring once I got a job, I could still keep working on the business.
When I started job hunting, it only took me a week to find a job. I had my first interview with Arbonne International, and got hired the same day as a front end developer, but I only worked there for four days. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Arbonne, it’s a fantastic company to work for. I felt bad quitting, but while I was there, inside I felt I wanted to be working on Hero Cybernetics. We already had companies interested in the project who would let us use them for beta testing. So I decided I needed to focus full-time on the startup.
Tell me about Hero Cybernetics! What is your life like as a co-founder?
We are building technology to optimize business activities. Essentially we want to create one complex ecosystem within a company. It will eventually have full autonomy, incorporate AI, learn from the company, learn from itself, and improve anything that’s running inefficiently. Hero Cybernetics is cloud software, so you’ll be able to access it from any device.
Within the next couple months we want to test a beta version with one or two companies. Then within a year and a half, we want to have a fully functional system that can be incorporated into a business. Then at that point we plan on expanding.
I’m building the software for Hero Cybernetics – front end and back end. I’ve been working on it about four months now. Jose handles more of the business aspect of it and helps with the coding when he can. He is the CEO. My official title is CTO.
What programming languages are you using to build Hero Cybernetics?
What sorts of things are you doing to learn new programming languages and skills after bootcamp?
I’m always plugged into the latest news feeds to do with web development. I follow pretty much all coding languages on social media, and read articles about them. I’ve also taken a few Udemy courses since LearningFuze, to keep updated on newer technologies. It’s about being proactive and involved in the web world. If you just focus on one thing, your knowledge will stagnate and you won’t progress.
You are also freelancing – tell us about that.
I have a company called inGen Concepts where I do freelance web development, web design and UX/UI work. It provides me with income while I’m working on the Hero Cybernetics software.
Was it always your goal to start your own business after the coding bootcamp?
It wasn’t at all. My intention was to go to LearningFuze then find a job doing web development, working full time in coding. After Jose asked me to partner with him, I found this part of myself that was very entrepreneurial, and I’ve taken that perspective in life now. I don’t intend to work a full time job again now. With the skills I learned at LearningFuze, plus my new sense of entrepreneurial freedom, I feel like there is no limit to what I can do.
What does a typical day look like for you as a web developer?
I split my time between Hero Cybernetics and inGen Concepts. At first it was complicated – one of the first things you learn very quickly when you’re working by yourself is how to manage your time. So now I allocate specific days or times to do one or the other.
I’ll get up and start coding straight away. I meet with Jose two or three times a week, and we’ll go through software, the business plan, and make sure we’re on schedule. It’s pretty much the same thing every week until the software is fully built out. I’m working from home, and sometimes at Jose’s place.
What advice do you have for people making a career change at a coding bootcamp?
Just make sure you know you want to do the bootcamp. I know it sounds vague, but when I wanted to go to a bootcamp, there was not one speck of doubt that I wanted to do that. Just know with 100% certainty you want to do coding and that you’re passionate about it. And if you want to take the bootcamp route, go and meet the people and really get a feel for the environment and the bootcamp and decide which one you want to go to.
Is there anything else you want to add about LearningFuze?
LearningFuze changed my life. The people there were so encouraging, so motivating. I really loved every single moment. I can’t stress that enough. I go back every month, and visit or have a badminton battle. They have a fantastic alumni network and hold events. I keep in touch with a lot of my cohort members. I wouldn’t change anything about my experience there.
Move over tinsel town and make some space in the greater Los Angeles area for some of the finest coding programs in the country. While LA once paled in comparison to San Francisco when it came to the sheer quantity of bootcamps, we've seen a surge in LA coding bootcamps this year. Currently, there are 11 code schools with campuses in LA's "Silicon Beach" that all bring a unique take on web development training.Continue Reading →
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 →
Jordan Kimura already had a solid foundation in design and marketing. Armed with a B.A. in Graphic Design and an M.B.A., Jordan wanted to add to her web development to her skillset. She knew she wanted an immersive learning experience that offered full-stack development so that she could learn front-end and back-end coding languages to enhance her design scope. She also knew that she wanted somewhere in South Orange County to allow her the flexibility to remain active at a couple of hours per week in her humanitarian efforts. Four years ago, she founded Project Joy, where she donates generated proceeds to increase educational and social skills for children and adults with special needs. LearningFuze offered a top-quality coding education along with a perfect location for her. After attending an info session and a front-end coding workshop, she knew that LearningFuze was right for her.Continue Reading →
If you’ve been accepted to a coding bootcamp, then you’re probably smart, mature, committed, and responsible (not to mention brilliant for recognizing the importance of digital skills in today’s job environment). A great coding bootcamp admissions team should also be selecting students who are collaborative and can work well with others, and who have proven that coding is the career for them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the ideal student is already well-versed in programming; it does mean that s/he has experimented with coding, built a personal portfolio site, or worked on cloning an app like Twitter. However, some of the best students aren’t rockstar coders, and mental preparation for a bootcamp could play just as big a role in your success as technical aptitude. Here, we’ll touch on Do’s & Don’ts for a successful coding bootcamp mindset with LearningFuze’s Fabian Toth.Continue Reading →
After managing the technical team at an education company called GameDesk, Dan Paschal caught the education bug and was hired as an instructor at Southern California bootcamp LearningFuze. Dan talks to us about programming being the new literacy, the three goals of pre-work at LearningFuze, and how their PHP curriculum continues to change.
