This is a long post... but I'm hoping it will reassure anyone who is on the fence about attending LearningFuze. Grab some popcorn and buckle up.
If you're reading this, you're obviously interested in coding bootcamps and are in the exact same position... Read More
I am one of those people who do insane amounts of research before diving into anything. Even if it's buying something like a simple laptop stand on Amazon, I will for sure look at 5 other similar products and compare reviews. I googled EVERYTHING, like "Are coding bootcamps still effective anymore in 2020?", "Do bootcamp grads actually get jobs after graduation?" and read countless coding bootcamp graduate experiences.
Honestly there were a lot of mixed reviews, and I think it just boils down to the fact that not all bootcamps are created equal. So there was nothing I could really do except sign up for a info session with LearningFuze and try and find out for myself.
So my story with LearningFuze actually begins back at the end of 2019, before COVID changed the world.
Upon arrival of the info session, I noticed the campus was really clean, modern, and lots of students bustling around. I met TJ, the career services director, and a few other curious people like myself. I'll admit, I went in full of skepticism, and expected to be sold a dream by a fast talking, charismatic salesman. Although TJ was fast talking and charismatic, he was also incredibly down to earth, funny, and very transparent about graduation rates, job placement rates, and expected salaries. It was refreshing how honest he was and and how what he was saying, fell in line with my realistic expectations.
So liking what I heard and saw, I ended up enrolling in the 2 week prep course to get a feel for it. I still had my doubts and It wasn't a full commitment to the program, just a 2 week taste of how the full immersion bootcamp would go.
In February 2020, I attended the prep course, which was taught by Cody. Cody might be one of the best teachers I've ever had in my life and is probably the best teacher you could have for an introduction to something completely alien to you, like learning new programming languages. He's super funny, friendly, and very knowledgeable about all things coding. The majority of the time, he would naturally answer questions I was thinking of asking after he was done talking. He just knows how students and new coders think, and explains things in a way that a complete layman could understand.
I loved the prep course, and I loved the atmosphere. I was totally confident in the full immersion program and wanted to start... Then COVID hit like a truck that was hauling 10 more trucks.
The campus closed down but LearningFuze stated they would continue the full immersion program remotely through Zoom and Slack. To say I was disappointed, would be a criminal understatement. I had made all these friends in-person at the prep course and looked forward to continue bonding with them, doing network events, as well as social events. Those in-person factors were such a huge factor for me, I put off doing the full immersion program for basically half a year, in hopes that the COVID situation would improve and the campus would re-open.
Unfortunately that didn't happen however, during that time period I kept in touch with TJ and Bill, the operations director, and those exchanges led to my increased confidence in the program and the staff. This ultimately led me to taking the full dive into the program. They kept checking up on me to see what my plans were and how they could make my situation work and sent me extra materials and advised me to re-take the prep courses numerous times, in order to make sure I wouldn't just forget everything I had learned. My health even ended up taking a turn for the worst, and Bill worked with me in how to accommodate me and my health situation and put my mind at ease in the event that I were to have to miss class time in order to rest. Cody, Uzair, and Tim were all understanding of my situation and always stressed that health comes first.
It was really reassuring to see that the staff cared that much. I could only imagine how good the services throughout the full immersion would be.
So I did it. I enrolled and it's been a blur. The curriculum is incredibly well thought out and well taught, and the difficulty ramps up at a manageable rate. The remote aspect was better than I had anticipated and in some cases has worked better for me. The remote full immersion is about half the size of what it normally would be, but it's more intimate because of that, and I feel much more comfortable asking questions and speaking up in class (I was NEVER one to do either in a normal school setting). Cassandra, the career services specialist, hosts game nights/mornings where we play online board games, as well as anime watching sessions at lunch.
I will say, due to the remote aspect, you have to embrace the online community and buy into the situation. I could see how someone could go through the whole program without really making any lasting connections. You definitely have to put in a little more effort in making friends and attending these online events, be it social or networking, but that's something that we're finding to ring true for everything (school, business, social activity) in these tough times. Online communication and interaction is a skill we all will have to improve on as long as this pandemic goes on, and this program has taught me that.
To try and close in on the end of my long story, junior side with Cody and Uzair was really fun and challenging. During this time, you learn how to learn, and how to ask good questions. You also learn Uzair really loves anime. I'm currently a few weeks past the half way mark and on the senior side of the full immersion program, taught by the smash bros fanatic, Tim. Things are moving quick, and we're learning so many new tools, frameworks, and libraries every day. Projects and challenges have completely shaken my confidence and rebuilt it countless times over, but each time I get a little bit wiser and a little bit more knowledgeable in how to tackle new things.
The career services are something I did not anticipate being executed so well. They literally teach you the science of LinkedIn and the job interview. They walk you through how to make an appealing and marketable resume, LinkedIn, and GitHub. You also go through rounds of mock interviews and whiteboarding exercises, which you still have access to even after graduation.
I had a buddy I met in the February prep class who found a job, and we've had speakers comprised of past graduates come and talk with us about how they got their jobs. It's really reassuring to see living proof of people who have gone through the same program and have gotten jobs.
It's an incredible process so far, and you get as much out of it as you put into it. Ask questions, review assignments or topics you don't feel 100% on, and never forget... to eat a good meal, get enough sleep, and update your flashcards!
...if you know, you know :]