Emerging From A Bootcamp
Posted by: Steve Weiss
Today our developer fellow Shawn and I were interviewed for a story on developer bootcamps (particularly General Assembly) and our fellowship at DevShop. This is not the first interview I've done on the bootcamp subject, every media outlet with even a partial focus on tech has a few stories out there. Several developers here at DevShop went through General Assembly's WDI program, as well as one from DevBootcamp, and I'm sure there will be more variety down the line.
One question stuck with me - "What advice would you give to potential bootcamp students?" My answer was twofold.
1. The experience is yours, and you will have to take responsibility for everything involved.
This particularly applies when finding a job. These programs offer great opportunities to gain an entirely new set of skills, but once the program is over, it's up to you to choose the direction you want to go in. No one is going to hand you an offer upon graduation, regardless of statistics you're presented. You'll go on a lot of interviews, some will be great, some not so much.
There is definitely the occasional negative attitude towards the bootcamp process from those who went on the traditional programming path, but that's just something you have to deal with. You have 3 months experience, go out there wanting to learn more, and don't feel like you're owed anything.
2. Stand out.
You're competing with a ton of other people with the exact same experience, and that number is growing every day. With the popularity of these programs comes more graduates, which makes standing out that much more challenging.
Upon completing the web development immersive at GA and going on a boatload of developer interviews, I felt like I needed to do more to stand out. This meant looking at my previous professional experience combined with what I'd learned. I'd worked for years as a sound engineer and voice over producer, working with all sorts of clients, studios, and other engineers. This led me to look for more more client facing positions rather than exclusively developer roles, and eventually to the project manager fellowship with DevShop.
As someone choosing a new educational path post college, you probably have some professional experience you can use to make yourself stand out, even if it's just one aspect of your previous life.
No matter what anyone has to say, positive or negative, these bootcamps have changed the direction of our lives. At DevShop, we currently have 6 examples. Don't pay attention to the haters, it's definitely possible, just know that completing the bootcamp itself is only the first step in the process.