Everything about my Codesmith experience was exceptional- from the instructors to my peers to the technology, I found Codesmith to be worth every penny.
Some Background: I learned Python when I was younger, but I came to Codesmith with a Bachelors of Music... Read More
Instructors: While researching immersive programs, I was disappointed to learn that most (if not all) bootcamps are taught primarily by prior students, in the form of ‘fellows’. While your mileage may vary, in my Codesmith experience this turned out to be an unnecessary fear. The fellows were bright, eager, kind, and helpful throughout my three months in the program, and served as references during my job hunt. These folks are typically only kept on for three-month contracts after graduation, so I cannot guarantee that your experience will be identical, but Codesmith fosters a can-do attitude in the community, so I am hopeful that you will have a similar experience. (Note that some of the senior instructors are full-time employees and industry veterans, whom I also found to be great teachers)
Curriculum: The curriculum at Codesmith is primarily centered around React, Redux, Node.js, Express, and PostgreSQL. No other front-end frameworks are taught, and while MongoDB, AWS, and OAuth are touched upon throughout, the backend technologies other than Node are explored more shallowly. Codesmith’s approach to curriculum can be summed up in a phrase they’ve coined: ‘hard learning’. Enter my only gripe with my Codesmith experience- while the technologies they’ve chosen to focus on are excellent choices from a popularity-in-the-industry perspective, I do feel that Codesmith’s ‘heard learning’ approach sometimes leaves something to be desired. In particular, as projects become the focus of your days, the ‘hard learning’ approach becomes a burden more than a boon, as your energy is primarily directed towards your projects and the curriculum begins to feel frustrating rather than constructive. This is not to say that the experience is bad- rather, I simply found it to be a minor frustration that mars an otherwise enjoyable learning experience. By the end of the program I felt that I had made great progress in the core curriculum, and that can be attributed largely to ‘hard learning’.
Projects: Perhaps the greatest part of Codesmith is the project portion of your junior phase and the production project portion of your senior phase. In your junior phase, three projects punctuate the conclusion of the core curriculum, small affairs the last only a couple days each. These are the perfect on-ramp to working in a team environment on ‘real’ software (at least, something a little more substantial than a tutorial). The production project, however, is the crowning jewel of Codesmith. Students are required to work in teams to develop an open-source developer tool or similar project, in order to give back to the community and nurture a deep expertise in one technical area. By requiring these production projects to solve problems faced by developers every day, students acquire an intimate knowledge of a corner of the industry, experience that can be spoken to in job interviews with authority. In contrast to other immersive programs, where final projects are often mock-applications, Codesmith’s approach ensures exposure to real problems you will encounter in your career (and it looks great on your resume, to boot).
Job Assistance: Codesmith’s hiring program is exhaustive, and stresses the realities of applying to engineering roles. With lectures and workshops on interviewing, your ‘pitch’, negotiating, networking, resume development, and recruiters, the hiring program provides guidance on every step of your job search, and continues indefinitely post-graduation with weekly workshops for grads in the job hunt. Mock interviews with grads help to ease you into the experience of technical interviews, and the daily emphasis on algorithms and data structures throughout your three months prepares you well for mid-level interviews.
Overall: Codesmith was life-changing for me, beyond a new career and a new job. The people in my cohort were curious, intelligent, and bound by the common goal of bettering their lives. I cherish many of the friendships I made at Codesmith, and I can’t wait to give back to the Codesmith community in the years to come.