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Viking Code School

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Viking Code School

Avg Rating:4.62 ( 27 reviews )

Viking Code School offers a full-time, 12-week full-stack JavaScript online program, and a part-time Flex Program teaching full-stack JavaScript or Ruby on Rails. Viking Code School trains novice-to-intermediate programmers to become full-stack developers. The Immersive Program is a 12-week online program that helps serious students become full-stack JavaScript web developers. These cohorts are limited to carefully selected students who work together throughout the program to solve challenges and build projects. Students learn using a combination of live instruction, one-on-one help, pair programming, tutorials, lessons, projects, and code reviews. In the part-time Flex Program, students choose from three support tiers which include live, instructor-led office hours, Q&A support, a private student community, and optional mentor sessions. Students learn on a self-paced schedule from tutorials, lessons, assignments, major projects, and with the opportunity for pair programming with fellow students.

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. 

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  • Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering FLEX

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    Start Date Rolling Start Date
    CostN/A
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationOnline
    With Viking's Flex Program, you can take the same course as our best-in-class, 12-week Immersive Program but at your own pace and with exactly the level of support that best fits your life. You will learn the fundamentals of software engineering and the modern web development stack and become a master of picking up new technologies and solving complex problems, the hallmark characteristics of successful engineers. Our Flex Program offers full-stack tracks in JavaScript and Ruby on Rails. Both tracks cover: HTML, CSS, Git, data structures, algorithms, SQL, NoSQL, JavaScript and React with Redux.
    Financing
    DepositNone
    Tuition PlansDial in exactly the level of support you want and choose from any of our available plans, which are pay-as-you-go.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelStudents are expected to work very hard and learn quickly but there is no minimum bar aside from completing the prep work.
    Prep WorkThe Viking Prep Work includes a combined 300+ hours of content at no charge. You'll cover web dev basics, design and engineering. before diving into HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, and Getting Hired. You can start at https://www.vikingcodeschool.com/prep
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewNo
  • Viking Full Stack Web Application Engineering IMMERSIVE

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    AngularJS, HTML, Git, JavaScript, Sinatra, jQuery, Rails, CSS, Front End, Ruby, SQL
    In PersonFull Time80 Hours/week
    Start Date None scheduled
    Cost$11,800
    Class size15
    LocationOnline
    With Viking's Immersive Program, you'll spend 16 intense weeks working closely with instructors and your fellow students to learn the fundamentals of software engineering and the modern web development stack. You'll become a master of picking up new technologies and solving complex problems, the hallmark characteristics of successful engineers. Our core technologies are HTML, CSS, Git, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, SQL, JavaScript and AngularJS.
    Financing
    Deposit$2,000 non-refundable deposit
    Tuition PlansPayment plan is available
    Refund / GuaranteeStudents 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.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelBe 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 WorkPrep covers everything from basics of web development to design to engineering to coding. It can be found at https://www.vikingcodeschool.com/prep
    Placement TestYes
    InterviewYes
  • Fantastic Program!
    - 12/27/2016
    Hannah S. • Software Engineer • Graduate
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    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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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
    - 11/19/2016
    Harry Khan • sales • Applicant
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    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.

    -Harry

  • Great Decision
    - 11/8/2016
    Graham Turner • Software Engineer • Graduate
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    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!

  • Kelsey James • Front End Developer • Graduate
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    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 

    beginning.

  • Julia Herron Flanagan • Student
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    ABOUT ME

    Hi I’m Julia, and I graduated from the January 2016 immersive program.

     

    TLDR

    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.

     

    BEFORE VIKING

    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.

     

    WHY VIKING

    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.

     

    GETTING HIRED

    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.

     

    DAILY LIFE

    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 program is intensely demanding and will challenge you in different ways. You will find your breaking point. Sometimes you will understand the concepts and feel like you’re in control. Other times you will feel like you are completely lost, going to fail, and that you are the only person in your cohort who doesn’t “get it”. That feeling happened twice for me: during the unit on classes and OOP architecture, and when we started making JavaScript games. I promise, this is when your best learning will happen! Reach out to the instructors, go for a walk, and realize that you will definitely get through it.

     

    THE STAFF

    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. 

     

    THE CURRICULUM

    The curriculum is the best out there; it’s in-depth, high-quality, and never wastes your time. I don’t learn well from videos, so the largely text-based format worked well for me. One of the best parts of the course is the intermediate JavaScript section. You build your own MVC pattern, which immediately propels you from beginner to being able to understand existing JS frameworks.

    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

    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. 

     

    SUMMARY

    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!

     

    FINAL ADVICE

    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. 

  • Andrew Baik • Software Engineer • Graduate
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    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 • Student
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    Hi 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
    - 5/12/2016
    Jeffrey Gisin • Software Developer • Graduate
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    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. 

    It may seem, given the intensity of the course, that you simply gloss over everything and never learn much, but what the course focuses on is teaching you how to learn. Web development is anything but stagnant. New technologies, languages, frameworks, and methodologies seem to pop up overnight. Learning only one will never be enough. I left Viking understanding what it takes to be proficient in any aspect of web development. My first job has me writing in Python, PHP, Ruby, and Javascript, and to my constant surprise, I've been up to the task.

    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.

  • Alok • Technical Product Manager • Graduate
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    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
    - 12/7/2015
    Xin Liu • Software Engineer
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    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.

  • Nick Sarlo • Software Developer • Graduate
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    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

    •  

    These requirements narrowed my options down pretty fast to a bunch of online programs that came up short in some important areas, usually either not being much more than a “learn to code in javascript!” school, an expensive online mentor with no interaction with other students, or no deferred payments. And the programs that did meet my criteria were just not accessible to a guy living in Philly.

     

    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.

     

    We built so many awesome things, it is hard to even begin to list them. Early on we had to develop a chess AI that could maneuver a knight piece around to eventually capture a roaming king. We built games in Ruby and JavaScript, we built a fully functioning social network...so many interesting projects that not only beefed up my portfolio, but gave me the knowledge and experience to build and work with things I now work with every single day.

     

    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.

     
  • Peter • Software Engineer • Graduate
    Overall Experience:
    Curriculum:
    Instructors:
    Job Assistance:

    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.  

    The instruction and learning materials are the best that I have seen online. Every question that I had was answered quickly and thoroughly.  There was one point where I was just burnt out, at my wits end from work and overwhelmed.  I just couldn’t understand some key concepts in JavaScript and couldn’t get a seemingly simple assignment to work. The lead instructor sat down with me on that assignment and dragged me through the JavaScript object model, stayed with me on the call walking me through the revealing module pattern until my code worked… at 11 pm on a weekday. It was a moment that really got me to clear the “pit of despair” and realize that I could do this stuff.

    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.

Thanks!