Michael, can you run us through a typical day running your coding bootcamp?
Being a student at Epicodus is all about hands-on learning. Most evenings and weekends, our students watch about 20-30 minutes of video from our curriculum at Learn How to Program. These videos introduce new concepts by explaining the principles and then showing examples of how to apply them in code.
Each day, our class starts with a 5-10 minute standup, where students can share anything with the rest of the class: coding tricks they learned, interesting blog posts they read, upcoming meetups they're going to. Then, we spend the entire rest of the day coding a new program each day. On Monday, we simply build off the example from the weekend video. Each following day, the program students are assigned to build gets progressively more difficult, until they have a solid understanding of the concept.
Monday through Friday, our students practice pair programming: two people sharing one computer, taking turns who uses the keyboard and mouse. By working together, they catch each other's mistakes, teach each other new skills, and come up with ideas together neither of them would have had alone.
On Friday, students work alone on a project that teachers assess and provide feedback on over the weekend.
For the last month of class, we connect our students with local software companies for full-time internships. Many students say this is the best part of the class: getting real-world experience coding and learning from professional developers.
The coding bootcamp/immersive program is a recent trend, and new courses continue to pop up everyday. Is there a unique feature or distinct motivation for your bootcamp?
Someone once called Epicodus the "community college of coding schools". We are probably the most affordable option ($3,400 and the option to only pay $200 up-front), definitely one of longest (20 weeks), and have an incredibly diverse student body - none of whom have a background in professional software development. We've worked really hard on our curriculum and classroom format to be welcoming to people with very little background in coding, and to create an environment where all of our students feel supported and challenged.
What backgrounds do you find your applicants usually coming from?
Is there a particular kind of student or learning style that excels in your programs? Is there a kind of student or learning style that is not well suited for your programs?
Our students have really diverse backgrounds: bartenders, flight attendants, firefighters, fencing coaches, non-profit fundraisers, lawyers, you name it. The only thing we care about is that our students like working with others: we pair program most of the time, so it's important that they be good team players.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing your coding bootcamp and the industry today?
Many companies are still getting used to the idea that there just aren't enough experienced developers out there, and that they have to learn how to train up juniors. We're working with lots of them to help them develop onboarding and training programs so that they have a good way to bring our graduates in.
Since your first cohorts, how has the direction of your coding bootcamp changed over time, if at all?
What kind of roles, jobs, and/or companies do your programs ready your students for?
Most of our graduates become junior developers. They're working at companies as small as a two-person consulting company to as big as Nike, and everything in between.
What’s the best advice for students who want to attend your coding bootcamp?
Check out our website and make sure it seems like a good fit for you, and then apply! We're very friendly and would love to talk with you about it.
What’s the best advice for people who want to start a bootcamp?
It's becoming a crowded space, so make sure you're filling a niche that nobody else has filled.
How do you see the learn to code movement and the bootcamp industry changing over the next one to five years? Where do you see these programs fitting into the larger picture of education?
Coding schools are growing, and it's clear they're filling a real need. We'll probably see them continue to expand, and some more traditional schools adopting some of the practices that schools like Epicodus have been pioneering.
week, in-person class on programming. Epicodus teaches students full-stack web development and connects them with jobs at local companies. Before Epicodus, Michael spent three years running Impact Dialing, a successful web company where he discovered the dramatic shortage of good programmers, and that learning to program isn't nearly as hard as commonly thought. You can check out his personal github and follow Epicodus’ updates on twitter@epicodus. Read more Epicodus reviews on switchup!