You Could Be Kicked Out Of Dev Bootcamp

Imagine this. You work hard at learning to code, apply to Dev Bootcamp and get in. Exciting right?! Well, now you have to uproot your life, probably move to San Francisco, quit your job, possibly leave your family, and shell out about $12,000. You’ve risked everything to join Dev Bootcamp. You think if you can just get through it, you will get a high-paying job as a software developer and everything will be worth it.

Well, one thing that is not discussed about Dev Bootcamp, is that they can kick you out at any time and keep as much of your money as they can, which is part of their contract and which they have done several times in the past already.

If you’ve always done well and fit in in school, following a very structured system, it might not be as much of an issue for you.  People who’ve been kicked out of Dev Bootcamp so far  have been different in their learning style and do not fit into Dev Bootcamp’s very competitive teaching system. Dev Bootcamp cannot teach some people effective, especially visual learners, so instead of giving them extra attention, they take the easy way and kick them out. It makes sense from a business perspective – spend the most time on people who are easiest to teach and who will most likely land a job, making more money for Dev Bootcamp while keeping their employment statistics high.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to Dev Bootcamp if you get in. I’m just giving you a word of caution to think more than twice before you decide to go, especially if you learn differently and don’t do well in competitive environments. The best thing you can do is be as overly prepared with your coding skills as possible – don’t be a beginner when you start.

All the stories out there, including mine, are ones of success. But there are also a few failures that are not talked about, not only from people who got kicked out, but also from those who are still unemployed and some whom even got fired. It’s a big risk, so know what you’re getting into.

Update

Dev Bootcamp has updated their refund policy, so if you get kicked out, you get all of your money back except for the $1000 non-refundable deposit. Here is an email that they sent out to students who left (or were kicked out of) Dev Bootcamp:

“I’m happy to relay the news that we’ve amended the refund policy so that any student who leaves DBC is refunded all of his/her tuition except for the non-refundable $1,000 deposit.  Ultimately we felt that for those students who show up to DBC each day in full integrity, kindness and effort it was the proper move to reimburse the entire net tuition amount, rather than a pro-rated net tuition amount based on number of weeks of DBC that were attended.  The new policy is now in-line with our belief that DBC should be completely aligned with the interests of our students.”

I’m really happy to see this from Dev Bootcamp. Although the risk of attending Dev Bootcamp is still high, especially if you are a complete beginner throughout the program, it’s nice to know that you will get at least most of your money back if it doesn’t work out for any reason.

If you’d like to learn more about how to make the most out of a bootcamp experience, read more in my book:  How To… Learn To Code. Get Your Dream Job. Change Your Life.

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  • Mike Hatch

    I want to go to a school like Dev Boot Camp. I say “like” because there are now a lot more of these 10 week developer boot camps that have sprung up since Dev Boot Camp’s inception early last year. We now have places like App Academy, Hack Reactor, Start Up Institute, TheCodEd, MobileMakers, etc. It does make it a bit more difficult when there is more to choose from. I found out about Dev Boot Camp on Dan Rather Presents and was very excited to hear about it. I’m in a position where I can’t afford to go to college. So paying $12k or less is a lot more realistic especially with the
    90%+ job placement they guarantee.

    The trouble now is how to decide what kind of coder I want to be. MobileMakers for
    instance specializes in iOS. Maybe I should focus on learning that. The tuition
    is a bit less at $7k. But these schools I mention have only just sprung up. I
    think we need a few more years to really tell the winners from the losers.
    Right now I do hope that Dev Boot Camp changes and maybe hires a few extra teachers to help those students who suffer. I don’t think “kicking them out”
    is going to gain them a lot of good reputation points. Or perhaps they
    should just be more stringent in who they accept to prevent this in the first
    place.

    I’m currently self-studying and am using Code School to learn. I did the Try Ruby course and now I’m going through the Rails For Zombies one. After that they expect you to pay $25 a month. What would you suggest as a complete self-study course? I’ve previously dabbled in HTML/CSS making my own website as well. I read your post on Women 2.0. This is how I found your blog. You mentioned you self studied the Stanford Java course, RubyLearning.org, RailsTutorial.org, and then finally Dev Boot Camp. Would you make amendments to this since you wrote that almost a year ago? What do you think of CodeSchool.com?

