Viking Code School
Viking Code School aims to provide the support of an in-person class with the flexibility of learning from home. While students don't need previous programming experience, applicants should be highly motivated, capable of learning quickly and should communicate well. Viking Code School is incentivized to get students software engineering jobs- if graduates do not get a job within 6 months, the Immersive Program tuition is completely free, and the Flex Program Guaranteed Tier offers a full refund.
Recent Viking Code School Reviews: Rating 4.62
Recent Viking Code School News
- Guide to Income Share Agreements and Deferred Tuition at Coding Bootcamps
- Guide to Coding Bootcamps with Job Guarantees
- Which Coding Bootcamps Have Been Acquired?
In PersonPart Time
Deposit None Tuition Plans Dial in exactly the level of support you want and choose from any of our available plans, which are pay-as-you-go.
In PersonFull Time80 Hours/week
Deposit $2,000 non-refundable deposit Tuition Plans Payment plan is available Refund / Guarantee Students eligible for tuition deferral pay 18% of their first year's salary during the course of that year or a fixed-price option of $11,800.
Minimum Skill Level Be prepared to write code, build an app, and pair-program with an instructor. This is very rigorous program with a challenging application and interview process. Prep Work Prep covers everything from basics of web development to design to engineering to coding. It can be found at https://www.vikingcodeschool.com/prep Placement Test Yes Interview Yes
Viking Code School Reviews
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- It turns you into a professional developer- 11/21/2017Nicolas Amaya • Software Engineer • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online • Verified via LinkedIn
I'm now building my own startup based on a web app and I find, with much joy, that I have the skills to make it happen.
If I had to say one thing about the program, it would be that it really will turn you into a professional developer. It is designed with that goal in mind, it expects a lot of effort from you but gives you the necessary support, and it really helps you push through that barrier.
Obviously being a professional developer is not about reaching a static set of skills, it means continuous improvement and further experience, so I would underscore that this program is great if you are serious about working as a developer.
Favourite things about the program:
- A focus on understanding the way things work under the surface rather than just getting them to work.
- Relentless building of app after app after app, working constantly with other people.
- The curriculum is top notch, and the instructors are extraordinary.
- Even a while after finishing, I have the feeling I belong to a great community.
- I only really have one, which is that I found it really hard to keep healthy habits during the program. It's very consuming. This was probably made worse by the fact that, in Europe, the program ended every day at 2am.
For me the program was a high investment for a high reward, and I would do it again without a doubt.
This program hammers into you the inner certainty that whatever you need to build, you can understand the needs, find and learn the necessary technology, make solid design decisions and ultimately build a solid product. I recommend it wholeheartedly if you want to be a professional developer.
- Definitely recommend it!- 10/15/2017Greg Filipczak • Full Stack Developer • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online • Verified via LinkedIn
It's definitely intense, but it's also a really fun program. It may feel a bit overwhelming at times, but you won't be alone. You pair program every day with fellow students, so you'll be sharing the experience with other people who are going through the same thing. I can't tell you how helpful that was to me. You'll also learn a ton from your fellow students and get different perspectives on the same problem. It's really valuable. You also won't feel isolated from the group because you meet everyone three times a day. Once in the morning to talk about the reading homework and theme for the day and twice to go over code - right after lunch and at the end of the day. Those code reviews are extremely helpful because you'll get feedback on what you've written and it will push you to write better, cleaner code. It's going to push you out of your comfort zone at first, especially if you've been learning to code by yourself up to this point. It may seem scary, but it's one of the most beneficial parts of the program. I've already mentioned that it will improve your code, but it's also going to make you a more confident developer which is really important coming from a non-traditional background. I just got hired, and the interview process was a breeze compared to what you get used to at Viking. That's not to say that it isn't fun, though! The instructors do a great job of keeping the lessons interesting, but they also have a lot of fun with the group. You'll get to know them and the other people in your cohort well because you'll be working with a different one of them pair programming throughout the day. Pair programming may not be for everyone, though, so you'll need to break out of your "I'm never wrong" mindset. Again, this is a really beneficial skill to develop as a coder and was something that was communicated to me by my employer. You need to be able to communicate effectively and work within a team, and Viking does a great job to prepare you for that. It may feel abrasive at first, but you gradually learn to enjoy it, and you'll be a better developer for it.
The instructors are fantastic and willing to help at a moment's notice. They're also a great source of reassurance as well. I highly recommend this program if you're looking to get your money's worth. You will be pushed, but it's so worth it at the end. Apply!
- Had a great time / exceeded expectations- 8/15/2017Matt Hinea • Full-Stack Web Developer • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online • Verified via LinkedIn
Viking is great. The course material is top-notch. I bring techniques I learned at Viking to my job as a full-stack developer almost every day. My coworkers, all of whom have CS degrees, who stopped accepting applications from code school grads just days after mine came in, have told me that I'm "full of useful tricks" (100% of which I learned at Viking). I actually logged back into my Viking account today to brush up on Rspec and Rails testing, because we're rolling out a new application at work, and because the content and writing is so much better than anything else I can find on the internet. There's enough info in the Viking courses to keep you busy for well over a year, which is generous, since the immersive course is only 4 months or so, but it's great to keep coming back to. I can't speak to the quality of students of every cohort, but I can say that my cohort (Summer 2016) was jam-packed with brilliant, kind, and all-around lovely people, all of whom I really admired. Pair-programming for 6-8 hours a day meant that I was able to sustain myself for the duration of the admittedly heavy course load, because it felt like I was socializing the entire time I was learning. Erik, Viking's founder, is a really stand-up guy, and a terrific person to have in your Gmail contacts for life, and the instructors I worked with (Kit, Chris, Andur) were all basically perfect at their jobs as well. I have weirdly fond memories of going through the immersive program at Viking, weird only because despite the course being so time-consuming, technically challenging, and entirely remote, it was also lots of fun. All that in combination with their job hunt support and payment plan makes me think you'd be hard pressed to name a non-traditional CS program that could even compete. If you can think of one, email me.
- Pramod Jacob • Web Developer • Student • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online • Verified via GitHub
Hi all. My name is Pramod, and I’m a web developer who had the privilege of attending Viking Code School from the Fall of 2016 to early 2017.
Viking Code School changed my life in ways I couldn’t have possibly imagined when I first started. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone with a passion for programming and the drive to work extra-hard (emphasis on the *extra*) to start a career as a full-fledged software developer.
Before I attended Viking, I studied mechanical engineering in undergrad and worked for General Dynamics as a full-time engineer. Within just one year, I was simply “going through the motions” at work. I realized that mechanical engineering simply wasn’t the right field for me - the work I did was not technically challenging or stimulating by any means, and to be quite frank, it was a bit soul-crushing. So, in my free time, I decided to pursue a passion that I’ve always had but never fully delved into - programming. I latched onto it fast, and I quickly realized that I wanted nothing more than to be a software developer.