Tell us about your background, your experience with education, programming or both.
I started programming when I was a kid, and I was self-taught because there were no readily accessible internet resources at the time. I went to college to study Computer Science, got really bored and actually had a few job offers. I dropped out and started working instead, mostly as an independent contractor. I loved the hours and I could be creative; it was really fulfilling in that sense.
After working as an independent contractor, I got into the private sector because I wanted more meaningful work, something that would have some impact in the world. After climbing the ranks to senior developer at a startup iOS game, my next path was a Dev and Technical Director at an education company called GameDesk, and I was really bitten by the education bug. I wanted to continue making that sort of difference, but I was a little hesitant to become a teacher because I wanted to affect more than just a handful of people at a time.
Before starting out here at LearningFuze, my teaching experience was with 11-year olds; but there’s a big difference between 11-year olds and Adults who are investing substantial time and money into changing their lives.
How were you introduced to LearningFuze?
I found it online through a job listing on Craigslist. It seemed like would either be really cool or an utter scam, so I explored it further, and I’m glad I did!
Had you heard of bootcamps in general before? Were you familiar with Dev Bootcamp or some of the other ones in San Francisco?
No, I wasn’t at all familiar with that concept. The only developers I’d known were people that went to school for it or people that taught themselves. The bootcamp model made perfect sense; I just didn’t realize that the rest of the world had figured that out!
Did you have to be convinced of the bootcamp model? Why did it make sense to you?
I’ve heard recently that programming is going to become the new literacy. By that, I mean that what literacy was to people within the last 200 years is what programming is to us today. It’s going to be required for interfacing your home heating system, your car’s system; everything’s going to start becoming more and more programmable because we simply can’t rely on a few programmers to make an interface that works for everyone; it just doesn’t work. Moreover, we can’t rely on others to tell us that something is safe or what it does. That puts us in the same position centuries ago when only certain people could read Latin and tell us what was in some of our most important documents.
Programming is slowly transitioning to a more common vernacular that we’re all contributing to; as programming languages evolve, they get simpler and simpler. Anyone who wants to spend the time and really double down on their education can learn. Career changers are learning to code, and more and more, we’re moving programming into younger ages.
When I went to college, one of my main problems was that the material we learned was at least four years old. The bootcamp model addresses a lot of those shortcomings.
Was it important to you that LearningFuze teaches PHP?
I’m sure that was important for them. I’ve done Ruby on Rails but I have more PHP knowledge than I do Ruby.
We focus on full stack development; of course, there are some aspects like Apache or server infrastructure that you technically need to know, but that we won’t teach in such a short amount of time. As a junior developer you most likely won’t be dealing directly with the server unless the job requires it specifically, then they can dive deeper into those areas and learn fairly quickly. PHP gives a readily understandable starting point that you can then enter other realms like Ruby or Python.
Is this the first cohort that you’ve taught?
This is the first one that I’ve taught as the lead instructor. I’ve been a guest instructor in past cohorts, and have done weekend tutoring and late night sessions. We’re “all hands on deck” so other instructors will come in earlier or later and on the weekends.
How have you been able to influence the curriculum?
The curriculum is always a work in progress because with each pass, we learn new things. The biggest change that I brought was probably simplifying the slides and the materials. Slides are a lot like billboards. If you have more than 7 words, you’re probably giving too much information at once, especially if you’re just beginning and being overloaded.
Can you tell us about LearningFuze’s approach to Pre-Work?
The purpose of prework is to give everyone some common starting point. I have not met a single person, no matter how well prepared they were, that at the end of a bootcamp was not fried from all the information. You don’t actually understand things until about two weeks after you learn it. It starts sinking in slowly and after three months, what was hard two weeks ago is now second nature and you’re now freaking out about some new thing that’s really hard at the moment. Meanwhile you’ve partially forgotten that you actually learned some things before, and it is floating around in your head, waiting for a context to be understood..
To facilitate that, the pre-work is designed to do three things. One, let you know what we’re going to be talking about in general so you can get some sort of glimpse into the future and use it for reference. Two: to give real world working examples to initially foster that feeling of success. Then – and this may seem counterintuitive – the pre-work wraps up fast, almost to a point where you feel like you’re being thrown off a cliff, with no choice but to fly or crash.
Do you have anybody who goes through it and doesn’t make it through and quits before they get through the pre-work?
We try as much as possible to weed out the people who don’t have the commitment for it – not a disparagement against them, it’s just that not everyone is ready for this yet. More than just quitting, what often happens is that they will switch to one of our simpler classes like front end development rather than the full stack, so it’s less of a monetary commitment, less of a time commitment and then they can get a feel for it it’s really for them. We often encourage that, in fact, if we see them struggling too much.
