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Ask HN: Does anyone actually hire from 'developer bootcamps'?
239 points by ruswick on Jan 6, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 252 comments
Programs like General Assembly and Flatiron School are touted as effective ways to mint new developers very quickly, and a bunch of them boast hiring rates over 90% and average starting salaries of 100k or more.

And yet, looking around, there don't seem to be many jobs for entry-level Rails or iOS developers. If you look around on job boards, there simply is not much competition for entry-level talent. Most of the job growth appears to be in academic stuff like AI and data science which requires at the very least a BS and probably an MS. The run-of-the-mill web and mobile developer positions all demand at least some level of experience (generally 2-6 years). It just doesn't seem like there is enough demand for inexperienced talent to make this kind of program effective.

But if the stats that these bootcamps throw out are true, there are companies hiring people at $100k who, twelve weeks ago, had never opened a text editor in their lives.

If you've hired from one of these programs, what made you turn to them? Was it a success? And if it's really possible to build a rails developer from scratch in 10 weeks, why not just just do it in-house through an internship program and avoid paying commission to these schools? And why do most companies still ask for "at least a Bachelors in CS" for web and mobile development positions?




Yes, I work at Refinery29 (obligatory www.corporate.r29.com/careers/), a large women's fashion website in NYC. Of our 30 person tech team, we have had about 5 people coming out of these bootcamps, and they are all awesome.

Although I think your idea of who goes to these bootcamps is pretty off. These aren't people who "had never opened a text editor in their lives." Some of them are people who were working in science, doing research and matlab programming, and wanted to make a career switch. Others are people who maybe majored in math, or perhaps a completely non-technical major but went to a bunch of hackathons or took some intro programming classes for fun, and then when they realized they loved tech it was to late for them to make the switch in college.

Top programs like the Flatiron school are NOT a walk in the park. They are intensive, 60-80 hour a week programs with a very low acceptance rate.

Of the dozen plus people I know who have gone through one, I can't think of a single person who had never programmed before entering into one of these bootcamps (not that it is not possible!).

"looking around, there don't seem to be many jobs for entry-level Rails or iOS developers. If you look around on job boards, there simply is not much competition for entry-level talent."

What? I get emails every other day from recruiters hiring for their social mobile ruby on rails web app. The tech shortage is present more than ever in every level of the industry.


>Top programs like the Flatiron school are NOT a walk in the park. They are intensive, 60-80 hour a week programs with a very low acceptance rate.

As an App Academy graduate, I can confirm this. Pretty much everyone has some prior programming, technical, or engineering experience. Personally, I had gone through most of an Electrical Engineering program.

Good bootcamps aren't something that takes average people and turns them into good developers. They take talented individuals and fills in the missing pieces for being able to contribute professionally.


Hm. So since companies do hire from dev bootcamps, are the candidates quizzed about CS theory during the application process? It seems pretty standard to be asked about data structures and algorithms for engineering positions and I can't imagine someone attending these bootcamps to also be well-versed at those over the course of their quick training.


Whiteboard coding questions aren't as difficult as people often believe. IMO the hardest part is just getting used to programming without any outside resources on a whiteboard.

The problem is that people don't practice them because they believe that these questions test some sort of intrinsic, unchangeable quality of how smart you are, which is totally false.

But if people practiced them more, they would realized that there is only 10-20 questions that you can be asked, and everything else is just some minor variation of the most common questions, and you don't specialized training to do project Euler or glassdoor.com questions.


> But if people practiced them more, they would realized that there is only 10-20 questions that you can be asked, and everything else is just some minor variation of the most common questions, and you don't specialized training to do project Euler or glassdoor.com questions.

My gut reaction to this is that you're not asking very good questions if it's such simple variations. Unless you're being excessively reductive in that all of programming can be done in just a handful of compiler operations, and thus only a handful of programming questions could be asked.


And how do you practice on them? By solving questions on whiteboard? (And appreciate any more advice you have)


Stated right in the quote you copied "entry-level talent". Are you entry level?

If not, then your recruiting emails mean little.

If yes, then your assessment of other entry-level programmers who happen to have come from bootcamps is perhaps less valuable.


Not necessarily. It is possible stale2002 gets emails from recruiters simply because he's on a list somewhere. Recruiters are not known for investigating people thoroughly before bulk sending of emails.


I can testify to that.

I had done some SharePoint front end design when I was on an editorial team and we needed some features in our SharePoint site in 2008, but had to take any mention of SharePoint out of my resume because I got too many contacts from recruiters looking for a SharePoint architect.

I'm also a Zend Certified Engineer in PHP (don't hate). I'd never worked with Zend Framework, but would get very regular recruiter contacts because they didn't know the difference between "Zend" (a company) and "Zend Framework" (an MVC framework that was just one of their products).


That still wouldn't be evidence that recruiters are trying to hire actual entry level positions. I'm not saying that they aren't, but simply that the post was not really very solid evidence of it if the poster isn't entry level.


Oh hi, which of my (recently former) coworkers are you?


come bacckkk SMeyer, I have 3 desks to myself now in my row. :P -BCWade


> The tech shortage is present more than ever in every level of the industry.

In the web and mobile sections of the industry, maybe.


> The tech shortage is present more than ever in every level of the industry.

In the web and mobile sectors of the industry, maybe.


> The tech shortage is present more than ever in every level of the industry.

At every level of the web and mobile sectors of the industry, maybe.


> The tech shortage is present more than ever in every level of the industry.

At every level of the web and mobile sectors of the industry, maybe.


> The tech shortage is present more than ever in every level of the industry.

In the web and mobile sectors of the industry, maybe.


Thought I'd give a contrarian perspective here.

I was hiring for a telehealth startup based in NYC and got some referrals to some recent General Assembly grads. I bit and went ahead and scheduled some interviews. It was a total joke, honestly. The graduates glossed over the entry-level interview questions with a lot of handwaving (I would ask them things like "How would you do x given y?") and quoted rates upwards of $100/hr even though their total experience was the 10 week course @ GA campus.

I was so turned off by that experience that I just never even considered hiring from a 'hacker bootcamp' again. I'll echo what others have been saying as well: You can hire them, and maybe they'll perform for a while - but the amount of time you'll need to spend to get them up to speed on CS basics will more than likely not be worth the investment. You're better off hiring a recent college grad whose only experience is working with Java - at least they have the fundamentals and can build on top of them instead of backtracking.


Sorry your experience was bad. All I can suggest is that other bootcamps may be better than GA?

At Hack Reactor, the instructors never shied away from CS fundamentals. For example, less than two weeks into the course, my partner and I wrote an N-Queens Solver in Javascript, using bitwise logic. We even got it to work in multiple threads using Web Workers. We wrote about it here: http://dsernst.com/2014/12/22/nqueens/

I'm loving my experience so far, and couldn't recommend it more highly.


When I was interviewing over the summer, the VAST majority of candidates I got for my mid-level rails position were from one of these bootcamps.

I'm willing to give anyone a try, and so I interviewed a lot of them over the phone, and gave nearly all of them the coding exercise. Which they almost universally failed to complete.

Still, I wound up hiring one as very junior. And that's exactly what she is. I don't have to hold her hand through the really really basic stuff, and she needs me to get her through sticking points pretty regularly, but overall she contributes to the team.

$100k, though, I really don't see it happening. And she's the exception - she finished the coding exercise.

Which means a lot to me. The coding exercise we use isn't particularly hard, but it requires you to do a bunch of separate things - and it thus requires some ability to go on google/stack overflow/etc and figure out something you didn't already know. Which is what I want most in a junior dev - a way to move forward when you get stuck.


Would you mind sharing the exercise? I'm writing a book and would like to know the pass-rate of my students.


Unfortunately we don't make it public.

The core challenge isn't the problem itself, but that we require them to make a rails app of it - including an ability to save the information put in, and add comments.

None of it is a particular challenge, but it could be tedious. There's definitely some minimal amount of integration involved. What I find interesting is that when I ask people I know and regard as good programmers, they balk at the amount of time the exercise might take.

When I interview the bootcamp programmers, they always say they can get it done in a day, no problem. And usually don't finish.


Not the person you were asking, but I always loved giving this quiz in interviews: http://rubyquiz.com/quiz9.html

I always say I don't care what language they do it in.. I just like to see how they approach the problem.


It probably uses propriety data/code, making it difficult to share.

If not though, I second this request.


Yes.

I work at Conde Nast. I helped work with a bootcamp program to create a "internship" program for new graduates. We took eight students after attending a recruiting event and invited them to work on a cycling program. From the eight, we hired four.

We cycled the students through four of Conde Nast's brands/responsibilities. Currently, we have junior developers from this program working on GQ magazine, Glamour, and our in-house CMS system. They are doing JavaScript web app development.

Going into the hiring process, I was betting on the students rate of learning. We knew they didnt have the domain experience. We were hiring out of a RoR bootcamp, so their knowledge was also going to be irrelevant. Knowing they spent 10 weeks learning at a rapid pace, I believed we could extend that to our own code base.

Our experience was good. Because our company was in a unique hiring period, it made sense. We wouldnt do it again.


Why wouldn't you do it again if it was a good experience?


Our company was in a unique hiring period where we were bringing on a relatively large number of junior developers. We dont normally have that case.


What if the company needed to bring on a large number of junior developers again?


They would probably be not in the same situation again where they end up having junior position.


Exactly


>Our experience was good. We wouldn't do it again.

If the experience was good, why not?


As a company, we dont normally do large scale hiring. When we do large scale hiring, we can bring on junior devs.

If we are hiring for single spots, we need experienced developers.


"If we are hiring for single spots, we need experienced developers."

That's why you don't see openings for entry level positions.


But if you were in the same large scale hiring situation again and can bring on junior devs, would you do it again?


It was a once a decade hiring process.


Sometimes, you just don't need that many new people. This is one of the things that happened with Hungry Academy and Living Social back in the day. A sudden influx of 24 new people doesn't mean you're immediately ready as an organization to pick up 24 more, even if they are good entry-level engineers.


You chopped the context out of the quote. I thought the original was sufficiently explanatory.


That's actually not true. He/she quoted the original two sentences. The parent post was later edited to add a third (middle) sentence.


Oh, pardon then. The original really does read strange.


Sorry about that. Three people asked the same question, so I updated the post after.


>Our experience was good. We wouldnt do it again.

I assume you mean 'would do it again'?


No.


The confusion here probably comes from the past tense phrasing. "We wouldn't do it again" strongly implies "If we were in the same situation as before we wouldn't do the same thing."

It'd be more clear to say "We probably won't do it again," I think. And if you did end up needing multiple entry-level hires, it sounds like you would be open to a similar approach?


> The confusion here probably comes from the past tense phrasing.

Possibly pedantic, but, that's the simple conditional (which, in this particular context without an explicit condition, has the implicit condition of "in similar circumstances"), not the past tense.


Apologies for out-pedanting you, but I believe it is still called the past tense. English past tense (a grammatical form) can be used in several situations, the dominant being signalling past time, but also used to signal conditionals.


> Apologies for out-pedanting you, but I believe it is still called the past tense. English past tense (a grammatical form) can be used in several situations, the dominant being signalling past time, but also used to signal conditionals.

Its almost the reverse in this case. Among the meanings of the simple conditional form is the "future-in-the-past" meaning (which is sometimes called a form or tense of its own.)

There are conditional sentences in which one or the other of English's past tenses/forms are used, but they are used in the condition clause (which was implicit, not stated, in the sentence at issue). The other clause (the conditional) uses a future form (usually marked with the modal verb will or shall -- English doesn't actually have a future tense, as such) or a conditional form (marked with the modal verb would or should.)


> Apologies for out-pedanting you, but I believe it is still called the past tense.

No. In "If we were in similar conditions again, we wouldn't do the same thing", the condition clause ("If we were in similar conditions again") uses the past tense, the main clause ("we wouldn't do the same thing") uses the conditional mood, which is marked (in this case) by the use of the modal verb "would".

In the sentence "We wouldn't do it again" where the condition is implicit, there is no use of the past tense, only the conditional mood.


> Apologies for out-pedanting you, but I believe it is still called the past tense. English past tense (a grammatical form) can be used in several situations, the dominant being signalling past time, but also used to signal conditionals.

