Orange County Code School
Recent Orange County Code School Reviews: Rating 5.0
Orange County Code School Reviews
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My name is Alex Sewell and I am a proud graduate of Orange County Code School. I have waited a few months after graduating to write this review because I wanted to provide the best feedback possible.
In short, graduating from OCCS and taking a coding bootcamp has changed my life. It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. If you believe you are the right person to be a developer and have the ability to do this, do it! If you don’t, find anyway you can to make it happen. You won’t regret it.
Six months ago I decided to make a change in my life. I was currently finishing up my fourth year at community college. I was pursuing a degree in business with a focus in entrepreneurship, and I greatly disliked school. Every time I was there I felt like I didn’t fit it. To be honest, it felt like a giant waste of time. This is not to discount school, but traditional college and I just didn’t work well together.
While in high school I was always interested in web development; but it always felt out of reach. Programming felt like something you had to start doing when you were five to understand what was going on. I started with basic “plug and play” website, but always become frustrated with the lack of freedom. I decided to take an HTML and CSS class my second year of college and it was great. From there I continued to read books and try free online courses, but it was always the same. I would work really hard for a week, and as soon as I got stuck I stopped not knowing how to continue. Inevitably, I gave up each time.
I had been thinking about going to a coding school for a couple years, but while being a founder in a bootstrap startup and going to school it never seemed attainable or feasible. However, I couldn’t take it anymore. I knew I wanted to learn to code, I knew it would be a skill that would benefit me the rest of my life, and it would allow me to work on my own ideas in my free time.
I looked around for the best school. There seem to be a lot of options and new schools popping up each week. I finally came across OCCS. They were a newer program (I was part of their 2nd cohort). I worried about going to such a new program, so I talked to a few people in the community. The main thing I kept hearing was that the person who started the school was the real deal. Be aware of programming bootcamps, some are run/taught by people who have very little programming experience, or higher students to help teach the class right after graduation. Ron on the other hand had a very impressive resume and a true passion for programming and sharing his vast knowledge. I decided that this would be the school for me. I was lucky enough to apply and join their September - November 2015 cohort.
The class was really well done, and kept improving each month. The other students in the cohort were great! Everyone by the end of the class were friends.
Is it worth the money? Again, absolutely! I have a lot my friends graduating from college who have school debt above $10K. Plus, they went to school for 5+ years, ultimately to get a degree in something they couldn’t get a job in and now have to settle for a job they aren’t happy with and doesn’t make much. This course is three months, you create a portfolio, and the job opportunities are amazing after you graduate. More importantly, I landed a job as a developer before the class even ended. Even better, it more than tripled the amount of money I make each year. Now at 23, I make more money than most of my friends, do what I love every day, work for a great company, and it only took me three months to get started. It’s definitely worth the money.
To conclude, I love that I made the decision to learn programming. I love that I chose to go to Orange County Code School. I love the language I focus in and I love the job I have. I also love the amount of money I am making now and the freedom and accomplishment it provides me. My decision to learn programming has changed my life and I couldn’t be happier.
Normally, I don’t review places, but when something comes along that alters your life, you write about it. I am going to assume if you’re reading these reviews you are on the fence, so let me give you my experience from start to finish.
Pre Code School
Besides education, my job experience was limited to digital marketing. Part of my job was interacting with developers and I thought it was cool that they could turn ideas into a reality. I started practicing on my own but hit a ton of roadblocks. I decided that being around likeminded people and having someone guide me would be a great idea. Thus, my search for a code school began.
Code School Search
I did research from LA to OC and to be honest this code school was the last one I found. However, I believe that was for the best. I attended an info session and met Ron, the owner/teacher.
He gave some background about himself, talked about the school, showed what passed students had done while attending his course, etc., etc., I was blown away by his background. While he’s held executive level titles and ran companies, what stuck out to me the most was that at heart he’s been writing software for over 15 years.
Moreover, he wasn’t there to inflate the opportunities you’d get after completing the course. He gave realistic expectations of where one would be and what kind of jobs to expect after finishing. He was also upfront about the commitment and the challenges.
I came away with the feeling that if anyone could teach me to code, it would be him. I went home and spoke with my wife about it (I would highly recommend this if it applies, see commitment area below), and a few days later signed up.