I started researching bootcamps, and I looked into programs like Hack Reactor, Flatiron, and the New York Code & Design Academy. Viking bested them all during my search for the following reasons:
- It’s not easy to get in. Many bootcamps will simply let you in without testing your knowledge, but I had to go through a rigorous interview process in order to get invited to the program. Viking expects excellence, and it felt great knowing that I was in good company.
- There are no up-front costs that will break the bank. You don’t have to pay for the bootcamp until after you get a job. That means Viking has a vested interest in your success - they’ll do everything in their power to ensure that you find a rewarding software developer position.
- The program is remote. I learned web development from the comfort of my own home in Philadelphia, and I didn’t have to break the bank by moving to bootcamp hotspots like San Francisco or New York City - amazing towns with jaw-dropping rent prices.
- The program covers algorithms & data structures. You’d be surprised at how many bootcamps don’t even touch on these topics, but knowledge of algos is absolutely fundamental for becoming a software developer, especially for the interview process.
- The program is heavily project-based, and the projects are fun! The best way to learn programming isn’t just by learning theory - it’s by applying your knowledge over and over again. Projects are, far and away, the best way to learn programming, and you do a lot ofcool projects as part of Viking. In the few months I was there, I made a Facebook clone with Ruby on Rails, a historical stock portfolio simulator with AngularJS, Tetris, Snake, and a one-stop resource for learning resources (with a team of 5). And those are just the projects I can remember!
- A large chunk of the program is devoted to the job hunt. Resume reviews, mock interviews, and networking tasks are all a vital part of the program. I wasn’t kidding about Viking’s vested interest in your success! Personally, this was the most difficult part of Viking for me but quite possibly the most helpful and rewarding.
- The program is TOUGH. Just look at how thorough and comprehensive the prep work is over at the VCS website. And that’s just the beginning. After the prep work, you spend 10 hours a day for 15 weeks becoming an honest-to-God professional web developer. You tackle some really comprehensive yet fun projects, and you’re frequently tested on your knowledge. All of this requires a LOT of drive and motivation. Sometimes, you’ll have to work extremely hard just to keep up. That being said, if you get through the crucible, you will come out as an excellent software developer.
The 15 weeks I spent with Viking was quite possibly the most difficult thing I’ve went through in my entire life, but I had amazing instructors supporting me all the way through and excellent friends within my cohort. Despite the difficulty of the program, it never felt like work. Instead, it felt like I was spending time in good company and learning programming along the way. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade those 15 weeks for anything.
Thanks to Viking, I was actually able to get an amazing web development job before I even finished the program. On top of that, I realized as soon as I started that I was more prepared for the job than some of the other bootcampers who were hired - bootcampers from reputable programs like General Assembly and Flatiron. If that isn’t a testament to Viking’s quality as a bootcamp, I’m not sure what is.
All in all, I was initially hesitant of signing up for a bootcamp, knowing that many were scams simply out to get your money. Viking Code School is not one of those bootcamps. Your success comes first, above all else. If you’re willing to put in the massive amount of effort that Viking expects from you, then you will become a developer - but you gotta want it. If you’re serious about becoming a true, full-fledged software developer, then Viking is the best bootcamp out there, bar none.
- A fantastic experience- 8/6/2017Philip Johnson • Software Engineer • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online • Verified via GitHub
I was in the Viking 2016 immersive program and am currently working as a software engineer at a large financial firm. Before this I had gotten a degree in English and was working as an editor and teacher. So I had quite a career switch.
Also, I should probably mention that whilst looking for a job after the program, I actually ended up working part time for Viking as a teaching assistant, aiding the primary instructors by helping students squash bugs, etc. and covering some office hours in the evenings. I even made a few humble contributions to the curriculum.
Anyway, I looked at several schools before choosing Viking, but I ended up there for three reasons. First, it fit my schedule/location because it was, of course, online. Second, the deferred tuition allowed me to afford the course and also ensured I would become skilled enough to actually be hired, since the school’s fees were contingent on my getting a job. Finally, I was extremely impressed by the clarity and depth of the free prep work.
I took the Ruby/AngularJS curriculum, but really I think the specific technology wasn’t especially important; I work mostly in Angular and C# now, both of which I learned on the job. What was great about Viking was that I was taught not just specific coding syntax but how to think like a developer—how to approach problems, how to write maintainable code, how to architect an application, how to work with other developers, and that all important skill of development—how to Google for solutions. Learning so much so fast during the program taught me how to learn new skills on my own.
Viking isn’t for everyone. One really has to be self-motivated, because, frankly, it’s a ton of work and long hours for many weeks. It was difficult to keep up, especially at the beginning. And there are naturally ups and downs during the course—days you feel dynamite and others when you’re convinced you’re hopeless. The program was worth the effort, however: I came out solidly prepared for the job. My manager has said I far exceeded his expectations (thanks?), and I’ve heard similar stories from classmates. (One company I applied to informed me during the interview that I was the only applicant ever to get 100% on their take-home problem set.) I’ve also encountered students from other bootcamps and have been a little stunned by the shallowness of their programs’ curriculums. So I’ve been so floored with my selection of Viking.
As for the job search afterward, it was definitely not easy, and for whatever reason (maybe my location, maybe luck, maybe that damn English degree) I was one of the last people in my class to find one. But in the end I had a couple companies interested in hiring me and I now not only love my job, but also feel right at home talking shop with the rest of the developers.
So, long story short—I couldn’t be happier with my experience at Viking. It has a superb curriculum and a terrific community, myriad Slack emoji, and offers a life-changing opportunity.
- Best Decision I Have Ever Made (seriously)- 3/8/2017Morgan Martin • Web Developer • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online • Verified via GitHub
Hey, my name's Morgan, I graduated the 2016 Immersive program at Viking.
TL/DR: Attending VCS was the best choice I have made so far in my 22 years of living. It helped me jump-start my career when college couldn't, and now I enjoy going to work every day because I get to do what I love. However, it is not an easy program and it will make you work every step of the way.
Before Viking, I attended college for computer science. Unfortunately, funds ran dry and I did not want to take on student loans. I had read that it was possible, albeit difficult, to get a job in software without a degree and that web development was booming. So, I left college three semesters in and set out to teach myself web development.
I did a lot of research to try to find some of the best free resources online. I found out about The Odin Project which is a sister project to VCS, though I didn't know it at the time. I quickly put all my energy toward progressing through TOP. As it turns out though, learning to program is HARD and teaching yourself to do it is even harder. And on top of that, I was working various full time jobs throughout these months/years and was always too busy or tired to sit down and program when I got off work.
Eventually, I got a lucky break and was able to put back enough money to look into attending a code school. It was about that time that I received a promotional email from The Odin Project informing me of VCS, so I studied my butt off for a couple weeks and I was in!
There were a couple of nervous months where I continued to teach myself and did the prep work I was assigned, and then finally the program began in July.
