Hey San Antonio, Meet Your Data Science Mentors

In February 2019, Codeup launched the very first (and still the only) Data Science career accelerator in San Antonio. Our first class graduated 17 students with an 88% employment rate for an average starting salary of $72,000. Right now, our second class is cranking through their final capstone projects, in which they take a Data Science project to life. As we gear up to launch our 3rd class next month, let’s take a moment to introduce you to the incredible data science mentors helping you make a career transition. 

Between them, Maggie Giust, Zach Gulde, and Ryan Orsinger have over 20 years of technical industry experience. They’ve worked as data analysts, data scientists, software developers, curriculum developers, instructors, and more. They’ve worked at large companies like Rackspace and HEB, and smaller companies like Whiskr and Grok Interactive. Together, they have over 12 years of teaching experience at Codeup and the university level

As we’ve talked about before (see What is Data Science blog), Data Science is the intersection of programming, math/stats, and domain expertise. That means that in order to learn this material and make a successful career transition, it’s even more important in this field than any other to have a diverse set of instructor backgrounds. Let’s break down our staff expertise by those categories:

Domain expertise: Domain expertise means having deep technical experience AND applying that experience across multiple industries and domains. 

Maggie has worked in data science for 7 years and data roles for 10. Maggie worked in finance practicing data science for security intelligence with Capital Group, built machine learning recommender systems for consumer retail at HEB, and produced data science insights at Rackspace to improve customer satisfaction.  Prior to joining Codeup, Maggie’s educational experience includes teaching high school math as well as the development and delivery of data science content and curriculum at both Codeup and Trinity University, where she serves as an adjunct instructor of data science.

Zach has been instructing, writing curriculum, and programming internal applications for Codeup since 2016. He has instructed hundreds of programmers and is Codeup’s principle curriculum developer. If you printed out all the curriculum Zach has authored for both Data Science and Web Development, it would be more than 1000 pages. In addition to his work with Codeup, Zach has worked on big data projects in the travel industry.

Ryan began building web applications for small and medium sized businesses in 2007 and has written software ranging from custom CRM systems for real estate brokerages to an event management platform for Dell. As Codeup’s most senior instructor, Ryan has instructed and mentored 37 data scientists and over 500 software developers.

This means that you will learn what businesses value from instructors who are experienced practitioners who have created technical solutions for multiple industries.

Math/Stats: Maggie holds a BS in Mathematics from UTSA and is currently working on her Master’s degree in Data Analytics. Ryan holds a BA from Trinity University in economics. In addition to building out the statistics curriculum for Codeup’s Data Science program, Zach is working on his degree in Software Development. One of our students said they learned more in one week of stats at Codeup than an entire semester at college. 

Programming: This is really where we shine! Zach and Ryan have been teaching at Codeup for 4 years in our web development program and have developed special depth of expertise in programming and teaching programming. They each have experience across OOP in Java, PHP, and Python, as well as database experience in SQL and web framework expertise in Laravel and Spring. They each have experience in both object oriented and functional programming, and experience building database-backed full-stack web applications in numerous languages (including Python, Java, Javascript, and Clojure) and web frameworks. Maggie has been working in R and Python for years in her different data science roles. When it comes to programming, these 3 can not only build you a Machine Learning model, but they can build a full-stack application, hosting infrastructure, database, and simple UI to go along with it.

What does this mean for you? When you join Codeup, you step into a classroom where the diverse skills needed in the field are represented in spades in your instructional staff. Not only that, but these are three incredible human beings with a passion for education and up-leveling others. If you aren’t satisfied in your career and are looking to make an impact, reach out to us. As our very own Ryan Orsinger likes to say, onward and upward!

If you’re looking to continue exploring a career in data science, join us for our free workshops and events!

Want to learn more about your mentors? Check them out here!

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Codeup Student Check In: Month 3

Codeup classroom Dallas
Codeup's Mascot, Codee
Photo by Jon Garcia

Codeup welcomed the Wrangell cohort on July 23. With the start of this cohort, we launched a new blog series: the Codeup Student Check In. We’ll interview a student over the course of the 4.5 months to see how things are progressing from first impressions all the way to graduation. Thus, welcome to the Codeup Student Check In: Month 3!



Codeup: How has your experience been at Codeup so far?

Wrangell Student: I’ve had a great experience so far. Everything has been what I imagined and more. I have learned things in a short amount of time that otherwise would’ve taken me months upon months to learn. The people here are some of the kindest and most supportive people that I’ve met in a long time, and I’m happy to have this experience in my life.

C: Describe what you’re learning right now. Is it hard/fun/challenging?