    • Hi Mike,

      The key is knowing how you learn and finding the resources that fit most into your learning pattern. The Stanford Java course really worked for me, but everyone learns differently. I’m very happy with my learning path, but it was what worked for me. I’m a very audio learner – I need to have brand new concepts explained to be the first time – so the Stanford course was great for learning programming fundamentals and Dev Bootcamp really filled in my gaps in knowledge. I have a much longer answer to your question in my book https://gumroad.com/l/learntocodebook, which will not fit in this comment if I wrote it out 🙂

      Best of luck with your learning!
      Natasha

      • Mike Hatch

        Hi Natasha. Thanks for the quick reply. After reading some more posts after writing the above reply I did come across your e-book. Thank you. You write some very good informative posts here. I’m not sure I’m ready to buy it now, but perhaps in the future when I have at least completed some courses at Code School and read a book. Maybe a year from now we’ll see how good these schools in Boston are, too. That’s where I live closest to. Not many are leaving reviews on Yelp* for Dev Bootcamp.

        Keep us updated on how your friend Khara does on her 2nd Round of Dev Bootcamp. It would be interesting to know how much money in total she’s had to pay now. I wish her luck. She should be half way through now if my memory serves right that her 2nd cohort started in late January.

        • Khara

          Hi Mike! As Natasha said, “The key is knowing how you learn and finding the resources that fit most into your learning pattern.” DBC does not offer an optimal learning environment for how I learn. If I had to do it all over again knowing what I know now, I would have used my money towards hiring a tutor to coach me through building my own application, or spent my money on more affordable learning resources first while building my own app, then maybe consider a code school suited for my learning pattern. If you have any more questions, let me know.

    • Hi Mike,

      I’m really happy with my own course of learning, and have posted everything I know and think about how to prepare in my ebook: https://gumroad.com/l/learntocodebook.

      I also just attended Mobile Makers, so take a look at my review: http://natashatherobot.com/ios-mobile-makers-academy-chicago-review-code-school/.

  • Sarah Kelley

    Although I’ve always been a traditional learner, this news scares me a bit. As you mention, you’re risking a lot by attending dev bootcamp. I have always been successful with traditional learning but have a non-technical background (BA in communication and MA in education). I am currently working through html/CSS and javascript on codecademy which is a blast. Then I plan to complete the Stanford 106A course. Do you recommend any other sources to ensure that I am over prepared?

    I’ve also heard from an acquaintance who works as a developer that only some people are capable of thinking like a programmer. Do you think that is true? If so, what do you think is the best way of testing one’s aptitude?

    Sorry to pepper you with questions but I have just one more. Do you think there are real barriers for women and those who are a bit older (I’m in my late 20’s)?.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Anyone can “think like a programmer”. Like anything else, you’ll have to learn that kind of thinking. It’s hard at first, but once you practice it and get better at it, it’ll become a lot more second nature and you’ll be thinking about everything that way! I’m personally overly anxious, wanting to finish and learn everything right away, and it takes me a minute to calm down and take it slow and approach the problem logically. Meditation helped me a lot.

      Here are the resources I used to prepare: http://www.women2.com/how-i-learned-to-code/. And I list a bunch more in my book: https://www.tinysale.com/sale/how-to-learn-to-code.

      The biggest skill in becoming a programmer is persistence. You just can’t give up no matter how hard it gets. But, I can tell you from personal experience, it is completely worth every ounce of sweat and tears you put in!

    • Cameron Dunham

      I have been working on the codecademy courses which I think are really fun and informative. I have also looked at doing the Stanford CS106A (I downloaded all of the lessons).

      How did this turn out for you?

      • Hi Cameron,
        I’m personally not a big fan of Codecademy. I was able to get badges, but didn’t feel like I got much more than badges out of the courses. I highly recommend Stanford CS106A. It changes my life.

  • Billy

    does that mean that their success rates are unfairly inflated? They just kick out the weeds, and take their money, while reporting a much “higher” success rates for those who graduate? sounds like a shady adventure to me.

    • Hey Billy,

      They only kick out 1-2 students per cohort, although some also leave voluntarily, so the numbers aren’t affected that much, but yes, they are slightly inflated. I’m sure over time they’ll figure out which people are most likely to make it and the application process gets even more competitive, so they’ll have to kick out less people.

