What I learned at the 4-week Nucamp coding bootcamp

I recently signed up for a 4 week coding bootcamp to improve my coding skills. The class isn’t designed to adequately prepare non-coders to enter the software development job market, especially as the economy cools. However, I wonder if it will give me enough skills to get a job.

Nucamp’s Web Development Fundamentals course introduces non-coders to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Nucamp, a company founded by former Microsoft educators and developers, says that while having some coding background is beneficial, the only prerequisite is knowing how to use a computer.

These are the boxes I can check: In addition to solid computer skills, I have a degree in mathematics and experience with analytical programming languages ​​such as R, an open-source predictive analytics language. But even if I pass the course, the recent downturn in the software developer job market means I’ll face an uphill struggle if I want to get hired as a developer, says Madison Ross, vice-president of Glocomms, a tech recruitment agency headquartered in London. .

“Given the current climate, a four-week web development bootcamp isn’t enough time to land a role at a major tech company,” Ross said. “These companies are usually looking for years of experience and a degree from a top university.”

According to Nucamp founder and CEO Ludo Fourrage, the web fundamentals course isn’t necessarily about preparing people for a job, but rather as an introduction and a way to continue your education, adding, There may be companies that will consider candidates with a 4-week bootcamp certificate.

Weeks, months, or years of experience anyone has doesn’t prevent them from being a successful developer.

Ryan SalvaVice President of Product, GitHub

One such company is GitHub, a San Francisco-based internet hosting service and subsidiary of Microsoft. Ryan Salva, vice president of product at GitHub, is a philosophy and English major and a self-taught software engineer. He said he would hire boot camp graduates.

“The weeks, months, or years of experience anyone has doesn’t get in the way of being a successful developer,” Salva said.

One thing that doesn’t affect a hiring decision: my age, which is protected against employer discrimination under laws enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“If you’re able to make it through the interview, age won’t affect any hiring decisions,” Ross says.

demanding courses

Fourrage founded Nucamp in 2017 after 18 years leading the digital learning platform at Microsoft. He has experienced firsthand the lack of geographic diversity in software development and believes coding bootcamps can provide opportunities for people in rural areas.

Nucamp’s Web Development Fundamentals course covers a lot in a 4-week timeframe: HTML informs the browser about written text and more; CSS styles HTML documents using effects such as fonts, colors and spacing; JavaScript creates and controls more complex functions , such as dynamic content updates, image animations, and form submissions. With some solid HTML skills, I lulled into a false sense of security thinking I’d learn JavaScript to create buttons, add video controls, or perform some other simple task with a few lines of code. I was wrong.

Before I could start using JavaScript building blocks such as variables, arrays, and loops, I first had to learn the jargon. If Python is the English language of programming languages, JavaScript is the Uralic language — quite unlike any language I’ve encountered before.

The “double not” operator is a challenge to overcome in JavaScript.

For example, a real In JavaScript, a value that is true in a Boolean context.I came across this truth-or-falseness when dealing with logical operators like “double not”, written as ! !, which is roughly analogous to a double double negative in English; it’s like a Magic 8 Ball giving you a “Signs point to yes” when in reality it means “Signs point to yes”. Multiply the brain flex by 2,000, and that’s about how much my head hurt at week three.

In addition to the characteristics of JavaScript, the time investment is another shocking place. The marketing claims suggest two to four hours a day, but despite my coding background, I’m leaning towards four. That means 20+ hours of coding in addition to a full-time job.

“I can’t stress this enough—repeat, repeat, repeat,” says my course instructor, Kevin Gay, a full-stack engineer at Apollodon Learning, an education marketing firm based in Tampa, Florida. Guy has taught over a dozen Nucamp classes since 2020.

But repetition takes time – which is what I’m missing. In the last week of class, I had Thanksgiving with a houseful of out-of-town relatives, a camping trip, a bout of giddiness, and two border collies who were desperately lacking in focus and decided to amuse myself — often including dissecting shoes — When their mom tries to type on the keyboard. Instacart, Uber Eats, and local laundry services became hot buttons on my phone; I didn’t pick up the vacuum or duster for a month; emails went unanswered, voicemails went unanswered.

Essentially, life has happened, Guy said, and it’s one of the main reasons students drop out.

Before the last workshop, 9 of the 18 students in my cohort disappeared. Of the nine students, five enrolled in later classes and four dropped out entirely.

“Some people quit because they’re like, ‘Oh my god, this really isn’t for me,'” Fourrage said. “Sometimes, people don’t realize they have to go to a Saturday workshop. So they’re like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t really make it this Saturday’ or ‘I just don’t get it.'”

JavaScript is hard, which means that to understand it, students have to spend time going through the learning process, Guy said.

Fourrage agrees that time investment is key, as programming is not something that is immediately internalized. The course can be overwhelming for students because they are not entirely sure they understand what they are learning.

“What we’re teaching you is the type of knowledge that you really internalize as you practice,” Fourrage says.

Guy agrees that practice is key. “You’re going to screw up — a lot,” he said. “But if you continue to persevere, some amazing things start to happen.”

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