S: We’ve just started our capstone project which is the final hurrah of our Codeup experience. We are in the planning stages and it’s honestly a little overwhelming due to the sheer amount of information we’re communicating to our teammates and because of the volume of work that’s going to be done over this next week or two. Nonetheless, I am excited by the challenge and I know that our final project is going to be something that I will be really proud of and really happy to have been a part of. I’m excited to see how it will all pan out.

C: How has the learning process/information gathering been?

S: I love doing research and the focus of my research has shifted from solely academic to a balance between academic and professional. I am still researching new technologies as well as doing further research into the current curriculum but now I am also doing research into potential companies I’d like to work with. I’m interested in their mission and if their goals align with mine, both short and long term.

C:What has been the most memorable part of this month?

S:The most memorable part of this month has been actually shopping for new interview outfits, looking at myself in the mirror, and seeing a young professional. This has been one of my long-term goals and it’s a great experience seeing it come to fruition.

C:How do you feel your skill level compares to last month?

S: I think my skill levels are increasing each month. Now that we are going into full stack applications I can finally see the cumulative success of my time here.

C: How have the instructors and staff been helpful? Have you started working with the placement side of Codeup? If so, can you elaborate on that?

S: I am grateful for the mock interview process with the instructors. It’s really helpful to have your instructors grade you on your performance and prep you for real world interviews. These instructors all have some sort of practical experience and firsthand knowledge of the professional world. Their experience and advice is invaluable.

C: Did you learn anything new at Codeup that you weren’t expecting?

S: I wasn’t expecting to learn as many people skills as I did. I thought this was strictly a technical school and this really came as a surprise. I have really learned how to network and how to talk to people that I otherwise would have been scared to talk to. I’ve learned that people are people, just humans, and improving conversational skills to talk with them is valuable. Learning the value of a human connection in the professional world is a very exciting thing.

C: Have you been interviewing for jobs? What has that been like? If not, do you know what type of role you are looking for? (Ie. Developer, Q/A, Tech sales, Tech Ed, etc)

S: I’ve had a few interviews this weekend and they have been very exciting and stressful. Having interviews back to back is both a blessing and a curse. It’s important to destress at home and really be aware of your emotions and reactions to stress. Time management is another big challenge. How much time do I put into studying versus interview prep? How much time can I dedicate to other life roles and be a good girlfriend, good daughter, and good pet owner while still fulfilling my role as a student and job seeker? These challenges are tough to overcome, and this is where emotional awareness can really help.

C: If you can give one piece of advice to any prospective students, what would it be?

S: Really do your research. Know what you’re getting into. You can’t go into anything blind! Get as much knowledge as you can so you can thoroughly prepare for and enjoy this journey. A great plan will save you a lot of suffering in the long run.

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Debugging with Codey the Rubber Duck

Cody the Duck mural

By Jennifer Walker

I first encountered rubber duck debugging while attending Codeup. Each student had a duck at their seat on the first day of our 18 ½ week advanced full stack web development boot camp. The expression of each duck varied, but they all stared quietly and blankly at us as we took in our surroundings with excitement and anticipation. At the time, I had no idea what it was for or why we needed that bath time friend. Now I do.

Part of what I love about programming is the problem-solving. However, in the attempt to figure out a software solution the developer very often can get tunnel vision – stuck on solving a problem the same wrong way or just get stumped with no real direction. This is where rubber duck debugging is the most useful. It originated from a book called “The Pragmatic Programmer” by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas.

Rubber duck debugging is simple. It includes taking the problem you are trying to solve and explaining it out loud to the rubber duck. This may seem silly because most of us have not talked to inanimate objects since we were kids. However, by doing this it forces a developer to think in a different way and to look at an issue under a microscope. Talking out loud activates a different part of the human brain, which very often helps the developer solve a problem without ever talking to another person. It keeps us from wasting our own time and the time of others when the solution is right at our fingertips.

I have experienced this phenomenon myself when I try to explain aspects of programming to people who are not programmers. It forces me to think of programming in a different way. I have to lose the acronyms, and just speak plain English to a person who isn’t such an avid techie like myself. When I do that I walk away with new knowledge and a refreshed passion for what I have been discussing.

Codey, Codeup's Mascot
Photo: Photos By Marvin Pfeiffer / Staff Photographer

I also learned later that the rubber duck is the official mascot for Codeup. His name is Codey and he has a special meaning to me beyond just rubber duck debugging. I began to sketch him on the first day of class. Over time he began to express my struggles and triumphs while learning to code. He came alive for me and became a student of Codeup alongside me during my time there. If I had a bad day, he totally understood because he was in the fire with me. If I struggled to understand a concept, he got that too and listened while I talked to him about what I was trying to do. Now, as a proud graduate of Codeup working as a software developer at a fantastic company, I keep Codey with me. He is in my car and at my desk at work. He also sits on my desk at home – waiting patiently to hear my struggles and what I am trying to solve for that day.

