Backgrounds were extremely diverse, from Ivy-league graduate math majors to a former horse trainer. The graduation rate was around 85%, and among the graduates, the 'true' job placement rate was probably around 90%. I was able to hit the ground running in my first software engineering job at a well funded startup, and was on par with other fresh cs degree graduates. Over the next few years I was the first among that class to be given a team leadership role.
Looking at LinkedIn, the other graduates from my bootcamp seem to be having their own successes at FAANG jobs and other strong positions. While I believe my experience was somewhat typical for my bootcamp cohort, (like college) I think quality can vary greatly based on the bootcamp, and I am sure some are bad deals in the ways Zed has outlined.
edit: For those who are wondering if the successful bootcamp grads would have been successful anyways without the bootcamp - 100% no way for me. I had already been self-studying programming before the bootcamp and it was a night and day difference. It would have taken years of self study to learn what I did, and with a good chance that life would have derailed me along the way.
I did one 5 years ago as well and while I don't regret it, I don't think it was quite as life-changing for me and whether I'd recommend one, the answer is 'it depends'.
For me it really just accelerated my learning - forced me to quit my job and study full-time. 12k for a two month program at the time, it took me about 9 months to find a job afterwards.
Admittedly I had a couple of interviews early on but performed pretty poorly on them - was not well-prepared but they helped me learn and prepare for the job I eventually landed.
I think about 90% of my class graduated and sadly only 50% or so have found careers as engineers or in tech - Ruby/Rails just wasn't a great choice of stack for the area imo (at least vs js, c#/.net or java - which the bootcamp now offers)
Fast forward to today and I'm a tech lead at a "unicorn" and feel very capable in my skills and ability to continue learning - always be coding :)
> CIRR standards are transparent. We've fixed the problem of schools manipulating or hiding their outcome data, by requiring that for CIRR members, the outcomes of every enrolled student must be reported in a single, simple, clear report.
How many graduated on time?
How many accepted a full-time job in the field for which they trained within six months?
How many secured part-time jobs?
Did the school itself hire any graduates?
How many students jobs are in fields outside of what they studied for?
What are the salaries of grads who started jobs in their field of study?
In addition, schools must annually have their numbers – and the records they keep to prove them – verified by an independent auditor.
Saddest thing is I keep hearing stories of people saving up huge amounts of money to go to these bootcamps with this dream that they can jump from a 30k/year retail job to a $120k/year SWE job with a 4 month bootcamp. I just do not believe it ever happens.
Is it as common as these bootcamps claim? Who knows. It definitely happens.
I can relate about the interviews, though. At a previous company, we interviewed about 20 or so from several different bootcamps. We were excited for this new opportunity. We needed a few juniors. And we thought it would be super easy to find them now.
I think if they hadn't all been coached to interview with overconfidence, we might have hired a couple. But we just couldn't stomach how they would be so completely wrong, not know a certain data structure or algorithm or whatever, and pretend like they do. They weren't necessarily much worse than other candidates, but we just didn't want to deal with the overconfidence.
We still interviewed bootcamp grads on occasion. We never hired any. The only thing that we screened for were bootcamp students that listed projects on their resume in a way that was misleading and made it look like they had a full-time job. We immediately passed on these candidates. That was the majority of the bootcamp candidates, though.
The other thing to consider is that if 90% of bootcamp grads get an offer (and accept that offer) after their first interview but the remaining 10% are unhireable and proceed to interview with 100 companies each before giving up, you'd have to interview 10 bootcamp grads to find one worth hiring. (Assuming random distribution, that is - if you're the company that bootcamp grads apply to after failing the first interview, you might never get a good applicant) The applicant pool might not match the graduate pool, in other words.
In my case, the friend was someone I play basketball with. I was his only tech friend before he got his job, so I'm not sure how much that helped.
These bootcamps must be pushing the "fake it until you make it" advice to an extreme.
Spending $10-20k to get that tech job a few months sooner is a good deal.
Of course, the schools don't care, they make their money either way.
That’s an important point. A lot of people will find programming very boring and tedious. I wouldn’t recommend this career to most people.
