Having completed a couple technical bootcamp training courses covering dozens and dozens of topics with the end goal of creating a usable website I was looking back to see if it was time well spent. Having been a CIO, VP of IT, Technical Manager, Consulting Manager, Project Manager, and programmer I had certain level of expectations prior to starting the courses. Presently, I am unemployed and for personal reasons the timing of my unemployment has been somewhat fortunate. A feature used in the course I found I enjoyed quite a bit was the ability to communicate with fellow students, some ahead in the self-paced environment, some behind. Reading the posts in the courses I heard from students around the world and their take on the online training and the variety of reasons they signed up as students.
- – Taking the course to add new skills. This was my primary reason for taking the course. Early in my career I was a good coder and experienced with several languages, Fortran, COBOL, BASIC and RPG working with IBM, Data General, Digitial Equipment Corporation and Hewlett-Packard hardware. Recently I had worked with WordPress and Magento CMS and ecommerce sites but the opportunity to dig into HTML or PHP was limited. I also find having a specific project and an instructor to help me with the basics helps get the creative juices flowing help define how the pieces fit together. Bootcamps are a firehouse of information often lacking in depth but providing a glimpse of what can be.
- – Take the course, get that job. This is yes and no. If you expect to get through a technical interview with just the skills learned during the course you will be disappointed. If you have similar skills and you are rounding out your skill set you can show you have the ability to learn and possibly a portfolio of work from the class. If you enjoy technical work and want to make a profession of what you have learned, continue developing and tweaking the projects presented in the course.
- – Meet interesting people and network. A huge benefit of the course is the ability to continue communicate with trainers and students after the course is complete. Networking with people of similar interests can really help keep your training moving forward. You never know you may impress someone with your interest and drive leading to an job opportunity.
- – Starting a business. Talking with other students they had an idea for a business, with the kick-start the bootcamp would provide they could start creating themes and software for sale. With many online sites providing the customer traffic looking for apps the entrepreneur with a good idea lacking the technical skills can overcome the tech hurdle with the right class.
- – Connect to a Development Community. Googling a technical question can be a frustrating experience when the solution you require is specific to your development environment. Advanced search techniques may not help in focusing the solutions to your needs. I ran into this when learning to use git to interface with heroku from a cloud9 project environment. It had been weeks since I had completed a web development course and I had moved on to other projects. When I needed to return to methods and platforms I had used during the course I found I lacked git skills I wanted to use and they were specific to this environment. Or at least communicating with people familiar with this environment was going to flatten my learning curve. And it did. Having the ability to return to the group to ask for help, and to provide help for others, it a benefit for independent developers.