I was very impressed with the lesson material and content, as it was exhaustive as well as exhausting :) It's been said that code schools are akin to drinking from a firehose and VCS was no exception. But despite how tired I felt on weekends, it was well worth it. I think the lessons/projects hit the sweet spot of teaching us just enough to make us feel confident, but didn't waste too much time elaborating on minutiae either. Of course, I can say that in retrospect, but while I was in it, I felt like I was only retaining 10% of the knowledge being thrown at me.
Also, I should note that the instructors were phenomenal. Infinitely patient and they had a deep understanding of the material. I asked those guys question after question for four months and very rarely did I get an "I'm not sure." Even if they didn't know they would either try to find out or point me in the right direction.
Okay, story time. So at the end of the program we had our final, two week long projects. We split up into groups, and as fate would have it, I ended up on in the small group of four vs the other team's intimidating 10 (or so.) We took a couple of days to plan out our projects according to the SCRUM methodology as best we could and got to work. Unfortunately, after about a week my team and I realized we had very little to show despite our best efforts. Communication was not where it should have been and the project suffered as a result. So, we got our butts in gear, essentially re-built our project from the ground up(!) and by the time presentations rolled around at the end of the week, we had a reasonably well working application that we felt fairly proud of. The reason I mention it, is because after that quite stressful week, my team members and I unanimously decided we had learned some valuable lessons about persevering through a project and seeing things to the end. I use some of the lessons I learned during that week every day at my new job and I am grateful that Viking's structure gave me the opportunity to learn them.
After final projects, the program was technically "over." I use quotes because it wasn't really. We were still expected to spend the majority of our time applying to jobs, going to code meetups and whatever else we could think of to try to get an interview. Erik gave us plenty of ideas to implement in our job search process but it was still a nail-biting month and a half for me while I hunted for my first dev home. But in the end, I got two offers and chose the lesser one because the company was closer to home. And I got a 5k bump in salary thanks to Erik's great negotiation advice.
So to wrap it up, I would definitely recommend Viking to anyone interested in beginning a career in web development. It is not an easy program, but you will learn a ton, and if you work really (and I mean *really*) hard you WILL get a job at the end of it all. If I could do it without a college degree, anyone can!
P.S. If anyone reads this review and would like to reach out to me to ask questions about the program, feel free. Like some of the other Vikings that have commented here, I had some trouble sourcing information about the program when I first started researching it and it ended up feeling like I was taking a very big leap. It all turned out good in the end, but if I can help someone in the same shoes as myself assuage some of that anxiety, I would be more than happy. My email is `email@example.com`. Cheers!
- Raised prices, out of my reach!- 1/5/2018Melissa
- I Liked It: A Viking Code School Review- 8/14/2017Mike L. • Software Engineer • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online
Hi. I’ve read through the other reviews on this site and agree wholeheartedly with what everyone else has said about VCS (except for that one guy who didn’t do the program). I graduated from the July 2016 immersive program and am now working as a software engineer in cyber-security solutions.
There isn’t much more to say than what has already been addressed in other reviews. I will say, though, that after talking to friends who have graduated bootcamps and having shared our experiences, I haven’t come across a bootcamp education that is as comprehensive as VCS’. The education I got here was thorough and exhaustive, giving me a wide range of knowledge that was not only helpful during the interview process, but has been very effective in helping me growing as a developer. Just a couple days ago, I was explaining to someone (a bootcamp grad) the difference between BFS and DFS, and I realized other bootcamps do not have a data structures and algorithms unit (VCS does).
Ultimately, this bootcamp does what all good bootcamps do: They teach you the fundamentals to get you to your first job, where you’ve learned enough to help more seasoned developers build things and allow them to help you continue your path as a developer. Even though I learned more at my bootcamp, my bootcamp grad friends are also employed, learning a ton, and enjoying the work. When comparing VCS to other great bootcamps, the real differences that I’ve found are the deferred tuition option and the fact that it’s an online program.
The deferred tuition is a no-brainer positive. I only paid a down payment and nothing else until I was employed. It’s great. I never had to fear that I was sinking a ton of money into something that wasn’t going to get me a job. If anything, that’s probably why the education is as amazing as it is. They really want you to get a job. On the other side, when looking for jobs, I never felt any pressure to take the first job that was offered to me (so that I could pay them back sooner). Quite the opposite. I was always encouraged to find something that I found interest in and wanted to learn (which I did).
The online element of the program was, for me at least, a mixed bag. Before starting the program, I was so glad it was online. I didn’t have to move anywhere, I didn’t have to wake up early for class (I’m on the East Coast), and no commute. No commute.. let that sink in. I could wake up, sit down in front my computer in my pajamas, and start class. It was glorious. The flip side, and this is something I realized after talking to others and working as a developer, is that writing code with a group of people is different when done online as opposed to in person. I think VCS does a good job of handling this by doing a lot of pair programming and group projects, but at the end of the day, white-boarding out a problem is better done in person than through video chat (imo). It’s a part of being a developer that I’ve come to enjoy a lot (the in-person collaboration) and only got a piece of at VCS. Being home all day in your pajamas, while awesome, can sometimes be isolating. I wouldn’t discourage a person from doing this program because of it (unless you absolutely hate pajamas and being home. Well, I guess you could remote from a cafe), but I do think it is something to be considered.
Hey, I guess I did have some things to say. Anyway, if you got in the program or are considering applying, do it! It’s a ton of work, you meet interesting people, and at the end of the day, you build a lot of cool stuff. Also, I can’t help but reiterate what others have said about how great the instructors are, but yeah, they’re great. So that’s all I have to say. Viking Code School: I liked it.
- Lives Up to Expectations- 3/21/2017Alex Lach • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online
TL/DR: I graduated from the Viking Code School’s July 2016 immersive program, and it is both as challenging and rewarding as advertised.
I studied political science in college and worked in politics and campaigns for about 5 years before starting at VCS. I started teaching myself programming after my job became more and more focused on data and analytics. I realized I had a passion for the mix of problem-solving and creativity that coding afforded me, and after a year or so of teaching myself through various online resources, I realized two things: 1) I really wanted to transition to a career in software and web development, and 2) I would never make that transition while learning on my own.
After hearing about people in similar situations enrolling in coding bootcamps, I started doing some research. Like you’re doing right now, I read tons of reviews of different programs on sites like this one, trying to figure out the best match for me. So here are some answers to some of the questions you, like me, might have:
YES, students really do get legit engineering jobs after the program. I might as well address this at the beginning, since it was the most important thing for me as well. I received my first offer about 6 weeks after the program ended, and a second offer shortly after that (which I accepted) as a Full-Stack Engineer at a biotech start-up in Cambridge, MA. When I accepted my offer, over half of my cohort of 13 students had already accepted offers and the others were right on my heels as well. This is real, folks.
YES, it’s a ton of work. Compared with other bootcamps, VCS has both more weeks and more hours per week. 70 and 80 hour weeks were routine, so you need to prepare yourself to let the program pretty much take over your life.