Its almost the reverse in this case. Among the meanings of the simple conditional form is the "future-in-the-past" meaning (which is sometimes called a form or tense of its own.)

There are conditional sentences in which one or the other of English's past tenses/forms are used, but they are used in the condition clause (which was implicit, not stated, in the sentence at issue). The other clause (the conditional) uses a future form (usually marked with the modal verb will or shall -- English doesn't actually have a future tense, as such) or a conditional form (marked with the modal verb would or should.)


> Apologies for out-pedanting you, but I believe it is still called the past tense. English past tense (a grammatical form) can be used in several situations, the dominant being signalling past time, but also used to signal conditionals.

Its almost the reverse in this case. Among the meanings of the simple conditional form is the "future-in-the-past" meaning (which is sometimes called a form or tense of its own.)

There are conditional sentences in which one or the other of English's past tenses/forms are used, but they are used in the condition clause (which was implicit, not stated, in the sentence at issue). The other clause (the conditional) uses a future form (usually marked with the modal verb will or shall -- English doesn't actually have a future tense, as such) or a conditional form (marked with the modal verb would or should.)


Pedantic but appreciated! My formal schooling in English was a bit lacking, so I don't always know what things are called. Filed away for future reference!


Spot on.


Is this in the US or UK?


US. New York city.


So why wouldnt do it again?


(Disclosure: I am a cofounder at one of these schools, Hack Reactor.)

> Most of the job growth appears to be in academic stuff like AI and data science

This is incorrect -- web jobs are growing quickly.

> there are companies hiring people at $100k who, twelve weeks ago, had never opened a text editor in their lives.

This is rare, but it does happen. The more common case is the student that coded on the side for a year or two and then jumped in full-time to a school like mine.

> And if it's really possible to build a rails developer from scratch in 10 weeks, why not just just do it in-house through an internship program?

Running an educational program is hard. You might as well ask me "If your grads are really worth $100k a year, why not hire them all and make software?" That's, like, a whole different company.

> And why do most companies still ask for "at least a Bachelors in CS" for web and mobile development positions?

We tell our students, "This means 'you have to know how to code', so that random non-coders don't apply." As a former engineering manager, this was true in practice. I didn't care if an applicant had a BS or not, as long as they could code.


I care about capability, not credentials. That said, a BS from a decent CS program has some value, if only as a filter. And programs like these "bootcamps" have a similar value with a much lower bar. In both cases you need to know the program to really figure out how to scale it in your decision.

Running an educational program is hard, I agree. And if you guys are doing a really excellent job of it over, say, 10 weeks the way I look at it is this: the potential hire is an entry level person who has about a 3 month jump on the approx 2 years it will take to make a developer out of them. If your program is a year long, they're maybe a bit over half way there.

So given that: I'd have no problem hiring these people as entry level (i.e. developer in training), and if I knew something about the program itself that would count in their favor against similarly green candidates.


(Disclosure: I'm a college dropout who went through Hack Reactor and can, for the first time, afford a comfortable lifestyle)

Hack Reactor focuses entirely on JavaScript and Web Development, after baking in the basics (algorithms, logical thinking, recursion vs iteration, introductory functional programming and TDD). And it is incredibly successful.

I think you're underestimating the difference between college and immersive learning. College is about many things, your major and focus being one of them. Immersive learning is about one thing. In Hack Reactor's case, it's becoming a competent Web Developer.

Elon Musk's response in this thread (https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2rgsan/i_am_elon_musk...) rings true. Almost no college is teaching Web Development, and so the students get little class based exposure to it, and stumble through many pitfalls. An immersive experience gives you the trunk and several branches, and then frees you up to go deep into whatever you care about.

And smart, voracious people who are eager to learn and better themselves quickly outclass everyone else.

Oh, and I could code competently before I went to Hack Reactor (I was a contractor). I went to gain deep web experience, work in crossfunctional teams, and have a safe place to fortify the foundational soft skills which are absolutely essential for productive software developers.

Oh, and the ROI is insane.


I don't think I'm underestimating it at all. Immersive learning works best when you are almost ready to learn the material already; in this case you can achieve a lot in a few days if you are motivated, but there are limits. You can't compress years or months into days, and you can only get so far before you have to slow down and synthesize.

I wouldn't hire someone just because they'd graduated from a decent CS program either, it's just a reasonable proxy for some of the skills (but not others) they will need to become a developer over time.


Great points. I often forget how many of my breakthroughs come from careful reflective synthesis, and I forget that, in general, it's a slow process.

It turns out, immersive learning is absolutely capable of compressing synthesis time as well as knowledge transfer. One of the best parts of Hack Reactor is the time after the 'solution lecture', during which everyone gets the chance to reflect on their code and solutions and discuss macro and micro optimizations that were possible.

For general reflection, Socratic seminars are a great way of condensing the synthesis time. Those who have had small epiphanies share them, and hopefully it avalanches.

But you're correct. The deepest learning is very personal and requires effort, solitude, and time. Immersive learning gives you the trunk and knowledge of a few select branches, but if you want to see the leaves you must find them yourself, or at most with one other person. In Hack Reactor's case, only half of the course is absorbing information. The second half is left to projects, during which synthesis must occur and individuals specialize and gain deep knowledge.

500+ hours of steady research and application is nothing to scoff at, especially since it happens while connected to a huge wealth of intellectual resources (I worked directly with Neo4j peoples for a project).


Not all are equal though if I had to guess - to add another data point, my current company hired someone who went through Hack Reactor. He was on my team before me, but he was let go before I joined for drastically underproducing and for a very low quality of code. I had to deal with some of the repercussions of his code - what supposedly took him one month to write a poor piece of code utilizing d3 for a donut chart, I was able to refactor to a drastically more performant version in 1 1/2 days.

Maybe not all who go through a bootcamp like Hack Reactor are bad - the story certainly reinforces to avoid assumptions about a candidate and assess each person carefully.


I care about capability, not credentials. That said, a BS from a decent CS program has some value, if only as a filter. And programs like these "bootcamps" have a similar value with a much lower bar. In both cases you need to know the program to really figure out how to scale it in your decision.

Running an educational program is hard, I agree. And if you guys are doing a really excellent job of it over, say, 10 weeks the way I look at it is this: the potential hire is an entry level person who has about a 3 month jump on the approx 2 years it will take to make a developer out of them. If your program is a year long, they're maybe half way there.

So given that: I'd have no problem hiring these people as entry level (i.e. developer in training), and if I knew something about the program itself that would count in their favor against similarly green candidates.


I care about capability, not credentials. That said, a BS from a decent CS program has some value, if only as a filter. And programs like these "bootcamps" have a similar value with a much lower bar. In both cases you need to know the program to really figure out how to scale it in your decision.

Running an educational program is hard, I agree. And if you guys are doing a really excellent job of it over, say, 10 weeks the way I look at it is this: the potential hire is an entry level person who has about a 3 month jump on the approx 2 years it will take to make a developer out of them. If your program is a year long, they're maybe half way there.

So given that: I'd have no problem hiring these people as entry level (i.e. developer in training), and if I knew something about the program itself that would count in their favor against similarly green candidates.


I care about capability, not credentials. That said, a BS from a decent CS program has some value, if only as a filter. And programs like these "bootcamps" have a similar value with a much lower bar. In both cases you need to know the program to really figure out how to scale it in your decision.

Running an educational program is hard, I agree. And if you guys are doing a really excellent job of it over, say, 10 weeks the way I look at it is this: the potential hire is an entry level person who has about a 3 month jump on the approx 2 years it will take to make a developer out of them.

So given that: I'd have no problem hiring these people as entry level (i.e. developer in training), and if I knew something about the program itself that would count in their favor against similarly green candidates.


I care about capability, not credentials. That said, a BS from a decent CS program has some value, if only as a filter. And programs like these "bootcamps" have a similar value with a much lower bar. In both cases you need to know the program to really figure out how to scale it in your decision.

Running an educational program is hard, I agree. And if you guys are doing a really excellent job of it over, say, 10 weeks the way I look at it is this: the potential hire is an entry level person who has about a 3 month jump on the approx 2 years it will take to make a developer out of them.

So given that: I'd have no problem hiring these people as entry level (i.e. developer in training), and if I knew something about the program itself that would count in their favor against similarly green candidates.


I care about capability, not credentials. That said, a BS from a decent CS program has some value, if only as a filter. And programs like these "bootcamps" have a similar value with a much lower bar. In both cases you need to know the program to really figure out how to scale it in your decision.

Running an educational program is hard, I agree. And if you guys are doing a really excellent job of it over, say, 10 weeks the way I look at it is this: the potential hire is an entry level person who has about a 3 month jump on the approx 2 years it will take to make a developer out of them.

So given that: I'd have no problem hiring these people as entry level (i.e. developer in training), and if I knew something about the program itself that would count in their favor against similarly green candidates.


Heads up: I run one of these schools in SF and Austin, MakerSquare.

>But if the stats that these bootcamps throw out are true, there are companies hiring people at $100k who, twelve weeks ago, had never opened a text editor in their lives.

This is a very extreme case. As part of the admissions process for most great schools, people who have never opened a text editor are shown tutorials, books, and videos to prepare for the admissions challenge. They wouldn’t be accepted until they can solve basic programming challenges. Example: (mks.io/ac1, mks.io/ac2)

There are some schools who admit “people who have never opened a text editor in their lives”. Flatiron School, MakerSquare, Hack Reactor and a few others are not those. IMHO, programs who admit very beginner students like those should be 6 mo - 1 year long.

> The run-of-the-mill web and mobile developer positions all demand at least some level of experience (generally 2-6 years)

Almost all of our graduates are hired for positions that advertised needing 2-4 years of experience.

> And if it's really possible to build a rails developer from scratch in 10 weeks, why not just just do it in-house through an internship program and avoid paying commission to these schools?

Properly vetting who would be a good student is hard (admissions), properly teaching people is hard, and creating a proper learning environment is also very hard (Most education institutions fail at one or more of the above). All of the above are certainly not core competencies of software companies, nor do they need to be.


> mks.io/ac2

This is an interesting setup. What stops someone from creating a PR or fork with the answers?

Also, what kind of answers are you looking for from a candidate? When giving interview advice after seeing things like this, I'm not sure if "the" answer involves data hiding. Would that go beyond what you expect of a candidate? If not, I can appreciate how hard it would be to juggle the various incoming skill levels.


Nothing stops them from doing that. We had that happen in the past, and just changed the requirements around a bit. However, immediately after completing the coding challenge, applicants are given a Technical Interview, and you can't really hide behind someone else's answer when you're asked to explain the code you wrote. We also have them create a new application during the technical interview, which we don't publish on the web. They pair with one of the interviewers on creating another toy application.

What we are looking for is not necessarily one given answer, instead, we look for how well someone can explain the answer they wrote. If they can take someone through their thought process for whatever decisions they made, they're likely going to be a good programmer.

Juggling various incoming skill levels is always a challenge. You can't perfectly line up every student, but you can plan for it in the curriculum. The admissions process helps us identify people who can already teach themselves programming.


I'm an instructor at MakerSquare and regularly conduct technical interviews. I just wanted to add to Harsh's response re: people taking other peoples answers. Completing the admissions challenges that are posted online will only get you an interview. Once on site we only spend a few minutes, 10 at the most, reviewing their solutions to the admissions challenges before we move on to other questions. It is very, very apparent within just a minute if the applicant did not actually write their own solution.


My team (a small healthcare startup) spent a lot of time looking at this for our first hire so I feel like I could provide some insights.

First off, I think it varies quite widely on the school. We talked to people from General Assembly and the quality varied A LOT. There were some people who I would have said were capable of being a junior developer and some who I would say are hardly employable. None of them were exceptional programmers though. Everyone we talked to had never built anything prior to GA and were very clearly not what I would think of if I had to imagine an (ideal) programmer.

We did end up hiring a programmer from a program called App Academy and this program seemed way more legitimate. Their staff had people contributing to the linux kernel and git, which gave us a lot more confidence. Similarly, with some of the smaller programs that we interviewed with we saw an increase in quality. The largest correlation we saw though, was that programs that were compensated based on your compensation produced much better people. GA is just making money whether you suck or not. AppAcademy gets paid if you get paid. If you make 10% more, so do they. I think that's extremely evident in the students they send out into the world.

