From Bootcamp to Bootcamp: Two Military Veterans Discuss Their Transition Into Tech

From Bootcamp to Bootcamp: Jeff Roeder and Benny Fields share their Codeup experience

Are you a veteran or active-duty military member considering your next steps? Our alumni have been in your boots. In a recent virtual panel, two vets discussed their transition into technology careers with Codeup: Benny Fields III, a retired Air Force Master Sergeant turned Full Stack Web Developer, and Jeffery Roeder, a Navy Intelligence Analyst turned Data Scientist. Whether you’re interested in Data Science or Web Development, here are some key takeaways from the event. 

Why Codeup?

“The GI Bill was a huge plus, but the icing on the cake was the placement program.” – Benny Fields

After retiring from the Air Force, Benny Fields took a job as a technical writer, but he quickly became more interested in the software he was writing about than the writing itself. His friend suggested looking into a coding bootcamp, which he did. He liked that Codeup accepts the GI Bill and the icing on the cake for him was learning about the work our student placement team does to get you hired.

What does Codeup’s Student Placement Team do?

“They’ll give you every imaginable tool to get placed. They have tons of connections- it’s crazy. Colleges aren’t gonna do that for you.” – Jeff Roeder

We’ll buff up your resume, set up mock interviews, and give you the know-how to nail your interviews and get a job offer. From how to dress, to what to say in a thank you letter, Jeff said it best: we’ll give you every imaginable tool to get placed in a new career. And it’s backed up by our tuition refund

How did you pass the technical assessments during the application process?

 “They basically tailored their workshop to me. That’s the kinda stuff that Codeup’s gonna do, they’ll get you there!” – Jeff Roeder

Jeff Roeder heard about Data Science classes at Codeup from a friend who had seen our “crazy billboards” (one of which features Benny). He’s a former intelligence analyst, but the admissions process wasn’t entirely a breeze for him. After studying and studying, Python just wasn’t clicking, and he failed one of his technical assessments. He was about to give up on it, but our admissions team wasn’t ready to give up on him. We personally invited him to one of our Saturday workshops where we taught him step by step how to build the foundation he needed. 

How does your military experience relate to your experience at Codeup?

“They were like ‘hey, you’re gonna learn Spanish and you only have six months to do it,’ which is much like going to Codeup to learn something new, you only have six months to do it.” – Jeff Roeder

When Jeff first joined the Navy as a linguist, he was told to learn Spanish in six months. When he joined Codeup, he was told to learn Data Science in five months. They were both immersive experiences where people of different personalities and different cultures joined together for a common goal. As Jeff put it, you may not always like someone or relate to them, but you need each other to accomplish what needs to get done.

“Coming to Codeup, I had to be flexible because I had to learn to adapt to new technologies with new people that were way younger than me and were catching on faster.” – Benny Fields

For Benny, one similarity is that in the Air Force, you have to be flexible. He was used to having a planned day and changing it at the drop of a hat. In the tech field, things are always changing, and flexibility and constant learning are essential. This is where the military flexibility really came in handy for him.

Jeff and Benny may have completed different Codeup programs but they both had the same journey from bootcamp to bootcamp. Both failed their technical assessments at first and had to leverage our resources to get through the admissions process. They both worked with our financial aid team to use their VA benefits for the course, and they both left Codeup with a job and a new skillset.

Mission accomplished.

 

If you’re looking for your next step and want to learn more about using VA benefits to attend Codeup, talk with our team today! And don’t miss our next virtual event – check out our calendar at codeup.com/events!

How to Get Started On Any Programming Exercise

Graphic header for blog "How to start any programing exercise", with photo of Codeup instructor, Ryan Orsinger

Programming is hard. Whether you’re just beginning to learn or you’ve been programming for years, you’re going to run into roadblocks and get stuck. Our Data Science Instructor, Ryan Orsinger, has seen 36 cohorts of students come through Codeup and helped build their problem-solving skills through live, audience-centered lectures. Check out his recipe for success below:

Scenario:

You’re learning to code, learning the syntax for a programming language, and working on thinking programmatically. The lesson or lecture is completed and now you’re now facing a programming problem that is expecting you to understand and apply the new content.

How do you get started?

 

Here’s your algorithm for getting started:

1. With intent, read the curriculum and the code examples.

2. Go back and deliberately read the example code very closely and slowly.

3. Copy any example code into your editor.

    • Identify the pieces of syntax that you recognize.
    • Identify the code for the new concept that you’re working with.
    • Ask yourself how the syntax or concepts you know already support and connect with the new topic or new syntax. Often, the new is relatable in terms of the old.
    • Ask yourself questions about the code example
      • What is this entire code example supposed to do?
      • What piece of the language is this new concept?
      • Is the new code a new piece of syntax? Or is it an existing piece of syntax?

4. Run the example code

5. Observe results. Think about each piece of code. What is it doing, what did you expect it to do?

6. Try modifying the example code so that you change variables to see different results (one at a time…)

If the example code demonstrates how to make a loop from 0 to 9:
– Modify the code to make a loop that starts at 1 and ends at 10.
– Modify the code to make a loop that starts at 10 and counts down to 0.

