As technology continues to grow, tech-driven careers are in constant demand. Individuals who have experience in programming are desired in virtually every industry, as so many businesses depend on computers, software, and other forms of code-driven technology. Following this need for programmers is the education needed to build a foundation on which students can grow their coding careers.
There are many reasons why some people choose to attend a college or university. There are just as many reasons why others choose to not attend these types of institutions. Some of the same reasons may apply to individuals who already have an established professional career, such as not having enough time to earn a two- or four-year degree, or not wanting to spend their time on general education requirements that don’t apply to their interests. This is where coding bootcamps have the advantage. They’ve been called “trade schools for the digital age,” and have been popping up all over the country.
There is a common misconception that these types of bootcamps will “let anyone in.” This is untrue; bootcamps thrive depending on the success of their graduates, so accepting students they feel won’t do well isn’t in the best interest of bootcamps. Reputation is extremely important, both in the capabilities of their graduates as well as the recommendations of the employers who hire them.
At The Software Guild, the admissions process is much more than submitting an application and starting class at a certain time. It looks something like this:
- Submit your application
- Have an interview with an enrollment counselor
- Take a timed aptitude test
- Pass the aptitude test with a certain score
- Complete essays
- Have your essays graded and accepted by instructors
- Pay an admission fee and become enrolled
- Complete our Introduction to Web Development pre-work
The aptitude test will test potential students’ ability to perform various tasks and fulfill questions that will gauge their readiness for this type of program. If the final score falls below the required amount, they will be asked to complete a certain amount of work before being allowed to retake the test.
“We hired a graduate of the Minneapolis Software Guild Bootcamp, and despite not having learned the language we primarily use (PHP), she was able to leverage her training to ramp up quickly and begin making real contributions her first week on the job. Since then, she has continued to grow in both her skills as well as her role within the company. We will definitely continue to work with The Software Guild to meet our technology staffing needs.”
Mike Phenow, LinkUp
Another falsehood following coding bootcamps is that the work/projects aren’t comparable to what work would be like in the real world. Here’s what one of the instructors in The Software Guild had to say about the final capstone project: “It’s a full stack blog application, using a database, web frameworks, and front-end interactions/endpoints. It’s done in an agile workflow, from a given spec that they have to clarify and then set user stories and assign work items to an iteration plan. The blog needs to have complete feature requirements and associated unit testing.” In addition, the apprentices have to work in a team format, assign work, and work from a common repository.
The instructor also said, “Sure, it’s a smaller scope than a true real work environment, because most times you’re going to be working on thousands of lines of code. First to do minor defects, and then implement very minor features, etc. However, it teaches a lot of the work flow; the importance of planning, of specs and their clarification, feature breakdown, unit testing, and team development.” Similar to what students will have to learn in a college setting, the projects set out in bootcamps are designed to reflect what will be encountered in the real world. In addition, masters who have 10-plus years of experience working in their own field teach the courses. The instructors are committed to teaching their apprentices what they will actually need to know in a career, based on what they themselves have encountered.
At The Software Guild, whether graduates have chosen to learn Java or .NET/C#, they all have a baseline of knowledge that can be put to use from day one. These languages are some of the most-used and in-demand languages in the industry. As the languages are so proven and widely used, their stability is secure. Both will continue to be used in business from startups to large-scale companies. Choosing to hire a graduate from a programming bootcamp means employers will be hiring top-notch, dedicated individuals who are ready to contribute and immediately add to a project.
Working with the Software Guild was a very positive experience and I really liked the Employer Connect Event. Dustin has no problem communicating and fitting in with the team. We tried two years of traditional recruiting and we were just not happy with the results, so we would not hesitate to hire more Guild apprentices.”
Mendy McLandsborough, Manager of Product Development at SMC3