If you do not have a rubber duck for debugging, I suggest you go out and get one!

Learn to Code (And Keep Your Day Job!)

Learn to Code (And Keep Your Day Job!)

Looking to transition into the field of computer programming but can’t quit your day job? Want to advance your current career by adding “coding” to your resume?

Codeup’s Night Bootcamp might be the answer for you! Starting in March, we’re launching an “after hours” option for aspiring professional computer programmers who want to attend a Codeup bootcamp, but can’t commit to a full-time schedule during the day. Night Bootcamp’s course content mirrors that of Day Bootcamp, but classes run on weekday evenings and alternating weekends.

Just like Day Bootcamp, classes are in person, with live instructors leading you through a project-based curriculum in a collaborative learning environment.  It’s the same Codeup “special sauce,” just on a different timeline.

You can see our results for yourself on our Alumni page. From our November cohort, 11 out of the 12 are working and the 12th is a Codeup Fellow. We’ve created over $2.5 million dollars in new tech salaries. Intensity + focus + solid staff + positive environment = great output.

Night Bootcamp lasts nine months, beginning March 20th and ending December 18th. The course includes over 650 hours of classroom instruction, with additional instructor-manned study halls for students who need extra time.

If Night Bootcamp is the learning opportunity you’ve been waiting for, apply now or check out the Night Bootcamp page for more details.


Why a Recent Grad Should do Codeup

Why a Recent Grad Should do Codeup

Our newest hire, Rafa, has recently finished his third year in college, studying Computer Science. He came on our team because he is interested in entrepreneurship and our instruction methods and he believes that our environment is a great place to learn how to code.

He wrote a guest blog to discuss why a recent grad should do Codeup:

Codeup is a comprehensive 12-week programming bootcamp teaching non-programmers web development via the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack. Anybody who is interested in web development stands to learn and practice a great deal of skills during the course.

Personally, I have recently completed my junior year at Arizona State University, where I am majoring in Computer Science. In the classroom, I have learned a lot about all the different types of sorts, running times, different software architectures, and so on. However, what I have not learned is how to effectively develop a web application.This is where the knowledge gained during college studies differs from the knowledge gained during the Codeup course.

Codeup teaches people how to develop a web application and everything that this entails. Additionally, the teacher to student ratio at Codeup is vastly improved over the teacher to student ratio at many schools. Codeup has 7 instructors for 28 students, whereas in college courses where there is only 1 teacher and a few teacher assistants for a 70 plus person class. At Codeup, the focus is on the students instead of on the school football team, meaning that the curriculum is based on the performance of the students, and it is designed to push them further. The environment at Codeup is great in which to learn how to code.

Additionally, the Codeup course teaches the students a variety of professional skills with the purpose of helping the students get hired after the course. The Codeup team is so confident in the course that they offer a job guarantee. If a student does not receive a good job offer within 6 months of completing the course, half of the course tuition will be refunded. The idea is that if students cannot succeed after the class, Codeup does not succeed, so they work hard to make certain students can find employment at great businesses.

If you have graduated from college recently, with or without a CS degree but do not feel like you currently have a market-ready skillset, then Codeup is definitely something that you should take a look at. At the end of the twelve-week course, you will be able to fully develop a web application. This, in combination with the variety of professional skills learned throughout the course, will make you an attractive employee to a wide variety of companies.

Thank you, Rafa, for writing this blog. Got something to say about it? Let us know in the comments!

7 Signs You Should do a Programming Bootcamp

7 Signs You Should do a Programming Bootcamp


Is a Programming Bootcamp For You?

There is little wonder why the tech industry is booming; computers are everywhere, and developers are frantically writing code to make them work for us. There are plenty of tech jobs out there for people to get, but not everyone has the skills necessary to be successful in the tech industry. Where are the best places to learn those skills? Programming bootcamps, of course! But before you click the apply button (right here), make sure that you fit these 7 signs you should do a programming bootcamp. 

Looking for a career change

You are bored at work; you stopped caring about meeting quotas ages ago; you are jealous of other people in different industries. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life doing something you dislike, working with people you hate, and earning a salary that grows slower than inflation? You need a career change, and a programming bootcamp can you get you into a career faster than going to a 4-year university or getting an expensive master degree.

How to computer?

Computers fascinate you. You have always wondered how they work; you use them every day, and you are always wondering, “How did they make it work so well for me?” You always know what apps to download and how to use productivity software. You need to understand how the technology works to start building new apps.

Love to learn

Finding out about new things gets you excited. You love sharing your new knowledge with others, and you are excited when you can implement new knowledge into something. Learning how to program is a lifetime learning experience. You will more than likely learn new languages as time goes on and technologies improve. Once you understand the basics of programming, picking up a new language is simple. What is even better is that the learning that you do can directly translate to making more money.

