Listen: A Developer at Thoughtbot Shares Her Insights on Developer Bootcamps
"Steph lives in boston where she is a developer thought pies and co host of the bike shed podcast. Thanks for joining me today. Steph absolutely thanks for having me on. I'm excited to chat today awesome well-staffed. What is your developer origin story my origin story it. It started about five years ago. I was living in florida and i honestly needed a new job. I was working in sort of a marketing role <hes> but not a full on marketing and just kind of struggling to figure out what my career path was going to look like and so i started thinking about other options about maybe going back to school school for another a different degrees since i felt like my first degree in business wasn't really panning out for me and i have a brother who's a developer so i was aware of if software development. I knew that he really liked his job. He was making good money so i started thinking about that and then my husband saw an article in the wall street journal that was talking about out developer boot camps and how viable option and how companies were hiring someone grabs and so that was giving me a bit more confidence at perhaps boot camps were this new thing thing that could work <hes> so i talked to everyone that would talk to me and with my husband's awesome support. I <hes> enrolled in launch academy in boston and it's kind of history from there. It was honestly one of the best decisions of ever made. I completely agree with you. I am a boot camp graduate myself and it just amazes me how much different my life is because i enrolled in it. Yes totally. Which bouquet did you attend. I went through block which is an online boot camp and i i was based in san francisco at the time which was the mecca of boot camps but i was working full time in marketing myself as well and so i needed something i'd be able to do in the evenings us. Oh well that that's fascinating to me that you did the online program because even like the in person program like tough but i feel like there's potentially a bit more support where i have someone in front of me to talk to but it sounds like the online experience worked well for you. It did work well for me. I'd love to hear more about your experience and how you feel about boot boot camps now totally yeah. Do you wanna dive into that yeah. Let's let's do it because they often get a bad rap and i think it really depends on the person in your mindset in your ambitions i yes i agree. I have heard some certainly some negative things about boot camps. Although i feel like i still hear more positive than negative. I think some of the more negative concerns that i've heard in the past that have been addressed is around two thousand fourteen two thousand fifteen when they are really starting to become popular and that's also the time that i was going through the program and a lot of them were painting. This really rose colored vision of what it was like to be a developer how much money you're gonna make they are like hey do you want to code from the beach and make a six figure salary and be able to do this in twelve weeks. It sounds one one of those like you know lose fifty pounds and like x number of weeks or something kind of silly so i think they did receive some negative publicity for over hyping thing the this dreamer this concept of what it was really going to be like and that you are going to start out as a junior and that takes time to build up those the skills to become more comfortable in your job <hes> so for my personal experience overall is very positive. I had a good experience. It was very exhausting. I think <hes> but it. It got me where i needed to being. I was able to get my first job as a junior and then keep climbing my way from there. I do have other thoughts about that attended twelve week model but i'd love to hear some of your thoughts before i keep going yeah so i was in the three-month model as well and i ended up extending it and going into a different program. I'm as well but i ultimately ended up becoming a instructor for the bootcamp once i had several years under my belt and i even wrote a blog posts about this called the fictional <unk> developer want or a lot of the students i was talking to and because it was remote they had this belief that once they completed the program they were gonna get this amazing job right off the bat and so my entire theory was that you're graduating as junior. You're gonna have to take a job. That might not be ideal at. I just you get some experience and i i think the boot camps just did a really poor job of marketing that yes i completely agree. I'm so kind of circling back to some of the things that i do like about at that model. I do appreciate how practical it is. It is very much hands on practical application of skills that you're going to need day one of your job and i love that apart because having gone through a traditional university in four years i felt like i really wasn't using most of the information that i had acquired during those four years at school so i really liked that pivot to where it was more of that trade craft that i was focused on and then circling back to the ten to twelve weeks i it took me a little while to figure out how i felt about. It and i started noticing about a year into my career. Maybe two years that some of the folks that i was working with were quitting and they were leaving web development for like a year to take a break. Take a hiatus kind of get their life back. Maybe do some travelling and initially at all. That's that's really really cool. Go for it but as i started seeing that happen and also as i was in the industry a bit longer i realized i was feeling the same way where i wanted to quit. 