Coding Bootcamps are Changing the Game – And That’s a Good Thing

Posted by Sydney Haggard in blog | July 20, 2017

Sydney Haggard

It has long been reported that the technology industry is one of the fastest growing job markets today. In fact, the demand for tech jobs is expected to grow 21% by 2024, and the web development market is expected to grow 27% in the same period. However, with such rapid growth, there are not enough people to fill every open position. Thus, there is a pattern with computer science graduates to get out of school with a four-year bachelors of science degree and not being up to date with the most recent languages. These languages are expanding and changing faster than students can learn them, so graduates are now looking to further their education. Others without degrees in technology are noticing the growth too, and these people have begun jumping ship to come aboard the SS Technology and start their lives as coders, all with the help of coding bootcamps.

The first coding bootcamp was started in 2012 by a group of successful coders who noticed a need for programmers in the technology industry. Since then, coding bootcamps covering a vast array of popular programming languages have sprung up all across the globe. In 2015, an Indiana pair had the same idea and started Eleven Fifty Academy.

Eleven Fifty was started by ChaCha founder Scott Jones, and Nick Birch, a Rose-Hulman graduate, after they noticed more and more employers in need of computer-savvy employees. Thus, said companies would send their employees to Eleven Fifty Academy to learn more about coding. However, their business strategy soon changed and they began to focus less on employee training and more on the general public.

Eleven Fifty Academy is where I learned how to code web applications. My focus was programming in Java, a back-end language that focuses on the functionality of a program rather than the “prettiness” of it. I went into the class during a time I should have been starting my Junior year of college as an English major at IUPUI, but I decided to take a hiatus so I could learn how to code like I had always wanted to, yet never had the time to.

During the class I learned all about how to code web applications, design simple websites, and work a little bit with databases. I also learned I was much better at web design, something Java is far from, rather than creating the functionality of an application. When I graduated from the 9-week course and entered into EFA’s 12-week apprenticeship, I began focusing on teaching myself better web design, Javascript (completely different language than Java), and WordPress development.

While my coding bootcamp taught me about the command line, how to use Gradle, and to always save my work with each big change in the code, I also learned much more than how to code. I learned how to manage my time. The Java course I took was five days a week from nine to five each day, and afterwards there was always reading and coding to do after class. Whether it was reading five chapters of Clean Code or writing a basic console application, I always came home to learn more, but had to figure out how to navigate having friends over for study groups and having time to relax between it all.

In a coding bootcamp, you learn how to ask for help. It’s really easy to fall behind in these classes. The teachers are typing a million miles an hour, they’re rushing through teaching what all the code means, then you’re expected to create it yourself. It’s easy to get lost at the speed you’re going, but there is always time for help. I watched as some of my classmates struggled to ask questions and fell behind while they tried to fix their problems themselves, further dragging themselves behind and missing key information. I also had to remind myself that if I was spending too long on a problem and not paying attention, I probably needed to ask for assistance.

Lastly, you learn to work with others. Very rarely will you work independently in the technology industry. If you do, you’re lucky. Most programming teams consist of at least two people, but sometimes the team can have as many as a fifty people on one big project. It’s like reliving group school projects all over again, but in a programming team you have to be incredibly in sync, have the same style of coding, and hope that next time you combine your code with your team’s it doesn’t break the entire project.

In today’s world, we are surrounded by ever-changing technology that’s moving so fast we’re having trouble keeping up. Coding bootcamps are wonderful creations from some of our brightest programmers and tech entrepreneurs. Their attendance numbers are growing with each graduating class and are slowly helping bridge the gap for coders in the technology industry. Coding bootcamps are changing the game for learning how to code in our modern era, and that’s just what we need.