This is an intensive course. There is no way around it. You will put in a MINIMUM of 40 hours each week for 12 weeks. Your life will be code. You will see the world in code. You will dream about MDN and Node documentation. You will come home tired and mentally drained. I suggest that if you are married or in a relationship you talk to your partner and make them aware of what you’ll be committing to. This isn’t just a program, this is a life altering career changing mission you’ll be embarking on, and as such, it requires your 100% dedication and attention. Honestly, if you can’t give 100%, then you are only doing a disservice to yourself.
Post Code School
I got a job in a niche area I was after. As a matter of fact everyone in my cohort got a job, and the cohort before us as well. 100% hired is the going rate currently for graduates from this program. It did take me a little more time (2 months, which isn’t that long actually) to find something as I was trying to specialize, but I had a lot of opportunities along the way that I passed on. Developers are definitely in demand. All of my fellow classmates were employed within a few weeks of graduation (40% before we even graduated!).
Think of this experience like a gym. While you could buy some weights and work out at home, the benefit of going somewhere to focus, be around likeminded people, and feed off each other's energy is extremely beneficial to being successful. Not to mention you’ll have two experienced trainers to guide you along the way.
Also like a gym, you cannot just show up and expect to achieve greatness. You have to put in the work while you’re there. You have to be diligent. You have to push yourself and take advantage of the 12 weeks.
Ask questions. People say there is no such thing as a stupid question, well there is - it’s the one you don’t ask. You are there to learn, if after you’ve read the documentation and exhausted other areas and things are still not making sense - ask. That’s what Ron and Zane are there for.
Lastly, if at any time during the course you decide on a direction you’d like to focus on, career wise, let Ron know. He can help make sure your projects line up so you’ll have a good chance of entering that specialty field when you graduate. This was a huge benefit for me.
First off, I feel like Ron either knows everyone or knows a guy who knows a guy. He’s been involved in the programming community in OC for some time, so his connections are endless. Most importantly, since he’s an experienced developer himself, fellow devs respect him and his opinions about his students.
Also, during the 12 weeks, you’ll have 3 demo days where you will present your work and mingle with hiring partners, developers from all kinds of companies, and alumni. Networking is important in the tech field, so your contacts will grow pretty rapidly.
Bottom line, they will help introduce you to people, get your resume and linkedin in order, practice interview techniques and questions, and just about anything else you’ll need to land a job. Like in life however, you’ll need to take initiative and go after the opportunities you want and not expect things to fall in your lap.
It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I literally went in not knowing much about programming and came out the other side a developer with a job...What?! Crazy!
Ron has the ability to break complex programming concepts down into easy to manage pieces of information. This is key. What you’ll be able to comprehend and understand in 12 weeks would easily take 4 or 5 times longer if doing self-study (in my case anyhow). When you hit a roadblock, you’ve got 2 experienced developers there to help you so you can get over it and keep going. Unlike when I was on my own and it would take hours to figure something out, if I was able to at all.
Furthermore, Ron truly enjoys helping people. He will come in early and stay late to make sure his students are understanding concepts. His level of dedication as a teacher is admirable.
Lastly, you’ll get some awesome alumni benefits like special monthly meetups to learn new frameworks or technologies so your education continues far beyond the 12 weeks. Additionally, you’ll have that mentorship, advice, and help from Ron and Zane long after you’ve graduated.
Bottom line: would I do it all over again? Was it worth the money? Without a doubt.
If you are looking to attend a code school, you at the very least owe it to yourself to attend an info session and hear what they have to say. It could end up changing your life like it did mine.
Before I decided to attend a coding boot camp I had been in my career as an analyst (finance, market, economic analysis) for a little over 5 years and in the banking industry for over eight. As I progressed in my analytics career I began to code more and more. I began with a simple querying language called SQL and then began using SAS with some R and python which are analytical programming languages. Originally programming was a small portion of my job but as I progressed in my career programming began to take up the majority of my day. As it did I recognized that I had been automating processes and programming myself into obsolescence. Seeing the trend that my career as an analyst was heading I decided it was time for a change. The programming portion of my day was to me the most enjoyable and as I began to look into coding schools and online courses I realized that the analytical programing I had been doing was barely scratching the surface of what programming is and what I could do. Initially I thought that I could use the many resources available online to get the training and experience I would need to make a career change. I began taking as many free online classes as I could and reading all the books I could get my hands on but I knew there were gaps in my knowledge and it began to get harder and harder to progress. I had originally thought that a full time class was going to be impossible because I wouldn’t be able to continue working at the same time but if I was going to make this drastic career change then I would have to take a big leap and leave my job in order to dedicate my time to learning to code. As I was taking online classes I had been researching instructor led classes both online and in person. While the online classes were usually cheaper I believed that I wouldn’t get much more from them as I was getting from the free online classes. As I researched full time instructor led courses I kept coming back to Orange County Code School. OCCS offered the full MEAN stack I believed would be the direction the industry was headed and I continued to read great things about the instructor Ron Perris. So I decided I would commit to OCCS and put my notice in at work.
