Coding bootcamps provide a core path to learning to code, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t additional resources out there that students should know about. The best coding bootcamps typically attract the hungriest learners. These students constantly seek new information and are always trying to improve their skills.

But sometimes, it can be difficult to navigate the internet and find the type of quality resources that can amplify a bootcamp experience. That’s why we’ve worked with some of the best students in the Firehose program to pick out the 37 best resources to supplement a coding bootcamp from the rest. These resources are NOT beginner friendly. Instead, they’re for things that you might want to check out in after enrolling in a coding bootcamp.

We’ve broken down these resources into 9 different categories:

  • Coding Challenges
  • JavaScript
  • Ruby
  • Interviewing
  • Job Prep
  • General Programming
  • Podcasts
  • Non-Profits
  • Documentation

Let’s dive into the resources.

Coding Challenges

Really the only way to truely learn a programming language is by tackling problems. Solving real challenges is essential your development as a programmer. If you want to supplement the coding challenges that you get from your bootcamp, here are some awesome places to check out.

  1. ProjectEuler – a popular site that has math based coding challenges.  
  2. CodeAbbey –  has additional coding challenges, ranging from easy to difficult.
  3. CodeWars – an addictive platform that provides coding problems and sample solutions.

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  1. Exercism.io –  a great place to learn some obscure programming languages.
  2. RubyKoans – covers the ruby language in a Test Driven approach. You can learn both ruby and TDD at the same time.
  3. HackerRank – compete on coding challenges with other developers.

JavaScript

Javascript is a great language – and it is incredibly practical to learn at some point in your programming career. However, it’s probably not the best idea to learn Javascript as your first language. There are a ton of nuances and quirks that you really should navigate after you’ve learned a more straightforward language. But once you’ve gotten to the point where you feel comfortable diving into Javascript, it could be a good idea to lean on some awesome 3rd party resources to deepen your understanding and accelerate the learning process. Here are some of the best:

  1. MDN – the ultimate resource for JavaScript related codeScreen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.04.29 AM
  1. You-Dont-Know-JS – there are two main versions of JS that people use.  Regular JavaScript and the new stuff, which is called ES6.  This book series can be really helpful when it comes to learning ES6.
  2. JavaScript: The Definitive Guide to Activate Your Web Pages  – a book by David Flanagan. This is a great primer on JavaScript.
  3. Matthias Johansson’s YouTube – this channel contains a ton of amazing videos about JavaScript and programming in general.
  4. JavaScript: The Good Parts – a book by Douglas Crockford, the creator of JSON format. The book talks about JSON format, which is universally used, and gets a bit into JSLint, which is one of the most popular JavaScript packages.

Ruby

Ruby is all about convention over configuration. There are many ways that you can do a particular thing in the language, but there is a certain way the community deem as “correct.” If you do things correct, you’ll make your life way easier moving forward. If you’re really hungry to dive super deep into Ruby while working through your coding bootcamp curriculum to learn more about this, here are some awesome places to check out:

  1. Ruby PickAxe Book – a physical book, but available for free online.  Most ruby developers have encountered this at one point in their lives.
  2. RubyMonk Meta-Programming – gets into meta-programming, which is like programming in advanced mode in Ruby. Writing code that writes code. This is something that you can check out further down the line, but definitely a cool concept to learn about.
  3. POODR – stands for Practical Object Oriented Design in Ruby.  This is ~$30 book, but it’s a solid reference that helps you figure out how to break apart problems in an OOP language, and it uses Ruby.

POODR

  1. The Well Grounded Rubyist – great book by David Black, which helps take you from interested novice to proficient practitioner.
  2. Eloquent Ruby – a book by Russ Olsen about writing eloquent ruby code.
  3. Eloquent RubyDesign Patterns – another book by Russ Olsen, which covers classic computer programming design patterns in ruby. Initially described by the so called Gang of Four, whose book included C++ and Smalltalk examples.
  4. Ruby Under a Microscope (Pat Shaughnessy) – a very advanced book about how ruby works under the hood.  It explains things like how the Ruby interpreter works under the hood. In absolutely no way is this knowledge required to have a successful career as a Ruby developer (most people I know in the industry have never HEARD of this book, let alone read it). But a nice thing to explore if you’re super curious.
  5. Ruby Weekly – a weekly ruby newsletter.
  6. Ruby Conf Videos – it’s worth it to search on YouTube for previous RubyConf recorded presentations.  Talks by: DHH, tenderlove (aka Aaron Patterson), and Sandi Metz are highly suggested.