The combination of his salary and equity isn't too far below $100,000, but he's also quite exceptional. He had gone to Princeton, did great in school, had a perfect score on the SAT's, knew about Public Health, etc.

TL;DR:

The average starting salary of $100,000 sounds like BS. Hire from smaller programs that get a commission - not tuition. Just like normal universities, students can vary in quality regardless of their "pedigree."


App Academy even tweeted on one day where Google hired two in the same cohort - and it's even possible the 6 Googler's mentioned were from the same cohort ... but it's not clear from this tweet: https://twitter.com/appacademyio/status/512703086796619779


App Academy claims on their homepage that SF graduates receive an average salary of $100,000. So unless they are blatantly lying or fudging the statistics somehow, it's not BS.


App Academy SF grad here, I am making over $100,000 for a company in SF.


and you are just registered on this site to say that. I trust you!


Several programs get a commission _and_ charge tuition.


App Academy claims on their homepage that SF graduates receive an average salary of $100,000. So unless they're blatantly lying or fudging the statistics somehow, it's not BS.


App Academy claims on their homepage that SF graduates receive an average salary of $100,000. So unless they're blatantly lying or fudging the statistics somehow, it's not BS.


App Academy claims on their homepage that SF graduates receive an average salary of $100,000. So unless they're blatantly lying or fudging the statistics somehow, it's not BS.


Flatiron School has published an audited 3rd party job report about the success of our graduates. http://flatironschool.com/jobs-report-2014 AFAIK we're the only school to actually do that and not just talk about it. Additionally, if you're into more of a narrative, check out our annual report. http://far.flatironschool.com/

Judge for yourself.

<3 //

Avi Flombaum


I'd like to read this, but I don't see why I should have to share my email address with y'all to do it.


Yeah. This seems odd. I get you're running a business but ostensibly the reason for this report is to allow people to view the legitimacy of the program and not as a means to get people on your mailing list.



(You can enter a fake one.)


I hope this becomes an industry standard. Thanks for sharing, Avi


I am a graduate of the Flatiron School. With some reservations, I would say that it was a great investment. However, I would not say the same of General Assembly and some of the other boot camps.

What was great about Flatiron: - Really good faculty that cared not just about tech, but about teaching - Really good curriculum that fosters basic CS skills and an 'engineering mindset' instead of just 'learning Rails' - Fosters an attitude that encourages learning for learning's sake - Great support through the job placement system.

What was not so great: - You really can't come in with 0 experience and come out a competent developer. Most of the people in the program had at least some prior familiarity with coding, even if the experience was shallow. - Instruction focuses on the students at the middle of the individual semester's bell curve. Students with no experience (or lacking basic computer skills) can get left behind, students with way more experience (or more aptitude) can get bored. - To me, the average salary touted by the school is inflated. Most people seem to have landed in jobs that pay around 50-60k initially, although many people are able to move to higher paying positions quickly.

I haven't personally been through the GA bootcamp, but I know two people who have and have worked/interviewed with others that have. GA seems to not really give a shit about actually educating people or getting them jobs, just about making sure they pay tuition. There is little to no job counseling, instructors are of (at best) mixed quality, and the curriculum is extremely confused.

Like anything else that you're going to spend 12k on, do your research before you commit. Some schools are great, some are not, and what you get out of it always depends on what you put into it. Look for one (like flatiron) with great job placement, and connections to companies.

Additionally, the idea that 'most companies' require a CS degree for web devs is just not true. Most job postings that are out in the wild might ask for that, but most companies hire new devs through job placement services, or connections that can vouch for the skills of non-degreed developers, rather than through cattle call services like Linkedin, Craigslist, etc.


I am a graduate of a code/bootcamp school. I will say that the instruction was good but definitely were areas that were lacking. I think the short timeline is the biggest factor in that. Most of these schools are ~12 weeks but I think an additional month would be better suitable.

Where this school did lack however, is the staff. The people behind the scenes that are supposed to be helping us find jobs and get us ready for interviews. I had no support in this area. In fact I was really surprised by the fact that my former class mates were more helpful in reviewing my resume and my portfolio and interview tips than the staff. After we finished our class they moved on to the next one interviewing new students and didn't give 2 fucks about us. For that reason I could not recommend the school I attended.

I know most if not all of the instructors and staff read HN so hopefully they read this and reevaluate how they handle graduates.

These schools are popping up everywhere and growing at a rapid pace, so I hope they don't succumb to the University of Phoenix reputation however unless there is some type of standard by which they must operate I don't see a good future in the long run from these places. There is too much discrepancy between cost, curriculum and standards of acceptance right now.


...are you willing to name the school you attended?


Yeah, you need to name names. There are lots of us who had great bootcamp experiences and it's irresponsible to sully their reputations because you had a bad experience at one school.

At least do it to help other students avoid paying a bunch of money for a bad experience. That kid who posted about the nightmare at Coding House did the whole community a big favor.


I would love to call them out, however I know at least a few of my classmates are still seeking their first employment and I'd hate to cause them to miss out on an opportunity to get a job because an employer sees my post. The school in question has a campus in Georgia. I'll be more than happy to update this in the future however.


Even saying that the school is in Georgia is helpful. I would expect that it's harder to run a school outside of SF, if only because it's harder to find instructors and the tech jobs are less dense.


It does pay to be pro-active.


Hey, I wanted to offer the perspective of an instructor at General Assembly - I guess take my response with a grain of salt, but I'll do my level best to be objective.

I think, perhaps unsurprisingly, the statement that

> "GA seems to not really give a shit about actually educating people or getting them jobs, just about making sure they pay tuition"

is flat wrong. We have a large, dedicated "Outcomes" team whose sole job is to educate and prepare students for the workplace and find them positions after they graduate. Unlike other bootcamps, GA does not act as a recruiter by taking fees from employers for placing candidates, nor do we take a percentage of students' first year salaries as tuition. I think this is great, because it means that our Outcomes team is only concerned with finding the best fit for each student, rather than placing them with a "partner" company or in the highest paying job, which may not be suitable for them.

We also integrate workplace related programming throughout the entire course by bringing in developers from other companies to talk about what it's like to work in the industry, taking students on tours of potential employer offices so they can see what a typical dev environment might look like, encouraging students to participate in meetups and local dev events to grow their own development communities, and more. Also, GA has an excellent (90%+) success rate in helping our students get relevant (i.e. something that uses the skills they just learned) jobs post graduation.

As far as the curriculum: frankly, most of the bootcamps (including us) are teaching on the same stack (Ruby, Rails, Git, and obviously HTML, CSS/Sass, Javascript, jQuery and some JS framework). I would be very surprised if the curriculum was wildly different amongst bootcamps. What we've found is that the quality of instruction and an emphasis on problem-solving techniques is more important to long term success than particular technology stacks. I'd be very interested to hear if Flatiron has some groundbreaking new way to teach the Rails stack.

Finally, on instructor quality: I'm obviously very biased here, but the other instructors I've met and worked with at GA have been some of the best I've seen. I suppose it could be argued that I must not have seen great developers before, but if that's true then I have been faking my way through the last several years coding at prominent VC-backed startups. My co-instructors are experienced, knowledgeable, and most of all they take pride in their craft and care about their students. I have a lot of respect for Flatiron and think they're a great bootcamp, but I wouldn't trade the developers I get to work with on a daily basis for anyone.


The last place I worked (I finally left this past August) certainly was looking at such candidates. They're a really great place to work in general, but not an engineering shop, so experienced engineers get tired of the poor engineering practices and eventually quit. So they decided to start hiring less-experienced devs and have them learn on the job -- they hire them in cohorts with a temporary contract and permanently hire the ones who do well. That decision exacerbated the type of problems that cause the experienced devs to leave, and so they have a real "Dead Sea effect" going on now. Good people get tired of the BS and leave, and the people who do stay, stay because they can't really get as good of a gig elsewhere.

But all in all, not a bad place to spend a couple of years when you're inexperienced! Just gotta learn when to move on and not get distracted by the free pizza and all that stupid shit.


Graduate of App Academy NY here:

I just don't mention the boot camp, unless explicitly asked. The "Rails dev in 12 weeks" pitch understandably sounds like a scam at first glance. Fortunately it isn't, and I'm happily employed.

As others have mentioned, almost no one in our cohort came in without prior programming experience. They seemed to be screening for types who:

* Had prior programming experience

* Did not major in CS in college, if they went to college

* Performed well in technical interviews

Teaching is very hands off; per day, you're given a partner, a project, and limited guidance from an available TA/instructor. I rarely talked with our main instructor. Workweeks were expected to be around 90-100 hours.

I graduated a while ago, so this information may not be current. I also can't speak to graduates of other schools. At the time, it seemed like a good way to grab otherwise smart people who missed out on CS in college, and give them the opportunity to retrain.

Edit: Formatting


Anyone wondering what ever happened to Zed Shaw's "Coming Code Bootcamp Destruction?"

http://zedshaw.com/2014/10/19/the-coming-code-bootcamp-destr...


Yes!


Although the development shop I work at (makandra) has a constant demand for new engineers, we would never hire someone out of a ten week program.

To give you an idea about what kind of juniority is attractive to a shop like ours: We run our own in-house internship program which takes 9 months. It requires CS degree plus some previous experience (private pet projects are OK) to enter.

The intern is paid living expenses and has vacation like other employees. The goal of the program is to hire the intern as a permanent junior developer after 9 months. Junior starting salary is also a far cry below 100K USD, but then again we don't have to live in San Francisco.


This, while 100K wont be much in SF, I don't think people realize how much that is in other states (and how much you get to take home). Where I live after 80K is already a senior developer position, and that's still in the US (Florida).


Yes they do. I'm a recent App Academy graduate and everyone gets a job. There are a lot of benefits to doing a program like this versus a classical CS education. I've been programming since 8th grade, and I was a computer science major before I dropped out of college. I remember having CS professors that couldn't code themselves out of a box, but they "taught" the material they were supposed to teach. App Academy and other bootcamps prepare you for real world jobs by teaching you how to code. They also teach you data structures and algorithms- not as much as a computer science degree might, but by learning how to code, you learn how to look things up and apply them. If you're wondering if you should do it or not, it's definitely a yes. If you have any questions I would love to answer them.


"There are a lot of benefits to doing a program like this versus a classical CS education."

That may be true, but are there also some things that you might miss doing this versus a traditional CS track? I don't mean this as a leading question, but I've been pondering it for a while in the context of things I've seen in my career and I've come to the conclusion that for the entry level "hack and get this done" job, the CS degree really doesn't matter and may even be something of a hindrance compared with a self- or bootcamp-taught developer who takes a practical-focused approach.

Later along the "career path", though, is sometimes where the value of a CS education (which is not === a CS degree) presents - in the form of fitting the more abstract goals and problems one encounters with patterns, structures and practices one learns in CS. I've seen too many "non-technical" or "technical dabbler" managers blow through too many millions of dollars on systems that were easily recognizable as "solved problems" in the CS space to completely write off the value of a good CS education. Now that I'm at the point in my career where I'm the more senior person often making those decisions and decisions about who to hire and how to screen, that is basically how I parse a CS degree - as a potential signal that the person who holds it might have a CS education that allows them to grow more easily into a role where they can provide a valuable opinion about architecture and higher-level system direction... And also, that they might be marginally more capable at sticking through the frequent sea-changes in tech because they have a base that isn't tied to PERL or whatever language they fell in love with... I'm not sure degrees work that way in any other field - where the things you learn only really come into play at the higher / more abstract / later levels of work and are of almost no (perhaps even negative?) value for Junior & Mid-level things.

(Disclaimers: 1. Yes, you can get a CS education without a CS degree, but it would be more difficult. 2. There's nothing wrong with PERL.)


You do realise that computer science is not programming? Yes, it's impossible to get a msc in computer science without some programming knowledge, but a university is not a job training centre.


Which is part of the reason why bootcamps are so valuable. Like you said, universities aren't interested in teaching you the skills that you need. So people have to go elsewhere to get them.


At the golden gate ruby conference I spoke to people who said they thought that the boot amp people they hired were better than college grads. I think the reasoning is that they had been developing actual web apps vs the college students who didn't have real world experience. My guess is that the curves cross somewhat quickly, but the boot amp folks could hit the ground running better than college students.

