Making the decision of learning how to code and committing to an online coding bootcamp is a big one. At the same time it is very difficult to hear first-hand experiences from coding bootcamp graduates.

But not anymore! The fantastic Liz from CourseReport, gathered the brightest students from the best online coding bootcamps to ask them about their personal experience going through their coding bootcamp.

Because watching a one hour long video is as exciting as watching your clothes spin in a dryer, we slaved away and cut the hour long video into bite-sized sections, organized by question and online coding bootcamp, so you can make a rock solid decision in minutes.

Here we go:

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Stephen from theFirehoseProject

YouTube

I finished the Ruby-on-Rails apprenticeship about 2 or 3 weeks ago.  Right now I’m also finishing up my MBA at Babson college outside of Boston.

Brittany, from Bloc.io

YouTube

Turned from a marketing manager to a support engineer

Cody, from Thinkful

YouTube

I became a full-time web freelancer after going through the Thinkful program.

Hanna Marie, from SkillCrush

YouTube

I went through SkillCrush 101, and I’m currently enrolled in their web developer blue-print and I’m struggling with it.

Josh, from CodeUnion

YouTube

I went from being a relationship manager at a company called NPlug to a product engineer there.

Luke, from TeaLeaf

YouTube

 Currently, I’m a software engineer at a company called RampPath out of Georgia.

Did any of you have any technical background before you attended your coding bootcamp, or were you total beginners?

Luke, from Tealeaf

YouTube

I was an English teacher before without a technical background. I went through a couple books, and Treehouse, but found I needed something more comprehensive.

Brittany, from Bloc

YouTube

I had taken attended some beginner Web Design classes, Codecedemy, and a Coursera course. I certainly didn’t have a great deal of prior programming experience.

Josh, from CodeUnion

YouTube

I understood the basic technology, but had no programming experiences.

Cody, from Thinkful

YouTube

I had a technical background and used Codecedemy. What I found, with Thinkful, they pull all their curriculum, from all over the net.  They pick the best resources, and curate it for you.

Did anybody else’s program have that curated content feel? Or did other programs have original content?

Stephen, from theFirehoseProject

YouTube

Firehose is completely original.  I remember, Ken, one of the cofounders, told how long it took before he got it just perfect, and just right to deliver it to students.

Brittany, from Bloc

YouTube

Bloc is all original content.

What was your motivation to join an online bootcamp?

Hanna Marie, from SkillCrush

YouTube

I needed to find marketable, technical skills.

Josh, from CodeUnion

YouTube

 I was doing client relationship at nplug and I wanted to move into a more analytics role.

Why did you decide to do an online program over an in-person bootcamp?

Stephen, from theFirehoseProject

YouTube

 It wasn’t really a consideration, the main thing that attracted me was the school was so effective and fundamentally different.

Brittany, from Bloc

YouTube

I needed to work full-time in order to afford to live in San Francisco, so I knew I wasn’t able to quit and spend 3 month  and $15,000.

Luke, from TeaLeaf

YouTube

Tealeaf has TA’s all over the world, and you can get help at any hour.  I needed something that was very flexible on time and I could do on my pace.

Did anyone consider an in-person bootcamp, but then decide to go online?

Stephen, from theFirehoseProject

YouTube

I started to do an in-person bootcamp with StartupInsititute, but I dropped out because it wasn’t effective for me.

Cody, from Thinkful

YouTube

I live in Idaho, so there’s not really any local bootcamps where to go to, and I wanted to spend more time with family.

Luke, from TeaLeaf

YouTube

I was pretty skeptical of the whole bootcamp idea.

Was everyone working while they were doing the program?

Cody, from Thinkful

YouTube

I was working and while I was doing the front-end course I was able to start picking up freelance clients.

Hanna Marie, from SkillCrush

YouTube

Yes, and people I worked with didn’t realize I was doing it.

What was the application process like for everyone?  Was there a high barrier to entry?

Brittany, from Bloc

YouTube

 With bloc, there was a short application process.

Cody, from Thinkful

YouTube

I setup a short phone call with someone before I was in.

Luke, from Tealeaf

YouTube

I liked how Chris and Kevin at Tealeaf run their site, and the whole process.

Josh, from CodeUnion

YouTube

Jesse and John took hour to an hour-and-a-half Skype or Google Hangout call before-hand.

Tell us about your experience with your mentor. How personalized did you feel your mentor relationship was?

Stephen, theFirehoseProject

YouTube

It’s super custom-tailored to whatever you want to get out of the program.

Hanna Marie, from SkillCrush

YouTube

They have designated mentors to answer your questions, and you can get answers from classmates as well. They also have office hours.

Brittany, from Bloc

YouTube

My mentor was a SysAdmin and I could ask him questions.

Cody, from Thinkful

YouTube

On the rare occasion that I asked for things that weren’t exactly on what the material my mentor, Trevor would help me out.

Josh, from CodeUnion

YouTube

 I had a couple of 1-on-1 sessions with John. They also support us via slack chatroom.

Were you able to generate a network of other students going through your online program?