My OCCS Experience:
I picked OCCS because I liked the direction of Ron’s course and the MEAN stack and Ron’s industry experience. I applied online and got a response to set up an interview after a few minuets. A couple days later I had my interview with an OCCS representative that lasted about 20 min and went over my experience and education as well as what got me interested in coding and what I have done to learn more about coding on my own. A few hours after the phone interview ended I received my invitation to join the upcoming cohort with instructions on how I could pay for the course. When classes started I brought my old MacBook pro and met the other student in class. All the students in class came from a variety of backgrounds from business owners to recent high school and college graduates to people that were in the beginnings of a career to myself who had been in one for a while. The ages of the students also varied from 20 to almost 40 but age didn’t matter because we were all there for the same reason which was to learn to code and to get the job we wanted afterwards. There was a slight deference in the coding experience in the class, some had experience from coding with some friends and family and some from work while others had never even seen code before, but most had done some online classes and had some exposure but had never really coded before. As class progressed the material of course became more difficult but Ron was able to both keep the experienced students challenged while giving other students the needed attention to help them progress and essentially the same pace. Ron also met with students on his lunch break as well as before and after class to help them with anything they were struggling with. Ron also brought in industry leaders and a variety of others that worked in the industry to give us advice and help us understand what it would be like after we graduated and got a job. In class we completed essentially 3 projects depending on if you decide to build on from your previous project to complete an entire full stack application or if you decide to complete 3 using what you have learned up to that point to make something new. Since you learn something (or many things) new everyday the class continues to be fun and challenging. In the end I was able to find a job as a software developer and the apprehension I had before I quit my job and while attending class about whether going to OCCS was the right decision was needless worry. The best decision I ever made!
I would recommend this course to anyone who is serious about getting a job as a software developer. I had been trying to learn to code on my own for a number of years, and this course allowed me to reach my goal. If you stick to the schools program you should have multiple job interviews before you complete the course, as you will have very in demand skills. I accepted a job offer within a week of completing the course. I hear they are accepting less then 5% of applicants currently, but if you can get accepted - I highly recommend going here.
I am a graduate of the 2nd cohort which took place between Aug 2015 and Oct 2015
First and foremost, Ron is an excellent instructor and his experience in the field massively increases his effectiveness as a software development instructor. He emphasized learning how to learn and reading documentation. There was a combination of visual learning (Showed code blocks with helpful diagrams and explanations) and reading to help build a foundation for more advanced topics. I benefited most from the code challenges that were posted on GitHub as well as asking a question or two whenever I was stuck on a challenge. The time spent in class is precious so make sure to take advantage of every hour spent in that room(s).
Relevant info below if you are curious:
About 3 months before I started Orange County Code School I graduated college with a BA in Liberal Arts. The university I went to required 2 emphases with the Liberal Arts degree and since I was intending to go off to medical school/graduate school for some type of medical degree, I chose biomedical science and behavioral science as my 2 emphases. My only experience with programming at this point was an introduction to Java programming course I took which ultimately converted me to drop out of medicine and pursue programming and software development as a career.
10 tips for prospective OCCS students:
2) DO NOT work after class (You WILL burn out! Weekends are okay if you really need to work, though not recommended)
3) You are NOT stupid. You WILL screw up and make mistakes (Accept your mistake, learn from it, move on)
4) Make a LinkedIn and GitHub account and connect with all your peers and Ron
5) Coding is an individual sport but having a support system is also key in this experience
6) DO NOT submit code you do not understand (You WILL be asked to explain it)
7) Demo nights (Presenting your project in front of potential employers) are your friend (Make connections and get a job offer)
8) DO NOT work ahead if given the chance (You do NOT want to develop bad habits)
9) DO try to prepare for job interviews early on (I recommend the Manager Tools podcast to help you get started: http://bit.ly/1ODRamd)
10) Please for the love of (insert divine being here), read the documentation before asking a question (It is okay once or twice but repeated offenses will not fly in class. Ron will go over how to ask him a question so don't worry!)
2 months later, where am I now?