Because as a programmer you get paid to solve new problems, not old ones.
Maybe 1% is actually solving new or "interesting" problems, which is good, because imagine if other fields were like that. Imagine if a plumber had to re-invent the wheel every time they installed a shower or faucet.
Even as a kid I was would never let things go that didn't "fit" into my brain's understanding of the world. So I felt well suited for bug hunting once I started doing it. But yeah 90% of my time is spent copying code, finding a missing letter, or meetings/phone calls. To me this is much better than other jobs. But it's not exactly glamours.
Idk what most non-programmers envision programming as, as I honestly couldn't have given someone a remotely accurate description of it before I actually started doing it.
Also no idea what he is talking about solving "new" puzzles. The vast majority of work is already completed by somebody else or at least in a similar manner and can be adapted to your own problem.
They may not be "inventing" the faucet every day but I wouldn't count tradesman out as not solving problems.
In a lot of programming jobs you will repeatedly solve the same problem or a variation of it.
I think you are right overall, but depends on how you ask. I like programming puzzles but hate the Rubik's cube, Sudoku, crossword etc...
Why should they? They take a bunch of people looking for a shortcut to a career that pays better money, and offer them a shortcut education in exchange for better money than they'd get teaching a curriculum elsewhere.
I've personally been part of hiring at least four dev boot campers. All were green but you could tell they fundamentally understood logic and would eventually figure out the stack given enough mentorship. They all turned out to be great jr hires.
Most previously had compelling careers in other fields before switching. I can remember a lawyer. And one worked for the CIA?
Natasha Murashev was one of them. I see her travelling the world, speaking, and has a large dev following on Twitter.
Mind you, the college grads have had 4 years to tinker with side projects in the framework of a traditional college experience (winter breaks, summers, etc). Most of the bootcamp grads have had much less time to do ambient programming and probably have more "real world" obligations.
I don't think this is the measure of people new to coding.
If 40 people have gone to the trouble and effort and cost of doing a bootcamp and not a single one of them is good enough for you then maybe it's you who are wrong.
The correct measure for people new to coding is work ethic/effort and enthusiasm and energy and friendliness and ability to communicate about ordinary non technical things. Pretty much nothing else counts. If someone works really really hard at learning to program then they'll get there eventually.
Tell me who it is that starts to learn to program and can instantly "get real world things done"? It would make no sense if someone was both new to programming and also could "get real world things done".
People develop their ability to get real world things done over time - it means nothing if a newly minted programmer comes out of the gate without an impressive ability to get "real world things done".
Programming starts with fumbling around finding your feet, then struggling with syntax, then after lots of enthusiasm time energy practice and effort people develop the skills to get stuff done.
So sorry I do not agree with your assessment of 40 coding camp graduates being unemployable - you just don't know how to assess brand new programmers.
Here is a real-world way I would try to asses somebody's capabilities fairly given their experience. Each candidate generally has a capstone project. Some kinda small app like a todo list or something written in Rails. I would have them walk me through the app they built, explaining some things that they did and asking why they made decisions a certain way. This was an incredibly soft test just to make sure THEY actually wrote it, as frequently code would be shared or TA's would help a lot. I wanted to know that they knew why they did something. If that went well, which it often didn't, I would give them a small feature to add. Something like "how would you expand your authentication to have a password reset", then hold their hand while we walked through adding this feature.
I'm all for non-traditional educations especially when it comes to SWE, but at the end of the day you are applying to a 6-figure job in a competitive market. The failure here is on the Bootcamps that convinced these people that 3 months of study can qualify your for ANY 6 figure job. Compare this to a traditional vocational school. I get the spirit of the parent comment, trust me I really do. But I can sign up for a 28-week metal fabrication course and be guaranteed that I will learn how to weld and get a $60k/year job as a welder. Startup bootcamps are marketing to the same people, with the same vocational messaging. It just is not the same, and it's bad for everybody.
I've interviewed 100s of programmers for several very well known tech company and specifically tried to get tech interviewers to tone that down. Doing so allowed us to hire some great non-CS JR programmers who are now team leads and even CTOs at other companies.
