I just finished teaching the first week of a 9-week, super-intensive, hands-on boot camp that focuses on TypeScript/ASP.NET Web API/AngularJS. I decided to write a series of blog posts that describes each week of the camp. Who makes it. The challenges the students encounter. And, the material that we cover.
Some of the students are local while other students have travelled from distant corners of the United States to participate in the camp (we provide housing for out-of-town students in the apartment complex across the street).
The goal of the boot camp is to bring students from zero to sixty in six weeks – think Tesla Ludicrous Mode for learning how to code. Students come to the camp with a variety of different backgrounds. Some students have no coding experience: we’ve had a former cook, a best-buy employee, and a professional dancer take the camp (all successfully).
We’ve also had students with a substantial amount of coding experience take the camp including former Microsoft employees and students dropping out of Computer Science programs to get real-world skills. By the second or third week, the differences in the student backgrounds start to fade away (Yes, sometimes but not always, a former cook ends up out-programming a former Microsoft employee).
What Each Day is Like
This is a boot camp. Students strive, struggle, and suffer. They only have 9-weeks to become a programmer and that is not an easy thing to do. After finishing camp, many students have reported that this was the most difficult thing that they have ever accomplished in their life. And, some students do fail.
Most nights, there are students in the Coder Camps offices past 11:00pm. Sometimes, students pull all-nighters.
Here’s what a typical day is like. At 9:00am, we go over the homework from the night before. Each student projects their work onto a big screen and shares their work with the class and we discuss how their code could be improved.
The rest of the day, until 4:00pm, is devoted to lectures and mini-labs. For example, this last week, students learned how to use GitHub, work with ECMAScript for..next, for..in, and for..of loops, and use arrow functions.
At the end of each day, the students complete a brief quiz to check whether they all understand the concepts covered over the course of the day. Finally, students are given a more weighty programming assignment for their night’s homework.
Over the weekend, students are given an even more substantial programming assignment. For example, this weekend, students are building an entire video game using ECMAScript 2015 + Canvas. I’m looking forward to seeing what they built over the weekend on Monday morning.
The Big Goal
The goal of the boot camp is simple: we want to get all of our students hired. I’m proud of the fact that our students have gotten jobs at large companies – such as Microsoft and Boeing – and smaller companies. We’ve had several students hired before the 9 week camp is over.
I don’t want to mislead you – not all students get hired and not all students make it through the camp.
If you want to sign up for our next boot camp in Seattle then register here.