Tell us what a typical day looks like.
It can be a bit fluid depending on the class and their needs. Recently, students have readings from the previous night called primers. In the morning, we have exercises that are heavily scaffolded. You start off with super simple examples that go off of what you read, then you have other examples that start building upon other things you learned.
Then the final questions will be much more complicated in that they’ll start building upon themselves, more combinations of what they’ve learned, maybe some trick questions; not meant to be cruel but to make you think about this, not blurt out an answer and think you’re done with it.
That’s probably the first hour/hour and a half. We cover the material, we go over questions, a lot of one-on-one time. Then we go into a full lecture on a new topic. We talk about that for not more than 15 – 20 minutes at a time. We really try to break down the speaking sessions to no more than 20 minutes because that’s when people start losing focus and not internalizing things.
After lunch, students work independently for a period of time and ask questions. We go onto a little bit of lecture about topics for the next day, go over what we have learned that day then the rest of the day is more work time for assignments that need to be done or any exercises that they didn’t complete adequately the first time. We really try to give good feedback on anything they turn in so that they can learn from each iteration.
Do you have students work independently on most of the exercises or are there times when you have them pair programming or working in group?
All of the above. We’ve had hackathons where 3 to 4 people work together. We also work in paired programming.
Most of the time it’s individual programming; however, there’s nothing that prevents someone from going to talk to other students. We encourage that because it really builds camaraderie with the students; they automatically group together to try to understand something and explore.
If someone is weak in one area and someone else is strong in that, they listen to that student and build bonds. It’s what they’re going to have to do when they get into the real world because they’re going to be working in teams. Of course, if someone is just gleaning answers and not bothering to understand then I’ll come by (with a stern eye :)). But most of the time, I let them ‘get away’ with collaboration as long as it’s healthy for them.
Do you have a teaching assistant working with you or do you have a co-instructor?
We have two other instructors/programmers that primarily are responsible for our infrastructure and curriculum. We’re continuously enhancing our infrastructure to support our lessons. I was also in that role before so this time I’m in the hot seat and the previous instructor is doing the programming. Then they come in to instruct on specific topics.
Also, we’re working on building our repertoire of advanced topics so that way if we have students who are quickly done with a project, we can throw them more complex bones so they can start working on that.
How many students are in this cohort?
What type of student really excels in LearningFuze?
The people who have succeeded, even if they weren’t naturally adept at programming, were the ones that worked their butts off. Those who didn’t put in the time are the ones that struggle. We haven’t had any attrition this time but I’ve seen it in the past where life creeps up – which happens – but you have to make choices.
You put all this time and money into it; this is very serious. This is your future we’re talking about. That’s the biggest determiner of success.
There is natural aptitude but with the programming world changing day by day, it’s not always that straightforward. You have to be able to sit there and work through your problems and be good at sleuthing and debugging; reading through instructions first before trying to ponder things.
Do most of your students have technical experience before they get to LearningFuze?
Only a few. In fact, those who do have technical experience didn’t necessarily get it from their job. They usually started getting into tech but they knew that they didn’t have either the time or the will to push themselves through it on their own.
We have one person who was an office manager, a couple of salespeople, a marketing person whose only technical experience was working with sound systems. We had a CS major who started web development and it was a rude awakening for him.
Are you able to find time to pursue your own projects?
It comes rarely because teaching is very much a full time gig. When I get some free time I work on outside projects, but there is so little free time. When the students are working late at night, usually that means I am too.
Will instructors start to rotate?
Yes. We have the idea of rotating through because it’s a 10-week intensive class, spending 8 hours a day in the classroom and you really get no time to take a break.
As we grow and get more instructors it will become easier but we also have that desire to branch out and get more classes in. We found that the ideal ratio is 1 instructor to 5 students.
Do you have any other advice for a future bootcamper?
One of the biggest things I would recommend to any student in any bootcamp is: ask questions. If you don’t ask questions, you will never solve the problem or take way too long. You don’t have the option to give up at LearningFuze, so you’ve got to get in the habit of asking good questions, even if they sound stupid. That’s what you’ll have to do in the development world, because no programmer knows everything there is to know on any given topic; best to leave your ego / fear at the door because in this world, you are the architect of your own destiny.
Jeff was working in sales, but looking for a career change. He started using online resources like Codecademy to learn the basics, but he hit a wall in his learning and was looking for an immersive experience. LearningFuze was the closest bootcamp to Jeff’s home in Orange County and after talking to founders Fabian and Bill, he was convinced. Having now graduated and landed a job as a Front-End Developer at Digital River, Jeff tells us about LearningFuze’s realistic work environment, the “Fail Fast” mentality, and why he’s loving his new job.
What you were up to before you started at LearningFuze?
This was a total career change for me and it’s completely different from what I’ve done before. Up until now, web development was more of a hobby that I was doing in the evenings. Before that, I was in sales.
