There is a lot of value
in education for the sake of education; learning is a key component of personal growth and higher level thinking. But let’s be honest, when it comes to paying for an education, a certain amount of ROI is expected. You’re getting an education to land a better job, to secure a rewarding career.
This simple fact was the starting point for various technical training programs in the U.S., including programming boot camps. And for thousands of now gainfully employed, personally fulfilled professionals, the initial investment has more than paid off. But because Coder Camps fosters a “more better faster” environment, we have been hyper-focused on finding new ways to give students exactly what they need, when they need it, to achieve their professional goals.
I am excited to announced that we have rolled out an entirely new, modular curriculum and learning management system that provides an entirely new approach to teaching. What does that mean for our students? In short, it means customization and rapid career growth.
Our new curriculum design offers various pathways that curve and bend to individual interests and career aspirations. While the core, foundational components remain the focus of the program, students can explore and choose between different technologies while learning.
The best part about our new format is that it brings a whole new dimension to technical higher education. Our programs are broken down into modules that are based on teaching concepts rather than languages so we can offer focused and effective training to current software engineers for a fraction of the time and cost. Instead of having to enroll in our 12-week immersive program or 24-week part-time program, students can select specific modules to suit their individual needs.
Which technology is in the highest demand in your area? What does your future employer expect you to know? Most students don’t know and that’s ok. Our team guides students through this discovery process to assure they get most ROI to secure a rewarding career.
Because technology is constantly changing and evolving, what is popular today will most likely be different a year from now. It’s what makes working as a software engineer so exciting and engaging. So it’s important to keep current of the latest technology trends to maintain relevancy in the marketplace, create long-term job security and launch career growth. Knowing this, our goal was to create a system that will allow us to educate at the speed of technology…and we nailed it.
Coder for Life
This career path is about lifelong learning. That’s why at Coder Camps, we offer students a 30-year program, not just 12 or 24 weeks. We have a Coder For Life program that offers lifelong learning opportunities and career placement services to all our graduates. Graduates can take one program and return to take more classes at no additional cost. We liken it to paying for your undergrad degree and being able to get postgrad degrees for the same price.
State-of-the-art learning platform
Delivering such a dynamic education experience to our students requires a highly-sophisticated learning platform. We are thrilled to introduce Exeter, a custom learning platform developed in house by our Coder Camps team with the assistance of our graduates. Exeter is a video-driven, online platform that provides students a hands-on learning experience through in-browser coding exercises with immediate and individualized feedback. And of course, it’s cross-platform and mobile compatible.
This new customized approach is the next stage in Coder Camps’ effort to revolutionize higher education and technology. And we are just getting started - stay tuned.
Wrestling played a lead role in my high school life and I often find many of the lessons I learned then transcend the mat even now. However, as a young and ambitious athlete, one of my coach’s proverbs seemed to sink a little deeper than the rest. He would often say, after a grueling and relentless practice, that just attending practice is not even close to enough; those who dream of becoming champions must put in The Extra.
Everyone who participates in wrestling goes to practice and the required duels and tournaments. These requirements alone are not easy, they take hard work, dedication, blood, sweat, and tears (not to mention over-intensive dieting to make weight!) but they alone are not enough. At most they put an individual on the same playing field as everyone else. For those who wish to rise above the rest, those who dream of becoming the best, those who are not satisfied with participating in mediocrity and grasp for excellence, they cannot just do the minimum. They have no other choice but to put in The Extra.
If at this point you are wondering what does any of this have to do with software development, keep reading; it has everything to do with it!
So what Is The Extra? In wrestling, it is sacrificing extra sleep to wake up early to lift weights and run with the purpose of becoming stronger, faster, and better conditioned than everyone else. It is dieting and cutting weight in order to attain the weight class where your body performs at its best. It is choosing to run home after an intense and agonizing practice rather than getting in a car like everyone else. Finally, it is pushing yourself to your furthest physical and mental limits until you can hardly breathe, and then straining to push one more inch. This is The Extra it takes to become a wrestling champion.