Living on the East Coast, class started at 11 AM, with an hour or so of review and QA from the last night’s reading. We would then spend 3 hours with a partner (different classmate each day) on a project, usually incorporating some of the concepts we had read about the night before. During this time, you could ask for help from one of the TAs if you got stuck on something. After lunch from 3 - 4PM, we would come back together as a class and do code review of what people had built in the first session, and then usually spend 10-20 minutes solving an algorithm and explaining our answers. That was followed by another 3 - 3.5 hour session with the same partner, either continuing the morning’s project, starting a new one, or continuing an ongoing project that might span a few days. The day wrapped up with another session of code review (this was usually done in smaller groups, not the whole class) and then an hour or two of reading a night. So yeah, it’s no joke.
Of course, the benefit of those longer hours and increased number of weeks is that VCS is able to provide a wider and deeper curriculum than any other bootcamp I researched. This was one of the main factors in why I chose this program over others. It’s been said in a number of other reviews, but I learned more than I could even imagine. And while it could be exhausting at times, it also never stopped being energizing, as it’s easy to get excited when you’re literally learning dozens of new things every single day.
NO, it’s not for everyone. Having just talked about the workload, clearly not everyone is ready to commit to 70 or 80 hours a week of work, and that is certainly reasonable. And furthermore, VCS has higher standards for its applicants and includes a tougher interview process than any of the other bootcamps I was considering. But what this means for you, as a VCS student, is that your classmates end up being just as committed to working hard and learning as you are. I was constantly impressed by the ability and dedication of my fellow students, and with this bootcamp (like so many others) based largely on partner and group work, it’s critical that you’re able to trust, and learn from, other members of your cohort.
YES, you will have support along the way. Apart from not having to dig into your bank account until you have a paycheck again, the other benefit of VCS’s deferred payment model is that they’re committed to and invested in your success. But the team that runs the program are clearly not just doing this to make a buck. It was evident from the first conversation I had with Erik (the founder and main instructor) that he is passionate about educating people to succeed in engineering roles on day one. He and the TAs are almost always available to talk about the course material, your bigger picture goals, and the job search process.
NO, you don’t have to commute. VCS is one of the only full-time immersive bootcamps done entirely remotely. In my experience, this was almost entirely a positive thing. When you’re spending 70 or 80 hours a week in class, being able to save 5 or 10 hours a week of commuting to and from your bootcamp is incredibly important. It can potentially be the difference between occasionally being able to see your friends and family or not.
The instruction and partner work, all done through Google Hangouts, was really smooth and I ended up really getting to know my classmates and building good relationships. Plus, you get to meet students from across the country and world (and potentially gaining a couch to crash on if you’re ever in their neck of the woods).
YES, you will be prepared for the job search and the interview process. Pretty much from day one, you’ll be doing things with an eye toward the job search and interview process. The daily algorithms I mentioned earlier are meant to mimic the types of whiteboarding questions you might see in an interview, and were essential for learning how to tackle those quickly. During the first half of the program, and even before you start, there’s a focus on really figuring out what type of company and role you would want, what salary range you’re looking for, where you would move, and all types of other questions to really get your job search honed in on only roles you would want. And starting in the second half of the program, you start networking and sending out applications, and as was the case with most students, getting some interviews.
VCS has a good set of materials to help you prepare for the job search, both on the technical side and preparing for behavioral questions. But the best thing is their focus on networking and getting in through the side door. Yes, you will be applying to dozens of jobs a week at times, but VCS will make sure lots of your time and energy are spent reaching out to engineers at companies you like, attending meet-ups, and going to hackathons. It’s simply a reality that recruiters are getting dozens of resumes every day, and having some sort of connection can at least give you a chance to interview. And then it’s all up to you.
NO, I can’t make this decision for you. But I can’t recommend Viking Code School highly enough. It’s the best career decision I’ve ever made.
- You'll be pushed- 2/15/2017CJ • Software Engineer • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online
My name is CJ, and I’m a graduate of the July 2016 cohort at Viking Code School. I’ve always had the dream of being a software engineer, but got side-tracked into a different path for various reasons. When I learned about the web development community and its forward-thinking mindset, that dream was re-ignited once more. I bounced between multiple technologies ranging from Python to Java, but was always stuck at the learning phase. I could never get to a point where I could be confident about my ability to take an application from zero to sixty.
Viking Code School provided everything that I needed to reach that phase. Its curriculum closely mirrors the AGILE process of rapid iteration. You’re pretty much coding all day, seven days a week. During the evenings, you’re reading up on the following day’s lesson and catching up with the latest on sites like Hacker News.
Viking Code School is not for everyone. You need to be passionate about not just coding, but software engineering in general. If you’re like me and don’t come from a technical background, be prepared to ramp up an algorithmic mindset in order to keep up with those who do.
That said, I’ve enjoyed every single bit of the experience during my cohort. I would recommend it to anyone who’s passionate about the industry and needs the skill to participate in it.
- VCS Review- 12/31/2016Leo A. • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online
If you are considering attending a coding bootcamp, I would recommend putting Viking Code School (VCS) on the shortlist.
The foremost question on most people's minds when looking for a bootcamp is, "will this get me a job?" In the case of VCS, the short answer is: yes. Is it a guarantee? No, not entirely. But what VCS does offer is deferred payment (based on you getting a job), which adds a layer of accountability and helps you to focus on learning, networking, and interviewing.
The format of VCS is focused on pair programming through Google Hangouts. At times this could be hit or miss due to connectivity issues, but overall it was a very effective way for multiple people to work on code. VCS is a remote program, which has its pluses and minuses. You can save time and money on commuting and relocating. You do miss out on learning in a classroom environment, but the nature of software development narrows the difference between working 'in-person' and remotely. The teaching assistants were top notch. They were knowledgeable far beyond what was the necessary for the class, and, most importantly, were invested your learning. The class size was small, starting with about 20 people and ending with 13 (people having dropped out for various reasons). I would also recommend looking at The Odin Project and the VCS prep work to get a general feel for what the VCS curriculum will cover.
If you do decide to attend VCS, be ready for 11+ hours of living and breathing code every day. This is not an easy program and taking shortcuts will quickly come back to bite you. You will feel constantly pushed and at the edge of what you are comfortable with, which is necessary to pack so much information into such a short period of time. This is not a program for everyone, so consider all of the implications and do your research before you make the jump.
For me, the program was a good match. The structure and pace of the program forced me to learn quickly and kept me focused day after day. Technically all the curriculum material is out there floating on the internet, but I know myself well enough to understand that I need something to keep me on track. Once I started the program I felt like I was learning more in a day than what I had learned in a week of self-teaching. And this accelerated learning quickly paid off. I started interviewing for jobs about halfway through my VCS program and was soon offered positions at a couple different companies. I decided to join as a Devops Engineer at a well established tech company. How quickly you get a job may vary depending on location and background (I have an engineering background), but VCS equips you with the tools necessary to impress interviewers and get in the door. Overall, I would give VCS a full-hearted recommendation to anyone looking to start a career in development.