'cause i felt like i'd put so much of my life on hold to go through this extreme process and i was still trying to level up so quickly as a junior developer to keep up that i was burned out l. I feel like people are going through. Camps are starting their careers burned out and that's the part that troubles me that love to nazi folks go through that hardship. No you're right. There's this leg unwritten rule of requirements that as your junior developer you're supposed to be attending all the conferences meet ups contributing to open source and doing extra at work and meanwhile you know they might be leaving career where they were already burned out. Maybe a nursing or even as a barista and so it's not fair that you have to have this college mindset where you can stay up all night and burn burn the midnight oil but you might be enrolled in this boot camp later in life. You might already have a family and so i i itself. It's absolutely tough totally. I love that <hes> you mentioned the part about families because some of the folks that were going through the program with me they had kids and i feel fortunate in the sense that i could be very selfish with my time and i was just focused on me going through the program but i want this to be something that's accessible to everyone who wants to change their careers or learn to code so i think that's probably one of the more negative parts that i still hear about the programs that i still think about <hes> but it's also it's i understand the the the other side of it where people are trying to do a quick pivot and you're trying to only take a couple months away from work to then be able to change into a new career so but yeah i i love the idea idea that we need to find balance and <hes> why would love companies to help us do that. I i put responsibility on them. Also put responsibility on ourselves to make sure that we find balanced balanced and for me quitting to take hiatus wasn't the balanced i was looking for. I had to find it in a more day to day style and find companies that would help me encourage to find that balance absolutely so on that note. Do you have any advice for new developers. They're just getting their start. Oh totally yes la question <hes>. Let's let's see <hes> so i think the first one is find developer friends find anyone that's already in the industry. That would love to talk to you. Share their experience talk about how they got there. If you can't find a developer friend reach out to me albeit developer friend. I'll be happy to talk you through everything that i have experienced and no <hes> some of the other ones are used the free resources that are online. There's a bunch of to go ahead and start consuming those and even just fifteen eighteen minutes a day start figuring out what you like what you're interested in <hes> have a couple more about. I want to go on a monologue about giving a keynote right now. Okay well in that case. I'll continue with my keno. One of the things things. I'd recommend as don't learn it all at once. Try to find one thing to learn. Maybe it's h._t._m._l. N._c._i._s. maybe it's something else that you're excited about. Maybe it's ruby ruby. I would also recommend contacting recruiters and realize that may sound a bit too early in the process but my opinion it's never ever too early to start figuring out what's the market looking for what are companies reaching out to recruiters and asking for those folks have skills because that will also help you find out once you start learn some of the basics to figure out what to learn next because there is a plethora of options out there of what to learn so they'll help guide you and figuring out how do you turn your experience into something that will then get you paid not agree with the recruiter comment enough because recruiters are being paid in order for you to be successful so in order to have had that relationship with them. You want to reach them <hes> early and then get feedback from them. As you find jobs as they find jobs you want to have that open conversation nations so that way when that magical job does come across you were the first person they are gonna thank of because there's only so many like perfect jobs out there and really there is no such i think is perfect job but you that recruiter is out there making sure that you are going to be earning great paycheck and that you're going to be satisfied with the work that you're doing every day. Is that something that you did. How did you transition from working in marketing studying online to then becoming a developer and getting paid for it yeah so i graduated from the boot camp and i i started going to the women who code meet ups in san francisco and i happen to go to a meet up where someone stood up and said hey my co worker quit today. Is anybody looking for a job and that is how i stepped into that role and that's really where i got my base. Knowledge working in support basically live chatting with developers and dan solving why they're code wasn't running properly and production which no better way for junior developer to learn to be doing that day by day. Oh wow that's awesome. <hes> that's terrifying. It was terrifying but i learned how to sign the servers in you know all of that and i became really comfortable with a command line from there and then you know years of experience later i decided i wanted to move back to pittsburgh pennsylvania and i knew that i'd been a couple of years since i've been in that community and so i reached out to a recruiter and basically basically told him the deal and he spent months looking for jobs for me and you know tirelessly he would send them to me and i'd like now. That's not for me and he completely patient with me until he found the job that i'm now hurriedly in. Oh wow yeah recruiters can be amazing people that can help us longer journey. I think i've only had one experience that didn't go well <hes> but i've had far more positive experiences than negative so i know that you work in ruby on orioles played a lot at thought bob correct do it varies but yeah ruby on rails is still certainly my bread and butter awesome. So what are your current thought. What are your thoughts on. The current state. Eight of ruby on rails sure some very excited about the features have been released and rail six. I've been following along with some of the features that are coming out and i can't wait to have one of our fridays <hes> because we have investment days at thought pot where we have fridays where we get to do some self improvement activities ladies so i'm looking forward to using one of those fridays to explore some of the new features <hes>. Let's see what's new. There's <hes> the action mailbox. <hes> there is action taxed ext. Have you had a chance to play with any of those or i haven't. I were currently using c._k. Editor in our application."