As I often remind my programming students, these same principles can, and should, also be applied to software engineering.
Applying The Extra to Become a Champion Software Engineer
1. Like early morning running and lifting for wrestlers, software engineers should also include exercises that stretch our minds and take us out of our comfort zone. Don’t feel content with knowing just what you know. You should constantly feel a burning desire to gain more knowledge, to learn something new, to continuously expand your horizons. Take online training, earn certifications, attend conferences; we have access to a myriad of invaluable opportunities that one cannot afford to overlook
2. We then must diet; this is the prioritization portion of success. Acknowledging and pursuing the best use of our time, while skimming away the fatty, nonproductive endeavors, will undoubtedly lead to a higher place on the podium. Are you spending too much time playing video games, loafing around, or mindlessly watching twelve hours of The Walking Dead? If so, reprioritize. What things should take precedence if you wish to excel? Knowing your stack, for one. Get to a point where you don’t have to reference the manual when building a new application from the ground up. Experience time better spent by researching a new technology. Read highly rated books, thought provoking articles, your core language’s most common (and even not so common) APIs. There are so many ways we can utilize time to our advantage if we only put in the effort! I am not suggesting you give up all other pastimes and relaxation but if you don’t make coding a priority, then it won’t make you a priority; think about that before you ask for your next pay raise or promotion.
3. Another piece of programmer dieting is consuming philosophies and attitudes conducive to success. A lot of people complain. Too many software engineers are too talented at pointing out everything that resembles a problem. Now, pointing out problems is not the problem – constantly complaining for the sake of complaining is. Do not follow suit here, cut out the poor attitude from you diet and take a more active stance in both finding and solving pain spots, as well as improving the morale of the workplace as opposed to tearing it down. It may be cliché, and highly overstated, but that is because it’s true, that a positive attitude will lead to success. Don’t bring a personal Eeyore cloud to work with you. Be happy! Once work is over, or school is out, do you rush home and try to forget about programming until you punch the clock the next morning? Do you leave your code in a mess, or in the middle of writing a method because the clock just changed from 4:59:59 to 5 pm? If so, you are the wrestler who rides home in a car. Rather than stalking the clock, you should be writing great code and enjoying it. If you attend a conference and have a question about the subject – make sure you stay and try to ask the speaker for clarification; you will find priceless nuggets in staying a few minutes later in many situations, whether that is an answer to a question, a remedy for a broken algorithm, or that “click” that comes and you realize the perfect architecture for your project. Sometimes putting in The Extra does mean putting in extra time, but you will find that it is worth it!
4. Finally, practice. While attending practice is the minimum requirement, you can turn the minimum into The Extra if you approach it with the right mindset. If you go to school and just glide along, putting in zero effort, and just barely graduating, then you are failing. If you are comfortable with showing up to work, lackadaisically clicking a few keys and writing some sloppy functions, then it is a good thing you are at least comfortable, because you won’t be moving on anytime soon (unless you get fired).
Conversely, if you show up to school or work ready to learn something new then you will, and you will love it, and you will succeed! If you step up and take on more responsibility to stretch yourself and grow, then you will do just that, and the growth will not stop! Be that developer who grabs at user stories like the zombie apocalypse is occurring and they are the last sustenance on the shelves! With an attitude of wanting to learn more, to take on any challenge, and to push oneself until you cannot even crawl off the mat, you will find something so satisfying you will wonder how you existed without it.
If you are already doing these things, then hats off to you and keep it up! If not, cue “Eye of the Tiger”, throw on a robe, do some jumping jacks, and start putting in The Extra. Because that is what it takes to be a Champion Software Engineer.
Nick Suwyn Co-Owner of Suwyn IT Solutions and a Full Stack instructor for Coder Camps.
