I recently (1.5 months ago) completed the 6-month variant of the UC Berkeley Bootcamp as one of the members of the very first cohort, and just this past week I excepted a job as a front-end engineer at a startup with a starting salary in the 90k range.... Read More
Before coming to this bootcamp I had been teaching myself to program for about a year, but slowly, and had also been able to essentially intern(largely for free) for a company slowly learning to write automated tests in Python. So my experience with code was past absolute beginner.
After researching a number of them, I chose this one partly because it was among the least expensive by far, and also because of the name recognition (Berkeley). I was happy about the prospect of taking 6 months to learn everything I wanted as I knew I would need to work part-time and generally use the time to consume more information on my own.
The instructors Michael and David were both excellent. Personable, kind, and (most importantly) genuinely engaged with the idea of transferring as much of their knowledge of the science and art of programming professionally onto all the student. Michael had a traditional CS background and a number of years of work while David was a grad of HR with a couple of years of working experience, which made them each compelling for their individual experiences. They are both excellent programmers.
The same idea carries throughout the organization. Rosa the career director cares for the concerns and roadblocks individual students might face, and Sam of career services is constantly involved in building your public profiles and presentational person for career services. Although, ultimately, this part of the program is perhaps the weakest, as their networks are not the same as your bigger and far far more expensive BC's.
I also got a chance to meet Pavan, someone from the parent organization of the BC, a company called Trilogy that partners with Universities throughout the country to create these bootcamps for them. Pavan was also smart, kind, and commited to hearing about my experience as a student. They all wanted to see me thrive, and not just collect a check and pepper you with information only to leave you to "sink or swim" as the case in some other programs.
By the mid-point of the program we were already writing full-stack applications with our own server instances(Node.js), and using them to render templated views of custom sites which would both consume various API's and also access our own SQL or noSQL backend data services. Students would coluntarily explore topics like user authentication with Passport.js or WebSocket enabled multi-user live interfaces. I dove into a Google Maps Api for my first (one of three) major project and came away with a powerful new tool.
It was at this time that I started to peek at the work my friends had/were doing at the more popular BC variants out here in SF, only to discover that their body of work was tiny in comparison. Often not particularly broad. Nothing wrong with checking out the competition once in a while. Right?
Ultimately no Bootcamp can singularly gurantee you a great engineering education if you just sit there with your arms crossed waiting for the instructor to automatically funnel the information into your head, you have to do the work. And, not only that, but rise to the occasion to exploit the technology introduced more deeply.
Having that attitude may mean that you will be successful at most any Bootcamp, but this one will introduce you and set the stage for a deep variety of topics that you will want to expand on and explore to secure a mastery.
As a student I realize I may have been an exception with my incoming experience and devotion to extra learning on the side. I would constantly look to expand on the assigned hwrk and develop new and unexpected features not explicitly required in the assignment.
However a number of my peers who I now get to call good friends, had not touched code until starting this program, and through constant devotion to learning and playing with code they have all elevated their skills far beyond what I was able to achieve in my very first half-year of programming knowledge.
So if you are serious. Want to learn a lot about the modern web, and plan to build on what this school offers you to stand out from the busy bootcamp graduate field out here in the SF/Bay Area, then this school will help you prosper!
Best decision I have ever made! Can't wait to get started with my new job on Monday.