Billy Shih

Writing in English and Code

Code Fellows Gold: Final Thoughts

I’m almost 3 weeks out of Code Fellows and I’m deep in my job search. This has given me some good perspective of how my bootcamp experience is helping me find a job and if it was worth it.

Before I dive into that, I’ll summarize the Gold portion of Code Fellows. It followed the same model as Silver, as I described in my earlier post but instead of following the Rails In Action 4 book, we did more online learning. We all were feeling comfortable with Rails by the end of Silver so it was a good point to start branching off into more specific topics like deployment, sending/receiving emails, OAuth and AJAX.

Gold was easier to keep up with the workload, giving me more time to polish my assignments or look at other topics. I felt that this was an artifact of the Gold being new so the curriculum was less structured since they haven’t had much time to develop it and also working through a book takes more time since it’s more detailed.

Overall though, I really enjoyed the second month, especially because my group project really came together. You can see how the project turned out on Heroku (login using: admin@admin.com/password) or source on GitHub. We ended up being voted Best Final Project by our peers and the audience on the last day, which was a nice way to end the class.

So do I think Code Fellows was worth it? Yes, I still do. Although there is still a lot to learn, I can hit the ground running and be a useful developer at a Rails shop. It really rounded out my previous experience with HTML/CSS and also my iOS development experience. I am confident I could build a Rails app and iOS app that work together at this point and that’s really empowering to feel like in such a short amount of time.

For the job search, there does seem to be some reputation being built around Code Fellows, but it is still early on and I think it’ll have more value as many of us get jobs and become more well known.

My biggest criticism of the class is that we didn’t learn a lot of Ruby, so we’re not as well prepared for interviews which usually ask algorithmic questions and so require knowing Ruby. Luckily my Objective-C helps fill in some of those gaps, but I do think that spending some time on just Ruby would be useful in the class and even doing mock technical interviews as a class exercise.

At the end of the day, Code Fellows is like most great opportunites in life. If you work hard, make friends and network, you’ll get a lot of value out of it. Similarly if you continue to do those things once the class is over, you’ll be in a great position to find a job as a developer.

That being said, I haven’t found a job yet, but interviews take time and I’ve gotten way more interviews than I expected, so I feel confident I’ll have a job in the coming weeks. Also, I decided to spend time creating a portfolio site and helped a friend out making a Twilio Rails app for a business he wants to start. Using SMS with a website is so awesome and I’m so happy I can build something like that in just a couple days work.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a career change and you think Code Fellows might be the way to go, I highly recommend it. The classes and the network are only going to grow and get stronger. They’re teaching at businesses, offering all different types of classes and I can really see it being something huge. Being a part of it will only become more and more valuable.

If you have questions (or want to hire me :)), feel free to tweet me @tobillys or email me.