The Firehose Project
[The Firehose Project has been acquired by Trilogy Education.] The Firehose Project is a full-time, 22-week and part-time, 42-week online coding bootcamp that combines expert one-on-one training with a customized, robust curriculum and a worldwide student support community. Students start coding on day one and are paired with a senior software engineer mentor to build their coding skills. Students also have access to a proprietary Q&A forum and technical office hours. Graduates will develop algorithms, design complex data structures, and learn fundamental computer science principles while building a portfolio of advanced web applications that work with APIs, user authentication, advanced database relationships, video streaming, and more.
Firehose has also launched a new job track designed to prepare students with everything they need to optimize their job search as a new developer and make their transition from bootcamp graduate to employed developer as smooth and swift as possible. Firehose worked with technical recruiters, alumni, senior developers, and partnered with BrandYourself, the leader in online reputation management as seen on Shark Tank, to engineer a track that provides students with optimal job preparation resources.
Recent The Firehose Project Reviews: Rating 4.82
Recent The Firehose Project News
- Alumni Spotlight: Noah Finberg of The Firehose Project
- December 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup
- These 10 Founders All Started at Coding Bootcamps
22-week program designed to help you become a professional software engineer.
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- Minimum Skill Level
- Placement Test
The Firehose Project Reviews
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Going to try and make this review as short as I can.
Before theFirehoseProject, I was a recent digital marketing graduate that was working in web analytics and as a digital marketing assistant for an educational web app. I had my hands in SEO, PPC, email marketing and I also helped create landing pages while revamping my company's website. So in a way, I already knew HTML/CSS/jQuery. However, that didn't matter as much since what I was going to learn there was way more in depth.
Why I Chose theFirehoseProject
The points of interest for me (and the ones that would eventually help my decide) were
- Mentor sessions once a week that are flexible
- A community that encourages learning and helping others (fellow Firehose students)
- A Capstone project where you will work in real-world conditions
- Price point was much better than most courses I found
1. Having a mentor in general is always great for learning. The one hour I had in mentor sessions a week was enough to cover any concepts I wasn't sure about in week of learning. Sometimes my mentor (Federico) would even go past the one hour just to make sure I understood what I was learning. And even if you don't get it by then, you can probably always email your mentor or ask in our dedicated community channel (which brings me to my next point).
2. The community of Firehose consists of people from all walks of life who all share the passion of learning to code. You can usually ask questions in our group chat and someone will answer (both the founders Ken and Marco can be found lurking there too along with the alumni). What's also great is that people will share useful resources or tips in the channel that will definitely help you as you go through the course. It's always better to feel like you're learning with others as opposed to going solo.
3. The capstone project was to build a chess game with Rails alongside 3 other students. This will definitely give you an idea of how to work with other developers and understand team workflow processes that professionals use. Getting to this point, you should have completed 90% of your course and are now ready to take on a real project.
4. I can't really say much about this other than that it was a 3rd of the cost of one of the other bootcamps I was looking at (Flatiron).
- Office-hours (6 PM EST) is a live video chat where you and other students can ask Ken and Marco questions in regards to either the courses or a general programming question. If you get in early, you'll probably hear Ken and Marco talking about random things (they're super nice and funny!).
- Practice your lightning talks with the community. This is where students can give short presentations on specific topics such as a framework or concept. (Made possible by fellow Firehoser Colin)
P.S. Presentations are suggested to have many puns and uses of gifs
- Access to all the materials even after graduation.
- Challenge problems in regards to learning algorithms and data structures (which I don't see being taught much by other bootcamps).
- An entire section dedicated to job preparation.
When I started theFirehoseProject, the one goal they really emphasized in their curriculum was getting to the point where you can learn to teach yourself new things. With the amount of languages, frameworks and concepts out there, it's hard to condense that into a lifetime of learning let alone a 15-week course period. This is exactly why they train you to become a self-sufficient developer.
When I finished the program, I was confident that I could teach myself anything. As a developer, you should always strive to be learning new things anyway. For that, I'm glad I picked theFirehoseProject and would definitely recommend over the bootcamps that claim to get you a high-paying job as soon as you graduate (seems unrealistic to me).
If you're still unsure about what bootcamp to go to, this post was helpful: The Definitive Guide to Choosing a Coding Bootcamp. This should say a lot about the company itself when they write a guide to help choosing the RIGHT bootcamp (even if it may not be their own).
I’ve had a few days now to come to terms with the fact that theFirehoseProject is all over. It’s been an amazing ride over the last 3 months and the skills I learned will leverage me into my next career pivot. I’ve met some really great people, experienced horrible frustrations, and felt amazing triumphs. I’ve went from slowly trudging through the Rails tutorial sea of mud to learning how to be a web developer. To have been able to accelerate my skill acquisition in this way would have been damn near impossible had I continued to do it on my own. It truly has been an amazing program to be a part of and it is easily one of the best decisions I have ever made. In a lot of ways the Firehose Project has brought me a significantly higher quality of life than I had prior to starting.