I currently reside in Irvine, CA teaching myself React, more Angular, and ES6 to prepare for an internship at Sony Computer Entertainment America in January 2016. I still talk to other students I graduated with as well as Ron to get/give updates. I was given a job opportunity but declined since I wanted to get more experience interviewing for jobs and see what other opportunities were out there. At the last demo night, I connected with a recruiter from Gaikai/Sony and she helped me get the internship. She also guided me through the process and called to make sure I was on top of things. One other thing to note is Ron will definitely help you figure out your offers. He will let you know if the offer is valid for you to accept, guide you with salary negotiations, and even connect you with potential employers. You MUST put in the effort to get a job since the only thing Ron can do is make introductions. The rest is on you to use what you learned to nail the interview and get an offer.
OCCS is definitely a great technical school that offers probably one of the best courses in Orange County. I would definitely recommend it to a friend. What you get with the price tag of OCCS is a network of potential employers, a software engineer to ask any and all questions, an environment to learn/focus on what you love, 2-3 projects to put on a resume depending on how you choose to go about your 2nd project (You can choose to stay with your 1st project, refine it and add more functionality or make something completely new), and surrounding yourself with like-minded people. The only critique I have is I felt a few of the more advanced topics were rushed but it was due to there only being a few more days/weeks left before a demo night. It takes a couple weeks (for me) to build out a full project and that is not including all the hiccups that will happen along with way. However, it could be argued that reading the documentation is more than sufficient at that point of the class (Probably around week 9 or 10). OCCS sets the bar for technical schools and Ron will only raise it with every cohort that passes through its doors.
I drove 5 - 6 hours per day to attend OCCS. I spent over 19 days total sitting in my car, and drove over 11,000 miles in those 90 days. For 90 days I missed out on time spent with my wife and my two small children, always leaving before they woke and often coming home right when my kids were getting to bed. I made a lot of sacrifices for what I consider to be the most important aspects in my life to attend this course, and it was worth every minute. Here is my story.
Both of my brothers are software developers. Prior to choosing OCCS I asked their opinion on the curriculum I should be taking, and out of all the schools they felt that OCCS had the best curriculum based off my needs which was simply to provide for my family at the financial level I was accustomed to. I spoke with Ron and briefly met with him to make sure we would be a fit for one another and shortly thereafter began attending.
Ron is a special person. Something I discovered while attending is that Ron really cares whether or not you succeed which can be monumental in your success. He is extremely patient. He never once made me feel bad for asking questions, and I asked a lot (I asked more than anyone else in the course, on a daily basis). When I did not understand something he would take the time to explain it to me, multiple times if necessary. He was always personable, always approachable, and always eager to teach. He never put any of the students down, and he challenged us because he knew out in the real world, we would be challenged.
Ron is more than just an exceptional programmer. He is an exceptional instructor (I would not be surprised in the least if he had some type of training in teaching methods), he is an exceptional networker, and he is an exceptional businessman. You may wonder why I mention he is an exceptional networker and businessman and the answer is simple. His dedication to not only you, but his experience with hiring partners/other software developers and his drive to make his business successful directly influence his determination in making sure you are taught how to properly code and to do it better than his competitors. It works.
I was hired on my very first interview. I was not the most experienced candidate that applied for the position. I was told that the reason I was hired however was because of my hunger and because I write "really clean code". The reason I write really clean code is because of Ron. The hunger part I take credit for, but without Ron's instruction and his insistence on teaching me to code the correct way, I wouldn't have known better.
Ron... Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have shown me a patience and encouragement that I can only hope I can do as well to someone else some day. You have changed more than just my life, you have been instrumental in changing the course of the life of my family as well. I have seriously thanked God for you every single day since discovering what type of person you are, but I only thanked you a few times. So here it is in writing, for all the world to see and for you to read whenever you want to. Thank you so much. I am so thankful I chose to go to OCCS over the other coding schools because of your instruction and the type of person you are.
Go here People.
My long story:
I studied Finance( mostly on my own time) though out high school. Although, I am a creative. Finance didn't allow me to be visionary and solve ingenious problems. After reading many many articles about becoming a software developer, I denied my job offer that I received after my internship from Wells Fargo and decided to end my journey in Finance.
So my new journey began as proceeding to college for a Computer Science degree. I was still finishing up my last couple months of high school at that time. I finished all my college apps, was aware of all the classes to take, and was ready! Only to find out that there was something much better..
"A freaking Coding Boot Camp."
