Java Developer and Technical Support Specialist • Graduate • Full-Stack Web Development w/ Java Bootcamp (Online) • Denver
May 07, 2021
Hello prospective bootcamper, [Im starting with some general talk about attending a bootcamp...skip down a bit to read about this particular school] ******************* deciding whether a bootcamp is right for you ******************** Hopefully I can help you decide whether this bootcamp is right for you. As a disclaimer, I had access to VA funding to complete this course so the cost to me was simply an oppo...
Hello prospective bootcamper, [Im starting with some general talk about attending a bootcamp...skip down a bit to read about this particular school] ******************* deciding whether a bootcamp is right for you ******************** Hopefully I can help you decide whether this bootcamp is right for you. As a disclaimer, I had access to VA funding to complete this course so the cost to me was simply an opportunity cost of time, and the loss of a future benefit to be used elsewhere. As someone who finds the slow pace of university learning unbearable...I was happy to use up some GI Bill for this type of course. If you're plunking down some hard-earned cash...you will just have to make sure you get a job afterward (at this school, the numbers are very, very much in your favor) and the rewards of starting a software career should make the cost a write-off within a year as compared to the median salary in the U.S. As I'm writing this, I cant imagine any of my coworkers going to work as a newbie developer for less than 60k. My brother took a 55k starting salary after a less rigorous bootcamp in Ohio but he took a job in Ohio which probably ranks on the lower end of salaries. But his first raise was to 70k after just one year, so yeah...you can be optimistic about your pay prospects. Alright, let's talk about the elephant in the room...the C.S. degree that you're not getting. Im sure you've done a fair bit of reading thru Reddit and getting disheartened by some negativity about boot camps. I am a C.S. degree dropout. I started at ASUs software engineering program and switched to University of Alaska's C.S. program when I moved to AK. Not a super prestigious pair of schools but they are both ABET programs so they're legit. I have absolutely no regrets about not finishing my university program. It was too slow, I didn't give a single hoot about advanced calculus and physics, and only really enjoyed the courses that directly employed coding and/or circuit/computer design. Actually I did really enjoy discrete math as well. But for every course I enjoyed there were 2 or 3 that just severely annoyed me with their lack of practicality in the workplace and excruciatingly slow pace. Keep in mind I was 34 years old when trying to complete my degree and I already had sufficient professional writing, problem solving, and teamwork experience from my prior military time. ******************** My experience with Skill Distillery ********************* This course is absolutely high-quality. It is not perfect, but no course will be that aims to instruct more than one person simultaneously. There will always be compromise for different learning styles and to educate the highest number of people for the highest number of jobs. However, they continuously integrate student and employer(!) feedback to improve the course. It's DIFFICULT. And it is really long. I will admit a loss of motivation about 3 weeks from the end because my brain was just tired of learning new stuff. This course will whoop your a** and you will be exhausted at the end. This is how it should be though. The whole reason a course like this exists is to pack in as much knowledge and experience as possible to maximize the value of time and money spent. I have no regrets choosing this school and when my brother was able to compare our respective course syllabuses and length, it was obvious that Skill Distillery was a much more in-depth and higher quality course. It never felt like a money-grab. I have never experienced such a patient and caring group of instructors. In four months you will feel like part of a small family. They really care about making you succeed. There is ample help with developing your projects, crafting your resume, job-hunting, interviewing, etc. The staff is very empathetic to your learning and career struggle and many of the staff members are former students. They are experts in their fields and the more senior members have tons of collective experience. They also seem to do a pretty solid job of choosing who is admitted to the program because everyone was fairly sharp and able to learn quickly enough to keep the course moving forward. Of course, I can only speak of the experience of my cohort. Also, I should mention the alum network...it seems rock solid. There is a lot of interaction in the job hunt thread of Slack and there are plenty of job leads coming in. Skill Distillery is quite a mature school so they have a large list of historic employers and those employers have been able to experience the quality of SD grads. This is very valuable with such a large pool of bootcamps out in the world of various quality. The main aspects of this course that I did not enjoy were mainly due to my lack of research on what full-stack development is and not having time to polish up projects to my liking before moving on. I also struggled to learn concepts on team-based assignments vs the ones I could complete on my own (your experience will likely be different, I'm just such a read the book and do it myself type of learner). And there is a lot of team-based work, but this is what employers have communicated wanting in grads so I had to basically just suck it up. But here I am, one of the first grads to secure a job in a mainly Java-developing role so in the end, none of it mattered too much. I am a bit of an outlier though, I had 10+ years of telecom experience and the job I secured really was a carbon copy of my past experience and the course material. If you are coming from a non-tech background, you are going to have to do the interview grind for a while...maybe up to 2 months so just mentally prepare for that and manage your expectations.
P.S. You don't need a bootcamp to get a software job, but its hard for me to imagine pushing myself to the level that this course did and within the same timeframe. I say go for it! Good luck!!!