I do have an automotive background, which is what put me in college. I ended up working in sales, then lost my position and wanted to find a job that I was more passionate about, something that I enjoyed. That’s why I made the actual career change to get into coding.
How were you learning when you were coding as a hobby?
I used Learning Tree and Codecademy. Those are great online courses; they’re phenomenal, but what it was lacking was the direction once you finished that section of learning. You use their code editor so I wasn’t even aware of other code editors out there. I didn’t know how to go forward or about any of the local meetups.
Was your motivation to get a job as a developer in a company or to start your own business?
My goal was to get a job as a developer. Of course, I think every developer has something in in mind that they want to develop themselves so it’s kind of a hobby that I think all developers do on the side.
It was a full career change and I wanted to become a developer at a company that I could see myself growing with and expanding my knowledge of the development field.
Why did you end up choosing LearningFuze and what were the factors that you were considering?
I was in the Orange County area, which is about 30 miles south of L.A. County, so there weren’t a ton of coding schools. I researched MakerSquare and Hack Reactor in San Francisco, which both looked awesome. They are well-established courses, and I was totally amazed by it and blown away.
Once I found these bootcamps, I started searching locally and came across LearningFuze. I looked at the language they taught and the courses they had available. I then took that information and went on Craigslist local job boards to see what the local market an industry was really looking for.
I found that they were right on point with about 75% of the job postings out there for my area. When I went in and talked to Bill and Fabian and started talking to people in the industry, it was clear that employers are looking for teachable employees, not necessarily only applicants who know everything already.
If you can learn some of these fundamental languages, they carry over to other languages; the syntax changes and so on but the formulas are relatively the same. They just want to make sure that you’re teachable.
What was the LearningFuze application like for you?
We had a phone interview and then an in-person interview. We didn’t have any testing although they did ask some basic coding questions.
Did you feel you could answer those with your Codecademy skills?
Yes, I could. I was part of the first cohort, which was a bit like a trial run because they were just being established. Since then, LearningFuze has become more strict with admissions and asking qualifying questions.
In the beginning, they interviewed me and the reason why they took me was because I was personable. They saw that I was more focused on exactly what I wanted and I was pretty persistent. I kept in touch with them, I followed up with them, they followed up with me.
You’re not just given a job. You still have to work for it. You’re still in the industry and there are still people out there fighting for jobs. They look for that type of commitment that you’re willing to bring in addition to the knowledge.
In that first cohort how many people were in your class?
There were five.
Did you feel like everyone was on a similar technical level when they started?
We weren’t all on the same technical level. For me, that didn’t matter. I sought out the people that were more advanced than me and picked their brains as much as I could.
Tell us a little bit about the instructors and teaching style at LearningFuze.
My instructor was Thi and he’s the lead instructor. Fabian is the director of LearningFuze and he would sit in on the sessions.
For us it was a one to five ratio and they ended up hiring a new instructor, but they still have the one to five ratio.
Their teaching style was really designed for us to fail. It was for us to learn proper coding but they really let us go and make mistakes and we really had to troubleshoot and find those mistakes and how we’re making those mistakes and fix it. It was a lot of repetitiveness and learning by failing. There were no manuals that we needed to read up on but they had a list of well-known authors and books that are out there that they found they liked to read and reference.
One important thing we learned was how to search Google correctly. Now if I search something I find it really quickly, and my returns are really specific. So even their teaching of how to correctly search was huge because I do that continuously even in my job now.
Was the curriculum project based? What did a typical day look like?
A typical day started with a little bit of lecture in the morning and we would follow along.
They would hit us with the whole project. We’d wireframe the project as a group. It was almost like a timed training because they want to put a little bit of pressure on you. The instructor would work on the projector overhead so we could see it live on his device.
It would change daily. Sometimes we’d come in and they’d say “Okay, we need to build this calculator within four, five hours. Get to work on it.” So we’d come in and start doing a project. The instructors also acted like a project manager would. So they were introducing us to the water flow management type system of organization and then agile development project management. They try to mimic actual real environments, and now that I’m working, it’s right on point with what I actually do every day.
Did you feel like those projects were the way you were evaluated or did you ever do exams or assessments at the end of a lesson?
They did an assessment every Friday. We would review with the instructor and the director of LearningFuze and we would touch base on your progress, any frustrations or anxiety.
As an individual making a career change, your finances are being depleted quickly and because this is a full immersion you really don’t have time to work. You can stress out with all these things. They were really on point with addressing those issues with you. They wanted to make sure that you were staying focused, that your emotions and anxieties are being addressed and worked through. So you’re not just left there wondering, getting stressed out; they’re actually coaching you through it as you do the course.
They were awesome in that they listened to what we had to say and they addressed every concern that we had to really make the most of it for us.
How much time were you spending on LearningFuze?
Our hours were 9:00 to 5:00 but they kept the doors open till 7:00. I would say 75% of the time, I was there from 9:00 to 7:00. If I wasn’t there, I was still going home and practicing because it is a full immersion. You have to be doing something 12 hours a day if you want to be successful.
