Recent Rockit Bootcamp News
- Collaboration in Higher Education: Universities + Coding Bootcamps
- Founder Spotlight: Rockit Bootcamp
Recent Rockit Bootcamp Reviews: Rating 4.55
Rockit Bootcamp Reviews
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I always thought programming was above me. I had great instructors at Rockit who were able to present material in a digestible way and pushed hard for me to learn and grow constantly. It was a seriously great experience and I would recommend it to anyone looking to get into programming.
If you're like me, then you're probably reading this because you recently learned about the whole coding bootcamp concept and wanted to see if there is one in Phoenix.
And seeing as how Rockit is the only available Phoenix bootcamp (the "Alchemy Labs" one looks like it did't quite make it to launch) you're probably giving it a little extra scrutiny because you don't want to settle just because it happens to be in Phoenix.
And if you're like me you're probably seeing the long list of glowing reviews on this page and actually getting more skeptical because it seems a little too good to be true and almost as if they were all given some incentive to leave the best possible review for the bootcamp.
And if you're as cynical a guy as I am you probably
stalked found some of these reviewers' LinkedIn pages and discovered a lot of them work or worked for the Apollo Group, which owns the University of Phoenix and other private schools you heard some shady things about and just so happens to own the very Rockit bootcamp you're researching, and flags are being raised in your head.
Well, if you're like me you're probably going to apply anyways in spite of your misgivings, but I'll go ahead and tell you the one thing you want to know most, the one thing I wanted to know most when I was in your shoes:
Rockit is legit. It's not a scam or some kind of money cult or any other kind of scheme. There are no tricks. It does what it says it does.
Oh, and those Apollo employees who left reviews? They're from the inaugural pilot class, which was experimental and free and because of that it makes sense internal employees volunteered. I've met a few of them, they're nice folks (hi, Kris!). No twisting of the arm or coercing students to leave positive reviews aside from "Hey could you guys leave a review at that one site" on the last day. I can't speak to the University of Phoenix or any other part of the Apollo organization but I got nothing but genuine vibes during my time in class.
There. That's probably all you need, but I'll go ahead and give a few more notes since I know there are some people hungry for details:
- If you're local, the Phoenix location is very convenient, but in some ways it can be a disadvantage, too. Part of what makes the bootcamp model effective is the immersion aspect, and staying in your hometown can pop the bootcamp bubble, so-to-speak, especially if you have friends or family who don't 'get' what you're trying to do and want to carry on as if you're taking just any ordinary class or job.
- If you have any sort of learning disability or cognitive impairment (no matter how minor), you are going to have a tougher time with this course than the average person, even if you know how to deal with it. I know conventional wisdom is don't bring it up unless you need a specific accomodation, but there's no harm in sharing here and they run through the material fast. And for pete's sake if you need medication make sure well in advance that you can get it when you need it. Doctors go on vacations... sometimes two months in a row!
- The instructors, individually, are excellent. They're smart, experienced professionals that are eager to help (sometimes a little too eager). There were a couple moments where I felt like they weren't all on the same page as far as coursework/ plans but they caught themselves and clarified things.
- On that note, there's a certain fluidity to the curriculum and schedule; while there weren't any drastic changes that I can recall, somehow you get a sense that one day you could walk in and the instructors will say "we had a meeting and we thought class would go better if we did it like this". Personally I appreciated this as I felt there was always a genuine effort to tailor the course to students' needs, but I know some students would have liked a more set-in-stone feeling.
- One aspect of the bootcamp I think is a little overlooked in the press/ public material is the opportunity to network: nearly every week guest speakers from local employers visit and Rockit hosts cozy networking events complete with beer and wine to help you get your schmooze on. I only started my LinkedIn page about a month ago and I already have 100+ contacts and my rolodex is nearly full.
I've already written a book so I'll leave it at that. If you're in Phoenix or nearby and set on joining a bootcamp there's no reason not to go with Rockit. I don't think it's perfect (what is?), but if you're like me, you'd probably just be more incredulous if I said it was, wouldn't you?
I came into the program with no knowledge of coding. It's hard to belive but Rockit really changed my life. Not only have I gained more confidence in myself, but I also learned how to code!