I recently interviewed a ton of boot campers and the skill level varies greatly. I would have hired a few of them for junior level roles, but we were really looking for more experienced people. IF you are considering boot camps is try to get in early so you have access to the best people there. My guess is that the best get snapped up fast.


Our company was approached by a local bootcamp to be a hiring partner. Myself and our VP of R&D attended their graduation day to interview potential candidates. None of the candidates made it to the next level of interviews (essentially failing an in-person phone screen).

We came back to their next graduation, and that batch of candidates was even worse. Next time, we didn't come back, but we did interview some folks over Google hangout. No one made to the next level of interviews. We no longer participate as a hiring partner with the bootcamp.

Now, that's a sample size of 1 (well, sampled it 3 times, but still only one camp), but the experience was about what I would have expected. Most of the bootcampers were 1) wanting to make more money and heard that coding pays well, or 2) out of work and trying to learn new skills to land a job, or 3) switching careers. About 95% of the folks we talked to fell into the never-seen-code-in-my-life-till-this-camp group. And it showed. The camp touted the campers as junior developers, and they were not remotely developers, let alone junior. They were people who now knew what coding looked like. That was about it.

Worse, we got some initial false positives because one of the questions I asked was the very simple but classic fizzbuzz test. It turned out that the day before the hiring day, the camp covered that test, as well as others, that get used in interviews. Not cool.

Overall, I'm not yet convinced of the value of such camps, at least those that say they can take someone with 0% coding experience and turn them into a junior dev in 9 - 12 weeks. I don't think so. Maybe if they've already graduated with a technical degree, or minored in CS, but not for someone who's worked for 15 years as a legal secretary, etc.


"because one of the questions I asked was the very simple but classic fizzbuzz test".

I would just assume you get false positives doing that... I would almost consider it malpractice of the bootcamp not to cover that test the day before considering that it it so widely proliferated. I sometimes use it, I'll admit, but always with some kind of twist like "do it as a web server".


I live and work in a city of 300K people. My experience here is that companies have high hiring standards that border on the unreasonable (e.g. min 5 years of Ruby experience for a junior level job) and have little interest in training. This attitude stands in stark contrast to companies in larger cities which are willing (and even prefer) to invest in people by building interns into juniors and so on. I can't generalize with confidence, but I suspect this small town / big town dynamic may exist otherwise.

To answer the original question - companies in my area are unlikely to hire from a Bootcamp and I think this may be a trend in smaller hiring markets.


"companies have high hiring standards that border on the unreasonable (e.g. min 5 years of Ruby experience for a junior level job) and have little interest in training"

Those are related. I can help translate. It means you'll have a non-technical boss. You must be comfortable with learning from google, and your non technical boss is not tech savvy enough to learn from google for you.

For example, its humorous to see this story on the front page adjacent to the "I'm a freelancer and can't find work" story. In that story, theres a comment with a link to the periodic "hiring" stories you'll see here on HN. One of the most recent has a very entry level back end data processing job where (paraphrasing) they need someone to write a python script to open a text file, connect to a database, read the text file and import into the database, and then the javascript frontend guys take it from there. For this, which sounds like a first programming assignment in baby's first python class, they demand a "Python Expert". I cannot possibly imagine how bored a real python expert would be, taking care of something like that. They don't really want or need a "real" python expert, they are signalling that the boss will be totally non-technical and don't expect any training or hand holding at all, which for some noobs with self training skills is perfectly OK. Or by the standards of a totally non-technical businessman, a guy who can "apt-get install python" then write a hello_world or fizzbuzz that actually works is, relative to the businessman, a python expert.

Another reason you'll see weird job offers is H1B legal requirements. There's a large energy company about a mile from my house that periodically posts its legally required H1B job for a CCIE with 25 years experience and similar BS for $50K. All it means is they have a H1B working there and can't find a local willing to work for, say, $45K with 30 yrs (real, not resume) experience, so they don't have to deport the poor guy who's currently working there.


Re: they demand a "Python Expert"

Or they demand a "Rockstar". :)


Many companies may not spend money advertising for entry-level candidates because they expect they will hear from them without having to spend. College graduates tend to apply to lots of positions, so why spend a few hundred on an ad for someone you may hear from anyway when you can use that money to advertise for someone more senior level. The entry-level candidate might even apply for the senior level job posting, whereas a senior candidate is unlikely to apply for entry-level jobs.

I've had some experience with bootcamp grads over the past couple years, as they have applied to jobs I had posted (I recruit engineers). Based on my experience, the bootcamps seem to do a good job of building confidence in their grads, although that might be a trait of people who go to bootcamps (those confident that they can change careers in 10 weeks).

I believe there was also a trend of some bootcamps to hire their own grads in some capacity, which could skew the numbers a bit.


I work for Change.org and we've had considerable success hiring from these bootcamps/intensives. We will continue to hire from them, though we do use a slightly different hiring procedure.

These are my opinions, and not necessarily those of the company.

Hiring junior engineers is always risky. It's a bet against several factors that are nearly impossible to be certain about in any hiring situation, but there are several up-sides to the candidates that we've seen.

1) These are motivated people. The decision to drop everything and code 12 hours, 6 days per week, doesn't happen lightly. Contrast this to some college graduates who drifted toward a CS major.

2) These are not first-job people. Most are switching careers, but have already ironed out some important pieces of their adult life. You are less likely to encounter over-partying, failures to set an alarm, or other maturity problems that impact work or work/life balance. The end result is a more reliable worker.

3) They have a secondary competency related to their former life. Sometimes you can leverage this in their work. It's handy to have an ex-legal clerk doing TOS compliance or a sales guy helping on the ad system.

4) This tends to be a more diverse pool. The factors that still screw with women and other under-represented groups entering CS and related majors aren't as present here. If you've got a Silicon Valley "White Boys Club" monoculture holding you back, train them to fairly evaluate people not exactly like themselves and give it a try.

There can be downsides, of course. Of note:

1) These are not computer scientists. They know one or two toolkits and little or no theory. This can be mitigated by the maturity and motivation mentioned above.

2) It's up to you to effectively mentor junior employees. If you don't have a few people on staff that have the humility and patience to answer questions of junior folks, you're doubly hosed because of the lack of knowledge depth. But that's your fault, not theirs.

3) If you don't have some overlap between the toolkit they just learned and the work you're going to give them, there will be some major frustration. Don't hire a person out of a Rails bootcamp to write Java.

In the end I think this is a pretty decent, if imperfect, way to add quality junior employees.

Obligatory: http://www.change.org/careers


Hey Ruskick,

Like many of the other commenters here, I'm also a co-founder of a trade school (Code Fellows, we're 2 years old) that offers immersive programs for web and mobile developers. We have 13 different offerings to accommodate developers with varying skill levels and interests. Our flagship program teaches students who have on average ~2yrs of experience writing code professionally, and our hiring partners offer them >$75k/yr in Seattle (on average, though the spread is interesting...detailed stats here --> https://www.codefellows.org/alumni-stats)

I've talked with hundreds of hiring managers about this topic, and - to answer your last question - the reason why they want CS degrees is because web/mobile developers often need to design systems and solve complex computational problems (not to mention the need to build well-tested, scalable products). There really is no shortcut to learning the foundations of CS necessary to perform well at these tasks.

Thus, to piggyback off of what others have said here, many students who go through these intensive programs often have CS backgrounds and are looking for intense "polish" to get up to speed on recent industry tools and practices.


I've never understood the whole thing about CS foundations...

For the most part you're never discovering new datastructures, the rest of it is just knowing which data structure to pick, 50/50 dictionary/arrays, once in a while a set, and use a tree every year or two.

Even then if it's an esoteric data structure you'll still use an off the shelf implementation.

Even in data science it's mostly off the shelf R packages.


Most people don't need to invent new structures. They do need to know how to think about computers and what the typical data structures are.

Just that is not a small thing.


CS grads hiring "people like us"


I went to a coding boot camp in Omaha, Nebraska of all places.

Less than a month out of the school I was offered a job paying $55,000 a year salary at a large insurance company.

They primarily use Java and Groovy. The bootcamp taught Ruby on Rails. Maybe I got lucky, but I've found that the ability to code is slightly less important than one's ability to speak about programming/code in general.

If you can read and understand documentation, understand fundamental concepts like OO or functional paradigm, and understand what a stack is, a closure, recursion, the difference between an integer and a float, or a character and a string, methods/functions, etcetera, you are more or less hireable.

Basically you have to understand how a computer works, and the fundamental concepts in programming, as well as how to apply them.

However, you do need to have some sort of experience to put on a resume. For instance, if you go to a coding bootcamp you should be able to develop a simple REST API which sends a blob of json from a DB to a URL. That's a relatively complex task, but with a tool set like Ruby on Rails can be done in < week.

Essentially what I am doing at my job is more complex list processing and analysis. Just taking a bunch of data from a db, performing some operations to it, and spitting it back out. Basic stuff.


> "If you can read and understand documentation, understand fundamental concepts like OO or functional paradigm, and understand what a stack is, a closure, recursion, the difference between an integer and a float, or a character and a string, methods/functions, etcetera, you are more or less hireable."

I'm sure this is true for many positions, but I'd resist the temptation to cast this across the broader job market. All of my recent interviews went significantly deeper than what you listed (though I'm not sure "functional paradigm" is a fundamental concept), so in my experience the minimum to be hireable, at least in their opinion, was higher than what you indicated.


Just out of curiosity, what do you consider to be significantly deeper? Would you mind offering up an example or two?


In the most general sense, significant algo/data structure knowledge was necessary to even make it through first round interviews.

Off the top of my head, over the course of interviews with a handful of companies, I had to do several dynamic programming questions, topological sort, a couple of backtracking questions, and a seemingly never-ending number of other tree/graph questions.

Again, I'm not saying knowing this means you _are_ hireable, but to many of these companies, not knowing them made you _not_ hireable, whether correctly or incorrectly.


How effective are graduates: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7599475


Our investors own a recruiting firm, so I am intimate with that industry. Number one take away I see is that companies are desperate for developers and the job reqs are often a wish list and not set in stone. My brother just finished the Iron Yard 3 month Front-End program, he has become a pretty good javascript dev in that time and I think he will do well. Waiting for the holiday lull to pass to see how the market will treat his new talents. I should add that he did well because he busted his ass, some of his class mates I wouldn't hire at minimum wage.


I was a freelance web developer for a few years (utilizing skills I picked up growing up) when one of my clients hired me to come on-board full-time for my first salaried position. My supervisor wanted me to build a team, so he had me right a job req. I sent it to him, and he sent it back with the addition: "Bachelor's degree in CS".

I pointed out that, not only is my degree not-in CS, but I would probably be dissuaded from applying to a job that required one. He said "don't worry - it doesn't mean anything, they just all say that."


This very similar to what I did. I didn't have a college degree and as a result I thought that I had no chance. I didn't really know what I wanted to do at 18 so I followed in my family's footsteps and went to a top ten business school. I absolutely hated it, got depressed and screwed up my grades freshman year. After moving back home, I realized that I would spend all of my time reading about the stuff I had learned in AP Computer Science so I decided to give being a developer a go. So I started by freelancing for small businesses while learning, practicing and reading constantly on the side. While it was slow in the beginning, after a few years business picked up and I had constant work on larger and larger projects and made solid money.

When I was 23, I was hired for a 6 month contract working with one of the big four consulting firms creating the UI on a project for a major financial firm. I made sure to go above and beyond on the project, and at the end of the engagement the financial firm offered me a full time position as a Senior Front End Developer making ~$125k plus a 12% annual bonus. I was so surprised at the offer I called the developer who offered me the job just to make sure he knew about my terrible educational background. He said "Frankly, college isn't a good indicator of actual skill, I just put it on the list because HR requires me to. I have let more people go with CS degrees from Stanford than anywhere else because they come in and think they know everything. I want people who are constantly trying to improve. People who may not know, but will figure it out and make it happen."

I had always been weary of applying for developer jobs simply because I had messed up in school. I knew that I could was good at it but I was scared that the blemish on my resume had destroyed all hope. It turns out I was completely wrong and should have applied for a "real" job years earlier. Now the age that most people are graduating and becoming junior devs, I am senior dev without a degree leading a team of 6 made up of top CS program grads.


