This review is somewhat lengthy due to a lot unfolding during my time at the Tortuga Coders bootcamp on Koh Samui. Below follows my best recollection of events as truthfully and objectively as I can muster. Suffice to say there is a lot more negative... Read More
I was part of the 3rd batch of students to attend this bootcamp, starting on August 13th 2019.
My partner accompanied me during my attendance staying in the provided accommodation (we opted for a private bungalow). The accommodations were basic but sufficient and I have no complaints about them.
Course material and tuition started off on a good note with general quality being high but fell off after moving beyond the basics. Advanced concepts were not as well explained and tution/attention lulled during the middle of the course. After feedback from several of the students the teacher/founder corrected course and started putting in more effort and the course quality subsequently improved. Overall content of the course was good, covering the full range of technologies and skills to develop a modern web application and if none of the following drama had occurred would warrant a reasonable review. I would go as far to say that the course is good value for money. It isn’t the best by any means but it’s substantially cheaper than other options and that alone made it worthwhile for me in addition to not needing a visa as a Thai national.
The other students were the highlight, I made some great friends and generally enjoyed everyone's company throughout the 8 weeks I spent on Samui.
However that concludes the good things I have to say about the course.
The drama started a few weeks into the course when immigration officers entered the classroom. They demanded copies of everyone's passports and interrogated a number of the students. The course founders and their Thai speaking staff member were present. Unfortunately neither the founders nor the Thai staff member rendered any assistance to the students, opting to hide away in the corner of the classroom while 2 of the students were extorted for fines for violation of Thailand's TM30 reporting law. This law requires landlords to report the stay of aliens (foreigners) within 24 hours. This should have been handled by Tortuga Coders or the respective owners of the properties they lease on behalf of the students. I attempted to assist being a native Thai speaker but at the time I wasn’t aware of this law and as a Thai citizen I have minimal interaction with and understanding of Thai immigration law. The poor handling of this event contributed to one of the affected students choosing to depart the course early.
Clearly this should have been something the course administrators should have handled and I was quite frustrated in being the only one that tried to help at all despite being only a student myself.
Following this a subset of the students along with the course founders and Thai employee attended the Full Moon Party on Koh Tao. I chose not to attend for personal reasons instead opting to return to my home in Bangkok for the weekend and as such have minimal information on what unfolded there. Upon my return the Thai employee had been fired as a result of events that occured that weekend.
I only go into detail about these events as they were mentioned in two previous reviews of this bootcamp posted by someone else on this site that have since been deleted. The reviews contained defamatory and potentially libelous statements about the legality of the Tortuga Coders bootcamp and were rightfully removed. I don’t condone such behavior and think the correct decision was made in relation to their removal. Whether there is merit to those claims or not doesn’t change the fact that this isn’t the appropriate forum to raise those concerns.
These reviews are the culmination of the drama and the raison d'etre for authoring this review.
Upon discovering the first of these reviews the course founder brought up the review in the class after it’s deletion, clearly suspecting one of the current students as being the author and adamantly defending his business legality. Going as far to say if you don’t want to be here then leave (paraphrased to be much more polite). On it’s own this would have been unprofessional but not entirely unwarranted, one can understand his frustration. The events described above were alluded to in the review and would seem to indicate someone with first or at least second hand knowledge of this batch of students experience at the course had written it.
However no sooner as this had occurred it was replaced by another review by clearly the same person that simply restated the same content, it too was promptly removed.
I was obviously aware of this as were the rest of the students and there was quite some sleuthing going on trying to find the real author.
Come Monday morning the course founder arrived outside our accommodation and accused me of being the author of the reviews, stating that he was sure it was me and that I had 1 hour to pack my things and leave. I was upset and my partner came outside to try and reason with him but he refused to even converse with him. At no point did he offer any evidence or allow me to defend myself in any way. Figuring we had no other options we simply packed our things, settled with the landlord and filed a police report recording our side of the story before departing Koh Samui.
Now it’s understandable that he would be angry at someone with a seemingly personal vendetta against him attempting to attack his business and livelihood but that in no way excuses his behaviour here. It was deeply upsetting and humiliating to be treated this way, being falsely accused is one thing, to also need to depart without any notice was doubly awful.
Regardless of what reasons he had to suspect me there was no proof (and couldn’t have been any, I didn’t write the reviews). While he was probably within his rights to terminate our agreement (it doesn’t have any protection for students in it) it was clearly a move motivated only by anger and revenge - which seemed to have blinded him sufficiently that any target would do. Not only that but the reviews contained allegations and statements easily proved false like the location of the business registration etc which can be found online via the Thai business registry. Such mistakes I never would have made and would have conferred to him if he had bothered to converse with me before passing summary judgment and removing me from the course.
I had my fair share of constructive criticism to level at the course but harboured no ill will towards him or his business until this occured and most likely would have opted to either provide my feedback privately or in a balanced review.
So while I would have liked to write something much more neutral that offered a reasonable recount of course and it’s prospective value my hand was forced by the founders behaviour.
I can’t in good conscience recommend this bootcamp to anyone.