Monday, October 7, 2013

Overall Dev Bootcamp Experience

I wrote about Dev Bootcamp before it started.  I also wrote a lot about different random days of activities.

There was a focus on coding and not lectures but there were times I wish we had a little bit more lecture. We were fumbling around all day trying to figure things out on our own when we would have been able to do them in an hour with a lecture timed earlier or given at all.

I was concerned about the long commute and how much sleep I would need beforehand. I did notice that sometimes I felt behind or wasn't getting through everything everyone else was.  Fellow students were putting in 4 or more hours a day more than I was able to put in. Four hours here or there doesn't seem like much but when you add it up and compare it to the amount of time I was able to work, it was a huge chunk of time.  I would not recommend such a long commute to anyone else doing Dev Bootcamp (or a similar program like App Academy, Hackbright Academy, Hack Reactor, etc.)

They tell you not to commit to anything else during the time.  During my long commutes, I did other things. I worked on my baby registry. I read facebook. I emailed with some friends.  I didn't do as much of that as I normally would have but I was able to do some other things.  I only hung out with friends a few times though. I was also very tired a lot.

I really enjoyed coding. I loved learning so much. I would go for another 9 weeks to learn 9 more weeks of new material.  I haven't actually gotten to see how quickly I can get a job now. I have barely been applying since I've had so many other things backlogged on.

I believe I'm the first pregnant woman to go through Dev Bootcamp but I'm not sure if anyone pregnant has tried to do a similar program. I tried to do some quick googling and didn't find anything. There were days that I felt like all I talked about was being pregnant so then I'd try not to mention it so much.  I felt like I complained a decent amount about being tired and my long commute but at the end of DBC most people commented to me that they were shocked at how little I complained.  Maybe I saved the majority of whining for facebook or something.

In addition to the standard 9 weeks, I did phase 4.  I went in twice a week and stayed most of the day. I felt like students in Phases 1-3 barely asked questions compared to what we used to do. I'm not sure if they are just super awesome or just have a threshold that is different for asking questions.  Some days I helped a few people and other days I'd even walk around and not answer a single question.  Helping gave me a little more confidence. Only once I was unable to help right away but I got someone else to help and they were also unable to help right away too so I don't feel so bad. It was interesting to help students in Phase 1 because that felt like an eternity ago and I enjoyed refreshing my own memory.

Throughout the my time at DBC, I always wanted to put some code I learned into my blog but never seemed to have enough time for that and everything else. Then I would learn something new and the previous thing I wanted to include seemed like old news. Now I'm wishing I would have included more. Also blogging about the technical aspects of what you learn does help you retain it more.

I've probably focused a lot of my posts on things we were learning or what we were doing. But a huge perk of the program was all the great people. I cannot believe how close you become with everyone. They are all willing to help you out. They ask how you are doing and genuinely care.  It's a weird experience to go from not knowing anyone to 3 months later not being with them daily and really missing everyone.  I wish I wasn't so far away or I would be like some students that were ahead of me a phase who would still stop by.

If you have any questions about the experience don't hesitate to ask.


  1. Im really interested in joining DBC in NYC. im a little hesitant bc it doesn't seem like they focus on job placement after the program. Have you managed to secure a job? Id be really interested to get your insight to the program if you have the moment.

    1. I don't have a job but haven't looked like others have. I know most people from my cohort have jobs now. Some got them right away and some it took a couple months. I probably would have a job if I did not have a baby and take a break from job hunting. I know in the SF area people are able to get jobs. Within 3 months of graduating something like over 90% have jobs.

  2. Hi Colleen! Wow - I'm SUPER impressed that you completed the program while pregnant and with a horrendous commute!
    I've been accepted to DBC and was accepted for a 2nd round of interviews at Hackbright. DBC would start phase 1 August 5, HB not until September 25.
    I really enjoyed my DBC interview so was leaning toward them. Would you recommend one way or the other? Are questions NOT allowed at DBC or do most people just not ask them? How was collaboration and support there from classmates and instructors?

    1. Questions are allowed. I just feel like some people would rather fumble for an hour than ask. I'm more of an ask after fubling for less time person.

    2. I only heard of Hackbright while I was at DBC so I didn't do extensive research. Hackbright is 12 weeks versus 9. I think 3 weeks would probably be helpful. I'm not sure the curriculum. BUT while interviewing I almost always was interviewed by men. I actually think it is beneficial to go through the program with men. Everyone thinks differently and I think it's good to work with as many different type of people as possible.

      At DBC some instructors provided so much support that they were going in on the weekends and providing code reviews on the weekend. Not all did that (some people do have a life outside of coding)

    3. May I ask why you went through the course and didnt continue your job search? I assume it was due to your little new one? :)

    4. You can ask anything. You can even email me if you have more questions.

      I looked for a job at first. Spend some time visiting family so then didn't look so much. Then it was the holidays for me and companies. I was going to continue searching after having Ella. I actually had a few interviews. It was so hard to even plan interviews since a newborns schedule is not consistent.
      But then Ella refuses a bottle. We've been working on it but she doesn't take one so I'm nursing all the time. That caused me to put the job hunt on hold more. I plan to start looking again. I'll probably start reviewing and refreshing my memory in a month and start looking. I know many people work and care for a baby but looking for a job is really time consuming and brushing up on skills and I don't have enough time to dedicate to that. I do miss coding so hope that I can spend an hour here or there coding even if just for fun on my own projects. I miss coding and having dreams about coding. But I do love being at home with Ella.

  3. Hi Colleen!

    Sorry if you get this comment twice - I just typed one in but then it didn't look like it posted. :(

    Anyway, HUGE congrats on going through such an intense program both pregnant and with a horrendous commute!
    So, I've been accepted to DBC and have a followup interview at Hackbright so now trying to decide what to do.
    Hackbright seems VERY collaborative but I actually really enjoyed my interview with Karim at DBC.
    DBC would start phase 1 August 5, Hackbright not until September 25. The August start is much better schedule-wise.

    Any recommendations? Are questions allowed at DBC but most people just don't ask them? Are instructors supportive/helpful?

    I appreciate any insights you have!

    1. If a post is over 2 weeks ok, I moderate comments because I tend to get random spam comments on old posts.

      I accepted both comments to explain.

      I think timing wise August 5 is a better start date. With September 25, you will be done too close to the holidays and not have as much luck job hunting.