App Academy’s Bootcamp Prep is considered the best intro-to-programming course by leading analysts of professional schools. But few people actually know how far Bootcamp Prep grads get in the tech industry — until now.
In the following list, we look at how Bootcamp Prep has helped a financial analyst become a software engineer, how it led a college student to a job at Google, and how it once taught a linguist the commonality between the classics and programming languages. All of their stories have one thing in common: people taking a chance to switch their careers and finding something amazing.
Learning programming languages is not exactly like learning human languages, says Ryan Mease, a University of Chicago Greek and Latin Studies graduate as well as a Bootcamp Prep alum. It is closer, he says, to translating dead languages that need to be experimented on to make sense.
“It really is decoding. In Greek and Latin, word order isn’t fixed so what you do is mix the words up in interesting patterns and eventually when you read the whole sentence you see how it all fits together. That decoding process is a really good preparation for software programming.”
But Mease wasn’t always so good at programming. After a quick post-college job at Airbus as an operations manager, Mease decided to study at Bootcamp Prep and later, at App Academy. Even then, he was most impressed with the courses’ efficiency to train people in a small amount of time. He came to believe completing an undergrad Computer Science degree to work as a software engineer was unnecessary.
“I saw it more as a way of thinking and a way of approaching problems than something you needed years and years of technical experience to dive into… The [Bootcamp Prep followed by the main App Academy course] process felt more attractive to me because it felt like a more realistic approach for someone to get into [the software engineering] field.”
Not long after graduating from App Academy, Mease received a $110,000 offer from the memory game company Lumosity. To this day, he says he rarely meets anyone working as hard as his friends did at the bootcamp.
After working as a financial analyst for three years, David Chen quit his job to work in software but didn’t know coding outside of Excel functions. After online research, he found Bootcamp Prep was the best intro course to get started.
“I got an email about Bootcamp Prep and thought yea, this sounds like exactly what I need, [a way to boost my coding knowledge]. So I just paid the three grand and never looked back,” Chen told us.
One of the best parts of Bootcamp Prep, Chen says, was working with instructor Alvin Zablan. According to the young engineer, Zablan emphasized important work habits. Going through “every line of code,” for example, was key to learn how to communicate effectively.
By the time he applied to the full-time course, Chen was prepared. All six coding bootcamps he applied to accepted him, but he stayed with App Academy because, as a finance analyst, he knew the deferred tuition model offered good value.
To this day, Chen is happy with his experience at the bootcamp.
“I’m the one who is taking on a lot more responsibility and it’s just due to my [App Academy-trained] communication skills… A lot of people ask me for [help with] debugging problems, and I’ve rapidly built my reputation through that.”
Even students out of CS degree programs jump into Bootcamp Prep. Lawrence Guintu was a Bay Area native who studied CS in college but traveled the world after college instead of trying to find a job. When he came back, his skills were rusty and friends suggested applying to Bootcamp Prep.
“One of them was actually a computer science graduate too. It helped him get into the mood of coding again and learning things in general,” Guintu says.
Completing Bootcamp Prep Online helped Guintu work on his applications to full-time programs and allowed him to move straight to the App Academy technical interview. Once in the main course, he learned Java for interviews, dabbled in C++, and developed an appreciation for pair programming. The latter skill allowed Guintu to better understand code and helped him feed off of his partner’s energy to increase their understanding of the material.
A couple of months after completing the full-time program, Guintu received an offer for an engineering residency at Google, with a salary of $108,000, for his first year. When it starts in early 2019, the young developer will have the opportunity to work with different divisions and different specialties.
Guintu hopes to work with machine learning in the near-term, and in the long-term, he wants to become a manager of other engineers.