This is exactly correct. And if you're interviewing juniors/graduates trying to find "professionals" then you really don't understand hiring.
"We're looking for professionals with no commercial experience." It's a contradiction in terms.
For a corporate setting that may have the resources to hire people for the potential and long term maintenance of their cogs, sure, hire "recent graduates" with zero ability to produce any value to the company.
But don't tell me that you can't find young people with little to no experience that are talented enough to run circles on any "experienced professional" and actually be useful from the start. I've done it myself more than once.
>but as soon as you threw any real world problem that required any deviation from their established lane they completely floundered
He quoted it himself, but failed to notice the issue. I myself have noticed people who went through 4 year programs tend to be much more adaptable as the universities tend to do a better job of building a solid foundation.
I've known many people myself included who had 1-2 years of professional experience by the time they graduated from university. And naturally these folks would hit the ground running when hired post graduation, which is as it should be.
Historically, whenever there's been a lucrative new business opportunity with little oversight it's almost guaranteed to be rife with corruption and scams. That's not to say that legit bootcamps don't exist - my own partner had a successful experience with one - but the marketplace is a minefield of potentially life-ruining opportunities, and the only way to tell good from bad is through anecdotes and he-said-she-said. That's a big problem.
The other issue is that bootcamps can collect that money even if they provide no value. Say a student gets nothing out of the bootcamp, and spends the next three years on rigorous self-study.
The only upside for students is if the bootcamp fails, and they totally give up on a career in programming. If you have an ISA hanging over your head that might cost you upwards of $30k, I’d say it’s more likely you’ll give up than if you blew $7k up-front.
the "other issue" is not true of the ones I've seen. most ISAs have an expiration date far shorter than 3 years. the ones in SF I've seen are 1 year.
the "catch" that most people don't talk about with ISAs is that you have to actively job hunt and the school with hold you accountable for that e.g. submitting an minimum number of applications a week, going to networking events, reaching out to recruiters, etc., and if you fail to meet a minimum weekly threshold then you could trigger repayment. that is a big motivation to keep trying to get that first job.
"In the meantime, Lambda shifts the equation: For about half of the ISAs, the company sells the rights to a portion of its returns to investors; in return, it gets cash up front."
You can even see a "Sample Offering" for Lambda School on Edly, a marketplace for reselling ISAs: https://edly.info/investors/
If they hold the ISA and the student doesn’t make any money they don’t make any money. If they sell the ISA and their students don’t make any money soon they won’t be able to sell them and then they don’t make any money.
The only way I see this impacting student outcome is if the school loses motivation to help students post-graduation, but the discount for selling these ISAs must be very high.
Lambda School is still on the hook and loses money until the students are placed and have paid back. It’s about incentive alignment.
I've had a few email exchanges with California' Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. They fall under the Department of Consumer Affairs, and they were put in place due to California's problems with diploma mills.
The BPPE told me that because Lambda School is operating illegally, if a student has an issue with your company, it's impossible for the BPPE to do anything. Would you agree students should know about this risk, since many of them are likely in a position where they can't afford legal representation?
There’s a lot happening behind the scenes we can’t talk about publicly just yet, but hopefully soon!
Is what the BPPE saying incorrect? If it is correct, don't you think students should know about this?
Austen has zero intention of answering you!
If you could please stop bothering him with your plebeian concerns, that'd be great!
I'm in a unique situation where I've been in tech in non-eng roles for a number of years and did it more for the mental model rather than becoming a full time engineer so did not do the ISA and rather paid up front, but just off the top of my head most people have found jobs by now, including at Twitter, AWS, ServiceNow, Yelp, Branch, some smaller YC companies, etc.
I attribute my success to having a computer science background from being a gigantic nerd my entire life (first code written was QBasic in 3rd grade and you KNOW I was at every lan party in high school) and luck (Had someone willing to hire me to maintain small fry websites for a year which helped my resume quite a bit although at a poopy salary).
Both my brother and I went this route after getting unrelated bachelors degrees from a large university. I think a lot of people don't become competent after these bootcamps because they just aren't technical enough to grasp the concepts at the pace they're introduced in class.