In addition to the coursework you will be assigned a mentor. Some how Marco and Ken knew exactly the right mentor for me. They paired me up with a seasoned veteran of the software development industry who spent a lot of time developing video games such as Bioshock Infinite, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2. We jumped into our first call and it was super easy talking to him about basically anything. Over the 3 month program my mentor and I got to know each other pretty well and it felt as much as a friendship as it was a mentorship. He helped me through my frustrations, gave me insights into the industry, gave me advice about jobs and the hiring process, pushed me to keep coding more and more difficult things, and taught me information that went beyond the Firehose Project and into the foundations of computer science so that I could fully understand the impact I would have on the systems I’d be interacting with in the real world. My experience with mentor was very much a highlight of the Firehose Project and I was super fortunate to draw the mentor that I did.
When you look at a bootcamp you look mostly at two things, the course work and the mentor. What you will often overlook and not even consider (myself included) is the community and the social interactions within that community. The Firehose Project community is a caring and supportive community encompassing founders, mentors, alumni and students. When you join Firehose you get access to the private G+ community and the Slack channels but on top of that you get office hours, the weekly meeting of students, founders, and mentors to go over things we may have struggled with throughout the week. Access to these social/community channels, if taken advantage of, will give you access, insight, support, friendship with the other Firehosers, and an ability to level up. My experience being a part of the community was a special one for me, many of the digital communities these days are toxic, hellish, and negative battlegrounds of vial opinions but not with the Firehose Project. You don’t see all the negative things that you would in the wild on the internet but what you do see is an overwhelming level of support and kindness to the other Firehosers, something truly special in today’s digital communities. Every one of my interactions in the community were positive and in kind I did my damnedest to return that kindness and support in magnitudes of order. I think communities are as strong as their weakest contributors, if you have a supportive and active community, then you have a strong community, the Firehose Project is a strong community. The community was already primed and welcoming for me to contribute before I began. To play my part I wanted to amp that community up and give my all to it, I want the new students to feel as welcomed as I was when I started. The TL:DR; the Firehose Project community f-ing rocks!
Interacting with the founders was also a great experience. Ken and Marco make everyone feel welcomed from day one, they’re supportive, and they’re completely open to feedback. I have never felt from either one of them that I was simply a dollar figure to them and have always felt, even from the first time I met Marco or Ken, that I am a welcomed and contributing member of the community and the program. To me that speaks volumes for the caliber and quality of character of the founders and honestly was one of, if not the primary, reasons why I joined the Firehose. If a founder or founders truly believe in their product and see their customers as parts of their family and not just dollar figures I know they have a solid product that I too can believe in. Of course they’re selling something, it is a business after all, but what happens is they undersell and over deliver in EVERY aspect of the Firehose Project. From even the pre-work course you get the feeling that they’re not in it to churn out as many students as possible so they can make the highest profits possible. Then when you start the program you realize for them it’s all about empowering people and sharing their passion and joy for programming, that excitement is infectious. I have zero disappointments in the experience and no regrets or hesitation saying that the Firehose Project is worth 10 times the cost of admission!
Continuing in the same vein of community and the founders I’ve got to say everyone is welcoming, open to trying new things and open about improving the community. When I suggested Firehose Project Lightning Talks to the community I thought I would get a “sure, that’s a good idea but it’s not something we can really do right now because we’ve got a lot of things up in the air already” instead I got “That’s a great idea, lets do it!” Everyone seemed excited about it and we had our first ever Firehose Lightning talks in less than 2 weeks after suggesting it, the feedback was positive and it had a great impact on the community. We’re about to hold our second ever community lightning talks this week. In addition to the talks we’ve also got a community Firehose Project blog where students can contribute as writers or developers on the open source environment that we have created for the students. That’s what I mean by the founders are open to ideas and improvements, I never thought I would’ve had the feedback that I had about the lightning talks nor did I ever see it happening that quickly but the founders saw it as a great way to increase the quality of the program and saw the impact it could have on students by getting them comfortable talking about technology, public speaking, and encouraging them to explore beyond the curriculum. That mentality says a lot about the character of the people running the show and how much they care about the community and ecosystem they created.
Those are basically just the highlights reel of my experience at the Firehose Project, if I wrote everything that I have experienced and felt about the Firehose Project I would have a short novel because it truly has been a wonderful experience (you could also just go back through my blog and read my week in review posts). There is a sense of bittersweet sadness accompanied by joy and accomplishment that I have with the Firehose Project and to me that is a sign that it is something truly special. I’ve done a lot of things in my life, I’ve accomplished just as much but very few things upon completion have been accompanied by a feeling of “I just don’t want it to end” most the time it’s “Hell yes, finally it’s over, now I can do this!” With just that mixed bag of emotions I can truly say that this was something special, that the Firehose Project is something truly unique and special, and it will be one of the greatest experiences that I have ever had the great fortunate to be a part of. When I look back on my time at the Firehose Project I can see the leaps and bounds I have taken in pursuit of my new career and passion, I can see the great relationships and friendships I have made and the promising future that is in front of me because of this experience. The best part of the Firehose Project though, I don’t have to leave, I can stick around and contribute, continue to help and improve the community, give my support and encouragement to the new students and do whatever I can to continue to help make it a great experience for everyone who joins. This ladies and gentlemen this is what makes the Firehose Project great, I still want more. More coding, more community, and more Firehose. A big CHEERS and THANK YOU to Ken, Marco, Kevin, Ben, and the whole damn Firehose community! You folks all made this one of the best damn experiences I’ve ever had.