Cody, from Thinkful

YouTube

At thinkful they have a Google community chat and they do the office hours too.

Brittany, from Bloc

YouTube

We had office hours as well, and they always had a mentor on deck. Bloc is working on a Facebook Group as well.

Hanna Marie, from SkillCrush

YouTube

 I was talking to other students all the time. We have also gotten together, and I’ve gained a lot of friends.

How personalized did you feel like your program was to your needs? How did the courses tailor your program toward getting a job?

Stephen, from theFirehoseProject

YouTube

Depending on if you’re looking to land a job, or launch a startup, the mentorship will be custom-tailored for that.

Luke, from Tealeaf

YouTube

Tealeaf does not customize their curriculum.

Cody, from Thinkful

YouTube

Any customization comes from your mentor.

Brittany, from Bloc

YouTube

The mentor is that customization bit, and help you develop good habits.

Hanna Marie, from SkillCrush

YouTube

SkillCrush is a bit softer, than many of the schools discussed about here.

Did you feel burnout at all during the program or ever get off track?

Luke, from Tealeaf

YouTube

Tealeaf does a good job of getting you unstuck quickly.

Josh, from CodeUnion

YouTube

I think that everyone experiences a bit of stress trying to balance work/life with something they’re really passionate about pursuing.

Cody, from Thinkful

YouTube

Thinkful’s flexibility helps you so you don’t have burnout with them.

Hanna Marie, from SkillCrush

YouTube

I also got off track around javascript, so I just skipped this part.

How many hours did you spend going through lessons and studying on your own?

Stephen, from theFirehoseProject

YouTube

My experience was it was really self-paced, you can scale it up or down depending on how much you wanted to tackle.

Brittany, from Bloc

YouTube

I was 30 hours a week. It’s a lot, but when you really enjoy what you’re doing, it doesn’t seem too long.

Cody, from Thinkful

YouTube

I did 10-12 hours a week of focused work.

Luke, from Tealeaf

YouTube

I would say I was probably between 20 and 30 a week.

Josh, from CodeUnion

YouTube

Typically 15-25 hours for the entire week was about what I needed.

What are the specific applications you’ve built outside the curriculum?

Stephen, from theFirehoseProject

YouTube

I’m building an on-demand delivery application for marijuanna. So like Uber for medical marijuanna.

Brittany, from Bloc

YouTube

I’ve competed in 2 hack-a-thons, YCombinator’s first hack-a-thon.  One the hack-a-thons I won. I’m working on a passion project about getting software releases out to the rest of the team.

Cody, from Thinkful

YouTube

I’m a full-time freelancer and I’ve done stuff for the company that does the CG for Jimmy Fallon and Game of Thrones.

Hanna Marie, SkillCrush

YouTube

I’ve competed in a hack-a-thon, and had 3 web-site side gigs.

What were the job prospects after finishing the course?  Did you need additional education to start your career?

Cody, from Thinkful

YouTube

For me, before I graduated, I was 2-months in, I was able to quit my job, because I was able to locate freelance clients.

For Luke and Tealeaf: I understand all 3 courses of Tealeaf are designed to prepare you for the workforce.  Could someone get a job after just the first 2 courses?

Luke, from Tealeaf

YouTube

I personally wasn’t confident enough.  I think that’s more of a personal thing, but it’s probably possible to take the first two and find work, I don’t think it would be that hard. But I also think once you take the first two, you probably just want to take the third one.

Is there additional help or guidance after completing the course?

Stephen, from theFirehoseProject

YouTube

I can email them pretty much any time.  I’m done with the official program, but I can email them with any questions or help I need, which I did just the other day.

Brittany, from Bloc

YouTube

Not right now, Bloc is building that into their course.

Hannah Marie, from SkillCrush

YouTube

They have an active alumni network at SkillCrush. Also the CEO of SkillCrush, has helped me with contacts.

Josh, from CodeUnion

YouTube

 They have a Slack channel for people who are in the course, and people who are alumni, like myself.

Cody, from Thinkful

YouTube

Not yet, thinkful is building the same type of alumni network bloc is working on.

Do you have anything want to add about the program?  Was it worth it?

Brittany, from Bloc

YouTube

I’m absolutely going to say yes.  It really worked out. I encourage, even if it’s not bloc, check out all these programs.  It’s amazing if you really try hard, you can change and be who you want to be.

Cody, from Thinkful

YouTube

It was totally worth it.  The cost of the course for me, was equivalent of me landing one client.  It let me live my dream, of working from home, being with my family every day.

Luke, from Tealeaf

YouTube

 It had a huge impact. Like Cody said, the first paycheck from my job paid for my entire education. The value is so high, it’s unbelievable.

Stephen, from theFirehoseProject

YouTube

 I’d do it again. Just looking at every other teaching experience that I’ve went through. They’re all basically the same. With Firehose, it’s totally reversed, they just plunge you into the deep side of the pool, and pull you through building an entire complete application.

 

Now it’s your turn, tell us in the comments which online coding bootcamp you liked the most.

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