7. Try removing as many moving pieces from the code for the new concept as possible… try to isolate a unit of work that uses the new concept and test it in isolation

8. Read the first exercise problem. Read it slowly, with attention to detail.

9. Ask yourself questions about the exercise:

  • Can you explain or restate the problem in plain English?
  • Are you able to write down the steps from problem to solution in English, without using any code?
  • Break the exercise down into pieces. Each piece is either something you’ve seen or it’s new.
  • Given the concept for this lesson, identify which part of the exercise uses the new topic
  • For the new piece, what is similar between the exercise code and the example code for the lesson?

10. Work to write code for a smaller problem than the exercise asks.
If the exercise says:
– Prompt the user for a number between 1 and 50
– If the input is not numeric or out of that range, ask them again for a number. Repeat until they give a number between 1 and 50.
– Start by making sure you’re able to prompt a user, then store the result of prompt to a variable for later.
– Go after the low-hanging fruit first. Momentum begets momentum.

11. If you’re still having problems and stuck, go to step 1.

12. If friction, confusion, and “writer’s block” persist, then ask for help from another human being. Explain the steps you’ve already taken, and attempt to ask your question as clearly as possible. Here’s a good resource on how to ask effective questions!

 


Ryan Orsinger is a proud instructor here at Codeup. Check out his personal blog for more insightful information here!

 

 

 


 

If you were inspired by this article and have any questions about our programs, give us a call. We’d love to chat.

The Best Path to a Career in Data Science

Blog header image "best path to a career in data science"

In our blog, “The Best Path To A Career In Software Development,” we looked at how bootcamps provide a more direct path to a career than traditional undergraduate CS degree programs. Today we’re here to talk to you about how bootcamps provide a more direct path to a career in data science than a Master’s Degree. 

“But don’t I need a degree to get a job as a data scientist?” As a non-traditional educational model, we hear this concern a lot. The answer is yes and no. Yes, because most jobs in data science require some form of higher education. No, because that degree doesn’t have to be in something related to data science – data scientists have degrees in many different areas of study! So if the concern that lacking a piece of paper will prevent you from accelerating your career, fear no more.

While a Master’s Degree provides a lot of value, it isn’t the most direct path for a job. With the exponential growth in data generation and the race to keep up with storing and processing that data, data science no longer sits at the fringe of an ultra-specialized workforce. Companies now need much larger teams to analyze, model, and leverage the data they’ve collected. So while the field of data science might have once only been available to those skilled in highly academic algorithm development, it’s now a playground for those with some Python skills who know how to find valuable insights in a mess of data. 

 

Now let’s get a bit more specific. If modern roles in data science demand more practical skills, why is a bootcamp a better path?

 

#1: Responsive curriculum: Barely 10 years ago nobody had heard of data science. But in that short amount of time, the tools and technologies in the field have grown exponentially. Each year sees the introduction of new packages, visualization tools, and cutting edge technologies. With such a rapidly evolving landscape, it’s hard for traditional learning environments to keep pace. With our ears tuned directly to employers, we’re able to adapt quickly and ensure we’re teaching what hiring managers need.

 

#2 Hands-on Project-Based Learning: Have you ever watched Top Chef or The Great British Bake Off? You were probably pretty entertained, but how did that seared Ahi Tuna with orange mint avocado salsa and balsamic vinegar reduced amuse-bouche turn out? The sad reality is, watching experts do their thing doesn’t make you an expert. Nor does listening to lectures. Our program is built around the concept of praxis, which is essentially the practical application of theory, or the blending of theory and practice. Half of your 670 program hours are spent actually writing code, so you develop the muscle memory and experience of programming. A career in data science is like an old-time trade, like becoming a blacksmith: you have to learn from masters and practice, practice, practice. 

 

#3 Progressive Curriculum Structure: In a traditional degree, students study by taking several classes at a time. You may begin with data structures and algorithms, then move to SQL, then take Python, and so on. But real-world data science doesn’t work so neatly. You will never face a project where you’re only working with one of those tools, so this pedagogical method is misaligned with career demands. Our program focuses on real-world deliverables at every step of the journey, while exposing you to increasingly complex problems and projects. You start off applying basic tools to simple challenges. Then, we begin varying the data sets, the way you access that data, the type of methodology you use, and the deliverable you’re responsible for. To put it simply, the structure of a traditional degree teaches you how to use a hammer, a saw, and a chisel. Codeup teaches you how to build a stool, a birdbox, and a sculpture with those tools, and when to use which. 

 

#4 Job Placement Services: If education is your goal, stop reading now. If a career is your goal, then you’re in the right place. Most graduate institutions have career service offices where you can get advice on your resume and attend job fairs. But Codeup makes you a promise: get a job after graduation or get 100% of your money back. There are no two ways about that: our singular focus is your outcome. Unlike traditional institutions, we sell jobs, not education. 