I've tried 4 other onlince boot camps and was accepted into Dev Bootcamp in NYC. I'm beyond happy that I chose to learn from The Firehose Project. These guys truly care about your education and honestly want you to succeed. The owners are very successful programmers and not just entrepreneurs who jumped on the boot camp money train. They're also very active on a daily basis with students.
They offer a free 2 week course and after taking that, I couldn't sign up fast enough. The teaching is just incredible!
I started my first job as a developer right after the firehose bootcamp and was
lucky to observe a team of really experienced professionals at the new company.
Thinking about what makes a developer a good one I came to the conclusion that
firehose taught me just about everything a good developer needs to know.
Divide and conquer
The whole learning experience of firehose is based on projects with increasing
complexity. Each and every step in the development process is broken down so one
can easily follow through and understand the required steps. The knowledge gets acquired gradually and with the experience one’s confidence grows as well.
My daily tasks as a developer require this exact skill. Breaking down the problem into tiny and manageable pieces and learn new things on the way. Through trial and error you finally arrive at a suitable solution.
Be humble and work with people
Our knowledge as an individual is really finite. I think that our combined knowledge as group or company is near to infinite. There are times when you don’t know what the next step is or how to tackle an even simple problem. Here comes the magic of being humble and working with other people. By being humble I mean not being afraid to acknowledge that you don’t know something and ask others. So far every time it yielded a better and/or quicker solution and a sense of being part of something bigger than yourself.
This experience was a cornerstone of the firehose training as well. Weekly office hours were the highlight of each weeks’ learning process. While going through the material on your own every one encountered similar problems others did only 1-2 week prior. It is a valuable time to share one’s perspective on the assignments and learnings as well.
But this team experience got even stronger and more valuable when working on the group project. The group project is a perfect simulation of the future work environment. You are not restricted to the assignments everyone needs to get through anymore. You are on your own, but as a team. As a team you decide where the project will go (which by the way may or may not be the case on the real job - thats what the product manager may do for you) but more importantly you start to think about the implementation of the new unknown. Real questions start popping up and your team is the place to go to aks for a second opinion and feedback.
Have a mentor
I recently finished reading a very interesting book: “Self Leadership and The One Minute Manager” by Ken Blanchard. One of the ideas presented in the book was that on different stages we all need a different leadership style to help us grow. Basically there are four skill development stages and four corresponding leadership styles:
- Low Competence / High Comitement needs Directing
- Low-some Competence / Low commitment needs Coaching/Mentoring
- Moderate-high Compentece / Variable Commitment needs Supporting
- High Competence / HIgh Commitment needs Delegating
Without going too deep into the theory, here is how it translated for me in my firehose process.
Before beginning the course I certainly was on the first level. My commitment had no limits and the competence was pretty low. You dive into the learning process and celebrate your first results (the first app is done within a few days and it feels great). But then real problems kick in, self doubt comes up and works against you. Thats exactly the time when your mentor comes into the game and guides you (directing) through the learning process. On the next stage he gives you valuable feedback on how to learn better and what to focus on practicing.
Why is it important for a developer? Well, development is a skill and a craft in one. We have to learn form the best and study from the mistakes of others. A mentor is someone who has the needed perspective on where you are and is able to guide you through the learning process and point out the connections you just didn’t see before.
To sum it up - chunking the problems into small pieces, working as a team and asking questions and having a trusted mentor who will support you in your growth are in my opinion the things which help being a good developer. The firehose bootcamp certainly incorporated all of them for me and helped me continue those practices not only on my job but in other areas of my life as well.
Everything is online and I simply love it. You can work from home at your own pace and schedule. You get online support 24/7 and it is quite quick. You get 1 on 1 sessions with your mentor which are very useful. Office hours happen weekly and it is another opportunity to ask questions and learn something useful from Ken and Marco. Should you be busy, there is going to be a recording posted so you don't miss out.
They teach you practical things that you will apply in the future.
People are very friendly and helpful. I really enjoy it.
Good online flexible program for getting some good basic web design skills and some algorithm challeneges. They also offer pretty good courses on how to get your resume out there. The best part of the course is teh mentor program that can get you working on some good strong private projects to make you employable.
I'm a broke college student, so I unfortunately won't be able to enroll in the full program (just yet). However, I can honestly say that the prep course is easily comparable to the Codeacademy HTML/CSS course if not better.
The videos were a lot more interactive than Codeacademy's reading, so I was a lot more engaged with the material.
The Ruby was helpful and easy to understand, but I do wish that they tied in the Ruby and HTML/CSS language since, to me, it didn't make a lot of sense to suddenly jump into another language. Nevertheless, it never hurts to learn another language!
I would definitely recommend the prep course to anyone who is willing to learn how to make a website, and if you have the money, I would absolutely recommend you to go for the full program. If the prep course was this informative and helpful, I cannot imagine how much the full program would greatly improve yours skills as a software developer.
I am pretty new to this type of course, online, and find the information for the most part is easy to follow, and the mentors are really good at getting back to you in a timely fashion so you can move forward. I look forward to mastering more difficult material in this program.
I am still in the prep course, but so far it is easy and The instruction is clear, simple, giude you step by step, and the support team are always available. you can find all necessery to start your way to coding.a few days after I using the Projrct, I could see my first web site live in internet , maybe it is a basic web , but I think that give me a big push to go further and don't stop, I tried many time to start with html books, but I couldn't get past the first day.
