Bootcamps vs School vs Self-learning


In this episode Wes and Scott talk about developer education — what to look for, what to avoid, and how to be a life-long learner with good problem solving skills. - Sponsor is a real-time headless CMS with a fully customizable Content Studio built in React. Get up and running by typing npm i -g @sanity/cli && sanity init in your command line. Get an awesome supercharged free developer plan on

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Show Notes

3:59 - Our experiences

  • Scott:

    • Went to college - Go Blue!
    • Worked odd jobs while self teaching
    • Was mentored and taught more while working at my first job
    • Self directed since then
    • Started teaching via LUT in 2012
  • Wes:

    • Went to university for Business Tech - entirely self-taught
    • Led and created part-time HTML + CSS program at HackerYou
    • Led and created first bootcamp at HackerYou
    • Led and created first JS part-time at HackerYou
    • Been offered jobs at colleges + universities

10:02 - School - $$$

  • Pros

    • The best thing about school was unrestricted free time to find out what I enjoyed, which lead me to coding
    • Co-ops can help you find what you like and what you don’t like
    • Life skills that involve you being on your own and figuring things out more
    • You are exposed to interesting people and ideas
    • CS Degree work can open more career doors
    • Professional networking
    • Many companies wont hire you without some sort of bachelor’s degree (this might change)
  • Cons

    • Not everyone has the time or money to devote two to five years to school — especially to something they might not end up enjoying
    • Potentially outdated staff and course material
      • Wes was often asked to lead a video editing course, print design course and a web development course
    • Lot’s of distractions

23:10 - Bootcamp - $$

  • Pros

    • Very fast, lots of info, but can be a bit overwhelming
    • You can get up-to-speed extremely quickly
    • Focused on hire-ability and job-ready skills
    • Focused information
    • Personality is really the deciding factor here - lots of people do well, and some don’t
  • Cons

    • Hit or miss — quality of bootcamps aren’t vetted, so do your research
    • Talk to someone who took it, find out who the instructors are
    • You absolutely must continue learning after the bootcamp
      • The bootcamp is just a push and you are expected to continue learning once you are done
    • Not great for individuals that can’t handle the pace
    • You have to quit your job

37:09 - Self-Taught - $

  • Pros

    • Self-directed people will prevail here
    • Can be drip-fed while earning money at another job
    • Can be supplemented by a job (e.g. you are front-end and want to go full stack)
    • Can get real world experience as a freelancer while you evolve
  • Cons

    • Not for everyone
    • Can be difficult to self-motivate
    • Hard to get help - sometimes you can be stuck for hours on a two-second fix
    • Potentially discouraging
    • You might go down the wrong path without guidance on what you should learn

47:11 - Part Time Programs - $

  • Pros

    • Fantastic way to get up to speed with a new tech
    • Goes at a good pace - twice a week usually
    • Offered on weekends and evenings where you can maintain a regular job
    • Very low risk - you can try it out
  • Cons

    • Might not be as fast as you like it
    • Quality is all over the map

49:55 - Mentored Self Learning - $

  • Pros

    • Best to do with a mentor on the job
    • Mentor can help steer what to learn in your free time
    • Good feedback and a place to ask lots of questions
  • Cons

    • Can’t be done without someone willing to mentor you
    • Only as good as your mentor

52:55 - What approach would we take?

  • Bootcamp > then immediately supplement with courses
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