Wow. I feel like you're more likely to get a poor non-CS candidate this way. i.e., you're more likely to get a non-CS candidate who isn't good at reading instructions, or isn't honest.

I myself wouldn't apply for a job that asked a BS in CS, as I don't have one. The best case is still awful: The company is being dishonest about its requirements. Which if they're dishonest about their requirements, who knows what else they're being dishonest about? Benefits? Hours?


Most companies will add the "Bachelors in Computer Science, or the equivalent" with maybe a caveat of it being a technical equivalent or something similar - this is to home in that it is an engineering job.

In my workgroup, I think only one has a degree in computer science - at least two don't have any degrees, one of them being an excellent senior engineer. I have a masters in math myself, and I usually gloss over the bachelors in CS requirement since my work speaks for itself. I don't think most companies really care about the degree unless they have an obstinate manager.


I know some people who went to App Academy and did really well for themselves. My guess is that a bootcamp is the same hours equivalent of a person a bare-basics CS degree without the internships.

Here is my reasoning:

* 2 years of college is just to finish core curriculum/elective stuff (history, foreign language, writing, philosophy, etc)

* 2 years of college is used to finish computer science major

* Each year, students study for 40 weeks. So in total he studies for 80 weeks.

* Each week, he takes an avg around 3.5 courses a week.

* Each course takes him an avg 4 hours a course (remember college kids waste a lot of time...a lot of time).

Total= 2 years * 40 weeks/year * 3.5 courses/week *4 hrs/course = 1120 hours

Conclusion: If you put in bootcamp hours, which is 80-100 hours a week, it's only 11-14 weeks. That's the avg length of a bootcamp. Bootcamp = college degree in CS (from a mediocre program) minus the core curriculum and minus the 2-3 internships you would do in college.

Many people here are saying that bootcamp alums aren't as good as college grads. I don't have enough data, but I would agree with that statement. While bootcamp grads aren't as good as CS grads, I wouldn't say the bootcamp education is worse than a poor/mediocre CS program, because of some unaccounted for variables:

1) Internships are still vitally important! 2-3 internships is basically a full year of programming on a very diverse set of problems!

2) Selection bias: Better programmers tend to start earlier in their career, hence they don't have to go to bootcamps.

3) Confidence issues: It takes years for people to be comfortable with engineering. I would not be surprised if people don't have confidence issues going into interviews + work after a 12 week bootcamp.


I had not worked as a software engineer for about 20 years when I went back and attended Hack Reactor last year. I received multiple offers within two months of graduating that were well over $100k. Granted, I have a lot of years of business experience but I would honestly say that I ranked somewhere in the middle of my class at Hack Reactor. There were several coders I worked with there that I would hire in a minute. As other have noted it would be rare for someone to never have touch code before getting accepted at one of the top bootcamps. But for those who have done some independent study then made it through the rigorous program the results are quite astounding. My company recently hired a couple of new college CS grads and I was amazed at how little practical knowledge they had. I would take a Hack Reactor grad over them any day.


My company did as well. We've hired about 5.

2 had 2-3 years experience post boot camp. They are excellent mid-senior devs. They are from Flatiron School.

We have hired 3 juniors straight out of camp. All are on boarding at or exceeding our expectations. 2 are from App Academy, one is from GA.

EDIT: I'm pretty certain our JRs don't make 100k.


A friend of mine with no formal programming training had volunteered at her previous job to edit her company's Wordpress stuff. When she was about half a dozen years out of college she went to Maker Square in Austin where she learned Rails and JavaScript and HTML/CSS and how to use Git alongside teammates. She got a job at PROS Pricing in Houston and was able to fit into a team that built front-end functionality primarily with HTML and Clojurescript and even though she has talked about it being a learning curve I get the sense she has been doing quite well.


We hired two out of GA in Los Angeles. The reason we chose them was because they were smart and moldable. I don't know if I'd do it again, as it took them a long time to get them up and running, and the lack of a CS background was evident, but they have grown into their roles and assimilated well into the team. We essentially got both of them for the price of one senior dev. I probably wouldn't do it again, as we spent too much time teaching them some programming basics, but I don't regret hiring them.


My experience is limited to the Flatiron School, so I don't pretend to speak for other institutions.

I graduated from the Flatiron School at the end of April 2014. 6 weeks past graduation, I had 3 job offers (1 apprenticeship and 2 full offers) and accepted an offer for $75k - which, by the way, is a very normal salary for a Flatiron School grad (http://www.quora.com/How-successful-are-code-bootcamps-like-...). Now, 6 months after starting work, I think anyone on my team would say I'm more than pulling my own weight. I've already been involved with interviewing candidates and training new hires.

I had some experience with coding pre-Flatiron, but it was relatively minimal (AP computer science - so effectively 1 3-credit college course).

A great developer is made of 4 parts: 1. Inherent talent, 2. Grit and determination, 3. Effort, 4. Experience. You can always boost someone's experience by giving them time to keep learning and helping them along the way.

In terms of recruitment, I can't speak for other schools, but Flatiron grads tend to be placed by networking, not job boards. It's easier for a fresh developer to make a contact and open up a job than it is to fight with others for an already-open spot.


I just finished such a bootcamp and I'm looking for a job. I'm in an geographic area where there's somewhat of a shortage of tech talent. My plan was to save up for Hack Reactor or similar (I have some experience, but not professionally, and no CS degree) but I had the opportunity to do this one for free. We've had several companies interested in recruiting, albeit not the coolest startups on the block.

I do not anticipate starting at $100k - maybe half that if I'm lucky.


Well, in development, it's all about experience. Any way you can get experience is a plus. Don't think about the companies you're going to work for, if you can learn about agile, work on a small team and deal with source control issues, bugs and get some real world project experience, you're salary requirements will escalate pretty quickly.

Just as an FYI, I'm a self starter. Got a huge break at a large corporation. My salary was mid 50K there. After two years, I left and got a startup gig in the 70's. After six months there, I left and did contracting. My first agile, big project work was paying $45/hour. Less than five years into my dev career, and I'm already at six figures.

Sure you start at 50K, but you will move up fast. Also, if you're sigle, with no family and can move, I'd look at going to where the jobs are - it will make a huge difference. More open spots, less developers means a big leap in what companies need to pay to get warm bodies in seats.

Either way, just keep pushing forward, it will be worth it, trust me.


Thanks. And just to be clear, I wasn't saying 50K is anything but entirely reasonable for someone in my position, just that 100K coming out of a bootcamp seems unlikely. And that's OK! Money is nice, but my main motivation is that I love programming.


I've hired two people out of Hack Reactor and they were both awesome. Much better than most of the newgrads I've hired out of CS programs. I was quite wary at first, but after being very impressed in interviews, they won me over.

The caveat is you have to be very selective in interviewing. Hand out small take-home test projects, and look for guys that not only do a good job, but go above and beyond. Most of the tech bootcamps guys are mediocre, but there's always a few standouts.


What company? Just curious. I'm at HR now :-)


This is when I was at Chartboost.


What company? Just curious. I'm at HR now :-)


I'm a Hack Reactor alum. I got hired at above the listed HR average starting salary by a well respected tech company a couple of weeks after graduating. By the time I accepted, I had four offers in total - two from Hack Reactor hiring partners, two from companies that didn't even know what Hack Reactor was - and was in late stage process with several others. A lot of my classmates had similar experiences to my own. I'd wager that I was somewhere in the middle of the class in terms of talent/knowledge.

I can't speak for other programs, but due to the rather steep admissions requirements, there's not a single student who arrives on their first day of Hack Reactor without having invested many, many hours into learning and coding. This included becoming proficient (at least to a functional novice level) with Git. I, myself, had a couple of years professional experience - but that experience was at a small eComm company in a small town, utilizing technology lightyears away from the bleeding edge. I went to Hack Reactor because I wanted to make a real go of my career. I don't have a CS degree, but HR got us up to speed on CS fundamentals to the point where I didn't encounter problems when I went to tech interviews.


Head Instructor of Lighthouse Labs here. Yes, they definitely do get hired. We are placing 100% of our graduates into Jr. Dev roles. And I suspect that our ability to do that is because of the experience they have had in our course, versus someone self-taught using online resources. I want to address the idea that for the same amount of money, you could learn the same amount of code on your own. On this point, I sincerely disagree. You may be able to learn the same amount of syntax, but you will not be the same quality of developer.

One of the benefits that you are getting from a bootcamp is the immersive opportunity to build practical skills building apps under the mentorship of experienced devs. This one key point is something that you won't get from Coursera, Udemy, or any other similar course platform. You can't get code review from a book, nor can you get advice about best practices related to the project on which you're working, from a MOOC-style course.

Here at Lighthouse, we bring in dozens of intermediate and senior devs to participate as TA's, sharing their knowledge, skills, and experience with our students. That, time and again, is one of the key points that our alumni highlight as one of the greatest values they got out of the course, above and beyond the practical knowledge in the curriculum.

Overall, you will get a better developer out of a bootcamp than you will get from someone who has endeavoured to build the same skills on their own, especially in that same amount of time. The ability to work with experienced devs and get that level of mentorship will always produce a better developer than someone trying to achieve the same level of wisdom and skill independently.


>Does anyone get hired? Yes. I did. I attended Nashville Software School, a full-time 6-month full stack bootcamp. I now work as a front-end dev and am very happy with how things turned out. I did not have any type of CS background before attending NSS. It is not a stretch to say that anyone who really applied themselves to getting hired after leaving NSS has gotten a job. They have graduated over 100 students in the last 2 years.

>If you look around on job boards, there simply is not much competition for entry-level talent. Do not rely on job boards for indication of what's out there. Out of the dozens of NSS grads who have been hired, the vast majority found their opportunities through networking or from companies that have relationships with the school and reach out directly for their junior position needs. The rapid establishment of my network was one of the unexpected, but most beneficial, results of attending NSS.

>Average starting salaries of 100k or more That seems like a stretch, at least anywhere outside of the west coast. Starting salaries around here have been about half of that, but the opportunity to get to six figures within a few years is certainly there.


Ditto. NSS was a great experience for me - would absolutely do it again.


Ditto. NSS was a great experience for me - would absolutely do it again.


Ditto. NSS was a great experience for me - would absolutely do it again.


Ditto. NSS was a great experience for me - would absolutely do it again.


You're going to find good people in any group but they'll likely be the same people who would have learned it on their own without the course work because they're self starters and motivated.

That said, after attending a dozen or more of these hiring events I must admit that the quality is abysmally low. Two of my previous employers decided to hire our entry-level engineers from these "bootcamps" and 6 months later all of them had been fired for poor performance, even after weeks of mentorship and coaching. In my experience the amount of handholding was far greater than the work they could do on their own. I can recall helping people with basic command line navigation, simple git commands, and even things like running rspec. Trivial tasks that should form the foundation of your work as a software engineer required almost constant support.

My personal take is that these schools are great in that they encourage people to pursue engineering but I fear that just like other trade schools (e.g. ITT), it's offer a promise of a big paying job without adequately preparing people for the career ahead.


(Disclaimer: I founded a coding bootcamp called DevMountain.)

I definitely believe it is realistic to get a programming job without a degree in computer science or a related field.

Here's why: Computer science degrees (as a whole) have been greatly devalued recently. I've talked to dozens of employers who are frustrated with "CS grads" who know nothing but archaic languages and have no practical, modern coding experience. Most assuredly YMMV, but universities are doing a really poor job of keeping their curriculum modern and employable. Having a CS degree doesn't make you an engineer any more than studying Latin makes you a fluent francophone. Employers are much more interested in competency and performance than they are with credentials and grades. With software engineering, it's all about what you can build. Not only that, but a college degree isn't a great measurement of talent or skill.

If you can demonstrate competency or skill proficiently in an area that is in high demand for employers, you will be offered a job.


I'm a graduate of App Academy in SF coming from a background in mechanical engineering. Before going to App Academy, I was doing some of the free online tutorials, but without a real curriculum or direction, I was trying bits and pieces of information and never really progressed into knowing much of anything. Most of this self studying was done in about 6 months.

Not really knowing App Academy's name because I was outside the area, I only read reviews that said it was a good program, so I applied. Bootcamps are only emerging in Los Angeles at the moment with General Assembly being the only one there last time I did reaearch.