You are a problem solver

You see something wrong, and you have a strong inclination to fix it. There are things out there that make you mad, and you want to see them changed. You are the type of person who always says, “Yeah, but it can be done better” then you need to be a programmer. You can solve real world problems and make life more efficient for thousands if not millions of people. All it takes is the skills to build a software solution to solve a problem and a problem that makes you angry. Get mad, get solving.

You want to feel valued

You work long hours, and no one seems to care; You feel like people dismiss you because you are “lower level,” and you want to be heard because you have ideas that can help others at work, but no one wants to give you a chance to speak. A lot of us have been there. As a developer, you are the one pulling the strings; you design the software, build it, and then implement it in the way you see fit. If something does not work out, you can fix it immediately because you understand coding and how computers work. People will value you for your skill set because not everyone knows how to build software. The community itself is always willing to listen to new ideas because we all depend on each other to build tools and help each other out move to the next level.

You want to work for yourself

Ideas are the same as mouths; Everyone has one, and they can be big or small, depending on who you are and how much you love to talk. The difference between people who have a great idea and the people to execute on their ideas is the gumption to execute. If you have ideas you think people will want to buy in to, then there is no reason why you could not start a company and begin to work for yourself. You can also work as a freelance developer charge a high hourly rate. Consulting? You can do that, too! All it takes is the skills you learn from a programming bootcamp.

You like it when people use stuff you have built

At the very least, you are the type of person who is happy when you see someone enjoy something you have built. Whether it is a bird feeder, a house, an event, a dress, or a nice dinner, you develop a great sense of pride when you see people use or enjoy something you have created. Being a programmer is the same thing; you can build software that people can use, and in many ways, it cane make their lives better.

Just a reminder, that button you should click to apply for a programming bootcamp is right here. If you fit these 7 signs, I think it is high-time for you to click it.

What is a Full Stack Developer?

student alumni | Coding Tech Bootcamp San Antonio


What is a Full Stack Developer?
Written by Hannah Westberg

We have talked before about different types of programmers, but we have yet to touch on the elusive “ full stack developer. ” Varying definitions of this title exist: from a developer specialized in everything from front-end to back-end; to a developer who has a general knowledge in all steps from concept to finished product; to a fictional figure with a virtually unattainable skill set.

Full stack die-hards would consider a full stack developer to have specialized knowledge in all stages of software development. Thus, a full stack developer would be proficient, if not fluent, in:

  • Server, network, and hosting environment
  • Relational and nonrelational databases
  • How to interact with APIs and the external world
  • User interface and user experience
  • Quality assurance
  • Security concerns throughout the program
  • Understanding customer and business needs

Is this possible in Web 2.0? Naysayers argue that with the increasingly diverse aspects of web development, it’s virtually impossible to be a true full stack developer. Frankly, it may not even be practical to do so.

Others are of the opinion that a full stack developer is simply someone who is familiar with all layers in computer software development. These developers aren’t experts at everything; they simply have a functional knowledge and ability to take a concept and turn it into a finished product. Such gurus make building software much easier as they understand how everything works from top to bottom and can anticipate problems accordingly. In our opinion, this is the most realistic definition of a full stack developer.

Often times,  this class of developers stems from start-up environments, where a vast knowledge of all facets of web development is essential for a business’ survival.

Clearly, it takes years of work experience in different languages, roles, and industries to reach this level of qualification. Because of this, full stack developers are few and far between, making those who exist very employable and in-demand.

Interested in becoming a full stack developer? Fill out the form below and our Admissions will contact you shortly or give us a call at (210) 802-7289! 

Coding: The New Literacy

The other day, I was talking to an opthamologist about taking classes at Codeup. The more we talked about the opportunities that lay ahead, the more excited he got. He told me something worth noting:

“I wish I were young enough to do this. This field is very exciting!”

In my head, I asked myself, “Why does one have to be young to want to learn something new?”

It is never too late to start a new career or learn a new skill that will be very useful in the coming years. The opthamologist makes a lot of good money and has worked hard for many years to get to where he is now. He has earned his place in society without a doubt. However, it goes to show that people, no matter where they are in life or society, yearn to learn something new and exciting. Why not learn something that could potentially benefit you in the near future?

If you can see the potential in learning computer programming and understanding technology at a deeper level, then you owe it to yourself to learn. There are many free resources online allowing you to learn and coding bootcamps that can teach you programming at a deeper level in a very short time. Coding is the new literacy, and no one wants to be left behind wondering how everything works.

Take advantage of any opportunity you have available to you to learn something new, especially when it comes to computer programming. It is the skill of today and the future.