Hey there, Sachin and Chris! What motivated you to start a bootcamp?
Reflecting on the years of experience in QA roles at various startups spurred the realization that, as part of the QA team, you get to interact with every single part of the business. On a daily basis, business-side team members are asking you to help teach them how the product works and run demos, design colleagues are getting your opinion on a certain part of the user experience, customer support is working with you to track down specific issues. And of course, you're spending most of the time learning the codebase and helping developers make the product more robust.
The problem is that not many people ever hear about QA roles in any type of formal setting like college. And yet, it's incredibly easy to get started in an entry-level QA position. Once you're in there, the opportunities are endless, and with the recent demand for more skilled candidates in tech positions, we think helping people get into QA is a great strategy to help both sides.
What challenges have you faced so far with starting your coding bootcamp?
QA isn't something that's taught in any formal setting. No school or career fair will really focus on it. It's a position that's posted about on job boards, but few consider because they don't necessarily what it involves or why it's a great opportunity.
Part of our challenge is not only persuading those interested in getting a job at a startup that QA is a good route, but also educating them on what QA is and why it's a valuable place to start a career in tech.
What successes have you had with your first few cohorts?
We're still building our first cohort, but one thing that has been pleasantly surprising is the diversity of applicants. Not only age ranges but professional backgrounds. We see people coming in from disciplines spanning the sciences to law who are interested in getting into tech jobs. In general, it really speaks to how invigorating and enthralling the tech scene is right now, and we're happy to play a role in furthering that.
What plans or dreams do you have for your bootcamp over the next 5 years?
We believe QA Camp can grow in a few ways to continue its mission on transitioning much needed talent into the tech space while giving people a more interesting and exciting career path.
One way is by moving to different markets. NYC is a fledgling tech scene, but there are other cities out there in the US and around the world that could use a lower cost, quicker way to transition people into the tech scene.
Another goal is to expand to different curriculum. QA in itself is a deep discipline that spans the analyst / entry-level roles all the way up to automation and the test engineer roles. Then, there are the managerial strategies around that which are important to teach (that again, aren't taught in schools). You can check out our curriculum here.
Any advice for students looking to join a bootcamp?
Don't be afraid to take a chance, especially if financing is not an issue. It's no surprise that the bootcamps out there are expensive. The time and effort put into the curriculum by instructors and curated networking events are worth the cost, however, when put in perspective of the potential results of making inroads into the tech space.
When you do apply, give it your all and follow through on enrolling if it's really something you want to do or are seriously thinking about. The space is moving so fast that it's crucial to make a decision and stick with it.
Any advice for people who want to start a bootcamp and/or start teaching code?
Understand who you're targeting. Tons of people would probably be interested in what you're teaching, but there are those who will really work hard to make the most of the knowledge you're handing down. Find those people.
Do you see bootcamps replacing college for parts of the population?
This is currently happening for people who already went to college, so it's only going to be a matter of time before it really begins to encroach as a plausible option for those finishing high school. Bootcamps today are simply a modern incarnation of vocational schools.
What is the job market like where your bootcamp is based?
In NYC, the job market for a QA analyst, which is an entry level, role, is pretty large. Most of the opportunities are in software companies, which is what QA Camp is focused towards, where the starting salary is around $65K, on average.
With that said, there are tons of media, entertainment, and fashion companies that have a similar sense of QA. The topics that QA Camp covers are still applicable in these space as well. Check out our FAQ here.