I encourage everyone want to learn to be developer , Firehose is the right place to start.
I've only tackled the intro course through Firehose and will start my official day next week. However, for a quick overview of my experience thus far, I am pleasently surprised. I've worked through Treehouse and codeacademy for the past 6 months and it was fine. The interface to learn, the excercises and modules from Firehose all illicit a deeper learning than anything I've tried. It is forcing the concept of deliberate practice on you, which is tough, but rewarding. I've also interacted via email with instructors from Firehose that review your code and provide constructive criticism. This is essential in terms of skill development and I am excited to see where I will be in 22 weeks after I finish the course. So far, I am very happy with my choice, which took me over a year of research to finally commit to. Firehose is set up perfectly for you to succeed, all you have to do is show up and work.
I am only giving 4 stars because I haven't started the official course - I will update in August 2017 after I am finished.
I recently graduated and have some mixed feelings about Firehose Project and online programs in general. I believe their founders have good intention, but they are still trying to figure things out right now.
I selected Firehose Project because of its price and great reviews, however, I think you get what you pay for, even though it is not that cheap.
The curriculum is well put together, but in the end, you are still on your own to gauge if you are actually learning or just getting good at following the lesson. For the most part, weekly "mentors" are there to help you with what you are currently struggling with. They have short term memory and don't really come to mentor sessions prepared with what you learned last time together.
The slack channel is decently active. It is a hit or miss if people will answer your questions.
They are actively changing/adding a lot of new curriculum which is a good and bad thing. They are still figuring out how to run an online boot camp but are dedicated to making it better. So you will always learn something that is "outdated" which is understandable.
Good luck on job searching. A lot of the people I know that graduated are struggling to find a job. The job search portion consists of blog posts/advice and some technical problems you might find in interviews.
I haven't taken other online boot camps, so I can't say how it fares in terms of the others, but if you are going to spend thousands of dollars on something, be SURE you are intelligent and determined enough. Not everyone can go through the program and get a job. Probably most cannot.
I had a great experience at The Firehose Project. The apps you build throughout the course are very useful and cover many core aspects of development. The challenges touch on many other aspects of coding from kata challenges to high level algorithms, as well as soft skills aquired through the group project and developing networking skills. The weekly mentor sessions are key to understanding how things tie together and clearing up any fuzzy areas. The way the course is setup you are fully emersed in the build process. At first it can feel overwhelming but thats a good lesson to learn early on, then things start to click and by the third app you're starting to anticipate the next move. I would highly recommend this bootcamp for anyone looking to jump into the development field and is willing to push through tough times and really put in the work.
Our latest on The Firehose Project
As a college sophomore, Noah came up with a great idea for a tech startup. But when he wasn’t learning enough practical skills in his Computer Science degree to build his idea into a product, Noah enrolled in The Firehose Project, an online coding bootcamp. Noah tells us about the differences between CS classes and a bootcamp, how he customized the bootcamp to fit his needs, and how he learned to collaborate with other developers online. Three years later, using his tech skills and ongoing mentorship from The Firehose Project, Noah launched his startup, Considdr!
What is your pre-bootcamp story? Why study computer science and then go to a bootcamp?
At college I studied government and economics before switching to computer science. When I was a sophomore, my experience in college inspired the idea for my startup, Considdr. I wanted a place to store the information I was consuming so that I would be able to reference it later, and share it with other people. The reason I switched to computer science was because I wanted to pursue this startup idea.
I learned a lot in college about computer science theory, but applying it in a practical sense was something that I felt was missing. I wasn't able to see how the theory translated into building products or web applications. To fill that gap, in the summer before my senior year and with one year of computer science under my belt, I attended The Firehose Project.
Why did you choose The Firehose Project over other online coding bootcamps?
I chose the Firehose Project because I was looking for something practical and applicable in a very hands-on, real-world sense. The Firehose Project really spoke to me because they teach you everything you need to know to build your own applications. More than that, they give you the tools to find the resources to continue with that learning.
I read reviews, and looked at Thinkful and Bloc as well. What stood out to me about The Firehose Project were Ken Mazaika and Marco Morawec, the two co-founders. They held video introductions with me, they were really friendly, and seemed to really care about their students. That was a big deal for me – I wanted open communication with the people who ran the program.
The other big benefit was how customizable the program was at The Firehose Project. When I did the bootcamp, they had two paths: an entrepreneurial path and a job preparation path. I chose the entrepreneurial path and customized my learning along with my mentor. I knew that I really wanted a flexible bootcamp; The Firehose Project gives you a really good foundation, a mentor, all sorts of support, and flexibility.
How rigorous was The Firehose Project admission process? Was it hard to get in?
In the admissions process, they really want to know that you're serious about your learning, and that was the metric they used to judge applicants. The Firehose Project provided a free pre-bootcamp course to dip your toes in and understand if the course will work for you.
The team then asks you to complete some assignments to show that you're genuinely interested in and committed to learning. If the bootcamp is giving you their time, they want you to take it seriously.
The process worked well for me, and it didn't feel like a harsh interview or a huge application. You have to demonstrate that you're serious about it.
What was the time commitment for learning at The Firehose Project? Did you learn full-time or part-time?