The people in my cohort have been fairly successful. Without checking I think about 50% of them have jobs as web developers now.
Generally there seem to be three schools of hiring: (1) people who have been classically trained, (2) people who seem generally smart and willing to grind, (3) people who have done the work before.
#1 you mostly only get from a 4-year degree program, and colleges generally filter for #2. The other way I see people in category #2 hired is when they transition into a dev job through ad hoc circumstances (e.g. data analyst who needed to do more and more coding on the job). #3 is just having been a programmer before.
If you go to a dev bootcamp, you won't have #1 or #3. You're depending purely on #2, and that's the one category where it's mostly about you, not the dev bootcamp. The dev bootcamp is just there to give you structure and to signal something to employers.
This seems to be the common denominator in boot camp graduate success stories: they've completed a college degree already, so they have at least some foundation, they just need somebody to walk them through the details of software development. I'm curious what your degree was in - did you have a math(ish) background already?
I also was a nerd growing up, wrote QBasic code in 2nd grade, got an unrelated bachelors degree (Philosophy).... but I just used side projects as my resume to get my first job 15 years ago.
Did you need the bootcamp, or could you have entered the industry without it?
Half getting it, and a thing working, from some internet tutorial / classes just doesn't compare for me.
Those "Hey does that mean that X, Y, and Z would me an A, B, C? Does it work that way?" moments are key for me to grok something.
This part of your reply stood out to me:
"I think a lot of people don't become competent after these bootcamps because they just aren't technical enough to grasp the concepts at the pace they're introduced in class."
because I think it's 100% accurate. I had a lot of education to carry out alongside my job, where I was learning a ton of programming concepts in the real world and let me tell you, it's not easy stuff. But, luckily for me, with the right supervisor or mentor or peers, you can climb the mountain a little easier.
I have a friend from college that was a biochemist for a while, took a bootcamp course, and is now a dev at Microsoft.
For example, "FBTA"s are real and I have encountered them in real life. There are definitely bootcamps that game the system by hiring their own grads.
On the flip side, I think ISAs are a really promising way to align incentives between the school and students. Compare that to people going into massive debt by going to uni and then failing to find a good job - only the gov't cares if you're able to repay your debt or not.
However based on the discussion threads here it seems to be no smoke without a fire.
You mean trying to fix the fact?
As far as I've seen (Allred comments on HN), Allred/Lambda certainy test the boundaries of law and enforcement, but Allred is consistently respectful with CA's rulings, does what CA agencies demand, and keeps the school/"school" open. Yes, Lambda moves fast and breaks rules and pays penalty costs, but they don't deny the legitimacy of the laws and try to weasel out.
It sounds like you're talking about traditional American colleges with this criticism, not Lambda school. I'm confused.
It's not a great argument. Yes, being able to learn/research independently is an important skill that everyone should have, but it's a spectrum. Teaching yourself programming in six months through self-study alone is VERY FAR along on that spectrum. I would bet there are far more people who can get a job with the structure/forced deadlines/etc. of a bootcamp + a heavy amount of self-study to improve their skills, than there are who can do the entire thing themselves.
Also, self study is far from the most efficient way to learn most things. Having someone to help unblock you when you have a bug you can't figure out, or when there's a concept you're not quite grasping can make a huge difference in your overall rate of learning.
LaunchCode https://www.launchcode.org/ is non-profit, no ISA, no fee to applicant. Offers a free slower paced bootcamp (after work hours) that teach you the basics (two programming languages, git, mvc style web programming), but then you interview and place into a paid apprenticeship, about $15/hour, at an employer who trains you for the Job they want you to do (3-6 months), after which if the apprenticeship works out they hire you on with full entry level tech salary for that area.
The catch is it's only in Saint Louis, South Florida, Kansas City, and Tampa Bay.
Not to say any bootcamp wouldn't work, it's just the key to bootcamps working, is getting hired by a company that invests in training their Junior Devs, which is MUCH more important than the bootcamp itself.
I think that just having a directory of companies that are willing to hire people with minimal experience at slightly-better-than minimum wage is a much better approach to the problem then trying to delude people that anyone can make six figures after a two month boot camp.