Michael Miller-Hairston found a passion for coding during his degree in digital culture, then taught himself to code while waiting tables. He almost went back to college to study computer science, then came across Coder Camps and enrolled at their Phoenix, Arizona campus. Michael tells us about O Source, the project his team of three built in just three weeks. He shares his screen to demo the project and explains how he hopes it will help new coders build up their experience and portfolios. Watch the video or read the interview!
Tell me about your pre-bootcamp story. What was your educational or career background before you decided to go to Coder Camps.
Before Coder Camps, I went to Arizona State University and graduated with a degree in digital culture. I did some programming, but it was more so for media, so I used Max/MSP, and Processing. Then I took a course for programming using Objective-C and Swift for Apple products. That’s when I really found a passion for it, picked it up, and started to pursue it.
After that, I was teaching myself while waiting tables. I found Coder Camps, and I figured it would expedite the process so that I could actually pursue a career in programming. And that’s how I ended up here.
Did you research any other coding bootcamps? Were there any specific factors that made you choose Coder Camps?
Did you consider going back to college to study computer science?
I did actually. I was about a day away from going back to Arizona State University. The deciding factor really was the fact that I could do Coder Camps in 12 weeks or I could do another degree in two years.
Once you decided that you’re going to go to Coder Camps, what was the application and interview process like?
My admissions rep Jason called me, and we did most of the interview over the phone. They have a coding from scratch course that you have to pass before the course starts which is like an introduction to programming. During that course, Jason would call me at least once a week and check up on me, make sure I was okay, and to see if I needed any help. Once that was over, they signed me up for the next available class.
Once you started, what was your cohort like? How many people were there and was it quite diverse in terms of gender and race and background?
Yeah. We had nine people, and it was three girls and six guys, and two of them were remote. We had one guy who was calling in from Oregon and then a girl who was calling in from Houston.
The majority of the class had no programming experience. There was one lady who had a master’s degree from ASU in computer hardware, but she had no experience actually programming. Then there was a girl who was actually a front end developer for a while. Other than me, nobody really had any experience.
What was the learning experience like at Coder Camps? Give me an example of a typical day and the teaching style.
A typical day would start with an assignment from the night before. We would each go over our assignments, show what we had done, and talk about where we had problems. If we couldn’t complete it because of the problem, the instructor would help us through that.
From there, we jumped into the instruction, and the instructors live coded while we followed along. That was a great way to solidify our skills. After lunch, we did some more lessons and then worked on an assignment until class was over. Most of us would stay on campus afterward and work on the assignment until we finished it.
I’m interested in the project that you’re going to show me. What kind of assignment were you given for this project and how long did you have to build it?
There were no real guidelines. It was essentially “Make something with the stuff that you’ve learned.” We originally had six weeks to work on our final project, but halfway through that, the guy whose idea we were working on left, so we basically started over.
So we had just three weeks to build the app that we have now. We were always told to contribute to open source projects because that’s a good way for employers to see that you’re actually pursuing the knowledge and using it. So we wanted to do that, but we didn’t know how, so our app helps you with that issue.
Our project is called O Source. There is a landing page where it gives you some general information about the website and what it does. Then there’s an “About” page that talks about the three of us who worked on it. You can log in with GitHub or LinkedIn, but to access all the features at this point, you need to log in with GitHub.
From there, you can see your GitHub repositories. It pulls those so that you can add them to the open source project. You can fill out a form describing what your project is and what language and frameworks it uses, then it’s all added to our system so that people can search for your project based on what they’re good at, and their skill level. Then they can contribute to your project, and you can also search and contribute to other people’s projects.
Who is this app aimed at? Is it people who are new to coding?
It’s aimed at all developers. So essentially if you’re a new developer and you want to find a project to contribute to, you can use it for that. Or if you’re an established developer, and you have an open source project that you need help with, you can also use the site to find help.
How big was your team and what technologies did you use to build that?
There were three of us. We used the MEAN Stack; MongoDB for the database, Express, and Node on the back end for the queries, and then Angular for the front end.
How do you divide up tasks amongst you and your team members?