  • etiennes

    I think you just don’t have it in you. The programming thing. Why do you make it so hard on yourself? Just do something else.

    • Not sure what your problem is, but you should go back to whatever hole you came from and stay there and do nothing.

  • As a future DBC student, I really appreciate the honesty and details you’re sharing. It’s been fairly easy to find the program’s success stories and numbers to back it, but it’s great to get someone’s perspective who’s been through it and can keep it real about the other possible outcome. Glad I stumbled onto your blog! Do you partake in the mentoring at DBC also?

    • Hi Greg,

      I tried mentoring, but didn’t do a very good job because of other time commitments! However, DBC has an incredible network of mentors, so you’ll be in good hands.

      I’d also be happy to grab lunch some day if you want – I work not too far from DBC.

      • Sounds great, I’ll def get in touch when I make it to SF!

      • Kenneth Yu

        Hey Natasha, I am going to be attending DBC starting in September and was wondering if I could take you up on the offer to grab lunch as well. You seem really down to earth and seem like someone worth meeting

        • Hi Kenneth,
          Always happy to grab lunch. Feel free to email me anytime at natasha at natashatherobot.com. Best of luck at DBC!

  • Saamir

    Hi Natasha,

    Thanks for giving us a clear and honest picture of the DBC. I would have never known these important details if I hadn’t stumbled upon your blog. I have been super excited about Dev boot camp ever since I discovered it. I saw the name in a Forbes article and started doing the research work on it till I was convinced about its awesomeness and that it can turn you into Neo (The Matrix)

    I must say, I was a little disheartened after reading your post. I come from a computer engineering background. But, no excuses, I made a lot of wrong decisions back then and have a really poor background in computer programming. I have been working as a Sales engineer in Siemens. After realizing that my soft skills presentation,getting orders, negotiation…) are the only skills I have been living on, I entered a state of panic. DBC seems like a perfect solution for me. However, as a DBC grad yourself, could you kindly advice what level of preparation and knowledge I need to have before even applying to DBC and to get most of that 9 week experience. I know they say there are no pre-requisites, but not everybody has the same level of grasping skills.

    My sincere appologies if I have clouded you with my boring story while coming to my query. Thanks in Advance and FYI you Rock !! 😉

    • Hi Saamir,

      This post is not meant to discourage you from going for it. It’s just meant to be realistic. DBC was one of the best learning and life changing experience of my life, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. In fact, I will be attending Mobile Makers, DBC for iOS, in a few weeks! Nothing can beat that type of environment for learning, and I’m craving it all over again.

      That said, this post written so people know that DBC is not for true beginners. I mean, I guess some people can prep for two weeks before and go to it and do well, but that is very rare. What really happens if you’re unprepared is that you end up feeling desperately behind and inadequate all the time, which is not fun, and once the job interviews come around, you don’t have the self confidence to do well. I know I wouldn’t have done well at DBC if I was in that position.

      One thing to consider is that DBC is now booked months in advance, and as soon as you get in, they start giving you preparation materials. So they’ve definitely improved the system. However, again, some people need to take their time learning without that external pressure of DBC coming up.

      As for preparation for it, it depends mostly on your learning style and how naturally the material comes to you. It took me about 6-9 months to get a basic understanding of Computer Science, by doing the Stanford CS106A course, then to learn ruby, write some basic crawlers, and do the Ruby on Rails tutorial a few times until I was able to build something. Keep in mind that I was a complete noob – I was scared of the Terminal! Here are more details on my journey: http://www.women2.com/how-i-learned-to-code/. DBC should be the last stop in your career switch, not the first.

      Another component of all of this that takes time is personal branding. I’m a big fan of blogging and tweeting about my learning, and posting all my code on github, so future employers can clearly see my learning path. The more you’re able to do of that type of stuff, the better situated you’ll be for standing out on interview day!

      Hope this helps! I also wrote everything I know about this in my ebook: https://www.tinysale.com/sale/how-to-learn-to-code.

      • Saamir

        Thanks a ton for the quick response and all the priceless advice. I’m definitely looking forward to DBC as the last stop in my career switch. I have always been fond of creating stuff in a fun learning environment and I hope DBC works wonders for me.