If you're reading this because you're thinking about taking the program, don't think about it. Apply, work hard and you will suceed!
I am a graduate of the RockIT Bootcamp in Phoenix. I had no previous experience in programming before entering the course, but was always interested in making websites. In 12 weeks, RockIT Bootcamp didn't only gave me all the skills I needed to make websites, but they taught me the soft skills I needed to get hired and be a successful developer. Within the first week of graduating I was already getting job offers.
I really enjoyed the RockIT Bootcamp in Phoenix. Before I started, I had no technical experience. RockIT provided me the tools and instruction I needed to be successful as a new developer. One of the things that sets RockIT apart, and helped me land a position quickly, was to have different employers involved throughout the program. I found it valuable to have employers invited to not only meet RockIT students after class each week, but also participate in mock interviews and sit in on presentation panels. This gave employers and students the ability to get to know each other outside of the interview process. When it came to interviewing for positions, it allowed us, as new developers, to be more comfortable and less nervous. It also gave employers the opportunity to see the students in action before it came to the interview process. On the last day of class, I had already been set up for multiple interviews and been offered a position. A win-win for all!
As a graduate of RockIT Bootcamp (inaugural class) I can tell you that this bootcamp is facilitated by industry professionals with one goal in mind; to make you immediately hirable upon graduation. They helped bridge the gap from my previous profession, they taught me how to perform in a technical interview, and they taught me how to become a competent, productive developer. After graduation, I moved from Phoenix to Seattle and within one week had interviews and face to face meetings with connections inside the major Seattle Tech companies. By the following Friday I accepted a position at a fantastic company making an industry competitive salary with full benefits. This has been the most rewarding professional experience of my life, thanks to RockIT Bootcamp, its staff, and my fellow students.
Our latest on Rockit Bootcamp
Since the Department of Education announced the EQUIP Initiative in October 2015, we’ve heard a bit of buzz around potential partnerships between universities and alternative education providers (read: coding bootcamps)!
ICYMI, you could read the entire Federal Register or the slightly more condensed fact sheet. Or, spend a minute reading this NYT article and this NPR coverage. In essence, a university will partner with coding bootcamp and a quality assurance entity (QAE), and as a result, students can effectively get financial aid and/or college credit for completing a coding bootcamp. The DOE calls these partnerships “test sites.” Some say that financial aid is a great idea for coding bootcamps. Others, like Jordan Weissmann at Slate, say that expanding the financial aid system will “ruin coding bootcamps.”Continue Reading →
Graeme, what went into the decision to start Rockit Boot Camp?
Graeme: We’re part of the Corporate Development team at Apollo Education Group and our team generally does work associated with acquisitions, divestitures, partnerships and joint ventures. A lot of that work is analytical at the financial and operational level. After doing internal research we came up with a number of non-degree businesses in IT that were relevant and had relatively low barriers to entry. We decided to experiment with some of those ideas in the spirit of innovation.
So that’s how the idea came together. It was an internal piece of research that ended up as a set of ideas around IT business opportunities that offered an attractive and interesting place for us to take a look at.
What do you think Apollo brings to the bootcamp space that other bootcamps haven’t been able to capture?
Graeme: I think this is a low barrier to entry market; the differentiation is mostly based on the quality of the product that the bootcamp offers and the reputation.
We’re really focused on outcomes, in reality the same thing most bootcamps are focused on. We have a background in education built around scale and an ability to think about and manage instructional design, faculty and teaching models. So those are three key things: scale, instructional design and teaching models.
What was the price for this initial pilot course?
Graeme: The pilot was a free class. We captured the essence of the student enthusiasm and passion but we didn’t put people through having to pay for what we believe was a learning exercise for them and a learning exercise for us.
How did you develop the curriculum for the course?
Graeme: One of the principles as we started the pilot was that the people who deliver this curriculum are going to develop it. The instructors were going to be explicitly involved and have ownership of what they’re delivering.
We decided on high-level topics and did market research on what was applicable to the Phoenix market. The expert practitioners we recruited from the local market are people who have a computer science degree and have been in web development for a number of years.