Day 1 of App academy covered more than I had covered in the previous 6 months. Covering the fundamentals of Ruby/rails and javascript/backbone. Also, App Academy is very rigorous and if you fail more than 1 test of about 7 or 8, you will be dismissed from the program.

I am now working as a backend Engineer in SF starting at over 100k.


We've phone interviewed a bunch of candidates from a couple of the Rails boot camps here in Boston. The candidates have been very mixed in quality, but we've found 3 that we not only brought in and made it through our in person interview but also got job offers. Usually we offer them a 3 month internship. At the end of which we'll offer them a salaried position if they turned out to be as good as we suspected.

We also treat the internship as a real internship, not a contract-to-hire. We expect to be teaching them.

As others have said here in one way or another. The good ones are ones who were coding anyway and just needed some help leveling / focusing their skills. The ones who didn't have a clue about programming when they started, don't come out much better IMNSHO.


I am of the opinion that instead of spending $10k at a bootcamp, you can learn the coding yourself with books and free information readily available online


It's much harder than you would think for beginners


I was the Director of Operations at a NYC startup, applied to Flatiron School and got in. I ended up as a Junior Software Engineer at an early stage NYC startup making 65K a year with in 5 weeks of graduation. I've been here for 18 months and couldn't be happier.


I have friends who have done them & gotten hired -- nowhere near 100k tho.

Its very depressing to me though..... I freelanced as a web dev for years & turned it into a career because it came easy & now am sticking with it for a bit because I got an easy job offer to do some consulting. But man am I envious of pretty much every other profession...

Basically: if I were not already in this position (handed it on a platter), I wouldn't aspire to it. It upsets me to see friends with master's degrees in arts, sciences etc. clamoring to be low-end web devs. If you get up on the wave easily then by all means ride it for a bit but if you have to start from square 1 there are lots of better things to do with your time.


GA Instructor in London here!

None of my students have gotten jobs out of my short-term, part time (6 hours a week) course yet. Most of my students were already employed and looking to find out more about development, or starting their own business. That's why they did a less intensive course. A couple, both with jobs already, are going to start looking soon though, they tell me. I'm excited to see what they come up with :)

However, I know that from the immersive course (UX Design Immersive and Web Design Immersive) which are all full time, many students get jobs. One recently at a company I used to work at, and in fact, my Teaching Instructors were both ex-GA students one of whom had gone on to get a job and then start freelancing.

Pretty cool!


I came from one of these bootcamps, GA specifically. I have a job at a large tech company in NYC as an junior developer and have been here for almost a year. GA set up good expectations for us and they definitely did not promise us 100k a year! There is also no commission that my company had to pay to hire me. I spent about a month looking for a job. Everyone in my class had a job by 2 months after class was over, so I think the demand is still high for junior talent. I think it works for companies that want to hire developers that they can really shape but have proven their ability to learn. I really loved my time at GA and I have a totally different life than I did a year ago.


I know this is WAY off subject, but as many people reading this thinking of getting into this field, I see so many options and have no idea which way to start, or more accurately to find out if I have the aptitude (Barely made it past college algebra 2nd year, diagnosed ADHD guessing is why I'm horrific at math) for programming. My thinking so far is I should probably take an online programming course like udemy,udacity,edx,etc and if that turns out well then look to switch my major (2nd year) and then possibly boot-camp after school? During school? NOW? Any input is greatly appreciated.


You're talking about jumping into the pool in the middle or deep end, or climbing into a completely different pool. But you haven't ever been in a pool. And that's OK. My suggestion would be wade into the extreme shallow section of the pool at:

http://www.codecademy.com/learn

then click on the "learn to program in ruby" or maybe alternative.

In a couple days you'll have run thru all the free lessons and either have sworn off this programming stuff forever, or be ready to invest more than a couple hours in something a little more formal, like a semester long class or a whatever.

If you really hate the ruby class, obviously there's something wrong with you (no wait just kidding), seriously just try another language, maybe you're better off starting in python or the php class. Its like joining band class, if you hate the clarinet, that doesn't mean you can't be a excellent drummer.

Good Luck!

(also edited to add, its not totally off subject as you suggest. Just kind of appearing on the step of a bootcamp having never done anything is going to be more difficult than having "some" experience.)


Anecdotally, I pushed very hard to have a bootcamp graduate from one of those programs hired, because I was very impressed by his learning and commitment, as well as the achievements in his previous career.

However in the end I was overruled by others unfamiliar with the specific technology and relying only on raw years of experience numbers.

I think he accepted a different offer and relocated--unfortunately, another case of management not listening to the front-line troops (but not so for him, as he's better off elsewhere).

(And as another poster noted, I believe he was one of the few in the program who was fairly new to development.)


We are exploring this avenue with our Junior Software Engineer position and have had success in the past hiring less experienced but sharp and quick study engineers.

https://food52.com/jobs

I think the key is to keep a balance of experience within the team so there is mentorship available and to have clear expectations on both sides on ability, how fast one might learn, and the relationship to that and salary. Roughly speaking, if a junior engineer is willing to start at 60% the salary of an experienced engineer but grow by 10-20% a year, it works.


I haven't hired from them but I bet they have a high hire rate because they have connections. The people who run the program are likely well connected with companies and can find positions for the students. I've seen this with university programs. I know someone who studied a non-computer related bachelors degree. He followed it up with a 1 year masters in software developer (no experience in software before this) and was offered a position at an IT company writing Java after only a few months (on the conditioned he passed the masters). Connections are important.


Huh. I just learned about "one year masters degrees." I realize that some extremely exceptional people can complete a masters degree in one year, but I don't think I'd ever hire someone who came out of a program that was _designed_ to be completed in one year.


Strange I thought that's what a masters degree was - a bachelors + 1 year. Is there another type? I always thought the extra year would have to be in the same field of study but apparently not. I don't think it even has to be in the same 'school' (i.e. someone with a BS can do a 1 year engineering masters).


This term may depend upon the country. In the UK, masters programs are 1 year full.


It really depends on the program and the thesis requirements. It can also depend on whether the Masters is an "add-on" to an existing BS at the same school or you go into a new program. In my case (long time ago), I did a Masters at a different school and it was very typically a two year program--basically one year of classes and one year of mostly thesis/directed study. But, as I recall, there were other schools that offered Masters at the time that were more typically one year programs (and did not require a thesis).


Typically they require a BSc with honors in a related field. So mathematics would be fine for comp sci but not basket weaving


Ah, yes. It's the UK I was talking about but I guess it will differ around the world.


Late to the thread here, but I'm one of the co-founders of an immersive training program called Eleven Fifty that is taking a unique approach to the problem of building a developer to the talent level sought by tech companies.

We offer 7-day classes in various languages that allow current developers to get up-to-speed quickly in a new language or for someone with relatively little experience get a taste of development, but the real talent growth engine is our APPrentice program. Individuals can enter the program at any level, but we only accept those that are highly motivated to learn and fit within a framework of someone that has the potential to succeed as a developer.

This is a PAID program (yes, we pay them) because the individuals work with a highly experienced mentor on client projects, much like an internship. Students are in the program for as long as they "need", but it's typically between 6 - 12 months depending on what experience they come in with. Those in the program can also audit any of our immersive course offerings, even those they've already taken, without cost, to continually accelerate their learning.

We actually have one person currently in the program who graduated from a 10-week bootcamp, but wasn't quite ready to be hired as a qualified developer yet.

Instead of putting a box around education like the 100+ bootcamps have in the U.S., we've created a flexible program that can adapt to the needs of an individual. Check out what we're doing at www.elevenfifty.com


Background: I'm a future student at a dev bootcamp

So it seems the general concern for these bootcamp graduates is that they know the basic skill to do entry level work but lack the foundation to progress to harder tasks? If anyone can speak from experience, what are some of the subjects that aren't taught in depth enough at these bootcamps?

Last summer, I successfully applied to both a graduate program as well as a bootcamp. I decided a graduate degree would probably be better in the long run so I decided to pursue that instead. However, because my undergrad degree was in biochem, I had no CS background. I was self studying for a little over a year but hadn't taken any classes so they told me I had to take some prereq courses. Long story short, they wouldn't let me take them out of order so just those 8 prereqs would've taken me 5-6 quarters, almost two years. And that's before I would even begin the master's. So I dropped out and contacted the bootcamp to see if I was still admitted and am now waiting to join the April class. I'm just wondering if anyone out there has any experience similar to this and has any advice on what I should do before and after the twelve weeks?

TL;DR Bootcamps aren't the only ones just looking for tuition money and could drag out a degree long and expensive enough to make it not worth the investment.


Never participated in a bootcamp, but I participated in a RailsGirls event, and I learned a ton. At least, it motivated me that much to keep learning on my own. I commited myself to get something up and running in a server in 2 months, and I did it (http://petithacks.com)

Best ways of learning have been: 1.the study groups done almost twice per month during 3 months after that RailsGirls event, 2. Learn how to get answers in StackOverflow, 3. Ask around to devs in the internet and even my colleagues (I do marketing in a software company).

I don't know how good are these bootcamps, and I'm not sure if all the comments here included are real or just bootcamps trying to defend their business. I'm pretty sure there are good teachers out there, but dont know necessarily if they are in bootcamps. Seeing that many of these bootcamps either they implied to commit full-time, either they were USA-based, either their curriculums were super-easy, I tried to look for specific help in places like Codementor (https://www.codementor.io/r/5HXQM64N3R referral link!), much flexible and I don't feel 'scammed' paying for really basic stuff that you can learn with time + internet.

In http://petithacks.com/posts/how-i-learned-to-build-a-rails-a... I gave more explanations about my learning.


I went through an internally-run 12-week bootcamp at my current company. I was hired by the company fresh out of college after I had graduated with a BBA in IT Management. I had some exposure to .NET technologies and basic database design in a few classes in college, but I did not have any real-world development experience other than an internship on a database team.

The bootcamp was designed by the company to bring software developers from entry-level to the equivalent of 3-5 years of industry experience within 12 weeks with the goal of turning graduates into software development consultants.

I went through the first run of the program in 2013 and have been a consultant since I graduated. When I arrived at my first client, although I was lacking in domain knowledge, I was able to run circles around developers that had less than 3 years of experience. I was basically at the same technical level as the developers that had been at the client for 3-6 years. Within 6 months, I had guided the client's executive team on how to effectively target mobile devices as well as leading them to build their first responsive web application, which was built for one of the nation's largest retailers. I also now have a bill rate of someone with about 5 years of experience.

Bootcamps can be produce incredible results if they are done well, but ultimately it comes down to having the right people go through the camps and having the right people teach them. The participants need to be inquisitive, hard-working, and quick-learners, and the teachers need to be passionate about their craft and domain experts.


Your experience is interesting to read, but not quite valid to the original post. The poster was referring to developer bootcamps like Flatiron or General Assembly that have a primary revenue derived from tuition (or recruiting fees for some), and are trying to produce developers to be hired by other organizations.

Your bootcamp was to produce developers for your own company. They made an investment in you to bring you on board and pay you, and they had a significant vested interest in making sure you were going to be successful. Your company doesn't make money by providing bootcamp services.

When the bootcamp itself has an investment in the attendee, things are likely to be different.

Consulting companies have been doing what you describe for many years - sending new grads to internal bootcamps to teach them a bit and then immediately bill the newly minted junior 'consultants' to clients. This is not a new thing, and I'd argue is very different from what the post questioned.


Fair, although my experience is still relevant because clients are still hiring developers that have gone through a bootcamp. There is full transparency that the clients are getting developers with limited experience, and they are still willing to pay a premium because of the bootcamp. The underlying concept is still the same - a company trains competent developers and gets a premium for doing so. The only difference is that my company is contracting out the talent instead of looking to get a commission from placements.

"If it's really possible to build a rails developer from scratch in 10 weeks, why not just just do it in-house through an internship program and avoid paying commission to these schools?"

The organizations I have worked with do not have the talent in-house to train competent software developers in a short period of time.


"although my experience is still relevant because clients are still hiring developers that have gone through a bootcamp"

Historically, the clients had little choice who showed up for their projects. Perhaps that has changed substantially. Clients weren't usually vetting Jen and Bill and Joe, but rather they ordered bodies and got "3 bootcamp grads".