        Will definitely check out your new book ! I’m sure its stuffed with many valuable insights. The idea of blogging the learning progress is stuck in my head and, without anymore delay, I’ll be starting one myself soon.

        Cheers !

        • Best of luck Saamir! And let me know if I can help in any other way as you go through this incredible journey.

          Happy Learning!

          • Chris Kim

            Hi Natasha I’m in new York about to interview with DBC. One question is. How hard is it to find a job after I’m fairly good in interviews and very well spoken I learn very fast some stories make it seem like it’s really hard to get a job and some seem like they do very well I wanted to hear from a real alumni.
            .

          • Hi Chris,

            I don’t think I can answer that at this point in time. I was in the very second Dev Bootcamp, but the industry has changed a lot, and now there is an influx of bootcamp grads from DBC and many other bootcamps, so some employers are more weary of bootcamp grads. Also, DBC no longer has an interview day right after the bootcamp, so you’re a lot more on your own trying to find a job. But it really depends on you knowing your stuff, getting interviews, and doing well in them.

            As I’ve mentioned before, it is a big risk, so have some savings for about 3-6 months afterwards. Hopefully, it’ll be much quicker than that to find a job, but there are no guarantees.

            You can ask DBC NY to put you in contact with more recent alum to give you a better idea of the job market in NY.

            Hope this helps!
            Natasha

  • Ed

    Hi,
    I want to thank you for taking the time to let people know. That was really awesome. Times are tough and people always want the easiest yet “fastest” way to make good money. I have been in I.T. off and on for last 15 years (I did a non I.T. job for 7 years bc I got tired of the outsourcing but am back in I.T. and am pursuing a Web Development Programming career). I made the mistake in 2009 in taking a Microsoft C# Boot Camp and it was not for someone new to that programming. The best way to maximize success in any type of I.T. Certification is toe have spent time by yourself learning that stuff and then going into a boot camp where you already have some knowledge, experience etc…. Boot Camps are not for beginners unless you are an Einstein and normally you would not need that in first place… Thanks for the heads up…. Ed

    • Hi Ed,

      Yep, there are not shortcuts (although DBC is as good as it gets!).

      Let me know if you want me to connect you with a DBC student from my cohort, who also used to be in IT and successfully completed the course and got a great job. You can email me at natasha at natashatherobot.com.

      • Ed

        will do. I am from old school. Boot Camps don’t really work for me. I have seen course curriculum and know I don’t have that ability to do 60 to 80 hours of non stop coding. I have dabbled with HTML, HTML5, WebKits etc. I have a great late shift job now where I can actually work and also teach myself code etc. I will keep your email contact for down the road. You have the abilities to be a successful business person. Keep up the good work… Ed

        • Ed – thanks for the kind words. Looking forward to great thing from you!

        • John Bragg

          Hi Ed, Could you let me know what type of night shift job you have that allows time to learn to code….. Would be helpful to know what to look for as I am trying to advise others trying to bridge themselves over to a programming career…. Thanks… roovle@gmail.com

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  • Lonevarg

    I’m curious, I was reading the FAQ on the Dev’s site and I didn’t see a thing about a certificate. So I’m wondering if they’ll provide one if you graduate.

    • Why do you need a certificate? Upon graduation, you will likely get a job with actual experience, which is more proof of you knowing how to code than any piece of paper. Software Development careers are not much about certificates – you can show off your code on Github, and employers can easily tell what your skills are: http://code.dblock.org/github-is-your-new-resume.

      You do get fun dog tags upon Dev Bootcamp graduation though!

  • Sun

    I have always been a little suspicious of their stats. I agree with you that a word of caution is needed. I am also attending a bootcamp now. Unlike traditional schooling it is faster, cheaper, more effective in the real engineering world, but for sure, it’s no amazing education pill. Many who have different learning styles feel the burn. As peers, we are trying really hard to look out for one each other, and fill in the gap. Hope all candidates exert caution.

    It is also good to point out that some schools like App Academy does it preemptively , e.g. they quiz you and test out your programming capability before hand as a part of the application process.