We basically laid everything out that we had to do, and then ranked the tasks by the difficulty level. Then we each picked the easier ones so that we can knock them out real quick and focus more on the difficult task. After that, we just grabbed whichever tasks everyone thought we would be good at, and worked on it until we finished. Then we grabbed a new one.
Were there any particular technologies that you had to learn how to use especially for this project?
For the login service, we used a third party login service so I had to tinker with that quite a bit. It came pre-built so you can use GitHub, LinkedIn, Facebook, and basically any social media that you needed. But it had some issues, so we had to work through those and learn those as we went along.
What would you say was the biggest challenge you had while building this project?
I would say the time span because we had already been working on a project for three weeks, then we had to start over. Not only from concept and the idea, but we had to do it all the way through to what you see now.
So what are your plans for the future of this project? Are you going to continue working on it and launch it live?
We are. Right now it’s almost ready. We have a few tweaks, but we’re focusing our energy on starting careers, and then once we get established in that part, we’ve all agreed to come back to it and work on it.
What have you been doing since you graduated from Coder Camps?
I’ve actually been learning a new technology – React. I’ve also been looking for a job. I had an interview the other day with Red Ventures, which is in North Carolina.
What kind of job, in particular, are you hoping to get?
What kind of career advice or job help did Coder Camps give you?
Oh, they’ve given us a lot. Everything from resumes, your LinkedIn, and your social media presence. But they’ve also given us mock interviews, so we’ve done whiteboarding, and technical interview practice. They have people here looking for positions that they think you’d be a fit for and they set you up for interviews and phone calls. They’ve helped me basically every step along the way.
Now that you’ve graduated are you still keeping in touch with staff and alumni from Coder Camps?
Yeah. I talk to the guys from my project group all the time, and then they check on me every now and then to see if I’m doing okay. It’s almost like a big family here at Coder Camps.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge overall going through Coder Camps?
I would say the dedication because it is a lot to learn within 12 weeks. Six of those weeks is the actual learning process, so it’s a lot of information in a short amount of time. You have to really be sure that this is what you want to do because if you get left behind or if you get stuck, there are people who can help you, but it’s only going to hurt yourself in the end if you don’t put the time in.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking about going through a coding bootcamp?
My main piece of advice is to make sure this is something that you want to do because I don’t think it is for everybody. If it is for you, but you’re not sure, there are people who can help you do it, but that dedication definitely makes it easier. There are going to be times where you run into problems that you’re not going to be able to fix immediately, and if this isn’t for you, you’re not going to want to put that time in to fix it.
Imogen is a writer and content producer who loves writing about technology and education. Her background is in journalism, writing for newspapers and news websites. She grew up in England, Dubai and New Zealand, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.
You asked about parking: There is plenty of parking around the SkySong area. The closer to 6.30 you arrive, the closer to the entrance you’ll park…
HackerNest Phoenix thru Joacim Mattisson
Drinks on us! HackerNest Tech Socials are a fun, relaxed way to connect with your local tech community. Atmosphere: chill, friendly, unpretentious, agenda-free (no sales pitch, yo), and brimming with UltraSmart(TM) people.
Want to help support HackerNest Phoenix Tech Socials and get mad props in-person?
We will be collecting voluntary cash donations (suggested donation $10) at the door on the day of the event. Or, you can donate by credit card online through Eventbrite (just show us your Eventbrite ticket at the door). No amount is too little! If the suggested cash donation is too restrictive, please join us anyway – just let us know at the door.
Donors get special funky robot stickers on their name tags so everyone can recognize your generosity.
The typical Tech Social schedule:
– 6:30 pm: folks arrive, grab drinks, socialize – 7:00 pm: quick intro, thank sponsors, quick announcements – 7:10 pm: back to chatting with interesting new friends – 8:30 pm: go home exhausted from great conversations
If you’re a programming student or someone considering a career change to software development, the road ahead has never looked brighter. But how do you take the path with least resistance, so to speak? How do you get to that hot new developer job most effectively? Understand the technologies that are in high demand and low supply.
