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Software Engineering Bootcamps

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
I know there are quite a few CS/Software engineers on here, and I was wondering if I could get an opinion on my upcoming career choices.

Currently, I'm a temp working for Google and I mostly do front end work that isn't very technical. On occasion, I get a chance to work with engineers on back end things and I've gained an interest in the field. I've always been extremely comfortable on a computer, and also don't mind the rigorous hours of coding required (already spend 3/4 my day on a computer). Problem is, my college degree is in political science, no where close to any form of software engineering.

The MAIN reason I never pursued a CS degree in undergrad was because I hated math. I took up to calc 2 in college because of pre-reqs and never managed to pull off more then a passing grades (C, B average), whatever it took to get by. I would accredit a large part of this due to a lack of trying and interest in the subject, but still admit math is a weak point of mine. I do, honestly believe, that I could do much better if I put more effort into it. Math requirements for CS or anything engineering seemed too difficult for me at the time though. I also believe I have the analytic skills necessary for engineering, although my quantitative skills might be lacking.

But I recently heard about engineering bootcamps which seem to be growing in popularity in the bay area, 9-12 week crash courses which claim can train you to become a software engineer and have extremely high percentages of success rate. Some are claiming as high as 98% hire rate coming out of the programs with average salaries between 80k-110k. Sounds like a scam right? But from everything I've read online, including credible tech blogs like wired, tech crunch, etc, have been nothing but extremely positive. I know that these types of bootcamps will not give me the same education as a degree, but if it can get me started a career in the field I'm willing to take it.

So have any of you guys heard of these bootcamps or have any opinions on them? And do you think my weak background in math is going to hold me back too much? How meticulous of a person do you have to be? I'm willing to hear about any other opinions/advice on the field too. With the tech boom going on in SF lately, it seems like a field worth going into.
post #2 of 48
The only one that I heard of is Dev Bootcamp and a friend went there with no skills whatsoever. No math involved as far as I can remember. I'd do it if I wanted a new career.
post #3 of 48
Thread Starter 
We're they able to find a job pretty easily afterwards? With these bootcamps they don't give you a degree or any sort of certificate. But from what I hear that's not always necessary to get into the field.
post #4 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipractice View Post

We're they able to find a job pretty easily afterwards? With these bootcamps they don't give you a degree or any sort of certificate. But from what I hear that's not always necessary to get into the field.

He already worked for a tech company in another capacity so it was easier for him to get the position
post #5 of 48
Quote:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I know there are quite a few CS/Software engineers on here, and I was wondering if I could get an opinion on my upcoming career choices.

Currently, I'm a temp working for Google and I mostly do front end work that isn't very technical. On occasion, I get a chance to work with engineers on back end things and I've gained an interest in the field. I've always been extremely comfortable on a computer, and also don't mind the rigorous hours of coding required (already spend 3/4 my day on a computer). Problem is, my college degree is in political science, no where close to any form of software engineering.

The MAIN reason I never pursued a CS degree in undergrad was because I hated math. I took up to calc 2 in college because of pre-reqs and never managed to pull off more then a passing grades (C, B average), whatever it took to get by. I would accredit a large part of this due to a lack of trying and interest in the subject, but still admit math is a weak point of mine. I do, honestly believe, that I could do much better if I put more effort into it. Math requirements for CS or anything engineering seemed too difficult for me at the time though. I also believe I have the analytic skills necessary for engineering, although my quantitative skills might be lacking.

But I recently heard about engineering bootcamps which seem to be growing in popularity in the bay area, 9-12 week crash courses which claim can train you to become a software engineer and have extremely high percentages of success rate. Some are claiming as high as 98% hire rate coming out of the programs with average salaries between 80k-110k. Sounds like a scam right? But from everything I've read online, including credible tech blogs like wired, tech crunch, etc, have been nothing but extremely positive. I know that these types of bootcamps will not give me the same education as a degree, but if it can get me started a career in the field I'm willing to take it.

So have any of you guys heard of these bootcamps or have any opinions on them? And do you think my weak background in math is going to hold me back too much? How meticulous of a person do you have to be? I'm willing to hear about any other opinions/advice on the field too. With the tech boom going on in SF lately, it seems like a field worth going into.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ipractice View Post

We're they able to find a job pretty easily afterwards? With these bootcamps they don't give you a degree or any sort of certificate. But from what I hear that's not always necessary to get into the field.

Hey There,

I am in a similar boat right now and am switching careers over to engineering. My degree is a BS in Business Administration: Information Systems. I am right now working on getting a certificate or two from a junior college. I am interested in hearing about a boot camp as well but for now i can share some of my thoughts.