 

#5 Messy Data: This is probably the most important difference between us and traditional degrees. We use real, messy, misleading, broken data so you learn how to draw insights from the real thing. Unfortunately, that is not the norm. Because of the segmented class structure, traditional degrees have to focus on using data that teach one specific skill. At Codeup, you’re always applying your tools to a real deliverable, so we’re able to use real data sets that intersect the challenges of multiple skills. 

 

Lastly, we encourage you to think about the return on your investment in your education.

Codeup*Private Master’s
  • $27,500
  • 5 months
  • 85% graduation rate
  • 88%  employment rate
  • $67,500 median starting salary
  • $62,280
  • 18-24 months
  • 61% graduation rate
  • 72.5% employment rate
  • $59,866 median starting salary

*read more on our outcomes

 

Most importantly, the opportunity cost of pursuing a master’s degree is equal to 13-19 months of employment. At a median salary of $67,500 from Codeup, that’s between $67,500-$101,250 in foregone earnings. 

So, you want a career in data science? A career accelerator like Codeup is the path for you. Still not convinced? We’re here to hear your concerns – contact us and let’s talk it through.

Getting Hired in a Remote Environment

Graphic that explains the purpose of blog; How you can get hired in a remote environment

As a career accelerator with a tuition refund guarantee, we have always been focused on employment outcomes for our students. Going Remote hasn’t changed that! We thought we’d pause today to explain how. 

 

First of all, our career placement services are built on one-on-one relationships. Our Employer Partnership Managers work with students individually to develop a professional portfolio, define a strategy, and conduct a job search. And they don’t let off until you’ve signed that offer letter! Since we’ve gone remote, our placement team has digitized their curriculum so it’s accessible to all our students, and they’ve continued working one-on-one over Zoom. 

 

Those one-on-one relationships aren’t exclusive to students. It’s the same approach our team takes with their network of hiring managers and recruiters. From curriculum advisory panels to guest speaker lunchtime talks, we involve employers as often as we can. We forge a personal relationship that encourages repeat hiring, open communication, and trust.

 

Lastly, your job search kicks off with a bang in our staple Developer Days and Data Scientist Days. Normally, these are in-person demonstrations of capstone projects that end in a reverse job fair with employers. On April 16th, we hosted our first-ever virtual Developer Day. Over 160 people tuned into it live! Not only did we maintain the quality of the event, but we increased attendance and visibility. That event, especially while remote, kick starts your job search, connects you with employers, and increases your visibility as a candidate.

 

In person or remote, we remain committed to empowering life change and helping our students land jobs in new career fields. 

If you’ve been affected by COVID-19 in any way (layoffs, health, family, etc), check out our recently announced COVID-19 Relief Scholarship.

The Remote Codeup Student Experience

Codeup Remote Classroom Experience

Communities across Texas have now lived in a remote environment for weeks. While we hoped for good news early on, Governor Abbott’s recent announcement to close schools for the remainder of the school year has confirmed that the new normal amid COVID-19 is remote. A lot of prospective students are left asking: what now? Our answer is simple: little has changed! While we are now conducting class digitally, the rest of the Codeup experience looks the same. Here’s how!

Codeup differs from traditional degrees and online programs because we offer live, full-time, and immersive instruction. Even now, our classes are taught by a team of passionate instructors whose backgrounds range from 20+ years of industry experience to Master Degrees in Adult Education. Each class is led by 2-3 expert instructors and supported by a Teaching Assistant. They deliver live lectures, respond to you in real-time, provide 1:1 support, and individualize your learning to set you up for success. Comparing us to an online boot camp is like comparing a virtual reality experience to a regular TV show. We’re still giving live instruction, we’re just teaching from behind a laptop instead of a podium.

In addition to live instruction, our students enjoy live co-learning. You’re not in this alone! In fact, our cohorts of 20-25 students provide a built-in structure of camaraderie, networking, and technical support. Some of the best learning you can do is by teaching to and learning from other students, a benefit that is lost in attending a part-time or self-paced program.

The combination of live instruction and peer-peer connectivity produces a third benefit: accountability. In this remote world where your couch is your desk, it can be challenging to stay focused and motivated. Our immersive program builds accountability through a daily course schedule, project-based learning, social support, and a helping hand. [Editor’s note: if this weren’t important and learning to code on your own were easy, I’d be writing Java right now instead of a blog post!]

Lastly, the reason Codeup offers a 100% tuition refund guarantee is that we teach directly to the needs of employer partners. Right now, more than ever before, employers need employees who are adaptable and able to work remotely! The digital Codeup experience prepares you to communicate, collaborate, and code remotely, a skill that was already valuable in the tech industry. If anything, you’re getting a little extra bang for your buck by learning a skillset most developers have to earn the hard way.

Although we wish we were on campus high-fiving, writing code, and re-enacting Star Wars lightsabers battles, we’ve realized that’s not really what the Codeup experience is about. The true Codeup experience is about learning to code from experienced professionals alongside passionate students in a live, hands-on environment that offers a 100% tuition refund guarantee. That’s what you can always expect from Codeup, whether we’re remote or not.

If you’ve been affected by COVID-19 in any way (layoffs, health, family, etc.), check out our recently announced COVID-19 Relief Scholarship.