You can go at your own pace. There are different units that walk you through building out different apps and it gets increasingly complex over time. I was doing the course mostly full-time, but I know that some of the other students that I worked with were doing it part-time and at night. I think it can work really well in both situations because it's so flexible. I graduated from The Firehose Project in 16 weeks. I was really obsessed and I liked going through it so I went through modules back-to-back – they're actually fun!
How did you actually learn throughout The Firehose Project? Were you paired with a mentor?
Students get one mentor session each week, and mentors are very generous with their time. I finished the modules really quickly and then was able to still learn more with the additional learning resources available.
Mentors help you work through your own projects and you can make them as complex as you want. That flexibility was huge for me. They give you a ton of course material, and if you end up being obsessed with it like I was, you still have a number of weeks left to continue your learning with a mentor.
What's an example of an application you built during the course?
When comparing your four-year college computer science experience to learning at a bootcamp, what stood out to you?
There's extreme value in both approaches, but they're different.
One big advantage of the bootcamp is it’s really project-focused, super individualized. In college, we learned a lot and covered a lot, but it was mostly lecture-based. There are some projects, but you're in a class with a lot of students.
In college, you don't have a one-on-one mentor to help you. I had amazing professors in college who did great work and helped me learn a lot. But in the bootcamp model, my mentor, Matt, spent so much time with me when I had issues, and answered all of my questions. He has a lot of industry experience so he helped me think about how to scale up my product. It was helpful to work with someone who's doing this every day in a real-world setting. Firehose Project mentors have a lot of practical knowledge – I felt like that really changed the game for me.
Did you communicate or work with other Firehose Project students in the course?
I was actually placed on a team project because I finished the module quickly. Working in a team setting with my peers was really cool. I met three or four other students and we worked on a collaborative project creating a chess game app. We learned about Git, how to resolve issues with other developers when we're coding the same files, and how to coordinate with a team, which was really valuable.
Ken, The Firehose Project CTO, was in pretty much all of our group courses. It was amazing how much time he put in working with the students. We all had our own mentors, but he was really involved.
How did The Firehose Project prepare students for the workforce or help you become entrepreneurs?
The program has grown a lot since I left, but Firehose makes career prep a priority. It was a very practical course, but they made sure that students had the computer science fundamentals that they would need if they were to apply for a job. Firehose gave good advice on the technical interviews – they have really cool segments on data structures and algorithms, and I would’ve been well-prepared had I interviewed for web development positions at other companies.
Tell us about your company! What is Considdr?
Considdr is a crowdsourced research and reasoning platform. It gives people the tools to take notes on what they're reading, save those notes, and then use those notes to form opinions on different topics. You can also use other people's notes, so it's really collaborative research.
Did you work on Considdr, while at The Firehose Project?
No, I wasn't working on Considdr at The Firehose Project. I was thinking about it, and how I might apply the projects at Firehose when I did want to start writing the code for Considdr. I was nervous about sharing my idea with people at that stage, so I did it in secret until I was ready to build it. I actually didn’t start writing the code for Considdr until about a month after The Firehose Project.
What technologies did you learn from The Firehose Project that helped you build Considdr?
It's really been a team effort, but what I took away from Firehose was pivotal. Considdr is built on Rails and we use JQuery – both of which I learned at Firehose. Our front end is different – we don't use Twitter Bootstrap, but we use another framework called Semantic-UI.
My company wouldn't exist if I hadn't done Firehose Project, because I wouldn't have learned what I needed to build the prototype, which is how I recruited my team. If I wasn’t working on Considdr, I don't know what I would be doing honestly. The Firehose Project changed my life in a lot of ways.
When I first recruited my team, none of them actually knew web development (they were CS grads I had gone to college with), so I used what I learned from The Firehose Project to teach them Rails and other tools. The way the material was presented in the program was so clear that it made it easy to teach to others.
Did you ever reach out to your mentor at The Firehose Project for help with Considdr?
I did! I reached back out to my mentor Matt, and Ken, the CTO, and asked for advice. Matt actually got on the phone with me for more than an hour to discuss the prototype. It was just awesome that the program was over, but they clearly still cared about me and cared about what I was doing. The fact that my mentor wasn't getting paid to talk to me, a year after the program ended, is amazing.
To this day, I'm still in contact with Matt and Ken. I'll email them and ask for advice like, "we're trying to set up a development procedure in pipelines so that we can test our code effectively; what have you done and what's your advice?" And both of them email back on the same day, answering my questions. This kind of support makes me feel like I made good choice, because beyond the program, Firehose is willing to help you with your next endeavors. The team has built a unique culture.
Are you still coding day-to-day?
I'm coding for a third of my time. I was coding a lot more in the beginning, but our product is in a pretty stable place, so now I'm focused more on growth and raising another round of funding. We're lucky to have a team, so I don't have to do all the coding.
What has been your biggest challenge or roadblock in your journey to learn to code?
At first, learning to code was pretty daunting and intimidating because it felt like I was trying to do something really big, but I had the sense that I didn’t really know what I was doing. And I still feel that sometimes. I think the hardest part was that it took a while to realize there's nothing magical about coding.
At first, coding feels like totally foreign language and you think, “How can people build these really cool, really crazy web applications?" But as you get through a course and get over that psychological block, you realize that learning to code gives you the fundamentals, and then you continue to learn as you go.
Have you kept in touch with any of the other alumni or current Firehose Project students?