    I am running long here, Natasha’s post are really enjoyable and thought-provoking. She’s so right that *lots of preparation is needed* before joining a bootcamp. And also during the bootcamp, keep in mind that some already went through other forms of advanced training and will often say *that(programming) is easy*. Please don’t get discouraged. It depends so much on the individual students. The best students in the current class have surprised our peers. They come from all walks of life.

    • Cari 캐리

      I think App Academy may have it right… the only thing is that the modules on Codecademy are super easy for me but then when I try to solve the pre-coding challenge exercise the “correct” answers surprised me. I asked my dad (a software engineer) about the answer given and he said it’s a basic “while” loop… I understand the logic behind the “correct” answer better but it’s still fuzzy when I compare what I learned on Codecademy to the given answer.

      For anyone who is curious it’s a problem on writing a method for base and power without using base**exponent. I haven’t finished Ruby Monk so maybe they show how to answer a question like this because Codecademy does not. Are the Codecademy Ruby modules like Ruby for “Dummies”? They do not show you how to code like this:

      def pow(base, exponent)

      result = 1

      i = 1

      while i <= exponent

      result = result * base

      i += 1

      end

      result

      end

      • Pedro B. Coronel

        I think resources like codecademy are great at teaching you the basics but they are not going to push you very hard. For that I think sites like Rubeque (http://www.rubeque.com/) or Project Euler (http://projecteuler.net/) are better suited. I’m not saying that you need to choose, I think you need to do both.

        Suppose you want to learn how to play chess competitively: A resource like codecademy will teach you the rules, it will enable you to play correctly, but it will not make you a good player. For that you need to push yourself with difficult challenges.

        • Cari 캐리

          Thank you so much, I will definitely look at those sites to improve my skills. I feel like I am stuck in this in between stage where I have learned the basics yet still need to learn/do more to get past the basics. In the meantime, I finally bought a domain for this idea I have had for some time now… I am lucky to have a fiance who went to ITT Tech and can make me a logo, background, etc.

          My challenge right now is taking courses on Coursera, Javascript, Ruby and of course work. Did I mention I want to learn Python, too? I am having a hard time figuring out what I should focus on first, particularly now that I have started this project… I want to continue to improve my Ruby skills but I know Javascript is more important for what I need at the moment.

          Has anyone else had this issue of spreading themselves thin?

  • Jorge

    I have been looking for something like this. I have taken an HTML course in college, a good long time ago and I know that this is what I want to do. I read that older students can apply and some have been accepted to DEV camp. I don’t know if they made it.
    If I could go and be accepted that would be great. My question is: Do you have to find your own Housing and transportation while you’re in the program?
    I am currently learning Visual Basic just to get my feet wet and probably take on Javascript.

    Thanks for the info about certain people not making it through the program. It really looks like any other bootcamp-like a physical one just like the Army, you just might not make it. I never thought this would be true for this program.

    Well, I consider myself a great learner, I just don’t know what they would expect of me and vise versa. This is a mystery, especially if I’m going to sell my soul to Dev Bootcamp; my current job for 15 years; pension plan; family; not knowing where I would stay and just that, I can’t imaging how expensive it must be to live there for the 10 week program. Wow, this is totally shocking, I’m sure they would have told me before I applied for this program. Peace out.

    • Hi Jorge,

      Very few people don’t make it through Dev Bootcamp, so older people have definitely made it and got jobs afterwards. Here is an example of someone from my class: http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/01/lawyer-turned-coder/. It is still a big risk, especially if you have a family and are quitting a long-term job in a bad economy. But with big risk, comes big reward (if you can’t tell, I really enjoy taking really big risks).

      And, like I said, those who don’t make it simply were not prepared learning-wise. So if you study for a few months before Dev Bootcamp and are pretty comfortable with Ruby and have tried Ruby on Rails, you should be fine. They simply expect you to show up 100% every day and work as hard as you can with your peers. I list out a lot of learning resources and ways to make yourself stand out in my ebook: https://www.tinysale.com/sale/how-to-learn-to-code.

      Yes, you do have to find your own housing and transportation while at Dev Bootcamp and San Francisco is definitely expensive. However, students are connected well before the program starts, and some live together in a big hacker house to mitigate the costs.