- Johnny Steenbergen • Software Engineer • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online
Hey there, Johnny here from the Viking Summer 2016 immersive cohort
First off Viking Code School (VCS) is bad to the bone, please read on!
TLDR: VCS is a completely legit, life-changing experience that I recommend with every fiber of my being! But it’s not for the faint of heart, prepare to work your tail off
I would rate my experience a solid ->
“holy mother of pearl I loved this program and the perspective it has given me!”
A solid 100%, a ★★★★★/★★★★★ rating.
I reallllly enjoyed my time with VCS!
How’d I get here you ask?
I was an electrical engineer and project lead at the Boeing Company working on state of the art power supply designs before joining VCS. I began using software to eliminate a lot of the minutia in my day to day. I fell in love with SW it and found myself bombarded with entrepreneurial ideas that I didn’t know how to make a reality.
Now, all that has changed.
What have I gained from my VCS experience and what can you expect?
First off, I’ve received numerous job offers from companies near and far while classes were in session and after. I’m extremely happy to be joining Asynchrony Labs here in January 2017. I’m also working to build the entrepreneurial dreams I’ve had over the past few years. Viking prepares you with hands-on projects. It will challenge you in ways you’ve never been challenged before. Most of the people here have touched on the style of teaching you will see at Viking and it is really amazing. I’ve also shared a blog on medium outlining the life of a Viking student (check it out here).
You won’t be spoon-fed the material, you will have to put in the work so you are prepared to crush the multitude of projects you will be completing. Get use to the agile workflow b/c we embrace it at VCS. It's a huge benefit to have had this exposure when you start to interview with companies who will be using something like it (if they are worth their salt).
The curriculum itself is soooo much better than reading a university textbook. I spend 100s of hours in my university days boring through textbooks. Freaking hated it. But at VCS you will be able to build alongside the material (do it, it’ll help you learn the material a lot better!) and you won’t feel the boredom like you would at the university. You will learn best practices in the industry.
The Proof is in the pudding
Check out the prep work they have on their website, it really showcases the complete software engineers that they are building through the program, not just some code monkey. If you enjoyed the prep work, you’ll LOVE the program!
Buckle up you’re in for a treat
- Fantastic Program!- 12/27/2016Hannah S. • Software Engineer • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online
I had a fantastic experience as a student at Viking Code School!
To start, here is a little background on me. I graduated from UC Berkeley in Civil and Environmental Engineering and worked at a startup doing semi-technical work and working side-by-side with software engineers. That’s when I decided to take the leap and become a full time software engineer!
Why Viking over other bootcamps?? When I applied to coding bootcamps, I did A LOT of research. In the end, I narrowed it down to bootcamps with the deferred payment model. (App Academy and Viking Code School). I got into both and decided on VCS for a few main reasons:
- Small Personal Class Sizes. My cohort was only 13 people and we had 4 instructors, which made for a really great personalized learning environment. I attended the App Academy jumpstart program and was a little turned off by the number of students in each class (~65) and the lack of personal attention.
- Longer Program Length. The VCS program is four months long while most others are 2-3 months long. There is just so much to learn, and the longer the program, the better you will understand the material.
- The people! The instructors are terrific and are both great programmers, and fantastic teachers. They also have a deep understanding of the job market and are always there to help.
- The course material. Before the program, I did the prepwork on vikingcodeschool.com. I was VERY impressed with the material. You should definitely read through all of it and decide if it fits your learning style.
A note on remote learning….Yes, VCS is a remote program, which scared me at first also. There are occasional technical difficulties, but overall they do not hinder the program. Pair programming over google hangouts was actually very effective. You don’t get the casual side conversations, and sometimes you have to work a little harder to convey what you’re thinking. However, I was always working with someone or in a group meeting, so I never felt alone! You also don’t have to commute which makes a huge difference especially when the program itself takes up ~12 hours a day including homework. You also can jump out of bed, wear whatever you want, and save money on commuting and eating out. Now that I have a job, I actually really miss working remotely!
A note on program intensity…The program is A LOT of work. The instructors are there to help you if you are willing to put in the work. I’ll say it again, you have to be willing to work really, really hard! We had quizzes every Monday, and if you did poorly on multiple you were kicked out. We started with 21 students and finished with 13 because people didn’t realize how intense it was/were asked to leave/decided it wasn’t the right type of program, etc. Class is 8am-6pm PST M-F, we had ~2hrs of reading every night and multiple assignments on the weekend. Just know what you are getting into and be realistic about how much time you are willing to devote!
I received my first job offer a week after the program ended and my second a few days after that. It took some of my other classmates much longer (a few months), but I think it helped that I had a technical background and I worked overtime and did more than was required when it came to job stuff. I am very happy in my current position (Fullstack Software Engineer at a ~200 person silicon valley startup) and am extremely grateful to VCS!
VCS is a really terrific program and I highly suggest it! Hope this review helped! :)
- BAIT AND SWITCH- 11/19/2016Harry Khan • sales • Applicant
So I had a skype call with Eric, and to be honest he is a nice enough guy, intelligent, and knows what he's doing.
However what I didn't like about him was the bait and switch tactics.
VCS is heavily promoted as being "tuition-deferred"...in fact they show up at the top of almost all the searches.
However during the call, he was heavily pressuring me into taking the "non-deferred" option...which is USD 13,800 paid upfront.
I was shocked by this as NOWHERE ON HIS WEBSITE DOES IT EVEN SAY THAT THIS IS AN OPTION.
Just another example of people trying to take advantage of students and education.
- Great Decision- 11/8/2016Graham Turner • Software Engineer • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online
My name is Graham and I just completed Viking's Fall 2016 cohort (July 5th - October 28th). Before Viking I spent some time working as a middle school teacher, and in software sales. While working for a SaaS startup, I knew my desire was to be on a more techinical team, and decided to jump in head first with Viking.
It was a scary decison, because like most people googling for Viking Reviews, there wasn't a ton of information out there. I couldn't afford to fork over 15k upfront for a more traditional in-person code school so I knew Viking was my best shot.
I was pleasently suprised by how in depth the course material went. These guys really know their stuff. The focus on pair programming ensures that you are staying on pace and mainting best practices. The TA's are an incredible wealth of knowledge, and the other students you work with will suprise you with their brilliance.
During and after the program I've ahd the opportunity to meet other boot camp grads and developers, and they are always impressed by how capable I am as a developer after only four months.
I'm now a week out of the program and have already accepted a Software Engineer position at a local company, so I would say it was definitely the right move for me. Viking has a TON of upsides, the only downside being that you are going to have to go out and hustle to build your own hiring network (which wasn't quite as difficult as I thought it would be).
I would reccommend the course to absolutely anyone!
- Awesome, rewarding experience- 8/31/2016Kelsey James • Front End Developer • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online
My name is Kelsey, and I was in the January 2016 Viking Code School
cohort. I'd considered code schools for a while beforehand, ever since I
reached a point where I felt I needed help to get to a professional level.
I completed the interview with Viking, and was accepted a few days later.