Since your goal doing LearningFuze was to get a job, was there a job guarantee?
They did have a job guarantee at first when they got started because they had no record. To tell you the truth, I didn’t focus on it because I was determined to get a job no matter what.
Coming into the last phase of the program, they started doing resume reviews. We issued our reviews and they critiqued them, made changes and adjustments to it. We had projects that we were working on for our portfolio that were personal. If you looked at everybody’s portfolio from that class, everybody has a unique one. It wasn’t the cookie cutter projects that we did, everybody had their own projects that we did ourselves.
Did you all do interview prep?
We did. We did role-playing interviews and that was handled by Bill. We went over soft interview questions about personality, and then we had a whiteboard interview where we had to code out the response and role play with each other back and forth, asking clarifying questions.
What are you doing now?
I work for a company called Digital River based in Minnesota. I work at their office in Irvine. We have clients that range from your Fortune 100 companies all the way down to Mom & Pop’s. We handle all their website purchasing and their stores that they have on their websites.
What’s your role there?
I am a front-end web developer so my main focus is on the front end. It’s constant troubleshooting at this moment because I came into a company that’s established, so we have projects that are constantly on the board that are coming along continuously. But until those projects actually get the okay, we have to maintain any changes.
If there’s a new sale item going on or if you want to change a dropdown to a different style, those come through the agile project management team and we make the changes.
Did you get that job through networking or through a connection with LearningFuze?
It was all the above. You have to have drive in order to get a job. They were constantly working with me to maintain my skills as I was searching for a job. Once you finish the program you’re still on a rollercoaster because you don’t have a job.
LearningFuze does meetups at their location and works with a lot of social groups. Part of the requirement for the class was we needed to attend meetups. I reached out to every single person that came to speak at LearningFuze with an email and I tried to keep in contact with them somewhat. I’ve even met with them to pick their brain a little bit more. I was always out looking for a mentor-like person to point me in the direction, give me what things they thought I should read or what my next step should be.
Don’t be afraid to apply for jobs online, also. I would submit my information and more often than not, I would get the phone calls and they would have a soft interview with some technical questions. Once I started getting those, LearningFuze prepared me enough to where I was able to land in-person interviews. I landed in-person interviews with Experian and Digital River.
How did the technical interviews at Digital River and Experian go?
I was totally prepared for the technical questions; all of the role playing that we did at LearningFuze was right on point.
Did you find that your age was ever a factor during LearningFuze or in interviews?
It’s a huge deal. It’s not just a commitment to yourself, it’s a financial commitment to yourself. You are investing in yourself and your future. But you need to be honest with yourself.
Like I said, it’s always been a passion of mine to be in computers, I just never went down that road for whatever life circumstances that I had. I had to make money now so I never got into a field that I was passionate about. For me, it wasn’t just making a change into another job, it was making a change into something that I absolutely love to do. For the first time in my life since working in high school, I’ve felt like a kid again when it was time to go to work.
Is there anything that you would have changed about the program?
That’s a great question. During the process, they listened to their students. We were a full-stack training program but in that first cohort, all of us were more front-end focused. They really adjusted their teaching and training to meet the needs of that class.
What type of person would you recommend LearningFuze to and who would you not recommend it to?
I’d recommend LearningFuze to anybody with a technical background; anybody that likes change or is in a dead-end job. If you like change, I’d recommend getting into web development, because every single day is completely different than the day before. The issues and the problems are totally different.
The last thing I would say that I didn’t mention, I would say LearningFuze stands behind their product really well because I have gone back to the school and have taken another class or have sat in on another class on a subject that I wanted to familiarize myself with.
I went in and sat on a segment of the second cohort and reworked some of the issues and some of the projects that they had. I did this while I was looking for a job so I would stay sharp on my job. When we were done with that, they made sure that we all knew that just because we finished a program doesn’t mean their doors are shut. So we are all welcome to come back and continue the education and sit in on the second cohort’s classes and use their facility for searching for jobs. If I wanted to role play further, I could have; you just have to schedule it with them.
The instructor is still available. We have an instant messaging thing that I’m still a part of that I can shoot him a question and he gets back to me. I’m still welcome on their Google Docs. Sometimes on a weekend, the instructor will show how to bring a website and make it go live.
There’s all these little things that the instructors are constantly doing that I still get emails and invitations to.
That was the greatest thing. I feel like I finished the program and they didn’t abandon me. They’ve stuck by me and still are willing to have me come back and relearn something.
Coding Bootcamps are intensive programs- some require an 80 hour per week commitment, and all demand undivided attention in the classroom. This structure may be necessary to learn a new skill in a short time, but it can also overwhelm students and in some cases, cause burnout.
Luckily, at Course Report, we get the opportunity to talk with alumni from coding bootcamps all over the world, and we always ask how they avoided burnout during their courses. We’ve compiled the top eight best pieces of advice for future students from alumni who have been through it before!Continue Reading →
Ryan Choi was looking for a career path that allowed him to be creative when he found LearningFuze in Irvine, California. We catch up with Ryan about his experience at LearningFuze: how he learned to build breaks into his schedule, the PHP curriculum, and LearningFuze's committment to job and interview preparation.