      • Thanks Natasha for your great encouragement about the program. I know there are some ups and downs to this. Everything else does, quite familiar. I will definitely die trying no matter how many times I get rejected. I majored in computer science, many years ago and I want to pursue this career. The money does sound incredible, however, the knowledge seems an amazing accomplishment. Never moved out on my own so far away. I am single with nothing to loose but the closeness of brothers and sister-family relationship when I get a job somewhere else. I look forward to a better and different world.

        • Awesome, best of luck! Programming is a super power, so hopefully you’ll use yours for good 😉

          • What would be the most important computer languages that you recommend to prepare for in advance to join the group? Thanks.

          • It doesn’t really matter. I learned Java, then Ruby. All programming languages have a very similar foundation concepts, so it’s important to understand those. Just find a resource that resonates with you, and learn from there!

          • Hi Natasha,

            Considering that you completed the program at the bootcamp. I don’t want to feel any negatives towards being kicked out of the group, cause that’s not my goal. What do the instructors look at when they decide to kick one out?

            Do they test you? Student asks too many questions? Not grasping the subject as quick as others, do they all need to be on the same level of expertise?

            Thanks.

          • Hi Jorge,

            It’s changed since I’ve been there, but I think there are now weekly assessments that you have to pass. You don’t have to be at the same level as others, but you have to be past some sort of basic understanding threshold of the material. You can’t move to the next week’s topics if you don’t understand the basic foundation. That’s why it’s so important to learn as much as you can beforehand.

            You are always encouraged to ask many questions ( I did! ), so that’s definitely not a basis for getting kicked out.

  • Thanks for pointing this out. These guys seems cool, but http://www.codercamps.com is for .Net and they have financing. .NET is a quicker path to a job I think. What do you think? Do you feel like the market for Ruby developers is large enough to absorb all of these folks that are graduating.

    • Aren’t you a founder at CoderCamps? You should disclose that information before posting a link to it.

      I might be biased, since I live in San Francisco, but I don’t know of anyone who’s hiring for .NET engineers. Here, everyone is working with and hiring for either Ruby on Rails or Python positions.

      I have a co-worker who used to do .NET but has switched to Ruby on Rails, since it is so much better for Web Development. Maybe big corporations are hiring .NET developers? Do you have examples of companies that use .NET?

      • coderforrent

        updated. didn’t intend for it to seem dishonest. just asking the question. thanks for pointing that out.

    • Fiendishly

      Wow, this is a dishonest comment. But then again I see you Coder Camps guys posting similar comments all over the internet. You really ought to consider paying reputable coding schools commissions seeing as you use any mention of them (whether on blogs, news articles or Quora questions specifically aimed at bootcamps that are NOT Coder Camps) as an opportunity to plug your own school.

  • Taylor

    Ni Natasha,

    I came across your blog while searching for info on DBC, and have found it very informative as I try to decide whether I should go for it. Thanks for sharing your insights with us.

    My main concern about DBC is job placement. The primary reason I would go is that I want to make a fast career change without spending another four years getting another degree, so DBC sounds perfect for that. But their cited statistics sound almost too good to be true, and I wouldn’t want to invest in a program like this only to find at the end that there really aren’t that many companies who accept DBC’s certification. Especially since they are continually graduating new cohorts every few weeks, are there enough employers in the Bay Area who believe in DBC enough to absorb them all as new hires? Clearly it worked out for you, but if I’m accepted, I wouldn’t graduate until November or December this year, and the hiring landscape and companies’ perceptions of DBC might look different then. I’m wondering what your thoughts are on this. Thanks for the insight!

    • Hi Taylor,

      DBC is definitely a risk! There is always a chance that you might not get a job. That said, like I mentioned in my post, the best thing you can do to mitigate the risk is be the best in your DBC class, which means you need to spend a few months preparing and learning on your own. I’m not sure if they can keep up their hiring statistics, but the best people get hired first. I don’t think that’ll ever change!

      Also, getting a 4 year degree is not a guarantee of a job either. Again, the better you are at coding, the more likely you’ll get a job. You can also use social media and blogging to stand out by documenting your learning and progress.

  • Michael

    Thank you for this post.

    Is it better to try cheaper options like Thinkful or Tree House before going into a bootcamp?

    • Yes, it is best to try learning on your own for free or cheaper as much as you can before Dev Bootcamp. I recommend 6-12 months of self-study.