Even before the program started, we had prep work to do, which set the
tone for the effort and reward involved.
I was in the full time program, which meant 16 weeks of writing code all
day, every day. We spent most of the time pair programming, rotating
between different partners, although we also had individual projects. This
way, we learned more than simple coding skills; we learned how to solve
problems beyond the scope of a rigidly defined exercise.
Our final project was built in teams over the course of 2 weeks, and was
designed and scoped entirely by the students. Learning those time
management skills, as well as how to properly scope a project, has been
just as useful in my new career as every algorithm question put together.
When we started applying for jobs, we had practice interviews set up as
well as weekly checkins even after the program had officially ended. I
received an offer about a month after completing the program, and I've
been working there for 2 months now. I still have a lot to learn, but
Viking has helped give me the confidence to know that my journey is just
- Challenging and rewarding bootcamp experience- 8/10/2016Julia Herron Flanagan • Student • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online
Hi I’m Julia, and I graduated from the January 2016 immersive program.
Viking exceeded my very high expectations and propelled me to a career that I love. I am now a Software Engineer working in Python and Flask.
I graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Environmental Economics and landed a project manager position at a solar monitoring company. From there, I got interested in coding and landed a software QA position at the same company. In that job, I spent 30% of my day writing automated tests in Python, and the other 70% doing manual testing and putting out fires. I kept seeking out more coding at work, and I spent my nights and weekends working through tutorials and reading Hacker News. I’m a very logical person (I love to play chess), and I find that coding presents a really rewarding balance of interacting with people and getting computers to do what I want.
I researched a large number of post-baccalaureate programs, graduate degrees, and bootcamps before making my decision (seriously, you should have seen my spreadsheet). Viking stood out immediately for the depth and quality of the curriculum, the student-teacher ratio, the remote format, and the deferred fee. Viking literally has the same aim as you: to get you hired. They fine-tune the curriculum to make sure you are job-ready, and they drill you on interview practice. You will have to work incredibly hard to get a job, but Viking is right there with you. I loved the remote format because I probably saved an hour of commute time every day (and every hour really counts). It was not difficult to stay on-task and focused because you are constantly interacting with your teammates and the instructors.
From April-June 2016, I applied to over 100 jobs, landed 8 technical screenings, had 3 in-person interviews, and ended up with 2 job offers.
Viking teaches you with project-based learning, and you generally tackle one project per day. 90% of the programming you do is pair programming, so you’re paired with a new student each day. Some of the projects were longer and spanned 2-5 days, letting you build a larger code base and more complex features. The days start at 8am PST and go to either 6pm or 7pm. Each night you will have 1-4+ hours of homework that requires your full attention.
The teaching staff is amazing, and I got exactly the support I needed. I was constantly amazed by Erik’s depth of knowledge, his approachability, and his positivity (especially as our exhaustion increased and we all developed dark circles under our eyes). I was always impressed with Chris and Andur’s areas of expertise, plus their ability to jump into a room and help us solve a problem when we got stuck. They offered weekly office hours as even more support for our learning. Dara, the program director, is an incredibly positive addition to the team. I could feel how passionate and dedicated she was to each and every student’s success.
Viking emphasizes a deep understanding of concepts, instead of just memorization. Like other people have mentioned, Viking teaches you how to learn. These skills will prove immensely useful when you start your first job, and hopefully throughout your career.
My cohort was made up of 4 women and 6 men. I was constantly impressed by my teammates’ intelligence, persistence, and generosity. Everyone got along well, and there was never any negativity. The atmosphere was supportive and inclusive, and we still keep in touch.
I cannot speak highly enough of Viking. I have recommended the course to my friends, colleagues, and people I’ve met through networking. One of my friends recently took the plunge, and she is actually in the middle of her cohort right now!
DO THE PREP WORK. Pay attention, do everything thoroughly, and take it seriously. It will help you get the most you can out of the program.
- Tough but Tremendously Rewarding- 8/9/2016Andrew Baik • Software Engineer • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online
TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read): Attend Viking Code School. Amazing instructors, great curriculum, and fun community. It’s tough, but worth.
Hey! I’m Andrew and I was part of the January 2016 Immersive program which ended late April 2016.
Before Viking, I graduated with a masters in chemical engineering and was teaching high school students various STEM subjects. While teaching programming, I found myself pouring unnecessary amount of time and effort coming up with creative projects I could have my students do. It became pretty apparent that these ideas were the things I wanted to learn and implement, myself. I had been self learning for a few months but eventually hit a plateau where I was making no progress and wasting time. So I decided to take myself and my passion seriously and pursued this opportunity full time.
Viking was tough. The curriculum will test the very limits of what you think you can accomplish and kick it even further. The first few weeks is where the prep work they have you do pays off. It’s the life vest you can cling on to keep you alive in the hurricane that will wreck you in subsequent weeks.
I spent most of the day pair programming and coding however, and it’s during this time when I saw how things work in action. Learning by doing is great and it’s one of the best ways to learn, but having another person to sit with you to talk about the code is even better. Time just flew. Also many of projects are interesting, challenging, and rewarding to build. I think it’s the combination of a few things that helped me retain and learn skills at an incredible pace:
1. Discipline and strong work ethic
2. Demanding curriculum/pace
3. Community you can ask questions and investigate solutions
The instructors are very understanding of how intense it can get but you have to be in charge of asking questions and taking initiative in figuring out what you are having trouble understanding (which should be a given at this point). It’s generally not expected that you’ll “get” everything without practice so it’s imperative to ask questions during the SCRUM meetings each morning and ask about things were confusing in the required reading. Many concepts build on each other so it’s crucial to be on top of this for the first few weeks. Also, there will some days where you won’t get to “complete” everything on the agenda, and that’s ok. The firehose of information and the constant deadlines add to the pressure, but please don’t stress out if you don’t complete projects, just focus on learning the core concepts and “finish” them up later in your free time on weekends or after the daily readings.
Also, if you have obsessive/perfectionist tendencies like I do, dump them immediately. This is one thing I wish I would’ve done sooner because I didn’t know how badly it affected my productivity until I became more aware of it. If you’re constantly worried about writing “beautiful/best practice/optimal” code, it’ll just add to the pressure. I’ve chugged many energy drinks and lost many nights of sleep due to this self-centered egoism. Just swallow your pride, and get shit done first without worrying about “beautiful code.” If you have time, you can refactor it then. It’s great to be mindful of best practices and absorb it when you can, but it’s honestly a luxury you can go without when your priority is to learn and get stuff done. This is one strategy I adopted to lessen the impact of the waves smacking into my face every week.
I loved that Viking brought in people to come in and talk about their unique perspective in the industry. It’s a series called Viking Codecast (check it out on YouTube! It’s pretty awesome!). Some of the advice and perspective that was shared during these sessions were incredibly insightful, and some of which I keep in mind to this day.
Also, Viking has a solid job curriculum section that covers everything from discovering leads to practicing mock interviews. It’s really helped me get a jumpstart in the job search process, and helped me land an offer I was happy with!