Firstly i read a lot on http://www.dreamincode.net regarding becoming a software engineer and talked to several SE friends. Most SEs said that its not too late and if you have the will you can do it. IMO math is not that important in CS and my old boss whom was a Systems Architect (built fraud engines, really smart guy) told me that SEs are notoriously bad at math. That being said if you took calc and got Cs/Bs you are ok. The point is you understood the concepts. In cs that is super important. If you can get the concepts you can write good code. Its about being detailed, collaborating and testing until you get things right.

Secondly, i hear as a junior engineer you will be working mostly on documentation, debugging and small functions. No company will throw you into writing something big which may cause a system failure. Also most tech companies recognize that mentoring is important so as long as you arent shy and understand things you can catch on.

Thirdly, i think i will go towards the route of UX/Front End and mobile rather than back end. Back end (most C++/java/mysql which is what i know mostly) is difficult. It is very strongly typed and syntactically hard. If you can tackle java/c++ concepts you will find other languages easier, at least i do. I think back end will be kinda boring and you can leave that to the number crunching guys. With front end, ui and mobile you will be prepared for 3 hot areas and get paid pretty well with any of them. Think of it like this most smart business have mobile apps and websites.

Finally, I will pm you with a few other thoughts but i am basically covering as much ground as i can to be an SE. I am trying to be a full stack engineer to know enough of everything to solve problems. Languages i work with: Java, Mysql, PHP, HTML/CSS JS, things i am trying to pick up Ruby, Objective-C, things i dont use from past C++, .Net/C#. I think PHP or Ruby + HTML/CSS + JS and if you want Java or Objective C will land you a job quickly.

Cheers,
Have fun at Goog.
post #6 of 48
thread died?
post #7 of 48

Just made a styleforum account (my captcha was "handsome essnemc") to post in this thread. This really interests me. I'm currently a first year at a decent public university but I'm having my doubts about continuing after this semester. It's painfully dull and not what I expected. I'm doing poor in calculus (like OP hahah) but am otherwise doing very well, I would just rather be working and doing things in the real world.

 

 I've read stories of people getting certified in a few languages, finding internships, and becoming gainfully employed without a degree in computer science. I would love to do this... These bootcamps seem like a great entry point. I already have had an internship while in high school where I coded in java and c++. I'm going to read up on them, if anyone here has experience with 'em please post itt.

post #8 of 48
Thread Starter 
Here are a few links that might be worth checking out. Can't speak to their accuracy or reliability, but there's not much other info out there. I'm getting in contact with someone who is in one of these programs now so hopefully I can get a more personal opinion. If you guys have any links feel free to share.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6040234
http://www.reddit.com/r/cscareerquestions/
http://tylermcginnis.com/the-application-process-hack-reactor-vs-coding-dojo-vs-app-academy-vs-dev-bootcamp/
http://bootcamper.io/
post #9 of 48
i'll take a look soon.
post #10 of 48
Do it if you are interested.

For the most part, these teach you development processes and how to work in a framework like Ruby on Rails. They aren't going to get you deep into algorithms or theory but they will get you the programming basics and teach you how development works. This is actually more than a CS degree will give you...CS degrees will be focused heavily on algorithms and theory, won't teach you how to make web apps (just...most CS majors are interested enough to learn that stuff on their own) and definitely won't teach you what it is like to develop on massive projects in a corporate environment.

Recognize that you are learning some "flavor of the month" programming. Rails makes it very easy to pump out some fancy websites, but it probably won't be the framework of choice forever. Hopefully it is enough to get you started. Once you learn to program in one language and spend some time doing it, it becomes easier to switch to others.

You don't get a real credential or anything, but as I said, that doesn't matter a ton since most people recognize that a CS degree has nothing to do with software development. Also, some of the places have deals where they won't charge you tuition until *after* they help you find a job...hard to beat that deal.
post #11 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post

Do it if you are interested.

For the most part, these teach you development processes and how to work in a framework like Ruby on Rails. They aren't going to get you deep into algorithms or theory but they will get you the programming basics and teach you how development works. This is actually more than a CS degree will give you...CS degrees will be focused heavily on algorithms and theory, won't teach you how to make web apps (just...most CS majors are interested enough to learn that stuff on their own) and definitely won't teach you what it is like to develop on massive projects in a corporate environment.

Recognize that you are learning some "flavor of the month" programming. Rails makes it very easy to pump out some fancy websites, but it probably won't be the framework of choice forever. Hopefully it is enough to get you started. Once you learn to program in one language and spend some time doing it, it becomes easier to switch to others.

You don't get a real credential or anything, but as I said, that doesn't matter a ton since most people recognize that a CS degree has nothing to do with software development. Also, some of the places have deals where they won't charge you tuition until *after* they help you find a job...hard to beat that deal.

i actually read about a few bootcamps and agree it is a flavor of the month thing. However, the hotter the flavor the more $$$. For example, Hack Reactor focuses on Node.js/JS, Coding Dojo is PHP and App Academy is Ruby. Any of the choices are fine and will get you a job somewhere. JS/Ruby/PHP are not going anywhere. I do know from a friend that ruby pays better than PHP because there are less ruby devs and a lot more php debs.

