My lifelong interest has been learning about useful, versatile and in-demand technologies. What I had failed to do was to devote myself to a computer language, or any formal technical skill, and gain a level of fluency to build things.
Prior to Fullstack, a significant portion of my career was spent working in a Unix environment, but I wanted to build applications to solve real world problems. I attempted to learn some basic scripting by using resources on the web, but I needed a more formal experience to really start making compelling apps.
During the admission process I completed a multi-question technical challenge in Python, and an in person technical interview with Fullstack Co-Founder Nimit Maru. When I was accepted into the program I was ecstatic, which made the awkward process of leaving my comfortable job, and my colleagues, a little less painful.
The best part of the program is that everyone, including the instructors, are engaging in the learning process together. When one person is struggling with a technical problem or a bug, they feel bad. Once they realize fifteen other people are stuck on the same issue, the frustration turns into constructive problem solving and learning.
I completed FullStack academy in July 2014. My group project, which comprised the final four weeks of the program, was the development of http://postermuseum.com, which I completed with a fellow Fullstack student.
Since Fullstack I've worked on numerous development projects. My skills feel more relevant and well rounded than ever. I've had a steady stream of very compelling jobs, and I've been working nearly 7 days a week to keep up with the workload. My earning potential has increased substantially, but most importantly, I'm finally doing work that I truly enjoy. I don't feel trapped in a job anymore, and I feel like I have options to work on exciting projects, and in any industry I choose.
Thank you Fullstack Academy - you changed my life.
Going through Fullstack was one of the most empowering and liberating experiences of my life—academic, professional, or otherwise. I’d never heard of a learning environment like this before, and I’d certainly never had the pleasure of being a part of one. My classmates, as diverse a group as any, were smart, capable, motivated, and most importantly generous—you’ll find no shortage of new friends eager to help you squash bugs when you (inevitably) run into them. By the time I left Fullstack, I felt like I’d fast-tracked my way into an elite professional network of ridiculously skilled developers. You will learn many of the latest and most in-demand web development technologies during the course of your 13 weeks with David, Nimit, and the rest of Fullstack’s warm and highly capable staff.
I graduated Fullstack confident in my abilities as a software developer. Within four weeks, I accepted a competitive front-end position at a startup here in New York, and I couldn’t be happier.
Deciding whether a bootcamp is right for you is obviously an important choice—for one thing, they’re not cheap. But my final bit of wisdom is that you should pick your bootcamp (should you decide to attend one) based not on the technologies you’ll be learning, but instead on the quality of the instructors and your fellow students. There’s nowhere I would have rather enrolled than Fullstack.
I attended Fullstack Academy, located in the Financial District (lower Manhattan) of NYC, recently and haven't regretted it for a second.
A typical day was generally something along the lines of: Show up between 9-10AM, have some breakfast or coffee and get set up. Early in the semester we had small exercises we could work on to get warmed up, later in the semester we had projects. Usually around 10AM we got started with a lecture or review of an assignment from the previous day. The mornings and early afternoons were usually devoted to learning new ideas, the afternoons and evenings devoted to projects involving those concepts. They've changed their structure quite a bit since I was there based on feedback from us and the previous cohorts, so it's going to be different, but basically the idea was you were constantly learning new concepts that were then reinforced through projects they designed. Usually the organized part of the day would end around 5 or 6, and then most people stuck around until 7 or 8 working. People who had commutes usually would leave and work at home, but others who lived close (like me) would stay sometimes until 10PM or later. Later in the semester I was regularly there until 12PM (mostly by choice - easier to get work done on site - but also project phase was pretty intense). My cohort was great and we bonded really quickly - everyone was a little sad when it was over. We had a lot of fun activities planned randomly throughout the camp to help us bond with each other and just kinda let off steam or unwind a bit.
I'd done a little coding on my own before the camp, but mostly I was just looking for something different to get out of my career at the time. One of my best friends has been a developer since he was a teenager and so he encouraged me to look into programming. I gave it a shot with CodeAcademy and Codeschool and it just felt like a natural fit. The key thing that I noticed about people who struggled the most in the camp was that they were easily frustrated. First, programming in general can be frustrating at times because you'll be doing something over and over and not understanding how it works (but then suddenly you figure out how to make it work and it's a glorious feeling). Second, the camp in general is super intense and moves pretty fast so sometimes you're by nature not going to understand something as well as you think you should before the class is moving on. It's important for both of these reasons that you don't let yourself get so frustrated that you just say "This is dumb, why am I doing this?" or "I just can't do this" or whatever else people say when they are struggling. The people who relished the challenges did the best. This is probably a general thing in life, but it's especially true in such an intense environment.
I probably put in about 1 month of meaningful prep work before I went. The more prep work you do related to the school you're attending, the more quickly you'll hit the ground running and be able to take advantage of the teachers. If they don't have to waste time teaching you the simplest basics, you can utilize them for cementing those basics and learning difficult concepts. Fullstack and DevBootCamp both provide you with a lot of pre-term materials. Fullstack asks you to turn in weekly assignments for the 6-8 weeks leading up to your cohort's start date and they have a couple guys specifically assigned to helping the upcoming students out with that material. It's really helpful.
The key to this (if you decide to attend) is remembering that you're doing this for a reason. Work really hard during those 3-5 months, as the more you put in, the more you'll get out of it. The people who got jobs the most quickly were people who were constantly working on small (or big) side projects that they could show off the employers at the end of the semester. One of my friends came into the thing looking like he might be the worst person in the group but wound up as one of the best because he worked so hard the whole time.
I think in the end as long as you do your research and know that the bootcamp is teaching you what you want to learn and has a good reputation (check out their curriculum, reviews, get in touch with a couple alums, etc), which one you actually attend is simply a formality. There will be some positives and negatives to each one, but in general your success will more predicated on you than on the actual camp you choose
I got a job about 1 week after I started looking hardcore (I took about 2 months to work on some freelance stuff and to solidify my knowledge after the camp ended). The job I found has been a lot of fun so far (about 3 months in), pays well, and is a great learning experience. The key idea behind Fullstack (and, really, probably any other bootcamp) is that you learn enough that you have the confidence going forward to be ready to take on any coding task, even if you've never tried it before. And I think in that regard Fullstack prepared me very well. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who feels like coding might be something they would be passionate about.
I was in the Fullstack Spring 2014 class and it was the best decision I've ever made in my life. Web development has always been something that has interested me, so I decided to quit my job to go to a bootcamp. I applied to quite a few bootcamps but during my interview when I spoke with Nimit for the first time (one of the co-founders/lead instructors) I knew that Fullstack Academy was the one for me. When class started, I met David (the other co-founder/lead instructor) and immediately knew I made the right decision. You can't find better instructors when it comes to learning development because these two know their shit. Not only are they great teachers with reputable Software Engineer resumes, but they are great guys that you end up becoming good friends with. I highly recommend Fullstack Academy to anyone considering a bootcamp.