Yes, I did all my research. I looked at boot camps all around Orange County, San Francisco, and the Eastside. I was very convinced on a Boot Camp in Boston, but luckily I stumbled across OCCS right before I made my decision about Boston. OCCS was the only Boot Camp that looked promising. Although, at the time, it had no reviews, the first cohort didn't even start, but I still had a good gut feeling about the school. I joined one of their info session night and met with Ron, Courtney, and Ryan.
Here I was again, starting a new journey. Dropped my college apps and signed up for OCCS. This was in April 2015, I signed up for the Aug-Oct 2015 cohort.
My overall experience at OCCS was of course, still unbelievable. In the course, I learned Full-Stack development(client and server side). Everyday was organized with exercises and lectures by Ron. Ron is an expert in what he does. He always has an answer and a reason, very straight to the point, and cares for quality. He only taught us the best practices with the best technologies. He didn't just teach us how to code, but how to prepare ourselves for interviews and going into the industry. We worked on 3 projects, which becomes great examples for your portfolio. So, make sure you put all your effort in all the projects and implement everything you've learned. Of course the course is hard and it takes a lot of hard work. You will get stuck and you will start doubting yourself if you can make it or not, but you just have to muscle through it. Especially for me, someone with only a high school diploma and no actual professional experience in any industry. But, on my 10th week, I interviewed with a small start up that I did not accept. On my 11th week, I was in contact with a small digital production company and KBB. I interviewed with them after I graduated. I didn't get an offer from the digital production company and I decided not to proceed my second interview with KBB. I had an interview with a Real Estate company that again, did not get an offer from. By that time, it has been 2 weeks since graduation and I still haven't applied for a company yet. All those opportunities were reached out to me first. Luckily, one of Ron's connection was interested in hiring me, so I decided to interview with them before I started applying to companies. I accepted the offer after thinking about it over the weekend.
Now I have a job as a Software Developer at a small agency with a great salary and flexibility. I luckily do Full-Stack Development, not just Front or Back End.
If you're debating on going to/continuing college or going here, just go here. You have nothing to lose. This will save tons and tons of time and money. If it doesn't work out(which is not really a realistic situation) college will always be there.
If you have experience in other professional industries, take advantage of that while applying for jobs. There's always an IT department in each company within each industry. A software developer with good knowledge in the company's industry is always beneficial. Especially for people like us, who are trying to get our foot in the door.
If you're like me and have no experience in IT or any professional industry, just go here. You will learn how to code and you will get a job no matter what your background is.
Remember, as long as you have the skills and you are confident, employees will hire you.
P.S. I was never a straight A student in school. I didn't have good grades at all actually and I hated school. At a early age, I understood that having valuable skills and a sense of people were more beneficial than my grades at school. Not against school, by all means, school is very important and necessary for many people, just really wasn't for me. No, you don't have to know high level mathematics (the computer does it for you). No, you don't have to be a computer geek. No, you don't have to be ultra smart or be a genius to learn how to code either. My point is, everyone can learn how to code as long as they have the hunger and determination.
I remember the first time I came across code during a client's online marketing campaign.
Just minor tweaks, and luckily I did not have to be involved in building their web application.
Well, you know that familiar "what if" feeling?
Yeah, that feeling stayed with me for years as I powered through a promising career in marketing.
Eventually I started to teach myself the basics of web development, mostly inspired by the lure of the start-up tech scene.
And during one of the many meetup's I met Ron and I guess you could say the rest is history; except it's not.
Teaching yourself to code takes tenacity, strong will, and of course passion. And yet, after months on end of
taking online courses (you know the ones with artful storylines that have nothing to do with code), I still did not
have a firm grasp of- well not much really.
Anyway, after hearing Ron speak during the meetup, I realized then that I personally needed an environment dedicated
to learning to code as well as competent mentorship, despite how much my ego insisted I could do it alone.
Shortly after, I learned about Orange County Code School, but it was sort of by accident really. It took me
inquiring about coding bootcamp at the meetup to learn about it.
So I signed up. That's it, I'm going to become a software developer and build things and solve problems,
because sometimes you have to answer "what if". And I'm grateful I did.
Orange County Code School was an exceptional experience.
I admit, it was difficult, but in a different way than my time at the university. In my opinion
it was more challenging because it required a different methodology to solving problems.
Yes, you need to concentrate. You will learn to love silence. And sometimes
you will be "in the zone", enjoy them. They don't come too often.
Ron is objectively incredibly skilled, not only as a programmer,
but he is in-tune with the 'business' side of things, as reflected by his prior experiences.
I think above all, he pushed us to learn. As well as to challenge preconceptions
about what it means to be a software developer because it's much more
than simply writing code. It's about the process.