Some can, sure, but it's a much less reliable method than working in the industry for a few years.
This "don't pay unless you get a job education model" costs you far more than those who have the means to pay for a bootcamp outright.
BTW, as someone who hires developers at all talent levels I'd never put any value in a diploma, from an Ivy League or a boot camp. The only thing I want to see is the most interesting thing you've built recently. From there we can talk technical details and cultural fit.
They’re a loan that you don’t need to pay back unless you’re making money. The idea that they’re as bad as a normal student loan let alone a predatory one is nuts.
Certainly they should be capped so there’s a maximum amount you’l you can possibly end up paying, not uncapped like App Academy’s but you’d have to have a very high proposition of an income share or an extremely long term for them to be as bad as a standard student loan.
If the ISA is capped at the tuition or sightly higher it's a wonderful program. Very few are.
Student loans are often predatory but I'm not sure if any topically collect 4x the total tuition over the life of the loan.
It's easy to look at this as giving education to those who wouldn't get it otherwise.
But there is a dark side: https://medium.com/@kevgardner83/the-true-cost-of-income-sha...
> The average up-front tuition amount for coding bootcamps is $10,000 to $15,000, according to Course Report, which collects data and reviews on coding bootcamps. The idea to not pay thousands of dollars at the start of the program may be attractive. But, let’s say you agree to an ISA. And after completing the a coding bootcamp, you’re hired with a salary of $60,000 a year. If you pay 20 percent of your salary for four years, you’ll end up paying $48,000. That’s more than four times the average cost for an up-front payment to a coding bootcamp.
It's basically charging those with the least money more tuition. It would be fine if they capped it at the tuition price or even a nominal interest rate, but some programs make 400% more from students that can't afford upfront tuition.
It's fine if you want to charge everyone in your bootcamp under the ISA model, but if you offer a $10k tuition and a $40k ISA you're basically offering the same product at vastly different prices to two different economic groups.
I don't know if those are real terms in your example, but they do seem pretty bad. (Although still better than a predatory loan IMO, since they are contingent on the student actually having a somewhat successful outcome).
By contrast, something like Lambda's ISA ($30k max payment vs $20k upfront tuition; 15% of income for two years; min $50k/y salary as software engineer) strikes me as not predatory in any way -- I would guess they make less money from their ISA students on average than from their tuition-paying students.
It's charging those who are less risk accepting more money, but risk aversion is a reasonable thing to pay a premium for. Its perfectly reasonable to view $48,000 if it gets me a job paying $60,000 a year for four years as being a better deal than $10,000 unconditionally.
OTOH, a high ISA multiplier should be a sign of a low expected successful placement rate.
True, but I doubt you could find hiring data that supports a 4x higher employment rate among ISA cohorts.
If bootcamps wanted to publish they're employment rate and average salary for both cohorts so students could do the math that would be better.
My guess is employment and salary are much more tied to ability and location than thyey are to wether you opt in to an ISA.
Sure, but the disutility of a $12,000 bill for four years when making $60,000 may be much less than five times a single $10,000 bill when making whatever you’d make if the bootcamp didn't payoff. The impact of $1 isn't equivalent across different income circumstances. You have to account for both success rate and declining marginal utility of income with greater income.
Want to hear the biggest scam? There are organizations that charge $200K up front to teach you things regardless of whether you get a job. Most of what they teach you can be acquired FOR FREE on the internet. Many many people never get a job in their field and spend decades paying these organizations back. Many of these organizations have tens of billions of dollars in endowments. You may have heard of some of them: Harvard, Yale, MIT. Something seriously must be done about these scam artists.
Everyone - everyone - always has an angle.
In particular, harsh ISAs are almost completely dominated by student loans, charging like a loan if you have a bad job and much worse if you have a good one. Say a bootcamp with $15k tuition offers an ISA at 20% of income above $10k for 4 years, capped at $85k income. That's unusually bad, but not a blatant scam.
If the bootcamp gets you a good job at or above cap, you pay $60k over 4 years. Much higher than tuition, but on some level who cares - you're still way ahead overall.