What were you up to before you started at LearningFuze?
I graduated in with a degree in Biology and I worked in science for three years. Studying biology was interesting to me and I really enjoyed it but felt like working in the field was very different from what I was expecting. I thought that science would be a bit more creative than it turned out to be. I had creativity in mind and I had to use that.
I was looking back on my childhood and I remembered creating a web app during middle school winning an award for it. That motivated me to try building a website.
How were you teaching yourself?
I had just found out about Code Academy so I used that; it was okay but it was inefficient and it wasn’t enough for me to actually build a website.
I was looking into bootcamp programs but most were too far away (I live in Southern California), they were too expensive, and too long; I would have had to sacrifice a lot of things.
Why did you choose LearningFuze? What factors did you consider in your decision?
I found out about LearningFuze from a Facebook ad, and I contacted Fabian and started talking to their team. I considered it for about two months before I signed up.
Which other bootcamps did you consider?
I looked at Dev Bootcamp and Hack Reactor but Hack Reactor was looking for more experienced people so I looked in more detail into Dev Bootcamp.
LearningFuze was number one in my mind just because of the location. It was very close to my home and the money was right, especially considering what I would have to spend for living expenses in North California which is much more expensive than South Cal.
Did you quit your job and start LearningFuze?
Yes. My last job only required me for a day shift; I asked them if I could switch to night shift or part-time but they refused so I had to sacrifice that in order to do the bootcamp.
What was the application like for you?
First they did a phone interview to see where I came from and what my motivations were. Then they invited me to their location in Irvine so I could see the environment and also get the vibe of the facility and talk to the team. Then they set up a person-to-person interview- we did a cultural interview and a technical interview.
Once you were accepted, can you talk a little bit about the pre-work? How long did it take you and what was it like?
So I concentrated on typing those basic symbols without looking at the keyboard. I’m from Korea, so even typing in English is kind of hard without looking at the keyboard. That a crucial part of the prep-work.
Once you started the class, how many people were in your cohort?
Including me there were six. One had to drop out before class started because she had a problem with her company. She’s now in the second class but we started out with six and ended up with five on the first day of class.
Did you think that it was a diverse cohort in terms of age, gender and race?
I was the only Asian man, but there were really young people and there were a couple who were in their thirties. For the first class, gender-wise I don’t think it was diverse because it was all men but the second class I heard there were more women.
Did you feel everyone was on the same technical level? Was everyone able to learn together?
Oh, yeah. I think ⅗ of us had tried Codecademy or something like that before they came in but I think we were pretty much on the same beginner level. The prep work was made to get us onto the same page when we started first day of class.
Who were the instructors or instructor during the course?
Aside from Fabian there was another senior instructor/engineer, Thi. He has over 15 years of experience, so he was really great from the front-end material to the back-end material. And since then they have brought on additional experienced instructors to the team to maintain their ratio and grow the program.
What was his teaching style like? Was he very hands-on or did sort of let you get stuck?
Well, they were pushing us hard, but in the good sense. For example we would have a sample project, and then we were tasked to try and build it in only 2-3 hours to simulate real world development. After working on specific tasks or assignments we would do Q&A instructor led walk throughs to review code and discuss places we got stuck on.
Throughout non-assessment assignments they often jumped in and lead us through the process, giving us hints instead of just giving us a solution.
After that we would do another session of hands-on coding, it was very persistent. Then at the end of the day we reviewed where everyone was at, whether you’re stuck, or what has been completed. The next day, we would start with instructor led reviews and start the whole process again.
What technology stack did you learn?
Were you satisfied with that curriculum and with the actual material that was taught? Did you feel like you covered enough?
Yes. I was looking at Northern California bootcamps initially where I’d heard a lot about Ruby on Rails, but in Orange County and Socal in general, PHP is huge! Every single job I searched on Craigslist, they were looking for PHP developers. I was pretty satisfied with that curriculum.
How many hours a week were you spending on LearningFuze?
The team at LearningFuze wanted us to arrive at 8:00am and leave at 5:00pm. But everyone is so concentrated on what they’re doing, they couldn’t stop so they stayed until 6:00 or 7:00 and later, then we went home and ate dinner.
After dinner, I was free to do anything I wanted if I was done with my tasks but I usually put in another 3-4 hours of coding after that.
Wow; so probably between 40 and 60 hours a week. Did you ever feel burned out or get off track throughout the course?
Yeah, of course. I got off track many times. Just think about it- you’re learning a different language. You’re learning all that new syntax, new grammar and new words, new processes and using a lot of brain power.
One by one, we all experienced periods when we felt we got off track or got lost; we had times we got stuck and were really pissed off and felt like our brains were about to explode!
Did you take a break or how did you get over that?
