The Road So Far...
by Lucas Stahl
Posted on April 02, 2018
Web Programming Boot Camps are huge investments, make sure you are in the know before enrolling.
Here is what I’ve learned so far:
I’ve spent the last 4.5 months attending a Northwestern University Web Programming Boot Camp and here are a couple key takeaways for those thinking about becoming a web developer.
While attending this boot camp, I have been doubling down on Udemy courses to further understand the why behind the how. Northwestern does a good job of showing you how to code but a poor job of explaining the why we use different programming languages. Northwestern alone wasn’t enough, and the idea that it’s for beginners is incredibly misleading. For those looking to learn web programming, I’d suggest taking an online boot camp on Udemy for $20 versus the financial investment of a physical six-month program.
If I could go back and do things over again, I would spend more time building my foundation prior to starting. There are hundreds of resources out there but I highly recommend Udemy. The ability to bookmark your notes and have lifetime access is a great reference. You also get certificates for completing courses which you can showcase.
The pros regarding Northwestern fall on the workload. Students are forced to put in the work at an incredibly fast pace. With online boot camps students can learn at their own pace, it doesn’t work that way with a six-month program. Learning at your own pace can drag depending on your availability. It’s much easier to get to the assignment later when it doesn’t actually have a due date. Also, having the ability to work with others, on activities and projects is a major plus. Working with other students leads to better team building experiences and real-life scenarios. As a developer, you will be tasked to work on specific sections of a project with other developers, it won’t all be on your shoulders. Gaining that working experience is something you can only really do in a classroom setting. Northwestern also offers tutoring sessions weekly, which allows you to video conference with an expert to further enhance your skillset. These are all great resources one can only get from a physical boot camp.
- What I would change?
It’s important to know that because this program is only six months, they do run on a pretty strict schedule. If you think you are going to get all your questions answered you are mistaken. They simply do not have the time to stay on one subject for too long. That is where the how comes in and not the why. There simply isn’t enough time. I think less activities and more teaching would be better suited for this program. Often this program requires you to work on activities before actually explaining the topic, this can be difficult when it’s a new subject matter that has never introduced. My advice, bulk up on tutorials prior to taking a physical boot camp and I when I say bulk up, I mean a lot. The more you know the better because it is definitely not a beginner’s course. Lastly, enroll in an online boot camp that mirrors the boot camp you are taking in order to get the why and not just the how. Take it from someone who has spent the last couple months playing catch up with online tutorials and attending “office hours” before each class, it would have made learning easier if I was self-teaching through an online boot camp that ran parallel with Northwestern.
It’s amazing that we have these tutorials readily available for us and if you are like me, you’ll find yourself with a never-ending wish list of tutorials once you get going.
- Man of Stahl