If the bootcamp doesn't help you at all, and you keep a prior $35k wage job, you'll wind up paying $20k total at $415/month. A 7%, four year student loan for the full tuition would only have cost ~$350/month.
So you only really "win" if you're unemployed or down near minimum wage. (Or drop out, perhaps? I don't know what happens to ISAs in that case.)
I think most ISAs are better than that, especially wrt salary floor. But paying a double-digits percentage of income even if the program hasn't helped you get a better job isn't necessarily much 'safer' than taking a loan directly. It could still be better with poor credit or high prior debt, but ISAs aren't generally promoted on that basis.
Best of all, you can get a real job building marketing websites/some basic apps, as opposed to pie-in-the-sky dreams of working at Netflix's Data Science department.
BTW, my bootcamp (I took a JS course), paid me $500 to post about my experience on Quora. I wrote a 1,000 word article about what I learned and how I applied in a project. To the bootcamp's credit, at no point was I asked to embellish my experience or attribute getting a job solely due to the bootcamp.
The TA point is also true. The letting go of lower quality applicants was also true.
I think the Camp was more fulfilling for me because I had previous programming experience so I could dive deeper into the material since I had some fundamentals already in place. If you have no previous experience, you are f'ed because the material goes by to quickly to deeply learn anything.
It's not obvious to me that this is any special weakness of bootcamps, rather than just another consequence of the fact that programming doesn't have much standardized education or trustworthy credentialing.
> System Administration
> Civil Engineering
I'm gonna have to disagree with System Administration as not being "tech" or not qualified. Skillsets of Syadmins and Netadmins may vary greatly, but someone with a background in bash and some knowledge of the Windows Registryis going to be light years ahead of someone coming in with a background in geology or law.
There are sysadmins, even very experienced ones, who have never written code or code-equivalent scripts. But there are lots who have, and "tell me more" seems like the obvious reaction. For that matter, anyone with a recent Civil Engineering degree has probably done a fair bit of Matlab programming, and even some geologists do heavyweight climate modelling. If we agree that a background in physics is potentially a good qualification, it's worth asking most of these people what specific work qualifies them.
Maybe the complaint was specifically about those people teaching programming, though? "Sysadmin + bootcamp" could definitely prepare someone for an entry-level programming job, but it does sound worrying if a bootcamp loads up on TAs who don't have education or experience in software beyond the bootcamp itself.
Tried Googling and couldn't come up with any results, but have any of these reports been published or written about? That sort of behavior should absolutely be put in the spotlight and strongly rebuked.
I did a camp tied to Trilogy, that ran through a local University (but really was only administered it, no 'educational' ties).
It was a good camp IMO, it had plenty of flaws, but overall I think it was a good camp.
The real issue ... they don't filter who gets in enough. Admittedly that is a HARD job as you don't know who will do well. In my crowd of folks who did well there was "accountant tired of accounting", "VP or something or other who just wanted to do a coding camp", "director of something or other who just didn't want to manage people", "bank teller who wanted a real job", "musician who wanted to try something more profitable", and a collection of other not great job / folks who didn't do much in college. These were a mix of young and old, age didn't matter, and they all did great.
But on the down side I'd say that at least 50% of the class "graduated" and were IMO, unemployable. I'm not talking about passing an interview, I just don't think they were ever going to learn.
I often think of them and what happened to them. I expect some amount of that but the costs involved were high, I hope they didn't take a serious financal hit.
Personally I'm doing fine, as are the other folks who did well in class, web dev now and happy to be coding away.
We could teach elementary school kids to set bones, do stitches, manage projects, and treat flu. If people have a problem with this, they should have a problem with subsidies for teaching people to code as well.
90% of what they learned in medical school is irrelevant to their specialties, and the vast majority of the medicine they practiced was learned 'on the job'.
Medical education is heavily regulated and controlled by licensing organizations, and this is the primary reason why there would never be a disruption in the education model like this. Whether or not this a good thing is tough to answer.
We call them nurses, PAs, and paramedics.
And every single one of them has a training program already more rigorous than most bootcamps.
This is equivalent to coding bootcamp.
