Web development boot camp grad, ask me anything.

terrancecorley profile image Terrance Corley ・1 min read

I completed a 5 month full-stack web development boot camp this past August. I was self-teaching for about 2 years on the side and working in the medical field before committing to the program.

Ask me anything.


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What would you say to someone considering a bootcamp versus courses available via MOOCs ( Algorithms from Princeton, CS from MIT, Paradigms of Computing from Louvain, Software Development Micromaster from UBC, etc )? Thank you!


I think the answer is always subjective to a person's situation. I was teaching myself code on the side for 2 years before leaving my full-time job to attend a coding bootcamp. I live in a rural area so there aren't a lot of web dev jobs out here. I felt like my learning was slow, inconsistent, and the bootcamp offered me structure, assistance staff, a personal mentor, the ability to work on teams with other developers, and a job guarantee.

Now if I lived in a bigger city that had more developer positions and wasn't in a huge hurry to switch careers, I may have just stuck it out with self teaching until I landed a gig. Just depends on what you want and how fast you want it, I can definitely say the program accelerated my learning by a lot.


I keep forgetting about the role of geography. Budding devs in bigger cities can go to meetups, more than likely they have an engineering department at work which they can befriend, etc. Having access to these opportunities can make all the difference. I can definitely see the reasons a bootcamp is the best decision.

Congratulations and best of luck!


Thanks Bresson! Best of luck to you as well!


What did you find was your favourite area of web development and why?

What languages were you taught as part of the boot camp?

What are you going to do now you have completed the boot camp, any plans for the future?


That first question is a little hard for me to answer. I like both the front and back end, but I definitely have more experience with the front end. I'm not sure I favor one over the other though.

The program covered JavaScript, HTML, CSS, jQuery, React, Redux, Node, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Express, and there is a flex week where you pick a tech you want to learn, I chose Python. You also touch on data structures and algorithms.

The plan now is to get a job haha. In the meantime I've been attending meet-ups, networking, and continuing work on projects.


What took the longest to understand? Any particular logical challenge or framework?


There was this two week period where we went over data structures and algorithms. Recursion, tree structures, hash maps, etc. I'd say that was the most challenging. Then again, I was also in and out of the doctors during that two week period so that probably added to it.


Some of that stuff makes my head spin. I've been doing this for my entire adult life (7 years).

Yeah, I'm just scratching the surface with most of that. Luckily we still get access to our program curriculum and they had pretty solid readings & diagrams on that stuff. Would share if I could. I'm sure there are tons of blog posts and YT videos on that stuff.


How did your rate-of-learning compare between the 2 years of self-study versus the 5 months of bootcamp?

Do you think the bootcamp was necessary to get to your current level of proficiency, or "merely" an accelerant?

Any regrets on "waiting" so long before jumping into a bootcamp, and/or any regrets on doing the bootcamp after all?


It was honestly a pretty big difference. For every programming topic we learned we would have a different instructor that was highly knowledgable with that language/framework. On top of that we had TA's and a personal mentor. Having all that dedicated support I feel really accelerated my learning, debugging skills, and confidence to learn on my own post boot camp.

Definitely an accelerant. All the info is out here on the internet, the thing the boot camp provides is direction with the material, seasoned veterans who can answer your questions, and a network of other developers as well as an employer network for securing a job after grad. One of the things I found to be valuable that I didn't think about going in was that I got to work on team-based projects and learned how to communicate on a team with other devs.

No regrets on the waiting part. I had to make sure I had enough saved up before committing to a longer boot camp. One thing I've learned is to appreciate the process. So often we beat ourselves up for not knowing exactly what we want or for not being where we think we should be, I've learned to enjoy the journey. One thing I wish college me knew is that very few people know exactly what they want career wise, for most people it's a process of elimination. Just gotta try things.

One regret I do have is that in the beginning I didn't take care of myself enough during the bootcamp. I was getting 5-6 hours of sleep when I was used to getting 8. My exercise and diet slipped. I wasn't taking enough breaks. Looking back that's the only thing I would change. Don't sacrifice your health for anything, future you will thank you.


Hi. I'm self taught in HTML CSS and learning JavaScript. But I have a full time job so it had been hard trying to follow the self taught route. I'm thinking of leaving my job and doing a bootcamp. Looking at App Academy and Lambda. Any thoughts on either of these schools? Thank you!


Where there any misconceptions about coding boot camps that you were surprised to find false (or true) during the program?


I may not be too familiar with the misconceptions of boot camps in general but one thing I found quickly to be true is that these programs are definitely as fast-paced as they are advertised. Not saying that in a bad way, but it definitely takes up a lot of time and energy. One thing that seems to be true just by comparing what hiring managers at companies have told me, is that it's hard to take on a boot camp grad at face value since the quality of students produced highly depends on the program you attended. For anyone considering signing up for one just make sure to do your research on that program beforehand.


That's fair. I was reading something a while back that some companies / hiring managers may not take bootcamp grads seriously. With the course being that fast paced, it's probably easy to fall into a trap of "Yeah, I passed" but not fully understand the concepts.

After graduating your bootcamp, did you feel like there were gaps in what you learned compared to where you wanted to be?

Yeah, I think the issue there is that coding bootcamps don't have much regulation, if any. From an employer perspective I can see why they would be a little hesitant especially if they took a chance on a bootcamp grad before that perhaps wasn't ready for the job.

There were definitely some things in my bootcamp where you only had time to scratch the surface on a certain topic. I think that's something to expect though with these short programs. I learned how to learn and how to build full-stack apps using best practices. If you've read any technologies documentation you know that 3-5 months isn't enough to go in depth on every language/framework you'll be learning. It was fast paced and I learned a lot, but I'm just now going in depth with React and Redux. That's okay though, I think that's the only real model for these programs. They teach you what you need to know to build something and show you how to go about learning in depth on your own. No one's going to hold your hand after grad to keep up with the industry and they let us know that from day one.

No, not really. I was self-teaching myself code for a little over a year before starting the bootcamp. I knew it would take time to learn this stuff adequately. I think I accelerated my learning going through the program honestly. Having a dedicated group of people to help out any code issues/questions you may have makes a difference.