I'm curious, since it's been a while that I've dealt with larger consulting firms. Has that changed? Are your fellow bootcamp grads now interviewed and vetted by clients before joining their projects, or do the clients get whoever shows up?


"although my experience is still relevant because clients are still hiring developers that have gone through a bootcamp"

Historically, the clients had little choice who showed up for their projects when working with larger consulting shops. Has that changed? Clients weren't usually vetting Jen and Bill and Joe, but rather they ordered bodies and got "3 bootcamp grads".

Are you and your fellow bootcamp grads interviewed and vetted by clients before joining their projects, or do the clients get whoever the consulting firm decides should be on the team?


We are interviewed and vetted by clients before starting. It varies by client, but usually the interview process is pretty similar to what the clients do when they hire employees.


"although my experience is still relevant because clients are still hiring developers that have gone through a bootcamp"

Historically, the clients had little choice who showed up for their projects. Perhaps that has changed substantially. Clients weren't usually vetting Jen and Bill and Joe, but rather they ordered bodies and got "3 bootcamp grads".

I'm curious, since it's been a while that I've dealt with larger consulting firms. Has that changed? Are your fellow bootcamp grads now interviewed and vetted by clients before joining their projects, or do the clients get whoever shows up?


"although my experience is still relevant because clients are still hiring developers that have gone through a bootcamp"

Historically, the clients had little choice who showed up for their projects when working with larger consulting shops. Has that changed? Clients weren't usually vetting Jen and Bill and Joe, but rather they ordered bodies and got "3 bootcamp grads".

Are you and your fellow bootcamp grads interviewed and vetted by clients before joining their projects, or do the clients get whoever the consulting firm decides should be on the team?


"although my experience is still relevant because clients are still hiring developers that have gone through a bootcamp"

Historically, the clients had little choice who showed up for their projects when working with larger consulting shops. Has that changed? Clients weren't usually vetting Jen and Bill and Joe, but rather they ordered bodies and got "3 bootcamp grads".

Are you and your fellow bootcamp grads interviewed and vetted by clients before joining their projects, or do the clients get whoever the consulting firm decides should be on the team?


"although my experience is still relevant because clients are still hiring developers that have gone through a bootcamp"

Historically, the clients had little choice who showed up for their projects when working with larger consulting shops. Has that changed? Clients weren't usually vetting Jen and Bill and Joe, but rather they ordered bodies and got "3 bootcamp grads".

Are you and your fellow bootcamp grads interviewed and vetted by clients before joining their projects, or do the clients get whoever the consulting firm decides should be on the team?


"although my experience is still relevant because clients are still hiring developers that have gone through a bootcamp"

Historically, the clients had little choice who showed up for their projects when working with larger consulting shops. Has that changed? Clients weren't usually vetting Jen and Bill and Joe, but rather they ordered bodies and got "3 bootcamp grads".

Are you and your fellow bootcamp grads interviewed and vetted by clients before joining their projects, or do the clients get whoever the consulting firm decides should be on the team?


"although my experience is still relevant because clients are still hiring developers that have gone through a bootcamp"

Historically, the clients had little choice who showed up for their projects when working with larger consulting shops. Has that changed? Clients weren't usually vetting Jen and Bill and Joe, but rather they ordered bodies and got "3 bootcamp grads".

Are you and your fellow bootcamp grads interviewed and vetted by clients before joining their projects, or do the clients get whoever the consulting firm decides should be on the team?


and charging them out at huge rates its the mckinsey model or as Scott Adams put it the "Booz my kidney" consultancy model.


Yes - I studied at General Assembly last year and found a job very quickly in a start up in London. I have helped out with subsequent courses at GA and the figures of around 90% getting jobs are accurate. As with job ads throughout the industry the required skills are often exaggerated. Companies wont necessarily advertise for entry level but will accept. The careers fairs held at the end of each course are highly attended.


We have hired from both a Boston-area camp program (3 people) and from a university internship program (1 full-time, a couple part-time).

Nobody got a 100K job offer, I think. All of them are productive junior people, who will probably go on to have good careers in the field.

But simply completing the program isn't a guarantee of suitability or even competence -- it's just an indicator that they are willing to spend significant effort learning.


Data-point: I went to Makers Academy (in London) and was hired eight days after telling their hiring advisor that I was ready to start looking for a job.

$100 (£65k) is very unrealistic for a junior dev in London. I was hired at £35k, which is pretty good for a junior.

Caveat: as part of a maths degree (and as a hobby) I'd done a good few chunks of (self-taught) programming, so was a long way from "never opened a text editor".


I'm an Android and Frontend Web Development mentor at Bloc. I've had a few of my students get hired as a direct result of their coursework at Bloc, one whom I was able to place with a consulting firm myself.

Most of the students that are super successful at the program have some form of previous exposure to development and are at least computer power users. However, they do learn a substantial amount through their work at Bloc (12, 18, or 36 week programs). Many of these students would be attempting to learn the material on their own so having a structured curriculum that's still project-based seems to be useful to them.

Also, companies very often hire people that don't fit the standard "2-6 years" model, even if the application states that, because asking for "2-6 years of experience" really just means they want someone that can get up and running quickly. If your interview consists of showing off the apps that you've built and demonstrating how you'll solve their problems, most companies don't care how many years you've been at it.


We hired a junior developer from Flatiron School in NYC. We were very happy with the process of working with them and very happy (now 6 months in) with the hire. She got familiar, then proficient, with our stack (Rails, Rspec, heavy client side JS with Backbone & Marionette with Jasmine specs, Postgres) at a rate I'd expect of someone with a year of experience.


I have a Flatiron guy on my team as an FE dev and he's been pretty good. He had to be nurtured a bit on some softer projects, but after a year or so we put him on important stuff and he's been a solid junior dev. Probably ready for promotion. Even before bootcamps, it was pretty common to have self-taught devs be solid if not better than guys with CS degrees.


We have had some success with hiring out of General Assembly. Last summer we hired 3 interns out of GA who each first started off with a simple throwaway project and then proceeded on to some easy tasks learning our stack (Java/Groovy). We're not a ruby/python shop and a lot of our work is backend heavy. This was quite different to what these students were taught. During this period they got an internship salary. Out of the three we were interested in keeping two. The third person couldn't catch on to it fast enough. About a year later they are at about the level of a junior dev out of college. Their development since has been comparable to other junior devs. I count that as a success.

We'd probably do it again at some point but our engineering team is not big enough to absorb too many junior devs and train these. GA helped in building a foundation, we wouldn't have had the resources to do this training on our own.

And no, we were not paying 100k to people right out of the program.


At WePay, we've successfully hired from HackBright and are really happy with the decision. People with non-computer science backgrounds are often able to grok business problems faster because they've been on the other side of the fence.

When I look at candidates (on all levels), I don't necessary need the most experienced person in the world. I look for people who are smart, gritty, and proven that they can learn quickly and effective in whatever role they're placed in.

It's true there aren't many job postings for entry-level developers, I've talked to a lot of folks who are learning that after their bootcamp, they need to do an apprenticeship before they're going to be seriously considered for an entry-level position. Companies that are willing to offer such on-ramps for new developers (and I know many who are building them) can find the incredible talent they need to grow their engineering teams and businesses.


i didn't really have any programming experience prior to enrolling in tea leaf academy. Upon completing the courses, Kevin told us that we would be an intermediate level rails developer, and that kind of stuck with me when it came to interviewing. I positioned myself as an intermediate dev, and received an offer. I highly recommend them.


We've hired a few as test engineers, and I think results have been quite positive.

We treat our QA department as kind of a software engineering farm team. In fact, I don't know the last time we hired an entry-level SE directly. So maybe our QA engineers are what other places might consider a "junior SE".


They are microwave degrees. CS enrollments are up, so give it a few years and most of these programs will go the way of the for profit technical schools in reputation and there will be a lot of consolidation etc.. For all of the shortcomings with a CS degree there are fundamentals that are taught that can't be replaced with a coding academy. The only one I give any credit to is the Nashville Software School because they are a not for profit and have a much longer program.

Back during the .com boom days of the late 90's if you could spell the word computer you could get a job making over 60K+ a year as a "programmer". Some of what is happening today is beginning to remind me of that. History shows us that the market will correct itself. It's just a matter of when.


I'm an App Academy graduate, and I've also been programming since 8th grade. App Academy targets the shortcomings of a CS degree by teaching people HOW to code. Students are supposed to come out of App Academy with 1000 hours of coding or 1/10 of mastery. App Academy has lectures on algorithms and data structures that aren't equivalent to a CS degree, but graduates can code, and many if not most CS students can not. These programs are very rigorous, and I can tell you without a doubt they are only growing, and certainly aren't going anywhere. If the market correct's itself, it is going to be on the "School" side, because CS degree education is broken.


I can anecdotally verify that this was the case.

When I was 19, I knew HTML and enough Java to make a basic applet. I twice applied for a job over the summer that I was woefully under qualified for (ColdFusion dev) and was hired earning $35/hour+.


I work at Radius (http://radius.com/) and we've hired a few different bootcamp graduates from HackBright and HackReactor that we're very happy with. We've also turned down quite a few in the interview process though.

Also, my girlfriend teaches at Zipfian Academy (http://www.zipfianacademy.com/), a data science bootcamp, and so far they legitimately have a 100% placement rate. I'm sure they won't keep that up forever, but they do a great job preparing their students. Theirs is a little different, however, as they expect some prior programming and a fair amount of math, so it's fairly difficult to get into.


CEO of Greenhouse here (www.greenhouse.io).

YES - we have hired out of Flatiron school. A total newbie who goes through the program can't come out as a full-fledged developer, but we have brought them in as QA/Automation engineers and then promoted to developer after 9-12 months.


I know an awesome Node developer here in Baltimore with no prior experience, who had gone to a bootcamp for six months, and who was offered an intermediate-level position. Talking with her I felt like she was more of a colleague than a brand-new dev.


Do her initials happen to be AK, from Nashville? If so, I know exactly who you are talking about. She used to come to a meetup that I organize for teaching beginners Ruby on Rails before she moved to Baltimore. She's fantastic.

Also, if we are talking about the same person, I will say that the quality of people coming out of the program that she attended is really high. One of my co-organizers is also a graduate, has a little over one year of real experience now, and he is way more knowledgeable than I would expect of someone of similar experience. I had another graduate working for me for a few months, and he was able to hit the ground running.


yes! that's who I'm thinking of! A great inspiration.


Nashville Software School instructor here. AK was definitely green coming in, but was one of the hardest working people I have seen come through the program. She networked, asked questions, extended herself with every project, and ultimately took ownership and made the most of every opportunity she had during her time here.

Takeaway: Bootcamps can only do so much. What you do while your there is what makes the difference.


Hello. Great debate. Full disclosure. I work for Makers Academy and we have many hiring partners. From tech software houses, to up and coming startups to established brands like Deloitte Digital and Argos. Regardless of their size, these companies are choosing to hire from us because our graduates learn the latest technologies and methodologies, and bleeding-edge best practise. Anyway enough from me. I'd rather you read our graduate success stories: http://www.makersacademy.com/graduate-stories Proof companies do hire from us at Makers Academy :-)


I attended one of these programs (Startup Institute Boston, back when it was Boston Startup school and free) and I had more job offers than I knew what to do with coming out of the program. The most money I was offered was $80k. I think $100k for someone just out of bootcamp is very much the exception, but I believe it does happen.

It seems like you're confusing listed job requirements with actual hiring practices. They don't have that much to do with each other. I don't think every graduate of a developer bootcamp is necessarily qualified to go right into a full engineering role, but more than enough are to make it worth it to employers.


Instructors:

do you see people with CS degrees, from 10+ years ago, going to bootcamps to learn new skills?

I'm in that situation and mostly worked in network, sysadmin & security and also got an LIS so I'm quite removed from the front-end/back-end relationship on a practical level and would like to start some projects and be able to use things like node.js to solve common/daily issues quickly.

Your thoughts? (I'm probably just going to find some times to read up and exercise but was curious about other's thoughts?)

Also, has anyone from Canada tried any good school here? (From Montreal here, but interested about other big cities...)


