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>> If you already have prior programming knowledge and know at least one programming language, joining this camp is silly and it doesn't prove anything one way or another

I have to disagree here. If you taught yourself enough for what you needed at the time and never knew any other programmers then you face a huge impediment to learning. Every time you hit a wall where you know how to describe the problem to a human but not to google or stack overflow you can spend hours (notice I didn't say waste) hunting down what is the proper way to describe the problem. While this can be extremely educational in the broad sense it can be slow in terms of actual progress towards being a better programmer since the overhead associated with troubleshooting/debugging is multiplied when it is most costly.

Also, if you're spending 12+ hours a day writing code on average (in my program we did) for 12 hours a week, then you're putting in a hair over a thousand hours of coding time. Assuming a 12 week semester, 2 semesters a year, and 4 years this comes out to about 10 hours per week of actual coding. This clearly isn't the best student in a 4 year program's work schedule, but it's not unrealistic for an undergrad. It takes time to get situated with a given problem and into writing code, but if you're essentially on a 12 week coding binge where you take breaks to sleep and eat then that context switching overhead is reduced. The productive hours of a 12 week bootcamp may seriously outpace the hypothetical student who spends that raw time over 4 years.

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