They have a passion for passing on information and wanting to enable other people to enjoy the kind of career they’ve had. These are great instructors who have good people skills and a passion for knowledge. We decided on the core web technologies, built ourselves an instructional design framework and let the teaching team go after it.
Why Phoenix for this first pilot course?
Graeme: We decided on Phoenix for a relatively straightforward reason; it’s our home base. We have a lot of assets in Phoenix that we can leverage. So if we wanted any advice, it was on our doorstep.
Dominick: Just looking at the marketplace; Ruby just wasn’t a hot topic in Phoenix but if you go to Silicon Valley, you can see that most of the bootcamps are teaching it.
By talking with employers and looking at the in-demand skill set, we decided that teaching a traditional LAMP stack would resonate with what the market was looking for. That’s kind of how we went with that decision and went forward with it. So far, we are encouraged with the employer’s feedback of the students they hired and the technologies they learned.
Were most of your students from Arizona?
Dominick: They were, yes. With that being said, we had a diverse group with many cultures, ages and backgrounds.
And did most of them stay in Arizona and get placed in the Phoenix area?
Dominick: Some of our students had the opportunity to relocate, but the majority of the class stayed in Phoenix. Overall this was a perfect opportunity, a free pilot to learn new skills to help them get a job in the Phoenix area. It was the right time for a lot of these students to switch careers and get the skills that they needed.
What did the application process look like for the pilot course and will it look the same going forward in the next courses?
Graeme: We developed an accelerated selection process. We asked people to answer logical, thought-provoking, challenging questions in both written and video form and submit those along with a resume. We used the responses as a first step in the selection process to look for passion, enthusiasm, motivation, and aptitude.
It was important to find students who were interested in finding a job and who had the ability to successfully complete an immersive, intensive bootcamp experience.
Of your class, how many were women and minorities?
Graeme: Of the 18 people who finished the class, 8 were female, 10 were male. We didn’t deliberately set out to balance things; it just happened naturally.
The demographics of the class were very healthy. We had late and early stage career changers plus a good mix of grads and non-grads.
Did everyone finish the course or did you see attrition?
Graeme: We started with 21 and graduated with 18 students. Rockit Bootcamp is an intense program that moves at a fast pace.
For those candidates who didn’t make it this time around, we hope they’ll do a bit of personal study and then come back and see us at some time in the future.
How did placement turn out?
Graeme: We’re only 2 ½ weeks out, but I would say we are encouraged by the results. I think it’s fair to our students and fair to us to keep the actual numbers to ourselves for now. We’ve learned a lot about employer relationships, employer partnerships and that part of the equation is a responsibility we take very seriously.
Dominick: Just to give you a sense of where we’re at in the placement, we can say that we have placed over half of our alumni since graduation.
How are you incorporating soft skills and job prep into the curriculum?
Dominick: Rockit Bootcamp is a 12-week program. Weeks 6 through 11, every Thursday we hold company drop-in sessions. We get about 2 -3 companies every Thursday to come in, present to our students, talk about their organization and what they look for in their recruiting process. After presentations, employers join the students for refreshments and conversations. They get to know our students on a personal level and they’re seeing our students grow from week to week.
Employer connections are extremely valuable to anybody looking for a bootcamp. Some companies ranging from large employers to small development shops helped when we were preparing our students for the real world with mock interview sessions, a resume building clinic and technical coding tests.
Would you consider the Rockit Bootcamp pilot a success? When is your next cohort?
Graeme: We’re very encouraged by the results, we think it’s a good opportunity and we’re in the middle of the planning process right now. I think the pilot proved the point and served its purpose really well.
We’ll set a different framework up for the next iteration. It will be a paid bootcamp; we’re in the $8,000 - $10,000 price range for tuition fee so pretty standard. We looked at entry level salaries in Phoenix and we think there’s an explicit link between starting salary and the cost of Rockit bootcamp that needs to be balanced.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about Rockit Bootcamp?
Graeme: I want to make it clear that we are transparent. We encourage everyone we meet to come and visit Rockit Bootcamp.
We’re going to maintain high principles, high value and we’re going to deliver the kind of results that an organization like ours will be proud of.