For example, writing effective, clean, and efficient code is one of many caveats.
So what did we learn? Under the supervision of Ron we
learned where the software industry is headed and it's prevalence in our lives.
We learned about best practices of software development, and why they are in fact
the best practices. You will be able to answer deceivingly simple questions such as
"how do computers communicate with each other over the internet?", and
"what are common design patterns?".
A lot more. Refer to www.orangecountycodeschool.com for the comprehensive details.
I won't bore you with the details, just know what you will
be learning are skills that are highly sought after, if you apply yourself.
I should point out that while it is my love of coding that inspired me
to join Orange County Code School, getting a job was my top priority.
So we studied, and laughed, and pulled our hair out for twelve weeks.
In the end I received an incredibly enticing offer from a local agency.
However, I had not applied there- or anywhere.
Ron had actually referred me to them based off my skill level and attitude.
I immediately received a great offer which I accepted.
Perhaps the most important lesson instilled is that I could learn to code.
And that you, you can learn to code too.
Do you want to learn how to code? Look no further because Orange County Code School is the place to attend. Like you, I had done research on the coding bootcamps in the area and in the end, chose to attend OCCS. So why OCCS? I liked that we were going to learn the MEAN stack and we were going to be taught by Ron-- who has years of coding experience and tech industry knowledge.
Anyways, by the 9th week of our course, almost everyone in our cohort received job interviews. The individuals who did not have interviews were waiting until the end of the program to apply for jobs. For me personally, I reached out to a few companies during the 10th week. From those companies, I received 2 phone interviews, 2 in-person interviews, 1 in-person technical interview, and 1 job offer-- by the 11th week. To add, companies that I haven't applied to, have been reaching out to me, but I have turned down those offers. I applied to more front-end positions, but that's my personal preference. The job offer that I accepted is a front-end developer position that relies heavily on AngularJS and it is required that I know about the backend. By mid-week of the 12th week, a majority of our cohort received job offers with market rate salaries.
I applied for my job through Linkedin, but Ron has many connections in the tech industry and he is extremely helpful during the job hunt process, so I am confident that future cohorts will also be successful in attaining jobs in the field.
**SIDE NOTE: Do as much research on the coding bootcamp you want to attend!! I was very close to attending a different bootcamp in the area because the director of the other bootcamp had LIED about their graduate hiring rate. Fast forward a few months, I found out that the other coding bootcamp students were not able to finish their program due to the lack of instructors and those students were not able to find jobs afterwards.
When I started OCCS I had no coding experience, with the exception of some Code Academy dabbling. That quickly changed because once I was in school I spent all day coding. Periodically I would look back just a few weeks and be amazed at how much my skills had progressed. I got an interview with one of the schools hiring partners received an offer before I even graduated. I would definitely recommend OCCS to anybody who is serious about coding.
This is the best place in SoCal to learn how to code.
I finished the first cohort a month ago, but during those 3 months I've learned more than I ever thought possible.
First, the instructor, Ron, is stellar. He is an experienced industry professional, one of the smartest people I've ever met, and he is great at getting you to learn. He's taught us everything from how to truly use our computers (via the terminal) to how to access API's and make web apps using the data.
During our 12 weeks, we also had the a number of speakers come in from companies around the area to talk about what they do, give us tips on how to get a job, etc. It was great being able to meet senior level people and to hear their advice on how to succeed in this field. One of the most memorable events we had was when we were invited to SpaceX and were given a tour of the factory floor where they made their rockets and capsules.
Another great thing about this school is Ryan, who is in charge of getting speakers and helping us with the job search after the school. By the time I had presented my final project, he had already helped me set up 5 interviews, 3 of which I've already been to in the week since the school has ended. He's also helped tremendously with our resumes and LinkedIn profiles.
Even now, after I've finished the school, I am still getting support from both Ron and Ryan and how to proceed in my job hunt, where to look, etc.
All in all, this was a life changing experience for me, and if you are looking for a place to learn how to code, I would strongly recommend OCCS.
I had no prior experience with coding before I attended OCCS, so I didn't know what to expect. The instructor, Ron, provided books and other tools to assure the students to learn how to code. Ron has 15+ years of experience and the knowledge, so I felt comfortable knowing I'm being taught by an expert. Throughout the course, I completed 3 main projects with each one showcasing the new coding knowledge I had learned. Ryan (OCCS's Managing Partner) provided high level CIO's, speakers, and multiple other attendees to join the students presentations! Ryan and Ron also helped with our resumes and line up multiple job interviews. I had two interviews within the first week of completing the course (I know other students had the same or more)! I've heard that other coding schools (around this area) offer no such help, so I was excited that OCCS really cares about the future of their students and everyone put a lot of effort into making sure we became successful! If you're looking for a career change ( or even want to fine tune your coding skills) I highly recommend OCCS!
