Our students are incredible. From their long hours of hard work and dedication to their life-changing success stories, we could not be more proud of what they have achieved on their journey to becoming web developers and data analysts. The curricula at UNC-Chapel Hill Boot Camps is rigorous and designed to help aspiring coders or data analysts reach their professional goals.
We know that choosing a boot camp is a big decision that can change the course of your life, so who better to get advice from than students who have been right where you are? Read the reviews and testimonials below to hear directly from a few students and alumni.
What inspired you to learn to code at The Coding Boot Camp?
Even though I have been working in the IT field for over 15 years, I wanted to brush up my skills, review new technologies and network with others in the context of a more formal training. The combination of the instructor’s expertise and the academic reputation of UNC-Chapel Hill provides the necessary framework to obtain the solid education I was looking for.
Ideally, what would you like to do once you finish the course?
Keep learning and join an organization where I can use my new skills to solve problems and create online products and services. I also would like to teach and train other students in order to reinforce my new skills.
What have you found most challenging about the program and what were your key takeaways so far?
The program is based on a constant flow of information that students need to absorb and apply quickly. The pace is challenging but stimulating. Pushing ourselves to the limits is a way to prepare for real live situations, while students can experience different techniques and approaches to solve specific problems. Anybody can just memorize syntax, but the key of success is to THINK as a programmer, use the tools you have and know how to find the ones you need.
How has attending the program changed your life so far?
The intensity of the program makes an impact in the rest of my activities, so I had to reevaluate my resources and optimize time and energy. I’m also getting more noticed on LinkedIn by recruiters every day, which is a good preparation for when I finish the program.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is considering attending The Coding Boot Camp?
Prepare yourself for a great ride. Read documentation and code as much as you can to get acquainted with the work flow. Make a list of your current skills and watch it grow every day. Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of a great program that will empower you to be successful and make your dreams come true.
If you were talking to someone who were on the fence about taking the class, what would you say to them?
Research and document yourself about the software industry and its trends.
Boot camps are amazing talent incubators that promote and encourage people to obtain hands-on training in a short time. If you are looking to become a full-stack developer, you will need hard work and reliable academic support. I found those elements at The Coding Boot Camp at UNC-Chapel Hill.
What inspired you to learn to code at The Coding Boot Camp?
Prior to the boot camp, I was in the product/project management realm, all in the ballpark of home entertainment (video games, movies, language learning software). It felt like I was hopping around and I didn’t really have complete control of my career. I felt fortunate to get those roles and it felt more like I was struggling to cross the finish line. I moved to North Carolina, started the job search and wasn’t really happy with the offers I was getting and the jobs I was seeing. And it just felt like i was getting to the point in my career and my life where I wanted to have a craft and be in control, and have a skill that I could bring to an employer that would be sought after regardless of what industry I was in. A lot of the positions I was looking at mentioned SQL, so I started looking into that, and I thought maybe I can give this coding thing a try. I went onto Khan Academy, Code Academy, and started taking some courses and thought this could be a good fit. From there, it was just doing research for boot camps in the area, and I really liked what I saw from the UNC course, and of course the UNC name was very attractive to me. I did my research, talked to the TAs and a few current students to get a feel, and so I signed up and it’s been great so far. Other programs I was considering offered a three month front end course, but I’m very practical, and I asked myself, “Do I really think that in three months I’d be able to walk into an employer’s office and say, ‘I can do whatever you need on the front end’”? I wanted to have the biggest toolbelt possible for my next interview. So I felt that this was the right way to go.
How have you enjoyed the transition into the back end technologies of the curriculum?
I enjoy finally having those tools to say, “This is the idea I have, let me transfer it onto a screen.” And this is the first time I’ve been able to do that. I had thought of myself as a front end person, and I said, I’ll give this back end stuff a try. And so far it’s really cool; I’m just dipping my toes in it. It’s a whole new ball game and so far it’s going well. There’s been such a progression of being baffled by a topic and then shortly thereafter being like, “Ok no problem, I got that.”
How has your experience been with the instructional staff and the classroom environment?
My teacher Andre is phenomenal. I don’t know if he’s a hugger, but I want to hug him. He’s so fantastic, he’s always there, giving us follow up. He’s a true teacher, and when I think of the list of my favorite teachers of all-time, he’s gaining there. Very supportive. The TAs we have are great, very enthusiast, and they’re doing some learning along with us. You can tell they want to help you figure it out together. I feel very fortunate with the teacher and TAs that I have.
The whole cohort, at first it was the usual, where everyone is looking around and wondering what’s going on. But we’re all very comfortable with each other now. I definitely feel that I’ve made relationships that will last beyond this course. We’re planning on doing some meetups together outside of class, we’re helping each other, and we are a resource for each other as we learn new topics. Just like the teachers and TAs, I’ve very happy with my cohort.
What have you found most challenging about the program?
I think the biggest challenge, and this is something that is a hurdle that pops up every now and then, is just the fact that this is a boot camp. They couldn’t possibly teach us everything we need to know. The realization that it is a coding boot camp and one of the most valuable things that is being taught is getting this information for yourself—doing the research and finding the answers. They’ll give you the framework, but whether it’s in the class or in the real world, you’re going to have to be able to find the answers yourself. Check out Stack Overflow or read the documentation on the websites. The key pieces are there, but you need to learn how to use them. So that’s kind of the big hurdle… It’s up to you to make the most of it and learn everything you can.
One of the things when I was doing my research for this course, I saw the vast majority of the reviews were fantastic. Then you see negative reviews, but I think those were the people that didn’t acknowledge that there was an extensive amount of work that had to be done by yourself, self-led work. This piece of paper we’re going to get at the end—it will look great on the wall but it won’t matter much to anyone else. It’s the body of work that you create as you’re going through the course that counts and that’s what will get you where you need to go.
What have you been most proud of in the course?
What I’ve been most proud of is the confidence that I’ve built up. Talking about my experience and my career, going from one tangent to another, not having the sense of pride that the job gave to me. Now, when I turn in my homework, I know it’s the best it can be and that I’m using all the knowledge I’ve learned so far to create the best thing I can. And just that sense of confidence that i’m putting my best foot forward, I have the feeling that I literally can’t do anything more than I’m doing now to be successful. That sense of accomplishment and pride is something that is very valuable to me and will really affect me moving forward.
How has attending the coding boot camp impacted your life so far?
The whole situation right now is kind of perfect for the course. I live in a new area so I have a minimal social life, which is great so I have time to study, etc. Thinking of my fiance and life moving forward, I’m equipping myself to be the best partner I can be. And going back to the concept of “going across the finish line,” I have a confidence that I feel will lead me to the success that I want so that I can provide for myself or my fiance and take control of my life instead of just going with the current… That’s a feeling that’s very positive and very good, and that is a direct result of this program.
What would you say to someone who is considering attending the program?
First, I’d talk to them about what their motivation is. Why do you want to do it? Developers make good money, but what else? Do you like solving problems, are you able to sit at a computer and chip away at a problem, and really invest time not only in the homework but in the work? On the last homework, I spent the better part of 15-20 hours on it, and that’s not because I had to. I could have done the bare bones, but you don’t learn and improve yourself by just doing the bare minimum. Have you tried free online courses, did you struggle to complete them or were you happy that you had the chance to learn (were you engaged, was it intriguing)? The motivation behind doing it and what you have done so far to prepare is important. Those who show up on day 1 without having done any practice beforehand, not doing that preparedness can haunt you throughout the course. You have to take control of this before day one.
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