I am seriously considering a bootcamp for jan 2014 because they teach you day to day work. Additionally, they help you get employed. I have taken the theory classes and have a degree but being able to code gets you employed not the theory.

Are you an SE?

@OP, how is your search going? any updates
post #12 of 48
Nah, I'm a consultant (although a consultant that does a lot of SAS programming, some Python, and occasionally modifies things written in ruby). I've just always had an eye on that part of the tech world...took some CS in college, started reading /. daily in high school, participate on stack overflow, etc.

I actually went to school with one of the founders of App Academy (since you mention it), but I haven't spoken to him since they started it so I can't say anything about it.

Not sure I like the future of a software engineer...seems like you either end up middle managing unless you found something of your own or are content with a stagnant career trajectory (like many other types of engineer)...but god damn do some of those low level ruby programmers make a ton of money with skills that can be learned in a few weeks.
post #13 of 48
And I would stay away from PHP.

-Ruby and Python are both solid modern languages with a future.
-Javascript is the core of web2.0
-Objective-C (iOS standard language) or .NET are both up there too...but they are not as abstract as the above languages and thus you aren't going to learn everything you need to know in a quick boot camp (it's where algorithms start to matter).
post #14 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Nah, I'm a consultant (although a consultant that does a lot of SAS programming, some Python, and occasionally modifies things written in ruby). I've just always had an eye on that part of the tech world...took some CS in college, started reading /. daily in high school, participate on stack overflow, etc.

I actually went to school with one of the founders of App Academy (since you mention it), but I haven't spoken to him since they started it so I can't say anything about it.

Not sure I like the future of a software engineer...seems like you either end up middle managing unless you found something of your own or are content with a stagnant career trajectory (like many other types of engineer)...but god damn do some of those low level ruby programmers make a ton of money with skills that can be learned in a few weeks.

Cool, anyway you can get some info on appa academy?
Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post

And I would stay away from PHP.

-Ruby and Python are both solid modern languages with a future.
-Javascript is the core of web2.0
-Objective-C (iOS standard language) or .NET are both up there too...but they are not as abstract as the above languages and thus you aren't going to learn everything you need to know in a quick boot camp (it's where algorithms start to matter).

I agree with most of that except PHP, its all over the web and isnt going away anytime soon so i decided to learn it (no regrets).

Java/Obj C > .Net/C# unless you decide to only work on windows apps.
post #15 of 48
Thread Starter 
Speaking to current SEs at Google, and friends from college, they all seem to say the same thing: do it if you want to, but realize that the job is not for everyone and the bootcamps are teaching you things you can learn on your own. They will teach you what you need to get a job. Everyone says they've either heard of them or know a "friend of a friend" who has had success through these programs. So what's the catch? Basically surviving the bootcamps. I don't doubt that they will work, but at the same time they're not something you can take lightly. They have jam packed curriculum's and require you to pick up the slack during after-hours if you're unable to grasp the concepts during instructional periods - MANY of them reported 12-14 hour days starting from week 1. Difficulty ramps up quickly and people who cannot keep up are removed from the program. The number one advice I've been given is to start learning right now, on my own. Start some coding projects for fun and see if it's something you can enjoy doing, because you will need a hell of a lot of interest and motivation to make it out. And realize that learning doesn't stop after the camps are over, you really need a strong interest to expand and grow in the field so you will need to learn a lot more on your own.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there is an initial phase which is not always advertised. This ranges from a 4-6 week period, which differs depending on bootcamps. You're basically given homework before you can even take the course to cover the basics. If you have a background in the field, this phase should be no problem but it is something to consider if you have other things going on, like school or work, because you will be held accountable for work during this phase. I'm unclear whether or not you are required to submit your work or take tests, but it's not a phase that is not optional to the course, like a pre-req. This stretches the bootcamps to 12-18 week programs so you will need to plan accordingly. You will not have time for anything else most likely so it is a full commitment process.

Realistically there is not enough information out there to get a firm idea on these bootcamps yet, everything is word of mouth. It's hard to say whether or not the prices are justifiable but I think its fair to rule out these bootcamps as being scams. No doubt they are a risk but I also find some value in that; if the trends continue, I can see these camps becoming wildly popular in the near future. Everyone knows the CS/SE space is getting more and more crowded, these bootcamps could be your step ahead of the crowd.

My plan is to learn some coding and take classes starting January of next year at CC. I may take classes through summer as well. By August/Sept of next year I will hopefully be enrolled in one of these camps. So I'm a ways off from actually attending, but I definitely need this time to decide if its something I want to do.
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