Not yet, but they have a Slack channel where alumni and current students communicate. I just joined that because I would really like to get more involved with the fellows. I'd be happy to answer questions from students about the experience and I'm curious to hear how things are going.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who are thinking about attending coding bootcamp and launching their own startup?
A bootcamp can make a really big difference in getting those practical coding skills. At a coding bootcamp, they really teach what you need to accomplish a set task. You don’t get that from a lot of other places.
If you want to start a company, you need to break down the development process into a lot of really small pieces. At Firehose, they taught us that you can learn everything, just a little bit at a time, and over time, you create a valuable knowledge base.
The hardest thing is just going for it and really committing yourself to learn. Commit yourself wholly, and recognize that anyone can do a bootcamp and learn how to code.
Welcome to our last monthly coding bootcamp news roundup of 2016! Each month, we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to fundraising announcements, to interesting trends we’re talking about in the office. This December, we heard about a bootcamp scholarship from Uber, employers who are happily hiring bootcamp grads, investments from New York State and a Tokyo-based staffing firm, diversity in tech, and as usual, new coding schools, courses, and campuses!Continue Reading →
There are many reasons to attend a bootcamp- maybe you’re ready to take the plunge into a coding career or you want to update your current programming skills. Or maybe you’re part of a rising generation of aspiring technical founders and you’re ready to launch your own startup…you just need tech skills. Should you go to a coding bootcamp to start a company? Many bootcamp alumni are enjoying the fruits of their intensive bootcamp labor by choosing the path of entrepreneurship and launching their own app or website. In fact, Course Report’s latest outcomes and demographics study found that 4.3% of bootcampers attend to learn the skills necessary to start their own company. Our team loves an inspiring success story, so we’re highlighting those bootcampers who took the road less traveled, and managed to strike it big.Continue Reading →
It can be stressful to switch careers into tech after doing something completely different for a long time. In my case, it was being in the military for 12 years.Continue Reading →
Ilya studied computer science and went into product management before deciding to make the switch to become a professional web developer. He recently completed theFirehoseProject - a mentor driven online coding bootcamp. Shortly after completing theFirehoseProject, Ilya received multiple job offers from Startups and Tech Companies, and ultimately decided to join EnerNOC, a global energy intelligence company, as a Ruby on Rails Developer. We talked to Ilya about his CS background, his experience at theFirehoseProject, and his reasons for changing tracks in his career.
Tell us what you were up to before you started at Firehose. Were you working or doing any kind of programming?
I actually studied Computer Science but I’d never programmed or touched any code before theFirehoseProject. People from the U.S. who studied computer science might be surprised by the idea that you can go through a whole specialized program in Computer Science without writing more than 20 lines of code. But that’s what happened to me.
I actually hear similar things from Computer Science grads in the US!
Exactly. You learn things about the software development process and theory, but you don’t actually learn how to code in a project and build real products.
During my studies, I wasn’t that interested in coding. I was working with young people in the community doing everything but my studies. Nevertheless I graduated and felt the need to get back into tech. I started out as a Product Manager and joined a startup here in Munich where you can book doctors’ appointments, tables at a restaurant, hairdressers; anything. They went to become the goto tool for small businesses in Germany and Europe.
Were you still working in that startup as a product manager when you were doing Firehose project?
During my two years at the startup I was working very closely with Ruby developers, but never touching any code. I got the itch and wanted to become a professional web developer as well. So I saved up a little bit of money, talked to theFirehoseProject team and quit at the end of July so I could start to drink-from-the-firehose in the last week of July.
Was your motivation for doing Firehose to get a job as a Ruby developer once you were finished or was it to create your own product?
I was pretty open-minded about what would happen. I was sure that I needed these kinds of skills no matter what I might do in the future. I imagined two paths: to continue working as a product manager but in a more technical capacity or to find work as a developer. I wasn’t sure which path I would choose until the end of the program when I started my job search.
Did you figure out what you wanted to do by the end of Firehose?
Absolutely, yes! I wrote so much code and built multiple web applications that the decision was very easy: land a job as a developer!
Why did you decide to do an online program instead of an in-person one?
Mostly because there aren’t as many great coding bootcamps in Europe, in Germany especially. Also the opportunity cost of moving to a new city and paying rent, on top of three times the tuition costs, made the decision to go with an online coding bootcamp relatively easy. In-person courses are really expensive from what I found. Hack Reactor is close to $20,000! Of course, coding in the same room with other people 6 days a week for 12 hours would have been amazing, but that was a bit outside my scope.
Did you look at any other online bootcamps other than Firehose? Why did you choose Firehose?
I was considering Bloc pretty seriously and looked into them closely. Ultimately I was convinced by the personal connection and mentor quality at theFirehoseProject. Bloc has a great outreach and marketing team; they sent these beautifully-designed newsletters and hosted webinars etc., but I was really missing the personal touch in their curriculum.
With Firehose, I just registered and Marco invited me to a Google Hangout and explained how their program works and what is expected of me - it was very, very personal and I liked it.
What was the application process like for you?
They want to hear about your goals to make sure they can help you reach them. They also require you to submit some code before you’re accepted into the program. They have a coding bootcamp preparation course that people without good coding samples have to complete. From their and my own perspective it makes a lot of sense to prepare for a coding bootcamp so you can maximize your learning while having access to your coding mentors.