To summarize, I’d recommend Viking to anyone who is serious, self-disciplined, and committed to transitioning into software development.
Disclaimer: I want to acknowledge a few things and it’s really one of the reasons I’m writing this review, and it’s about anxiety. People have reached to me to ask about my experiences at Viking and the common question goes something like “was it worth it?” It’s a completely fair question, I do admit that I experienced that same anxiety that asked if this investment will really pay off in the end.
When I applied there was almost no paper trail online, there were only like 1 or 2 reviews at most giving great reviews on Quora and Course Report. Imagine shopping for a product on amazon that asked for months of full time commitment with no guaranteed return on investment with 1 or 2 five star reviews, how likely are you to purchase? For me it was worth it, for reasons I’ll explain later, but honestly they won’t convince you of anything. Do your homework. Check out the Viking Blog, the Viking Codecasts on YouTube, Viking capstone project presentations also on YouTube, Viking’s twitter, etc. The jury is coming out and it’s getting easier and easier to figure out what Viking is about. I’m here to accelerate that process and give my honest review so that your anxiety can be less than what I experienced in the past. For me, it was a combination of my hours of research literally scouring the web (i.e. google..lol, Quora, YouTube, The Odin Project) that convinced me it was the real deal. I found that VCS had a consistent web presence/message and I had a very positive experience in self-learning via The Odin Project, despite the lack of testimonials/reviews (at the time I looked into Viking).
- Deepa Kackar • Network QA Engineer • StudentHi I'm Deepa and I graduated the January 2016 Immersive program @ Viking Code School. Viking offers a challenging full-stack web development course which is very relevant to the industry.Viking was an awesome program - a total eye opener!Viking changed my perspective on what it meant to be a great software engineer with in-depth learning and application. Besides Ruby, RoR, Angular, SQL, Agile methodology and other technologies you will also learn a lot about data structures and algorithms, testing, good coding practices, reading and reviewing code effectively as well as pair programming for teamwork and collaboration.Prior to Viking I was a dev-test engineer @ Cisco Systems with lot of automation and scripting experience. I can sincerely say that I learnt more at my 16 weeks at Viking than a couple of years at work.I was always passionate about coding and after much research I decided to join Viking. The program was remote but interactive, so it was convenient to not commute while getting all the benefits of an in-person bootcamp. It was great to work alongside extremely talented peers with diverse backgrounds. The selection process to get in Viking program was tough but fair - this gave me a lot of confidence that Viking was as serious about giving a great education as I was about committing 16 weeks to this intense program.I spent most of my time each week building projects, solving problems, learning to code effectively while collaborating with fellow students. It was great to work in a team on my final project because we gained real-world experience in scoping, defining requirements, task allocation, accountability, Agile development, troubleshooting and refactoring for a great final marketable product! Working in a team has its challenges and rewards and we certainly had the stories to share with prospective interviewers!
The staff at Viking is very supportive, approachable and extremely knowledgable. You will certainly gain in-depth technical and soft skills, negotiation techniques and being resourceful. I know Viking graduates will make very desirable and valuable employees.
- Changed my life- 5/12/2016Jeffrey Gisin • Software Developer • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online
My name is Jeff and I am a recent graduate of Viking Code Schools winter/spring '16 cohort (started in January). Viking offers part time and full time courses and I was part of the immersive full-time web engineering program.
Viking changed my life.
I was an Electrical Engineer for the past 10 years, and unhappy. I was doing something I didn't enjoy, but the prospect of changing careers to do what I truly wanted seemed daunting. Going back for another degree to college, with no promise of a decent job, and a family to provide for, seemed to put what I wanted out of reach.
In 4 months of training with Viking, I found a job as a web developer, and from day 1 I was good at it.
Viking was intense. It was an all encompassing commitment that has you eat, sleep, and breath code. You wake up, have a morning scrum with your teachers and classmates, then code code code all day. The program has you learn by doing, which worked far better then I thought it would. You'll start out writing a lot of bad code. You'll get called out for every bad thing you do, and you'll push yourself to write better code and avoid the scrum disections! The atmosphere is never negative during scrums, but you still come out with a very opinionated idea of what is "good code" and "bad code". After a full day of coding and discussion, you have a few hours of reading every night to learn new concepts for the next day's work. Every day is something new which is the hardest part of the program. You never stop to soak it in, but rather 'firehose' the knowledge into your brain and sprint to the next milestone.
I still refer to many of the projects I built while in Viking as references, and having that portfolio has been immeasurably helpful. The 'Danebook' social network is a Rails guide I refer to often, and the Trello clone 'Djello' is my go to Angular reference when I want to confirm I'm using best practices. These are both apps I built myself from the ground up, so I'm able to quickly jump in and understand what and why quickly, so I can then apply those ideas in my regular work.
To sum up, the most you can ask for from a program is that it fulfills its promises. Viking did that and more. I came out not only prepared for my new career, but in a position to excel. I even received multiple job offers before the program had officially ended. If web development is something you TRULY want, Viking is the best choice to make it happen.
- Great program, peer, and instructors!- 12/8/2015Alok • Technical Product Manager • Graduate • Campus: Online
TLDR: Attend. Great instruction, curriculum, peers, and projects.
I participated in the Su '15 full-time program. The program covered a lot of material from algorithms and data structures to in depth Ruby, Rails, JS, and Angular. It's a tough schedule and pace, but made possible by amazing instructors, an extremely well put together curriculum, and pair programming with very smart peers. The project based learning helped me a lot as we built fun real world apps from the get go (scrapers, interacting with multiple API's, e-commerce backends, games etc.).
VCS emphasized building skills applicable to on the job software engineering - so everyday we used Git while pairing, in our final project we set up continuous integration and deployment, were allowed independence in using gems and API's, and TDD'd projects as well. All this while using hangouts and slack to collaborate, which is important for today's global teams and using Pivotal Tracker for planning and executing projects in agile sprints. It's an extremely well rounded program.
The deferred fees are fine - it means they are investing in us, but other programs offer this as well. With VCS however, we get to learn directly from the people that built and some that participated in the program. Everyone is so committed and bought in, there is no one left behind.
Customary NPS: 10. I am now as biased towards VCS as I am towards my undergrad and grad schools, which is says a lot for the quality.
- Great experience- 12/7/2015Xin Liu • Software Engineer • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online
My name is Xin and I was student in Viking's summer 2016 full-time Web Application Engineering cohort. I strongly recommend the program to anyone who is serious about starting a career in web development because it works.
Before Viking, I was a post-doctoral researcher at UCSF. I wrote software to build computational models but the skills weren't enough for what software engineer jobs were looking for. I joined Viking in order to get a more applied skill set in web development. The week after I graduated from Viking, I got my first software engineer job offer from a Bay Area FinTech company.
During the program, we built group projects every day and the instructors were always there to ask questions and review code. The projects were not easy and we therefore learned a lot by doing them, including how to work on large teams and to build complex applications using Rails and Angular. I appreciated the time spent understanding algorithms and data structures, which we did most days, and which helped a lot with interviewing.