I am part of the first cohort at this school, and I have to say it is a great one. Here is a list of reasons why I think you are getting what you want out of this code camp compared to other ones.
The instructor is an industry professional
I went to a couple of info sessions for schools around OC and LA, and found that many were not taught by people with a good track record. Some were taught by freelancers who weren't developers, but more hackers. Others were taught by current alums who have no experience working in the field with other developers. For those of you inquiring about the difference between a hacker and programmer is that programmers write code programmatically which can be readable to peers. Hackers write code that works, but not necessarily meant for people good at being organized or working on a team.
Another benefit of having an industry professional is that he knows what companies look for when they hire. The finer details of cleaning up your code, updating your linkedIn, format of github repos, and many other methods.
Ron Perris is the head instructor. He is an expert in software security, and writing secure code. To work in security, a coder has to know the flaws and intricate details of how software works. Knowing that an instructor has that much knowledge allowed me to trust all his methods of teaching us.
Showcases and hiring partners
The thing I was skeptical on this school was how much exposure we would have to other industry professionals. This school's managing director, Ryan has a decade of experience as an IT recruiter and he knows some big players in the industry. Our first showcase consisted of CTOs from HOAG, CoreLogic, SpaceX, and Allergen. We were super nervous about meeting them because we were intimidated, but it gave us a chance to meet these down to earth people. Not only that but we were able to tour SpaceX after school one time. I never thought I would be able to see where spaceships were made. It was quite the experience.
The actual coding
You will have a lot of moments where you want to bang your head because you will be coding a lot. These moments when I'm alone I would usually just give up. Being at this school, there are constant reminders on how to research problems, or thorough explanations of why things didn't work at some point. I don't think there was ever a time we gave up on a problem and couldn't solve something. This is one of the things that made me feel good about this code school. I was able to learn a lot better form my mistakes with the guidance. As time progressed, I would understand more and more and ask less and less. I'm not going to say I'm a JS ninja right now, but I could say that I know enough to learn new things on my own and constantly read new documentation on libraries and incorporate them in my code.
What this school good at?
Deep Knowledge of Code
Ron is incredibly experienced in code, the internet, and computers in general. He will impart a respectable amount of knowledge to you provided you show interest and put in effort.
Ron will drill best practices into you that seem overkill but are absolutely vital for code maintainability (I learned this on my first day in my dev career).
Exposure to Culture
Ron has a broad network, and likewise wants to broaden your network as well. I was encouraged to meet people in the software industry, and I did: I spent hours every day messaging professionals and absorbing culture through coffee meetings and interviews
Mike is astonishingly dedicated to the success of each student. He checked in with me daily, kept me on track and remained encouraging when the job search became discouraging.
Job Search is Difficult But Worth It
Lots of Coffee With Connected People
I met with a lot of people for coffee: CTOs, Sr Developers, Lead Developers & Directors of Engineering. I wanted to speak with anyone that looked like they were well informed and setting the standard for hiring because they could be hiring me.
LOTS of Applications
I put in a LOT of applications: 10/day every week-day, 3 linked-in connections per application, I crawled Indeed, LinkedIn, Angel.co, everything, even Googled local companies and sent resumes to people not searching. I have never worked so hard for a job in my life, but it paid off in the end.
2-month Job Search
I searched for two months, it was difficult and intimidating and the bar is definitely set high to hire, just be aware that Ron really has engrained in you /best/ practices, and that will make you a skilled dev on the team that eventually does hire you.
How Prepared Will You Be?
Overqualified (Your Milage May Vary)
I learned a lot, I dedicated myself to learning more, and I was not bashful about asking Ron for extra-advice, which was typically given to me in sarcastic witty retorts that pointed me in the right direction. As such I landed a Lead Developer position for my first software-development job. If you work hard for it, you can really make this experience worthwhile
Don't Be Afraid of New Languages
I'm doing so much more than just JS now, in fact, I'm predominantly working with PHP. Ron taught me how to understand a language through researching documentation and through that I learned how to work with new (or old) tech bravely and effectively.
