Why We’re Different Than a Coding Bootcamp

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by Mitchell Robertson

Coding bootcamps have grown in popularity-but we at Code Fellows believe it takes more than the basics, which is why we don’t categorize ourselves as a bootcamp. In this post, we explain why.

One question we get asked a lot is, what is a coding bootcamp? Since 2011, coding bootcamps have served as an alternative to four-year college or university programs in computer science. They are a way to classify nontraditional coding programs, borrowing the term “bootcamp” from military vernacular to imply basic training through a rigorous, incubated, and structured curriculum. In typical coding bootcamps, the focus is to train anyone-no matter their educational background or life experience-in the basics of coding and software engineering.

At Code Fellows, we share a lot of the same characteristics as these coding bootcamps-but we’re much more than that. We take it a step (or two or three) further and dive a lot deeper into the skills that you will need to be a professional software developer. We believe in you-the whole you. That means moving beyond a crash course and investing in your educational experience by providing both practical coding skills and applicable life skills. Below we we explain who we are.

Our coding program goes beyond the basics of a bootcamp Coding bootcamps tend to provide you with a basic understanding of a broad amount of topics. While it’s important to learn these basic skills, it’s more important to really unpack the material. We made a strong choice years ago to go beyond the basics and dive deep into the technologies we teach, so our students are cutting-edge professionals in whichever programming language they choose to specialize in. We make sure the fundamentals are core, and we’ve developed a laser-focused curriculum that goes beyond surface-level basics.

Tech evolves quickly. As soon as software or technology changes, programmers have to change, too. This is why we ensure our instructors are the best in the industry and also why we work with companies across the globe to ensure our curriculum is meeting the demands of the industry — today! We teach you the fundamentals so that as the market changes, you’re able to keep up with it. Oftentimes, someone with a computer science degree from a four-year institution will have a lot of background knowledge, but their learning is focused heavily on theory. We start with understanding the why and move on to really explore the how -in other words, we teach more practical skills than theoretical knowledge.

You can start (and end) where you want Coding bootcamps tend to take a one-size-fits-all approach, where students are expected to go through the entirety of a standard, prescriptive curriculum-but we don’t operate that way. At Code Fellows, we let students jump into our sequence of courses wherever their experience allows them to. We understand that not everyone has the same starting point, and we want to save you time and money by preventing you from repeating material you already know. You can test into whichever class you’re ready for and start there.

Because we don’t assume where our students want to start their coding journey when they enroll at Code Fellows, we also don’t expect to know (or for them to know, either) where they’ll finish. Throughout the program, you’ll gain experience with-and get to put into practice your newly learned skills, allowing you to see where you want to take your career. If you decide that you want to continue on to the finish line and become a professional software developer you won’t have to decide which language to specialize in until you enroll in Code 401. We keep up with what is happening in the industry here in Seattle and around the globe, which is why we only offer classes in programming languages that are in demand. So regardless of which language you choose to focus on, it will still be in high demand when you graduate.

The modular structure of our program allows you to learn at your own pace and take your time to complete your chosen program. You can either take courses back-to-back, or you can take a break in between, stick with our daytime track or decide to keep your day job and take our nights and weekends tracks. The choice is yours.

You will learn more than code You’re going to learn to be a software engineer, but more importantly, you will learn the skills necessary to learn and adapt quickly. Regardless of which path you choose, you’ll gain a firm understanding of industry tools and the fundamentals of code-so when you decide to learn another programming language, you will be able to do so becuase you ahve a firm foundation to build upon, plus the tools necessary to learn quickly. We also offer ongoing education through our 501 courses to help you level up in areas you want to delve into.

We keep in touch with the companies that hire our graduates, and we’ve heard from many employers that Code Fellows graduates outpace their peers in the workplace-simply by learning quickly and adapting to their job.

Collaboration is extremely beneficial and important for learning, so we’ve structured our courses to be collaborative. Students work together using industry best practices such as pair programming and agile methodolgoies to complete lab assignments and build apps, and they learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses. For us, collaboration is always better than competition-we work with each other, not against one another.

It’s important to us to prepare our students for what comes after graduation, so we provide nontechnical coursework to accompany our coding curriculum. We offer resume and networking workshops, career coaching, and a career accelerator program. We also place a large focus on our partner “power hours”, where students get an opportunity to meet and engage with companies that are hiring-and those companies can learn who our students are, too.

At Code Fellows, we are more than a bootcamp. We are a community of supporters, partners, instructors, and teammates dedicated to helping you realize your dreams and accomplish your goals. Here, you will receive the training to become a world-class developer-while also learning to be a great professional.

Interested in learning to code yourself? Whether you’re already experienced in tech or you’re looking to shift your career (or life) path, we believe in you. Check out our coding course map to see how you can take that first step.

Originally published at https://www.codefellows.org.

Learn to Code. Get a Job. Start Here! Learn more at www.codefellows.org

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