The first few weeks of LearningFuze, I guess we didn’t know how to take breaks properly. That was a huge thing they taught us- learning how to get away from the work and take breaks. After a couple weeks we started getting up from the desk periodically, going to a space where we can play a game on the Xbox or just lay down, relax and chat in the lounge area. We had to practice taking breaks consciously, though.
Did your class work on a final capstone project?
Yes. The last two weeks of the course, we started building our own personal project without any help from the instructors aside from guidance and encouragement.
Were you working on it as a group or individually?
Individually. We did pair program; we had one project that we had to work on together – but the personal project we had to work on ourselves. Most of us got done, some are finishing up, but mine is a really ambitious project so I’m still working on it and adding features.
What is the project? Can you tell us about it?
It’s a personal sized task management system. You put your task in the program, create a project and invite people to collaborate on all the tasks or the project together.
What are you up to now?
So far I’ve got three interviews from three companies. I did the onsite interviews but I’m waiting for the response right now. One company just sent me a coding test so I need to complete that and send it to them. They are looking for an intermediate position and I am junior level so far so it’s pretty challenging. I have confidence that I can finish it in time although I do have concurrent projects so we’ll see.
How did you get those interviews? Was it through your own networking or through LearningFuze?
A couple of them were through LearningFuze as I followed through with employers they brought in. For one company, the CEO actually came in as a guest speaker so that was a great contact. We probably had a guest speaker every week or two, sometimes twice in one week. Through that we developed connections on LinkedIn and we would also go to meetups. From that particular company I got an interview. Another one was personally from just reaching out connecting on LinkedIn.
Did you feel like LearningFuze put a lot put a lot of emphasis on job placement and preparing you for getting interviews?
Yeah, absolutely. For two weeks they not only focused on technical interview skill but they did a lot of resume reviews and mock interviews, which touches more on soft skills like how to react to a certain situation or how to approach solving problems and communicate during the interview, and interacting with co-workers and people in general.
Is there anything we didn’t touch on about LearningFuze? Would you recommend it to a friend?
I was the first cohort at LearningFuze. Honestly, I was a bit skeptical about it at first because I was going to be in the first cohort, their pilot class.
I was asking them a lot of questions about the course and they were pretty straightforward and responsive about it. They’ve also been really great about helping with finding me a job. So I’m pretty satisfied with it; I don’t regret it. I know I spent money on it but that’s just taking a risk to get the reward!
LearningFuze is a full-immersion 12-week web development training program in Los Angeles, and Fabian Toth is the Director of Technology & Learning.We talk to Fabian about how he got involved with LearningFuze, the market for developers in Southern California, and how LearningFuze is educating students in PHP and LAMP stack.
What were you doing before you started LearningFuze?
Before LearningFuze I was a project manager at an internet company. I was working with a team of designers, developers and engagement managers. We were working on mid to large size projects for clients; anything from e-commerce to social media marketing to designing an entire back end system, things like that.
Before then I was running an agency called Search Demand for about 5 years and I was doing pretty much the same thing on a smaller scale for development strategies and design for companies that did not really have an online presence, and developing a couple of web apps as well.
I came from being an athlete my whole life. I was a swimmer and I was a Division One athlete at the University of Minnesota. I moved to California and started working at a hedge fund before finding out that technology really was my thing. So training and education has always been very close to me.
How did you get involved with LearningFuze?
I was pursuing education on many different levels and I was going to San Francisco for their EdTech startups and I had my ideas for how education should be taught and changed. Bill Cunningham comes from a background of entrepreneurship and he asked me about my ideas for education. I talked to him about a skill-driven model that I’d been developing for a very long time. It started a few years ago when Dev Boot Camp was the first one out. I thought it was a perfect way to implement what I had been developing. One thing led to another and a few months later, we were setting things in motion, building the curriculum and creating the platform for LearningFuze, which was the foray into what we really wanted to do. And a few months later here we are with our first cohort.
How did you design the curriculum?
We determined what a junior to intermediate level developer would need to have experience with and need to know to be able to be proficient. Then we worked backwards from there. We looked at the types of projects developers typically work on and are exposed to, their team environments, and their work flow. We used those types of experiences and the languages that are very relevant to our market, and we built it from there.
Getting the supplemental information for it required a ton of research and expanding on it but luckily we have very experienced people here so that made it a little bit easier to put together.
What is the technology stack the students are going to be learning?
Why did you choose that language? A lot of these boot camps are very heavy on Ruby on Rails. Why did you decide on LAMP stack and PHP?
The market down here in Southern California is very different than in the well-developed technology industries, whereas the demand for Ruby developers in Northern California is extremely popular. Here in West California the demand is probably 1 in 9, whereas understanding of PHP and MySQL is more like 1 in 4.
So we’re definitely targeting for that market because we’re in Southern California.
How long is the course?
The course is composed of a 3-week prep course online. That’s online through our platform which we’ve worked very hard to develop based on our skill-driven model. Then students come in fulltime for about 9 weeks of in-class training.
How did you decide on that 12-week timeframe?