If a doctor is equivalent to a software engineer, than an EMT is equivalent to a business analyst who can only work on 3% of your projects and is only present a few hours per week.
I have nothing against EMTs. I earned an EMT-Basic license a number of years back.
Meanwhile if your average developer or software engineer screws up, it's usually not a big deal. It might be in a few specific instances (like if they're working with medical software or systems onboard planes), but in most cases it's just 'some small business' website goes down' or 'a video game crashes'.
Medical implants? Robotic surgery?
Edit: Social Media, Elections, Politics, News, etc
That's another huge difference between software engineering/web development/coding and something like medicine; there are few parts of the latter where screwing up won't have major consequences, and many parts of the former which won't.
In that sense, I guess you could say tech is less like a 'field' or 'industry' and more like part of life that a bunch of different fields or industries depend on. It's like how 'writing English' covers lawyers writing documents for use in court, teachers teaching students in schools and colleges, authors writing novels and businesses writing copy for their websites/brochures.
The former two cases would have some sort of licensing because they have actual consequences if someone doesn't know what they're doing, whereas the latter clearly wouldn't.
On the one hand the idea that you can become a well-paid programmer starting from one of these bootcamps is almost insulting to me as someone who dedicated much of his life to the field.
On the other hand, a lot of people do it. I've worked with them. They don't all suck.
Have I wasted my life on trivialities?
There would be MORE malware.
People who couldn't meet the high standards could find income in the lucrative field of malware.
The MCAS of the 737-MAX wasn't designed by mechanical or civil engineers ;)
A bit longer than a typical bootcamp, but not a long time.
"The GDL is one (full-time) or two (part-time) years long, and successful candidates may proceed to either the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for solicitors or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) for barristers."
Law - you have to pass the bar
Accounting - you need to be a CPA (although mostly for a specific career path)
Surgery - do you really want some schmuck performing an operation solely from a 2 month school that teaches how to fix people?
Policing - well the union's a big one...
Some of his points are definitely true at some schools, but it's worth taking most of them with a grain of salt.
It's completely anecdotal, but I know several people that have chosen bootcamps over books and they're much happier for it.
I have trouble imagining that anyone who might have wanted to learn from a book would have baulked at a <$US20 purchase. There are plenty of people who don't like learning from books, which is fine, and I'm certainly not denying their existence, but those people wouldn't be in Zed's market anyhow.
Also IMO coursera/udacity/community colleges are more reliable than bootcamp.
It was an excellent (and expensive) experience. One of my fondest memories of the last decade. I feel it was worth every penny of it. My company did not pay for it. I took a week's vacation, and paid for it out of pocket.
I don't pretend that it was anything more than a fairly basic "primer," to get me "back on the bicycle again," but it did a great job with that.
That said, it was a different animal from the types of bootcamps that the author is talking about. It was a "prototypical" bootcamp; a week-long, immersion course, with a fairly narrow agenda.
I've seen that one with a for-profit college. It requires a paid "internship" thingy to graduate. Then gives out really uninspired internship openings. Sure, you've got a job, though.
Boot camps usually strap in their students for about 3-6 months and make them learn extremely basic coding in some modern stack with html/css.
Depending on the company, this may be a better/cheaper alternative to starting talent that was in the grinder for 4 years but may not have any other business knowledge - or sometimes lack knowledge aside from c++/java. (Not arguing the merits here, personally I prefer depth of understanding to a mechanical and superficial understanding, but business needs do differ)
So is it fair to say boot camps are stealing your money? The same way that any for-profit educational institute might. At the same time, they have a similar function to other educational institutions in that they are largely a culling mechanism and not an educational one - but that is a problem across the board.
It’s unfortunate that they market and promise what they do, as it’s just unrealistic - but that doesn’t mean that they don’t do anything. I don’t have the data anymore, but from multiple cohorts what I saw was a slightly skewed bell curve, where the top of the class (~1 out of every 10 or so) tends to do well and find a decent entry level job in 3-8 months, the bottom of the class just flatlines and really don’t learn a thing (1-4 of 10), and the remaining hustle hard to break into the industry for ~2 years or decide it’s not for them.