You likely know Stack Overflow as a place to ask questions and find jobs. The programmer community is a great resource for both of those things and interestingly, they also ask questions of their developers once a year to gain insight on the year ahead. In 2016, the fourth annual developer survey looked at technologies we love, hate, wish we used and which ones represent the highest paying jobs. More than 50,000 responses from around the globe were tabulated and show some pretty strong opinions on the life of a developer.
(If you’d like to weigh in on the annual survey, data collection for 2017 is now open and can be completed here. Results will be published in late March.)
Respondents also said cloud technologies represent the highest paying jobs – with Spark and Scala users making an average of $125k annually. When categorized by occupation (full-stack, front-end, mathematics and mobile) the highest paying jobs are for developers who identify with Cloud hosting, React and Redis for positions that pay $105k annually.
Best Jobs in America
The 2016 Stack Overflow developer survey is a nice benchmark for current programmers, and provides important insight on rising technology tools for aspiring developers. Especially when you line that up with the 50 Best Jobs in America which was just released by another popular job search resource, Glassdoor. For 2017, the top three ‘best jobs’ as determined by job openings, salary and job satisfaction are, in order: data scientist, DevOps engineers and data engineer.
We don’t yet have this year’s results from Stack Overflow but it will be interesting to see how well developers’ self-reporting lines up with 2017 job availability, salary and satisfaction as compiled by GlassDoor. But for individual software engineers, survey information is a goldmine that can help you map your education to high paying, enjoyable careers without wasting time and brain power on technology tools that are on their way out.
To ensure there are no gaps between your current education plan and the high paying job you seek, follow these 3 steps:
1. Align your learning strategy to the technical skills that are in high demand and low supply.
2. Pursue learning options with an emphasis on effective outcomes, not just a collection of materials.
3. Don’t over plan your learning; the best approach is to start building something and adapt as you discover.
Best Cities to Work
This is where it gets inspiring…if you’re thinking big. Along with mapping the top 50 best jobs in America, Glassdoor also publishes the top 25 cities to work based on the geography’s opportunity to get hired, cost of living and work/life balance. The good news for rising software engineers is depending upon the specific job role you’re working toward, you have opportunities in nine of the top ten markets. Hot jobs in these cities include software engineer, solutions architect, web designer, UI-UX designer and others.
2017 is a great time to be a software engineer. Never before have there been so many exciting
Let’s say you’ve come up with a brilliant idea for a project, then you work for hours designing the look and functionality just to find out that maybe it wasn’t as brilliant of an idea as you originally thought. Time and energy wasted on something that could have been avoided from the start with the use ofwireframing. There are several different techniques for wireframing, but the most common way is a hand sketched wireframe.
Before you start wireframing keep in mind that it is used for getting a feel for the layout of your project; it’s not about the content that will be displayed. In the example above, I have sketched out what a calendar application for a mobile device may look like, starting with what the primary view will look like then branching off from there.
You may want to separate portions of the page that will be more detailed such as the calendar into it’s own area that way you don’t end up with one cluttered page that may be difficult to understand. For any areas of your page that perform actions, be sure to include text explaining the interaction as well. For instance, you’ll see on the calendar around the number one there is a blue circle with a line going to another red box.
On the blue lines there are descriptions of how to trigger actions in the area that they point to and what happens during the action. These descriptions don’t have to be long paragraphs, just something short to give yourself and others that may be examining your wireframe an idea of what will happen when they interact with that action.
Lastly, for any areas that will just be displaying content write a short description of what is supposed to be displayed in that area like the green areas in the image below.
What’s Covered In CFS?
Coder Camps will showcase the value of a boot camp education at Comic Con Los Angeles October 28-30 – the ultimate multi-media pop culture convention! 75,000 fans are expected to gather at L.A. Comic Con to see stars from The Flash, Star Trek, Power Rangers and countless other pop-culture icons. Comic legend Stan Lee, creator of Deadpool, Cable & X-Force Rob Liefeld and other creators will be there too.