Interviewing

All bootcamp students who are looking to land  junior web developer jobs and transition careers should constantly be thinking about familiarizing themselves with the technical interview process. Especially since the technical interview is the key barrier standing between you and your awesome new opportunity. If you’re enrolled in a quality bootcamp, everything you learn during that process should be preparing you for technical interviews. This includes algorithm and data structure learning, test driven development, and a focus on collaborative coding. However, if you’re interested in reading super in depth about the interview process and getting some additional pointers, here are two books that you might want to check out:

  1. Cracking the Coding Interview – ~$30, but it covers how companies interview in a lot of depth. Doesn’t use Ruby (or JS), but focuses on Java / C++ / etc. This isn’t a 1-to-1 mapping of the coding interview, but it covers how companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc. interview.  If you can pass those, most interviews at startups should be a breeze.
  2. cracking_coding_interviewInterview Cake – ~$40.  Very thorough and descriptive, and has a great glossary that you can skim through.

Job Search

Before you can nail the technical interview, you need to build up a healthy list of job opportunities to tackle. But with so many job search sites out there, how do you separate the quality options from the sites that will just end up wasting your time? Here are three solid options that you might want to check out as you begin to plan out your job search:

  1. LaunchCode – complete coding challenges and get hooked up with interviews afterwards.
  2. Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.08.16 AM Firehose Job Board Listing – our comprehensive list of job boards.
  3. lukasz-madon/awesome-remote-job – a curated list of excellent resources for finding a remote (work from home) job as a developer.

General Programming

Some resources don’t fit so nicely into a specific category. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t help supplement you coding bootcamp. Remember that if you’re transitioning into a career as a developer, you want to completely immerse yourself in your new area of expertise. This means checking out cool Youtube/Twitter accounts and websites that that help you pick up the developer lingo while teaching you some new information. Here are some places to check out:

  1. The Practical Developer – a light website and Twitter account that focuses primarily on web and native development, architecture and the choices programmers make on a daily basis.
  1. prac_devData Structures in 5 Minutes – a great YouTube playlist about how common data structures work in programming.
  2. Harvard CS50 –  a free intro to programming that is taught by Harvard online.
  3. Git Book – git’s official tutorial

Podcasts

Podcasts can be a great way to learn new information in a different way. Sometimes, it just makes more sense to listen to something than read about it. If you’re trying to supplement your coding bootcamp education while on the go, podcasts can be a great way to do so. Here are three awesome podcast sources that you might want to check out:

  1. CodeNewbies – a podcast geared towards people starting out in programming.
  2. Ruby Rogues – a podcast about the ruby language.
  3. Thoughtbot Podcasts – has a few different podcasts about various aspects of software development.

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Non-profits

A great way to strengthen your development portfolio and separate yourself from the pack is to contribute to open source projects. If you can accomplish that while also contributing to an awesome cause, that’s a win-win and can make you look even better when it comes to interview time after your coding bootcamp. There are a ton of non-profit organizations that are constantly looking for help with open-source projects, and here are three sources than can help connect you to the best of the bunch:

  1. CodeTriage – a list of open source projects with active issues that are open that you can contribute to.
  2. CodeAlliance – focused project partnerships supporting nonprofit organizations that are building, deploying, and maintaining humanitarian free and open source software.
  3. Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.13.21 AM CodeForAmerica – build projects that help civic organizations.


Documentation

Here are two great documentation resources that can help you understand how all of the parts fit together:

  1. Ruby Documentation – documentation for the ruby programming language.
  2. Rails Guides – documentation for Ruby on Rails.

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AuthorKen Mazaika

Ken Mazaika is the CTO and co-founder at Firehose. Previously, he was a tech lead at WHERE.com (acquired by PayPal) and a member of the PayPal/eBay development team in Boston.

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