I have two friends that did this. One to learn app development, and the other to learn Ruby. The app developer started her own company and is doing pretty well (at least paying her own bills), the ruby guy didn't like it, and went back to his sysadmin job.


I have a friend who graduated from college a couple years ago with a liberal arts degree then went straight into Hackbright (women's only, I think). I did not have high hopes for her success but she actually landed a job pretty quickly as a javascript dev at a startup. She's still there and the company has raised multiple bigger funding rounds. I would guess her stock is worth quite a bit now. Good for her.


I went to a demo day at the Iron Yard in Atlanta with the intent to find junior developers. Several of the RoR guys had some previous programming experience and did the bootcamp to learn RoR (unfortunately we weren't hiring Rails engineers). The iOS developers showed some promise, but definitely weren't quite hirable. They had a really great start and I asked several of them to contact me in about a year.


Full disclosure, I’m both a graduate from a coding bootcamp and an employee at that same company (Bitmaker Labs).

There are quite a few assumptions being made in messages on here. I think that’s partially because coding bootcamps are very different from one another. For instance, the students we have at Bitmaker Labs typically have little-to-no experience coding, whereas shawndrost of Hack Reactor points out that many of their students have coded on the side for a year or two. I can’t speak to how everyone in this industry recruits, but I can share what I’ve seen in my experience with Bitmaker Labs over the past two years:

- The number of open web development positions is exceptionally high and the barriers to entry (i.e. prerequisite diplomas, degrees, etc.) are very low in many cases.

Several people have already touched on this point. Ultimately, a student’s abilities are more important than their credentials. So when you have an industry with a huge number of open positions, and students with practical knowledge and a thirst for learning, it’s no wonder placement rates are so high at many bootcamps. For us, over 90% of our students find industry work within three months of completing the course. Bootcamps also do a lot of work to build relationships with companies that are open to hiring junior developers and tailoring their programs to fit employers needs. This can help open doors that are otherwise very hard to find when you are learning on your own.

- The job openings are for multiple types of programming languages, but the people hired into these positions do not always have experience with those languages. Startups and larger companies are looking for a great cultural fit in combination with decent coding skills.

As I was saying above, many jobs that we are able to find for students are not posted online. Beyond simply opening doors, we work hard with our students to build networking skills and an understanding of the job market so that they also how to create job openings for themselves. Many companies are focused on finding someone they will want to be around long-term – employees who can integrate well into a fast-paced culture and who will be able to adapt to a changing tech stack. I think this is one big reason companies are willing to hire developers with a lower skill level or limited experience. Bootcamp students are really hungry to keep learning, a bootcamp is just the beginning of their coding career.


I was hired almost straight out of a bootcamp. Now am a remote Ruby Dev living in my dream city with a dream career. So ya, I'd say it worked out.


I got my BA in journalism and Chinese. I started coding on my own and eventually found Bloc, an online bootcamp with courses in web dev, frontend, UX design, iOS and Android development. I took their web dev course little over a year ago. I now work at Bloc as a web developer (oh, we're hiring engineers by the way). It worked for me and it's worked for tons of our students.


Hi, I just applied to Bloc.io, any chance I could speak with about it?


Hey there - I'm a mentor for Android and Frontend Web Development at Bloc. Feel free to reach out any time. twitter: @sax1johno Would be happy to help.


I'm actually conducting a survey for recent code bootcamp graduates to help measure the success of these programs. If you've recently graduated from a code bootcamp or know someone who has, share your experiences at: http://www.codejobs.io/surveys/codebootcamp/student


I was hired as a jr. dev after attending a developer bootcamp. It wasn't near the $100k salary mentioned. I didn't expect that though. I was hired at a living wage starting out and have since moved beyond my first job to an even higher wage. I did some coding before the school and attended a lot of the hacker events before I made the career switch.


It's strictly anecdotal but I have a friend who's been a Windows guy all his life.

He was already a great programmer, but he took a DevelopMentor Guerrilla .NET class and made contacts there that put him on a contract for Alyeska.

I doubt if he was a mediocre guy they would have noticed him, but he absorbed and mastered the material and got noticed. shrug It happens.


What i've seen so far in the comments is that the ones hiring out of these programs are mostly publisher/content sites largely working within some kind of cms. This is mostly simple web dev and likely pays less than $100/k especially for entry level. Furthermore, I doubt job security is very good for these roles.


I was hired from a "boot camp". Well, it was a boot camp preset, but I hired someone to mentor me in mobile development. When I felt ready, I applied to a mobile dev shop and got the job. You still have to continue to really bootstrap your skills for the first year or so, but you'll get there.


Hi. I participated in one of the first RoR camps in Cambridge MA, facilitated by GA. Prior, I had one year of email development experience. Prior to that? I was a mortgage broker. Taking the course at GA gave me a jump start that someone who is looking to change careers desperately needs.


It's common to put people who are already employed through these things when their skills are out of date. You'd much prefer a JS developer than a Fortran or Pascal developer today, right? But many huge corporations have only the later.


Actually I'd take a good Fortran or Pascal developer any day. What programming language they know isn't relevant. If they're a good engineer they'll figure out javascript or whatever the flavor of the month is.


There's a Detroit employer running a bootcamp to take Cobol developers and retain them for IOS. I hear its been a big success.

Why wouldn't someone with 30-40 years of programming experience and who is motivated not be able to learn a new language?


My take on this: Someone with 30 years of experience does not need a "boot camp" to learn a new language. Actually I find it quite fascinating that these programs exist and seem to be successful.

If someone told me to train a productive programmer from scratch in 12 weeks time I would tell them that this is impossible. It took me five years of professional experience and a ton (really LOTS) of spare-time hacking to feel reasonably fireproof in my profession. Maybe I'm not the smartest guy and it it took me longer but I honestly doubt its doable in 12 weeks.

There is just too many concepts you need to learn. 12 weeks would give you someone who can edit JavaScript code without really knowing what he's doing and how his tool (JS) works imho. He might be able to wire up a dynamic website with some GUI callbacks but I doubt he could actually design a program.

From a proficient programmer, I'd expect that you can give him any programming language and that he can use it after a weekend or two. I'd also expect him to be able to read the language implementations source code. What good are you if you can't debug your tools?


> Someone with 30 years of experience does not need a "boot camp" to learn a new language.

No, but they could very likely need a "boot camp" to get their resume past braindead gatekeepers or to make contacts that allow them to bypass said gatekeepers.


Yes, and I know of other companies who also do, but favored candidates come from other technical disciplines (math, physics, stats, etc.) rather than liberal arts.

shameless plug: we're hiring in SF for ruby/scala/angular, email me if interested.


Early startup, we have 4 engineers. 2 are bootcamp grads (General Assembly and Flatiron)


I graduated from Makers Academy and now work happily at Alphasights. We have already hired 4 guys (myself included) from different bootcamps (Makers, DevBootcamp & Flatiron). So far people seem happy with how things are going.


Also some of our grads ended up at very famous places in the London Ruby community such as Pivotal Labs, 8th Light, New Bamboo, Pusher etc.

I need to add that the quality of the grads on average in my opinion is pretty low. But if you are able to filter them successfully, then the top 4-5 people in the cohort are usually worth it.


I went to a bootcamp called refactorU and got hired out of the gate. To be fair I already had coding experiences and just needed some validation and networks. It took about a month to get a job that I'm happy with!


A friend of mine did General Assembly, and while I haven't worked with him, I was fairly impressed with the breadth of topics they covered, including things like computational complexity and web app security.


They are microwave degrees. CS enrollments are up, so give it a few years and most of these programs will go the way of the for profit technical schools in reputation and there will be a lot of consolidation etc.. For all of the shortcomings with a CS degree there are fundamentals that are taught that can't be replaced with a coding academy. The only one I give any credit to is the Nashville Software School because they are a not for profit and have a much longer program.

Back during the .com boom days of the late 90's if you could spell the word computer you could get a job making over 60K+ a year as a "programmer". Some of what is happening today is beginning to remind me of that. History shows us that the market will correct itself. It's just a matter of when.


I have, four total from DevBootcamp in Chicago across two companies. You have to be critical and fight the right people, but all four have proven to be amazing additions to the team and wise beyond their years.


Etsy are running scholarship sponsorship program together with Hacker School, focused on bringing more women into engineering jobs. From what I heard they recruited few employees from there.


Hacker School has people of all ability levels. I was a total novice, and I got a paid internship with a startup after I finished. Now two years later, I'm still not making 100K, but I'm pretty happy as a full-time developer! (side note: Hacker School would probably object to being called a Dev Bootcamp--their model is very different than the examples you cited and maybe not the best choice for an answer to the OP's question)


No specifics, but we hired someone from one of General Assembly's programs at my last job. He had significant industry experience in a closely-related field before the program.


I know someone that went to the Software Craftsmanship Guild http://swcguild.com/ in Akron, Ohio and got hired.



I also mentor at Mobile Makers and they do a great job of getting the right people into the program and the program itself is great!


I'm at Hack Reactor now. The grads don't seem to have any trouble finding work after the program...


I got hired at Uber at 100k+ and I know that they multiple people from both Hack Reactor and Hackbright.


The data science bootcamps are definitely an effective way to train scientists to be data scientists.


Have hired twice from them, both are total winners. But took a lot of pruning to get there!


yes

i hired a guy who had been through a general assembly course in london, he had also had a couple short of internships before he got to us. hired as a junior javascript developer and he is doing very well


I'm sure you can't answer this, but are you paying him anywhere near $100,000 (£66,000)? In my experience that's about twice what a bog standard junior dev outside of finance, Facebook, Palantir, Facebook etc gets in London.


I would be astonished. I'm a junior on £27k, and when I was looking for jobs I never saw a single one at that level advertised over £30k.

Which rather puts the £8k fees in an unflattering perspective, but there you go.


that's a little high I heard the average was around the £50k mark.

if its is so it's time to dust of my interesting bits of my job using ML to optimise ppc acountmanageent


no where near that figure, obviously can't give specifics but its not even approaching half of that salary


Hey, GA Instructor here! Did he do FEWD or WDI?


he did the WDI course and has nothing but good things to say about it :))


The data science bootcamps are definitely an effective way to train scientists to be data scientists.


I went through DevBootcamp in SF after doing business development for a YC company for a year. My day to day job was interacting with engineering teams, and I found it really frustrating not understanding what people were talking about once the conversation left the business realm. When my boss asked me to checkout one of the developer bootcamps as a potential partner I decided to apply.

I had always been interested in computers and the web, but never made the leap to building something with substance. It's really hard to figure out how all the moving parts of web development work together if you're on the outside looking in. I would read books, follow tutorials, ask friends to teach me, but I would always get stuck on something stupid like installing Postgres. The most important thing I learned at DevBootcamp was how to figure that shit out by myself without wasting time spinning my wheels in frustration.

The numbers that the schools boast about post bootcamp success are really inflated. Very few people who I graduated with found 100k jobs right out the gate. Most settled for 60-80k range, and it took a few months of looking (not bad though!). I'm currently in my second engineering job working on a Java stack. A job in a language and framework that DevBootcamp did not teach.

I think a lot of people don't understand that most of these programs are highly selective and fucking BRUTAL... I was at school grinding away most nights till 1 in the morning. Not only are they challenging in technical sense, but emotionally intense. Being stuck in a room with 30 really smart people who are sleep deprived and being forced to do yoga after a marathon coding session is not easy. I saw people cry on numerous occasions.

Getting a job is hard because of the assumptions people have about these programs. Everyone I went though the program with (and finished) might not have had a CS degree, but they ENJOYED PROGRAMING . Something I can't say about everyone I work with. I went though many interviews where I could tell the person I was white-boarding with wasn't going to give me a shot. I remember being in a final round technical interview and was asked a standard algo question. After answering the problem the person interviewing me asked me how I got to the solution... I had been asked it a million times before and googled the answer after the first time it stumped me in an interview. He did not like my answer.

Good programers are confident and enthusiastic.

Having a CS degree and a math background does not make you good at your job or a great engineer. It's probably a requirement to work on some of the really hard stuff. Google X/Palantir stuff...

I think most of the people coming out of these camps are dangerous enough to make an impact anywhere they go. Given a shot and a little finishing polish they will become great engineers.


I got hired at Uber and I know that they multiple people from both Hack Reactor and Hackbright.

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