One of the things we were looking at even from the very beginning was how to pace the class. We need to have a pace to keep things moving but you also have to make sure you’re taking care of some people that are moving faster or moving a little slower depending on their background.
We’ve implemented a mentorship program afterwards for students that are still finishing some of their projects, still honing their skills. We want to build a community here in Orange County; even after students have completed their training here and they move on to their jobs. We want them to continue to come back to share stories, talk about their experiences and bring that awareness to this market and continue to grow the excitement.
What do you have students complete during that pre-work time?
One of the things distinguishes Learningfuze and our goal is that we’ve always been about the education aspects and how people learn. The skill-driven approach really comes down to some of the aspects that might hinder people from learning at the beginning. We’ve developed a platform where you learn in the browser. You have a code editor and you’re going through what we call sequences. These sequences expose you to typing code, building apps in a very specific manner.
Will students have access to instructors during the pre-work session?
Absolutely. The prep work is comprised of self-validating tasks in the platform but there are also open-ended tasks for projects that they need to submit. We review them and give the students feedback on where the challenges are.
Throughout the whole 3 weeks, it’s a completely open Q&A discussion until they get here.
How many instructors do you have?
Currently, we have 2 full-time instructors and we’re bringing on 2 more part-time instructors for our other classes. We’re currently looking for one more fulltime instructor because we’re expecting to get a lot more students in the near future.
What do you want the ratio to be?
The ideal ratio is 1:1. What we currently have is 1:5. Actually, it’s 2:5 but our lead instructor currently takes the reins most of the time.
Are you one of the lead instructors or are you a supporting instructor?
I act more as a supporting instructor but we take leads during different portions of the program, depending on different languages or skill sets that we agree on; who’s better suited to present this information and guide through that portion of the program.
As an instructor, do you have a hand in the admissions process at all?
Absolutely. We want to know everybody that comes to LearningFuze; we want the instructor to know who’s coming in, their background…it’s going to be a personal relationship. It comes from my background in coaching where there’s a level of trust and understanding between a coach and a student. Instructors need to know where their students are coming from and how they think so they can better adjust their presentation, their approach and their expectations.
So before every cohort comes in here, we go over the interview questions; their backgrounds, their resumes, and we go over how they perform during their prep work.
Do you have an ideal student in mind for LearningFuze?
We’re in the middle of our first cohort but that picture is very clear for us. The ideal student is rare but he or she probably has learned to do some coding by themselves already. We understand that. Our expectations are catered towards people that are ready for this. They need to have pretty good critical thinking skills and have given thought to it. They should have a little bit of experience with trials and tribulations from what they’ve done in the past and overcoming them. That’ll be ideal for succeeding or getting the most out of this program.
Is there an emphasis at LearningFuze on job placement?
Yes. Actually, we take that part extremely seriously. We went out and started building relationships with local employers from the very beginning.
We bring in speakers to talk- almost two speakers per week- from our network of employers. It’s an awesome aspect of the program that you don’t get online or you can’t get from a book, to have a representative from a really big tech company come in and have a conversation with you.
Does Learningfuze have a financial structure set up with those hiring partners? Do you take a referral fee?
Not currently. Our current efforts are to figure out everything we need to do to have the most polished student and then afterwards, we’ll look at the industry and how that relationship would work.
Do you expect that everybody will get placed in a job or do you envision that students may want to start their own businesses.
Yes and yes. Our emphasis is on making students ready for the job world because that’s different from just teaching them how to code. There’s a whole different layer there that’s extremely crucial. It’s almost more important than just learning how to code by yourself. If they want to start something on their own, which some have indicated, that’s something we accept absolutely. As long as it contributes to a positive team environment, that’s something that we take on. You need that entrepreneurial vibe to have a little bit of creative spirit rather than just corporate.
Is there anything else you want to add about LearningFuze?
We’re set apart by our background going into this. We’re in it for the educational aspect and bringing the technology to this community. We’ve created a platform that we’re very excited to continue to develop over the next couple of year. I think that’s something that separates us.
Have you thought about learning web development to get a job as a software engineer in Southern California? LearningFuze is a full-immersion 12-week web development training program in Los Angeles. Watch our webinar with Fabian Toth, Director of Technology & Learning at LearningFuze.
- The technologies students become experts in during the course (think LAMP stack with a focus on PHP).
- The ideal LearningFuze applicant and how you can stand out in the admissions process.
- Scholarship and financing opportunities.
- Plus, bring your own questions about the school to get answers straight from the source!
Fabian Toth started his professional coding career almost 6 years ago in a transition from trading currencies, options, and stocks and is a testament to others looking to enter the world of web development. As an instructor at LearningFuze, his past knowledge and experience is indispensable to new students. Here, Fabian blogs about opening a coding bootcamp in a smaller market, Irvine, California, and how to choose the right programming language when learning to code in Southern California.Continue Reading →
LearningFuze is a full immersion 12-week web development training program that aims to bridge the gap between the growing demand for capable developers and the vast shortage in supply. The Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship off tuition to LearningFuze!Continue Reading →
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