How much did it cost?
So once you registered, did they match you with a mentor?
Yes, since my goal was to find a job as a technical product manager or web developer, I was matched with my mentor Ken, who hired dozens of people to his own technical team before. They Firehose team is really selective about who can mentor their students, and the new mentors that they recently brought on are all senior web developers at PayPal and TechStars companies, or held senior developer positions at Flickr and bit.ly.
Were there time zone issues since your mentor was in the U.S?
Not really. Ken is based in Boston. You have to think about it and consider it, but it worked really good for us. We did our meetings during my evenings and his afternoons. I didn’t have any time constraints because I was going through Firehose fulltime.
Some of their other students worked full-time jobs while going through theFirehoseProject and they had to make sure they fit all their coursework into their schedule. But obviously that worked for those students as well, since one of them landed a new tech job during the Firehose program.
How did you and Ken communicate?
Q&A forum, email and Google Hangouts for mentor sessions and office hours.
Was there a set curriculum that you were going through on your own and then asking Ken questions? How did it work logistically?
The program consists of three web applications that increase in complexity. Each web application included new technologies that you need to learn so you can ship them live.
You also learn how to write really good Ruby code by solving real world coding challenges that you can expect to be asked during any technical interview for a developer job.
During the last four weeks I worked on a group project to get the real world experience of how great software is build by teams in a collaborative coding process.
The whole program is very flexible and self-paced, while working together with your personal coding mentor. We also had weekly office hours and group project meetings.
Were those weekly office hours done with other students?
Yes, their weekly office hours is a time where all the students come together and everyone can see their code, what troubles their running into and how the mentors troubleshoot any issues. The office hours are really helpful and I really enjoyed them.
Did you feel Firehose was personalized to what you needed or wanted to learn?
For sure. Every question I had was personalized. I wanted to dig deeper into test driven development, and my mentor was really flexible and taught me a lot of additional skills outside of the core curriculum.
For example, during the last month we focused on job interview preparation; Ken helped me design my resume and optimize it for development jobs. We went through a few mock interviews where he’d ask me questions so I could really prepare for the real interviews.
I also had to complete six coding challenges that are very likely to get asked during a web developer job interview. My mentor helped me go through the code and we practiced the solutions together.
You mentioned that you did three projects throughout. Were those assigned projects or were they projects that you came up with?
It’s a part of their core curriculum every student completes three web applications that increase in complexity and get pretty challenging.
During the last four weeks of the program I was also part of a group project. It’s 3-4 students and one of the code mentors is the technical lead. The group project is designed to make you learn how software is built in the real world: you have somebody telling your team what to build, maybe give you some wireframes and then the group has to break apart all the features into technical steps and start implementing them.
This was a different experience than simply coding by myself. We had to use GitHub like it is used in the real world when teams work together, fix code conflicts and always make sure that nobody is blocking somebody else on the team. Besides our personal code mentor, we also had one code mentor guiding us through the whole group project.
The project I built with my team is a platform where new developers can prepare themselves for technical interviews.
How did that logistically work, to work with a group?
It’s just like in the real world. We had weekly check-ins and we discussed next steps and things we need to do. We delegated tasks to be done by the next meeting.
That’s nice because it’s kind of like learning how to do remote work.
This taught us how to work remotely and also, to work as a team, which is really important as a developer. Teamwork is so different from working alone. You have to be in-tune with the work that your team members are doing so that you don’t destroy someone else’s work or stand in the way.
How many hours were you spending on Firehose each week?
Probably 30 hours a week. I wanted to finish the program strong and learn web development, but I also enjoyed a few weeks where I was going at a slower pace.
What did your mentor do in that last month to help with job preparation?
We revised my resume; it was a good “project management resume” but a pretty bad “developer resume.” My mentor really coached me on what and how to talk about my experience in the interview.
What are you up to now? Did you get a new job?
Yeah. I received multiple job offers after the program and actually started my new job last Monday. I’m a Ruby Developer for EnerNOC, a global energy intelligence company. Currently I’m developing a tool for analysts and operators who manage the switching and bidding on the energy market.
Are you working in Germany?
Yes, I work out of their office in Munich. There was a startup here in Munich doing something similar and EnerNOC acquired them this February.
How large is the dev team that you work with?
There are two other developers who hand over the work to me, before they leave at the end of December. We currently looking for another developer to work together with me.
Do you feel like you are at that level? Do you feel comfortable with that?
It’s pretty challenging. I think that it’s the best way to learn. f you’re new, then you often don’t know what you don’t know, but I love the challenge.
Is there anything else you wanted to add about Firehose or your experience?
I would totally recommend theFirehoseProject to everyone considering and online web development bootcamp.
Ken and Marco are running a top-notch program that attracts amazing mentors, while keeping a very personal touch. I’m sure they will continue to grow and go out of their way to help you have a great experience.
Welcome to the September News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the 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 →
The Firehose Project is an immersive online apprenticeship that teaches students of varying backgrounds to be web developers or launch their own products. While the curriculum is based in Ruby on Rails, mentors identify their mentees needs immediately and customize a learning plan for each student. We chat with Marco Morawec, founder of The Firehose Project, about their team of mentors, how they're supporting students in their journey to code, and the commitment required by students of the program.
What does the team at Firehose Project look like?