In the end, I'm happy I joined the program and I'm very happy with where my career is now.
- Top quality plus the convenience of being online- 11/25/2015Nick Sarlo • Software Developer • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online
Hi, my name is Nick, I am a graduate of Viking Code School’s first full time cohort, and am currently a professional software developer living and working in Austin, TX.
Viking was nothing short of a life changing experience. While one of the most challenging things I’ve ever committed to, it helped get me to a place where I am now doing what I love for a living.
A bit about my back story -- before being accepted to Viking, I had graduated with a BA in International Relations. I worked for a few years in international development, mostly as a project manager for overseas communications projects in Afghanistan. The work was interesting, but ultimately I always felt like I sort of “settled” in college and this career. It was not very fulfilling, and I was always envious of other people who really seemed to love what they were doing. The old sentiment, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” certainly didn’t apply to anything I was doing.
While doing this, I found myself needed to write small programs to automate tasks, such as scraping and cleaning government contract award data. I had never programmed a day before in my life prior to this, but the first time I wrote a program that I actually used to solve a problem, I was hooked. I had always regretted not having the money to go back to school to become an engineer, and software development suddenly gave me a very accessible way to build and solve complex problems.
I spent almost all of my free time absorbing whatever I could, but even the most “directed” resources available still left me with large conceptual gaps about how software is designed, tested, and implemented. I could write code (which is good, because it’s totally expected of your before you are even admitted), but I still couldn’t really write and deploy usable software. Between working 50+ hours and week and jumping back and forth between resources, I found myself not making a ton of progress.
When I first learned about boot camps, I was extremely skeptical. I was naturally skeptical of anything that makes some of the huge promises these programs were offering (1 month and you can make $100k!), but as I did research I found that there were a handful of very highly regarded programs out there. I decided to try and find one that might work. My criteria was as follows:
It had to have an emphasis on the software development process and not just teaching me how to write code
It had to be based around building things, since the best chance of getting hired would be to have a killer portfolio
It had to be highly interactive. I didn’t want a “mentor” telling me what to do and then checking in with me at the end of the day. I wanted to be working with people, day in and day out, since that is what would be expected of me as a developer
It had to be accessible. I was living in Philly at the time, which isn’t a huge tech city, and I couldn’t afford to move to New York or San Francisco for a few months
It had to have deferred payment. I have a ton of student loans already, and while I see the value of these programs and don’t mind paying for it, the reality was I was making about 40k a year in international development while trying to pay off student loans. I simply did not have any money
And then I found Viking. Erik had created a resource I’d used a ton already, The Odin Project, and was a graduate of a boot camp himself, so I knew off the bat he had a pretty good idea of how to take that big step. Furthermore, Viking offered a small cohort of 10 students, where we’d be pair programming every single day for 14 weeks, along with deferred payment. It was everything the top programs in NYC and San Francisco offered, but with the incredible convenience and accessibility of being online. It was terrifying thinking of leaving my job to take this on, but after a few personal conversations with Erik, I was convinced this was the right thing to do.
During the program, we spent every day pairing with different people on projects. Literally every single day we built something new. The process was basically:
Go through a bunch of readings and material the night before about a new concept, technology, or framework
Meet in the mornings for a Q&A and to discuss the day’s project
Build awesome stuff that required us to use what we learned, along with a ton of creativity and Google to solve problems
Code reviews where we reviewed each other’s code as well as had ours looked at by mentors
Rinse and repeat
Honestly, one of the most frustrating parts of the course ended up being one of the most beneficial. Having graduated from college, I was very much used to classrooms where our hands were held and where everything was very directed. That is not how Viking works. You and your partner have to plan and design each day’s project. If you get stuck the team will help you find the best way to get an answer, but refrained from really telling you how to do anything. The result was we came out with the knowledge not just how to write good code, but how to solve problems. This is huge, has helped me on a daily basis as a professional programmer, and was one of the things interviewers loved to hear about.
Perhaps most importantly, it gave me the creative freedom to be able to build things that I wanted in my free time. The personal projects I took from conception to reality during the course were some of the most valuable pieces of my job search arsenal, and the ability to have an idea, build it, and have people use it is something Viking taught me and employers loved about me.
But the course went well beyond just teaching you to be a developer. Their job search support and resources were incredible. We spent 30 minutes every day doing algorithm challenges to mimic interview questions, had people who hire engineers come in to talk to us about the process, and even talked about the best ways to negotiate salary. The program truly prepared me to be a professional developer more than I even imagined. They want you to succeed, and they give you everything you need to do it.
I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who is interested in taking the step to becoming a professional software developer. The program isn’t for everyone. It is extremely intensive, requires a ton of time and effort, and was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. But if you are serious about becoming a software developer, and don’t have time to spend a few years hacking together projects after work and hoping you pick up enough along the way to get a shot somewhere, you really can’t beat Viking.
- Viking is amazing- 5/6/2015Peter • Software Engineer • Graduate • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online
Disclaimers: I attended the very first cohort of Viking Code School so my personal experience is specific to the older format of the program (12-weeks, part-time). I also helped with some of the very early design work before the program started. All that being said, I keep in touch with the founder and current developers for the program, and I am certain that my comments are still relevant to it's current form. I am giving my candid review as a student.
Before I start, the answer to the most common question is: Yes, you can get a job after this program. I was offered a position as a "software engineer” working in AngularJS. I am currently taking a different route, but I want to be very clear that it is possible to get a job with what you learn here. (That it doesn’t mean that it’s easy).
This program is intense. Even the part-time version consumed more than every night and weekend. Keeping up with the coursework required extreme dedication and self-motivation. This is probably the hardest part of any remote program. Having a group of people going through the material made staying on track a lot easier. I had spent some time learning on my own before this program, and it was much more pleasant to go through with other people in the same boat.
The format of the program is “flipped classroom.” All of the material is available on demand and you ask instructors and TAs questions during the group video calls. They do a good job of presenting a lot of media to consume the material, the core of the theory is presented in a written format with good examples and the application of theory is in video demos. If you don’t learn well from videos, you can just dig into the demo code yourself. You really have to self-motivate to get through the material and the exercises, because you’ll be discussing it with everyone. The discussions really show you where you thought you understood something and where you really did understand it.
Surprises that I learned in this program:
- Laughing at your own bad code is surprisingly gratifying. It feels great to understand why it is so bad that it's funny. You REALLY remember the funny mistakes.
- Peer code reviews are learning dense. Even if you get stuck on something and can’t finish it, the process of having people look at it and having to explain it will teach you so much.
- Peer coding is awesome and sometimes painful.
- Having somewhere to ask questions and have them answered nearly instantly saves you hours of searching through Stack Overflow.
- The most frustrating errors are caused by the silliest bugs.
- Most challenging experience I've ever had, would heartily recommend for remote learning.- 4/23/2015Nick S. • Student • Course: Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE • Campus: Online