      • Michael

        Thank you, Natasha. Do you have any experience with Tree House or Thinkful? I am planning to sign up with one of them this summer.

        • I haven’t tried Thinkful, but I’m guessing you’ll learn a lot more from it than Treehouse. Treehouse is nice, but I don’t find tutorials like that as effective, because once I finish each challenge, I usually have no idea how to apply it to an actual project I’m working on – I have found Treehouse good for learning something once I kind of know the general idea behind it and how it fits into what I’m working on.

          If you do Thinkful, let me know what you think!

  • Natasha,

    Great post. And very glad to hear that DBC has adjusted their refund policy to better match students’ needs.

    Also glad to see that you’re advocating some serious preparation before diving into these bootcamps. We’ve had a number of Thinkful students transition into DBC and other bootcamps, and they all reported that their experience ramping up in our 3-month, online front-end course helped them get a running start on the very steep learning curve of these immersive programs.

    Thanks for your advocacy and realism about learning to code too — it certainly is a long-term investment, and it’s important that aspiring developers know that a quick 3-month commitment isn’t going to take them from 0 to a “10x” coder who’s fielding job offers left and right.

    There certainly are lots of options for exploring coding for free or cheap–Treehouse, Lynda, CodeSchool and Codecademy all offer excellent content. Many of our students have had great luck ramping up their skills with Codecademy, and at Thinkful, we help those students channel that spark into a focused, mentor-driven plan that gets them ready for the next step in their coding journey.

    Darrell

  • Kai

    I’m currently a Junior in High School, and about to enter my Senior Year.

    I was looking at majors and careers as i am about to apply for college.

    Currently, my plans right now are to attend a 2 year community college

    to have more time to think about what i want to do in life.

    I have NO computer science knowledge or how to code or anything, but everything i do is on a computer. I love computers and tablets and would love to become a web developer or software developer, except i have no experience.

    I am a beginner, but is comfortable working with computers. I looked into App Academy and DBC and they both mention being great programs for beginners, but after reading your post, i feel a bit uneasy. How can I prepare for DBC/App Academy as a beginner? I don’t want to fail.

  • Emily

    Natasha, thank you so much for posting this! My husband has 0 programming experience so we were so excited when he got accepted into Dev bootcamp and thought he would be a junior programmer in 9 weeks. I should have remembered that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! After completing the assessment twice he was deferred to quit. He was getting the material, just not as quickly as they would have liked. We wish he would have known to take 6-12 months to prepare like you are suggesting before applying to devbootcamp. So that is his current plan B. We would have been so discouraged had we not stumbled on your blog. Thanks! Appreciate all dev bootcamp is doing… just wish they would be more honest that the school isn’t for total noobs.

    • Hi Emily,
      Thanks for sharing. Yes, your husband should definitely NOT feel bad about himself! Learning to code is definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it was worth every minute. The key to success is to not quit, not matter what the obstacles are!

  • Austin Brock

    Hey Natasha.

    So I have a question that has been bothering me for quite some time. I’m 22 and I have taken a bunch of college courses at my local community college. I’m not sure if I want to transfer or not, due to the high amount of money most universities cost now days. I know I am not guaranteed a job after this program, but is it going to hurt my chances? Should I just finish my degree first? It seems that most companies want their employees to have a degree these days.

    Thank You In advance!

    • Hi Austin,

      The cool thing about the development community is that degrees don’t matter as much. It’s all about your skills. I have a college degree, but it’s in Psychology, so it’s not “useful” for the programming jobs I interview for.

      Of course if you want to work in a bigger corporation, they might want a degree, so it’s a risk. But if you work hard, get a job with a smaller, more open-mind company and keep building your reputation online, you should be fine. I can’t imagine anyone getting back to you and saying “what college did you go to” if you don’t put your college education on the resume but have had previous jobs / open source contributions / side projects.

      It’s definitely cheaper to try out Dev Bootcamp, see if you get a job, and in the worst case scenario go back to college to finish your degree. Although college these days doesn’t directly translate to a job either.

      • Also, there are always several students at Dev Bootcamp in the summer who are mid-college. That’s a good strategy, since you can do Dev Bootcamp without quitting college unless you find a job.