I haven’t run the numbers, but I know a lot of my college educated friends are not working in what they studied, so for those that ended up not in a code related role, but did not bottom out (I.e. they did learn some basics of how code works), were they scammed by the universities? (Okay, actually, as a victim of this myself, I’d say yes here, but again, I’m just pointing out this may not be isolated to boot camps)
Summary: only go to a boot camp if you have your eyes wide open and know it is a culling mechanism and that if you’re not in the top of the class or exceptionally lucky, you will not have an easy time finding employment. Even the top of the class won’t have an easy time, but it’ll be easier than you. You will probably leave knowing more about code than before regardless, but also be aware of how shallow your knowledge will be, regardless of how long or intense your boot camp is.
If you had a good experience at a bootcamp, then you probably would have been fine on your own. Most students at bootcamps are like most students at any school (lazy/cheating) except in the case of the bootcamp, the school has less to offer in the first place and essentially no incentive to grade you rigorously. So even more than usual, you get out what you put in.
Bootcamp grads flooding the industry have put such a burden on hiring, performance reviews, and firing, that we now live in a world where "senior" means "second year" and asking someone to perform a tree search on a white board is literally torturing them. Making good software, dealing with other humans, providing value and earning money -- it's not easy; and it's ridiculous to assume that these bootcamps can come anywhere near the (lack of) preparation you get from real schools.
However, I will say this:
- When there's a gold rush, there are going to be people trying to make money selling shovels. Some of those shovels are going to be crap. Perhaps most. That doesn't mean that some people aren't running an honest business(or in this case, a bootcamp).
- Bootcamps are what you make of them. If you expect them to be like a school where knowledge is just dumped on your lap by a professor, you're going to be in for a world of disappointment. If you're willing to take charge of your learning and are willing to spend the time sharing knowledge with others, and dedicate yourself to maximizing your time(studying, projects, failing in a good way), then a bootcamp will be for you. I spent as much time as I could learning, and was often the last person to exit the building in the early AM.
- In relation to the previous point, you may not necessarily need a bootcamp. If you have the passion and the will, you can acquire the knowledge and skills on your own. You could take the tens of thousands of dollars you'd spend on a bootcamp and quit work for a while to study and do projects at home, go to hacker spaces, and attend developer meetups, and you'd get something pretty close to what a bootcamp will give you. However, a bootcamp will bring you together with a bunch of other people in the same position as you in somewhere like San Francisco where there's nonstop action going on. By going to Dev Bootcamp, I was immersed in a world I otherwise wouldn't have been exposed to and had experiences with people I might not have had otherwise. All in all, most of the value of a bootcamp is being around people you can learn from and with. If you find that on your own, then you might be able to save by not having to pay that bootcamp tuition.
All that said, I don't completely disagree with Shaw's tweets. A lot of bootcamps are clearly(IMO) predatory. Ultimately, a bootcamp can't make any guarantees as to whether or not you get a job. That task is ultimately up to you and, as much as it's not fair, your success will mostly stem from your ability to sell yourself. You can be a completely shit programmer but charm your way into a career. Income share deals, I think, are a bad idea, even if they work out for a few. At that point, you might as well save money by skipping bootcamp and do the learn-on-your-own approach I described earlier. There are many bootcamps that act like they have standards but will actually take just about anyone, even if they aren't really the type that can handle the self-responsibility of going to a bootcamp.
Shaw might be painting with a broad brush, he's not totally wrong.
Hackbright is the best one from what I've seen when it comes to placement and career retainment, and it's free too, but it's only available to women. Hack Reactor seems ok. App Academy seems ok too. DevBootcamp seems like it used to be ok, but is now bad after it was sold.
Which other bootcamps have you hired people from?
What is worse is the not-so-smart people who spend five figures in a boot camp, and get nothing out of it. The fact that so many boot camps feel the need to goose their numbers by hiring the failgrads is a pretty clear sign that this happens a lot.
Wonder what’s he’s doing these days....
Me: Something about FOO.
Jed: "Most people I've met who are into FOO are assholes."
Nevertheless, I find him entertaining, and he definitely will cut through the bullshit.
I think you misspelled "generate a metric ton of".