We’re 2 founders and about half a dozen code mentors that are helping us. Everyone on our team can code and we’re hand-picking every single mentor to make sure they have the relevant combination of technical and teaching skills.
Tell us about your background and how you got involved with the Firehose project?
My background is in web development and UX product manager. Before teaching people how to code I consulted Fortune 500 companies like P&G and John Deere and won Boston's biggest Hackathon (Angelhack). Most recently I led the user experience for peerTransfer, building a 1 Billion dollar a year international tuition payment platform. Before all that, I was carrying nothing more than a backpack and travelled around the world on $25/day for an entire year.
theFirehoseProject really started after I teamed up with my good friend Ken Mazaika, who was a tech lead at Where.com before it got acquired by PayPal, and we taught hundreds of students at places like Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Brown and the University of Hawaii how to code and use the same tools as the best startups in the country. After seeing how our different approach to teaching allowed so many students achieve amazing results in a short period of time it made sense to bring our “firehose” approach to teaching tech online, so we can reach more students.
When did the first cohort of the Firehose Project online course start?
The first students started using our online guides to build real-world web applications in August 2013 and the first 12 week cohort of theFirehoseProject started early in 2014.
The classes start every Monday, right? Do you organize people into cohorts? Are they interacting with each other online or are they only interacting with their mentor?
New students start every Monday and during the first few weeks they focus on building two fully functional web applications with the help of their mentor.
After the first few weeks of the apprenticeship, we start to custom-tailor our curriculum so students will be able to achieve their individual goals. For example, students with the goal of finding a job as a web developer, are paired with other students to collaborate and launch a real web application that solves an actual problem or need. Just like in the real world of being a web developer, students get specific wireframes and product specifications and write and review code in a team environment, guided by their individual mentor and team leader.
We found that students who can point to their collaborative coding project and understand how to thrive in a team based environment, using the same code collaboration tools as real startups, have a huge advantage in landing a job, over students who only code by themselves or together with their mentor.
So our students are treated like junior web developers very early on in our program and don’t have to wait until they hold that job title to experience what it is like as a junior web developer.
Does everybody who applies get accepted? Is there an interview process at all?
Me or another code mentor talk to every single student before they’re accepted into the program. We’re looking for motivation to learn in our students and make sure they’re a great fit to work on team projects.
After teaching hundreds of students with no prior coding experience how to build and launch web applications, we know we can teach anyone. But we really want to make sure that you’re motivated to learn and have a concrete goal that you want to achieve, be it landing a job as a web developer or launching your own startup idea.
What types of students have you seen do really well in Firehose and what kind of students don’t necessarily excel in that environment?
We've found all of our students are able to excel in our program. Mostly, that has to do with the fact that we’re looking for students who have a particular goal that they want to achieve - like launching their own startup or getting a job as a web developer - and then custom tailor our curriculum around each student’s goal.
How is the curriculum designed? Do you have unique content for your curriculum or do you pick and choose curated lessons from the web?
We developed 100% of our curriculum in house. In fact, our curriculum is constantly updated and improved. By updating our curriculum on an almost daily basis, we can make sure we consistently offer a better learning experience and keep up with the latest technology.
One place that enabled us to create the perfect core curriculum was our Q&A forum that helps students get unstuck within the hour. In the early days, our entire team was basically “why did 3 students ask the same question on lesson 31 about 5 minutes ago? Let’s fix that”. After hundreds of improvements and countless hours of work we finally nailed down the perfect curriculum for our students.
Are you focusing on a particular technology?
Who are your mentors? What are you looking for in a mentor and what’s the process to become a mentor?
To be a mentor at theFirehoseProject you need to have teaching experience and be able to explain a complex web development concept to a classroom full of beginners. Then you also need to be a great developer, know your coding game inside out and actively help people in the Q&A forum and consistently improve theFirehoseProject curriculum.
We have a big coding event at Harvard coming up soon, so we definitely taking a group of our mentors into the classroom again.
Has anyone who’s gotten a job after doing Firehose or actually launched their own product?
Yes, we have multiple students who’ve gotten a job after they graduated, in fact one student just received a job offer half-way through our program, accepted the job and now continues to code together with the other students on his Firehose team project in the evenings.
Another student built an on-demand marijuana delivery platform, pretty much like Uber for marijuana. He’s launching this fall in several cities and is working on his delivery startup full-time.
Have you had students who are being sponsored by their companies?
Absolutely. We’ve had that happen before, especially for students who go through our program while holding a full-time job.
How many hours a week do you estimate that it takes students?
The minimum amount time that we require students to dedicate to coding is 15 hours per week. With 15 hours per week you’ll be able to progress at a good speed and finish strong.
That said, we have many students who are putting in 40-50 hours per week into the program and obviously those students are taking more knowledge and skills out of it.
Whether you put in 15 or 50 hours, we always keep your learning curve steep and make sure we adjust our curriculum to your personal goals and what you want to get out of the program.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn’t touch on about Firehose?
One of the most common reason why people come to us, is because we’re the very opposite of all the other “cookie cutter” curriculums out there.
At theFirehoseProject all of our students are part of the team and are treated like junior web developers while they go through their customized curriculum together with our mentors.
Want to learn more about The Firehose Project? Check out their School Page on Course Report or their website here!
Welcome to the August News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the 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 →