My personal experience:
I am recent graduate of the 4th cohort, but my background details are not likely what you care most about. (There are plenty of other reviews with folks and their backgrounds/accomplishments if desired) You are considering embarking on an incredible journey into Software Development and have questions like: How much and what will I be learning from this school? Will I be able to get job? Is this school imaginary and a bunch of bots trying to fool me?
I have decided to keep this post short and sweet in order to help you best understand the OCCS experience: what the school will and will not offer you.
What the school will offer you:
A knowledge of "Best Practices" and Coding Culture
I am sure there are some quotes floating around the internet like : "The small things ARE the big things". Well it's true. You will learn code to tackle your projects, but Ron will also let you know how your projects/Github look like in the eyes of a experience Software Developer/Hiring Manager. (e.g. Code cleanliness and style, commit history and wireframing, tackling issues methodically)
This section would almost seem like "common sense" if all these learned lessons were typed out, but having Ron's perspective and experience as you work and make mistakes (you are going to mess up at least once) proves to be invaluable.
Exposure to the industry and potential employers with a proudly owned portfolio of projects
When you leave this school, you will have 2-3 projects under your belt which is no small feat considering the time frame. You will also get a chance to interact with hiring managers (Ron is extremely well connected) during demo nights and present your projects to them.
Ron and Michael really do care about the students and their success after the course. They will make calls, walk into offices, setup meetings and introductions, and do whatever else is in their power to assist. (They can't force employers to hire students unfortunately) What do you have to do? Just make an effort to keep in touch and keep at the process. There is really no magic bullet to finding a job, but if you heed their job search advice and keep working with the school then probability will be on your side. (You will succeed and find a job)
An Alumni network and camaraderie
OCCS's network is large and it keeps getting bigger and better. OCCS hosts alumni events every week for students to return and learn additional skills and share their post-course experiences.
That being said, this course still covers ALOT of material in a short time frame. (e.g. Someone could make a 3 month course on Angular alone) I really think there is a near 0% chance of a student completing the program and remarking: "I wish the OCCS curriculum had even more material". The course exercises will definitely help your grasp key concepts as you move along, and teach you how to accomplish practical tasks. (e.g. When learning Angular, we built a To-Do App by applying each lesson)
What the school will not offer you:
This section is probably the most important thing to read as a potential code school applicant in my opinion. I will not lie in this review, there were some people who dropped out of the 4th Cohort (some gracefully, some grudgingly) because the material/pace was tougher than expected.
I really do believe that OCCS can teach anyone to code, but how effective the teaching will be will also depend in some of the principles below.
Curiosity/Eagerness to Learn
Ron will definitely teach you how to code, how to learn to code, how to read documentation, and so forth. Software Development however is a very "deep" field, and there will always be the opportunity for the student to learn more of their own volition.(e.g. I wonder how that method works instead of this one....let me go and try it out to get a better idea)
Doing the bare minimum to complete the exercises might get you through the course, but it could create additional difficulties when tackling projects, lower the quality of your projects, and be detrimental to how much knowledge you build in the long run.
Reading comprehension, knowledge application, and questioning your understanding of things. (Study habits)
You are going to be coding alot. "All Code. All Day" is more of a fact than a slogan to sound impressive. So of course, you can expect to be reading plenty of material to go along with that. Many of the exercises for example will reference a material (specific link to documentation, book, code sample, etc.) that teaches you plenty enough to tackle the exercise, which you will be expected to read and then apply.
There is no way around having to read and test what you learned (e.g. right away in a browser/code editor) as you proceed through the course, and having a mindset that incorporates thoughts along the lines of the following will be critical:
- Did I really just understand everything I read? Can I apply parts of it without looking at the source material?
- Hmmm, I didn't quite understand what that that other prerequisite method was. Let me look that up too.
- OK I just got stuck, if I break this down what is really the part that I am not getting? Can I take a step back and look at this from a different perspective?
Motivation and Willpower
Coding is tough. You will get stuck and hit a wall. You will feel frustrated. The monkey in your mind may begin hurling feces at you as you begin to wonder if you can really become a Software Developer. (hint: you definitely can and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome is real)
You will have the instructors and your colleagues for support, but you may have to dig deep at times to keep chipping away at problems and finding solutions.
Overall Summary: Becoming a Software Developer is incredible enough for reasons that you might already be hearing, which is why you are most likely reading this. OCCS is a fantastic school with a proven track record of success and being able to teach students how to code. Just remember that this is a coding bootcamp and is an intensive way to acquire this valuable skill, and it is not always the best path for everyone. (But if you have what it takes, I probably didn't dissuade you anyways :) )