Well, I read all this, and as EDA grad I want to add my 5 cents.
EDA advertising has 2 big promises:
1) That you will be learn how to code from ‘zero to junior’ in 18 weeks.
2) That you will be able to get a job in a short period of time after graduation... Read More
I wasn't too much interested in the first, because I had IT experience under my belt, though I didn’t mind refreshing my skillset. What was really interesting to me, is the second promise.
But let's jump into details. I was taught by the DevBootcamp licensed curriculum, in the Ruby programming language, which EDA had implemented in their programme.
Phase 0 was easy, but I never actually got any feedback. It was ok for me, ‘cause I can understand myself if I am doing alright, but half of my cohort obviously weren’t prepared enough after it, because they failed to complete exercises similar to phase 0, and didn't understand concepts that they were supposed to understand by the course authors.
Phase 1 was easy as well, I managed to finish all necessary tasks, and was even able to finish additional ones, but other people in my cohort were not able to finish even compulsory curriculum tasks (as it was designed by Dev Bootcamp), but were allowed to continue phase 1 as if we weren’t in a bootcamp, but some ‘children's playground’.
Hi, EDA peeps, do you know it's called a ‘bootcamp’ in the USA for a reason??? People are supposed to 'sweat' while learning and getting things done, not moved along without understanding and attaining the ability to code. At the end of the day, big companies which you called ‘partners’ have tech interviews for grads, where they ask them typical problem solving tasks to complete, and those tasks were the part of phase 1, that half of my cohort were unable to do properly, and you haven't bothered to point it out to them and teach them, and made them rollback like you should of.
The other part of my cohort, who were able to teach themselves, moved ahead reasonably well, but there was a common understanding, that you didn’t need to work hard to move forward which was evidently discouraging for the more technically capable people in our group.
And again, I haven't got any review of my code during the whole of phase 1.
By course design we were supposed to read additional articles and books, but only me and another guy had done it, the others moved along without a clear understanding of the basics, and again, nobody bothered to check that. On phase 2, I clearly saw that personal projects, which were supposed to be key to proceeding to phase 3, were not made by half of the cohort again. Finally, I got one code review for my code, for a 1 personal project from 3 that were submitted.
Group projects were a Mess:
1) Because half of the cohort weren’t prepared properly( you either had to spend time explaining basics to people, or code on your own)
2) Because tasks in groups were not split properly(we weren't on a project management course; at least once or twice, tasks should've been split by TAs or teachers)
3) Because the idea of doing the stuff you wanted to learn on a group project was really counterproductive (people neither learnt stuff, nor polished skills that they had).
My last group project was a bit better, because 2 people finally rolled back, and the other 2 least prepared people were doing another project, so my group was able to finish a prototype in a reasonably good state. The other group were unable to do that.
So, then we graduated, at least 2 people from my cohort were not able to code, though they definitely had a lot of potential in them, they were not prepared properly.
TA's were a joke mostly, though teachers were great. I bet that strong students from my cohort, including myself, understand development better than most of the TA's (and imho as long as all TA's are former graduates, it shows the level of EDA preparation, or lack thereof). Maybe only Dan Lewis was able to provide sound advice, but he was quite busy with actual contracting jobs most of the time.
So, in terms of ‘learning experience’, EDA is actually not that great. And, just as a ‘chain is as strong as the weakest link’, EDAs quality of education is judged by it’s least prepared student who comes to an interview, and evidently it's not great quality.
So, I believe that EDA fails to deliver that promise of learning to code in 18 weeks from zero to junior for many students, even if they don't understand that.
Careers week and career support was the main thing I came to EDA for, because I often fail in selling myself, and gosh, how stupid I was. I expected that there would be actual partnerships with big tech players, that EDA could recommend us, and help to get an actual job/internship. On the first day of careers week we went through the cards on the trello board, and Rohan told us which company is good in his opinion, and which is not, giving the impression that companies are waiting in a line for us, and we can actually select where we can go.
In fact, most of the companies that were marked as companies with jobs were on a hiring freeze, and contacts which we were supposed to be there, either didn’t reply, or were not serious leads (I bet that half of the people who were marked as ‘contacts’ already worked for places other than was stated in corresponding trello cards, i.e. these were old leads).
The only positive impression from EDA job support is Ruth Mcdavitt, who actually knows some people and can make an introduction, if you are lucky. But she is quite busy with her own project, ‘Summer of Tech, and EDA is just a side gig for her.
I am often wondering how many actual grads get jobs straight after Bootcamp with the companies that they called ‘partners’, for example, TradeMe, Xero, PartsTrader, etc…
The EDA site states: "...We’re with you until you land that first job' http://www.devacademy.co.nz/careers/. By no means that statement is true. When you are not their ‘success story’, you become a burden to them, and they don't bother to speak with so-called ‘partners’ about you. So basically - you are on your own, and EDA fails to deliver its second big promise - that you are going to get a job. I don't believe in their stats about 81% of people who get a job within 3 months after the bootcamp, based on recent cohorts (that could only be if you only count people who started to work as TA's for EDA, people who gave up looking for a software developer job and got another day job, and people who got a job in the IT industry, but not as a software developer). People like Steven Brown, Richard Garcia... looked for a job for ages.
The EDA bootcamp wasn't hard to me, but those months after EDA that I spent looking for my first software developer job - that was one of the hardest times in my life. I almost fell into depression which was devastating it was for me personally. Now that I work as a dev, I’m fine, but all that time after EDA I lived on borrowed money, and I have accumulated a large amount of debt still to this date which I obviously have to pay back...
They also have a promise for employers, that people, who come through EDA are good team players. I think they fail with that as well. Because of differences between skill levels amongst people in your cohort, we had quite bad team dynamics, and I have seen much better team work in my life to be honest.
The yoga lessons were alright, in fact it's one of the most positive things about the course, Sarah is a great teacher, but yoga lessons were supposed to unite the team, and in fact it divided us - those who did yoga, and those who spent their time in the 2 other rooms coding or doing something else. Meditation lessons were useless, some time after EDA, I downloaded the Headspace App, and in no time I “grok it”, but I was unable to do that there.
So, long story short, if you have industry connections yourself, if you have a spare 11k, and if you are good at learning on your own, you may go and spend some time there, because they are actually nice people. But if you lack any of these - don't waste your time, you can do better at other places. If you don’t have the money - learn on your own, you won’t miss much from their team experience. Do a course at Udacity nanodegree/Coursera, they are well structured. If you don't have industry connections - don't expect any help from EDA, you will have to make those connections on your own anyway, so it’s better to choose other schools that do have actual industry partners. And if you are not good at learning on your own - better go and get a classical uni education, it's usually a good way to help with your learning goals.