  • transpar3nt

    Hey thanks for your perspectives Natasha. I just discovered DBC and am strongly considering applying. I have a solid foundation of self-taught web scripting… mostly PHP (but not Object Oriented). I am really looking for a way to break out of the bad habits I formed working as a freelancer and give myself the confidence to find a real job doing this for a living.

    For someone like me who is comfortable with coding but is just lacking some foundation, is DBC worth doing? Or should I just look for an entry-level job already and hope they don’t hate my bad habits too much? Thanks!

    • I think DBC will be useful for your just to learn Test Driven Development. It’s not as easy to learn online. In the Rails community, if that’s what you want to learn, having good habits is key to employment. Maybe try contributing to open source so you can get a taste of what you need to learn vs what you already know? Also, using a framework like Rails is pretty different than just straight PHP, so again, DBC will be good for that.

      I recommend trying to learn it on your own, and then you’ll know if you need additional help from DBC. I recommend starting with the Ruby on Rails tutorial: http://ruby.railstutorial.org/ruby-on-rails-tutorial-book.

      • transpar3nt

        Thanks Natasha. That tutorial you linked is helping so far, especially since I normally use Windows. This was an excuse for me to dust off my Macbook and get used to the environment that the industry seems to use most.

        Four chapters in and I can see how radically different the development methodology is between Rails and just soloing a PHP site.

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  • Mike

    Hi Natasha,

    Thanks for the informative post about DBC. I am considering applying for DBC this fall and have a few questions regarding the preparation needed going into this program. I have a very little experience in computer programming skills (1 quarter of computer programming and 2 quarters of MATLAB back in college) and was wondering if I started to use TeamTreeHouse to learn and prepare myself, will this be enough preparation for me to not struggle/drop out of the class? I want to be well-prepared and 0 week will start early August. I quit my job so I have from now til then to prepare.

    • Hi Mike,

      I wrote down my personal experiences and advice in an ebook here: https://gumroad.com/l/learntocodebook. As of now, DBC gives you a lot more preparation materials and with a quarter of computer programming in college, I think you’ll be fine 🙂

  • Robert

    I am not sure where you received the communication that states that a full refund will be given to students who are “kicked out” of DBC. Their refund policy still explicitly states that refunds will be prorated according to amount of time spent in the program. If you have a source for the above communication, please let me know.

  • David Shoup

    Nice to know the Dev Bootcamp is now generous with their refund policy. I also wonder about Hack Reactor and their 99% employment rate number, which is probably kept up by booting out slower learners. Nashville Software School (http://nashvillesoftwareschool.com/) is not as kind, but then they are not as draconian about booting students out.

  • Well, this doesn’t shock me, but then again, I have been on the short end of their ‘teachers’ emailing me things like “die faggot die” http://postimg.org/image/9zemcbh9h/

    They don’t seem to have a very tight grip on the people who represent them

  • Piara Sandhu

    I just graduated from Dev Bootcamp and getting kicked out is really hard. I have seen over 120 people graduate from Dev Bootcamp and there were only 3 people that were asked to leave the program. You can also repeat a phase as well if you don’t feel comfortable moving on. It’s only after bombing the phase a second time that they’ll ask you to leave and you can also defend yourself in that case as well. There are tons of resources such as fellow students, teacher, TAs and after-hours coaches that are there to help you as well. You guys are more than welcome to ask me any questions regarding DBC.

  • Jim OKelly

    If you get kicked out of a dev bootcamp I invite you to join ODS (onlinedevschool.com) instead. I am the principle instructor and founder and the top Ruby Mentor at codementor.io. My passion is for teaching technology in a 1 on 1 manner, giving you the best education you can get.

    Don’t get lost in a large class in a large company where the focus is on the profit, not your education! Where devbootcamp charges $15,000 we charge less than $5,000 for a better education that isn’t cookie cutter.

  • Syema Ailia

    Natasha,

    Just want to let you know that if you are kicked out, Dev Bootcamp will only refund the days that weren’t attended. I personally received only 53% back because they believed their school wasn’t the right fit for me. I had showed them this article in hopes of getting my refund but they have explained that they have changed their policy again. Quite upset because I didn’t get what I wanted out of it, and they took half of my money. Great business plan for them.