Feeling Pretty Nostalgic

I decided to randomly visit the website of a school I used to teach at before I started my new job this July to see when Dallas ISD schools started and was welcomed by an image that had the headline below.

Me presenting 3rd graders with their awards at the end of the school year

I’m not going to lie, I started to think of all sorts what ifs and doubts: What if I was still there? What if I kept teaching and decided not to go back to the corporate world? Should I still be teaching? Did I make the right decision to leave?

Ultimately, I chose a life where I wouldn’t have to worry about income and to just live life which is all well and good but I think about all the blogs I’ve ever read that stated that you should just be happy. Well, I have a difficult time living in the moment so teaching part time was tough for me to really enjoy every day. For me, finding stability was important at that time, it meant living comfortably knowing you’ve got a suitable paycheck waiting at the end of each pay period.

With school starting back up, I’m starting to miss the kids. This is one of those crossroads you take in your life when you have a big decision to make. It’s really tough but I knew staying would not help my technical skills increase to an advanced level and allow me to be where I would like to be my career.

At the end of the day, I know the kids will have a suitable instructor to instill some great knowledge and have fun learning new things.

Part Time VS. Full Time Coding Bootcamps

Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of a Full Time and a Part Time coding bootcamp. I work as a TA at a Part Time Coding bootcamp and last year I attending a full time coding bootcamp. 

Here are some things I’ve noticed as being differences between the two. For both of these, they were the first cohort in Dallas that I was a part of.

FULL TIME

Basics – the bootcamp itself:

  1. You definitely have to quit your job – Which is pretty risky and I only recommend if you truly love coding and have had some kind of experience with it in your past in some way.
  2. You have more time to code – Because this is your full time job now, you can code all day if you want and you should 😉
  3. There’s definitely tons of material that you learn but its consistent and is presented in a way that builds upon each new thing.

Content:

  1. There’s a final exam each month in which the instructor gives you a score based on the requirements and your code – There’s a checklist of items they have to grade upon.
    1. ‘Homework’ for the bootcamp is the assignments for each new section that you have to go through.
  2. I liked that there were videos that taught you things as well as videos that walked you through the exercises.
    1. I feel there was more push to go find out more info on your own and they definitely had more resources to learn more things.
  3. The platform – Dojo had a platform where they presented their info, you had a login and they had various sections based on the stack and within each stack were assignments/videos to watch and resources

Class:

  1. Class sizes were relatively small in the beginning cohorts, I’m not sure what it’s like now but we roughly had about two hand fulls (10) of students in our cohort but started with about 15 or so.
  2. Rented space downtown – Open office area. We had a monitor to connect our laptops,  free fruit, snacks, coffee and at that time we could make reasonable requests for snacks that would be ordered for us as well.
  3. Able to connect with others in cohorts behind them
  4. You aren’t required to come in on the weekends (it is encouraged by all to be there during the weekends, I just worked at home on the weekends) and there’s no instruction on the weekends.

Career Services:

  1. Unfortunately was nonexistent for my cohort since we were the first ones to graduate. Later on, they did hire someone specifically for the Dallas area but while I was there, they flew out people from California which is a totally different market than Dallas.
  2. We were told to focus on coding during the bootcamp and focus on finding a job when you’re done which I think is important but really counterproductive when you still have to prepare your resume, do mock interviews and do personal/online branding. It takes time to do these things I don’t think that was the best advice.

Student Services:

  1. Nonexistent here.
  2. No tutoring 🙁
  3. Surveys – Which were strictly for expressing concerns about the material, instructor’s/TA, etc.

FULL TIME

Basics – the bootcamp itself:

  1. Relatively the same price as a full time bootcamp but it’s spread out for 6 months. This particular bootcamp is affiliated with a University which can look impressive in some ways on a resume.
  2. You have less time to code throughout the day because more than most likely, you still have a full time job.
  3. You get to work while doing the bootcamp albeit at a job you don’t favor but at least you have a job 😉

Content:

  1. I feel like material presented at this bootcamp is kind of all over the place and some it could be done away with to focus on bigger items that are employable for the consumer.
  2. Homework is due every week which makes it tough if you’re going to school and working at the same time.
  3. There are videos but only after the home works.
    1. There are resources slacked out after each of the classes.
  4. Content here is spoon fed to the student so we as Instructional staff hand out the material to the students on the day we get to that particular lesson.
    1. Because it’s spoon fed, students can move ahead to learn the next thing if they master a concept already.

 

Class:

  1. Class size is relatively large – We currently have about 20 active students and we started with about 30
  2. Since its affiliated with a college, you are in a traditional lecture room. Occasionally, the students would have treats given to them but for the most part they are on their own since its dinner time when they have class.
  3. Able to connect with cohorts especially since there are always two cohorts going on at the same time [M/W] and [T/Th] they join forces on class on Saturday.
  4. You have to be in class every Saturday

Career Services:

  1. Career services is present and accounted for during the entire cohort – Also helps that the students have career services hw during the entire cohort they have to compete, they also have time to schedule in mock interviews throughout the cohort and perfect the resume.
  2. Career services is in constant contact with employers and a couple of students have taken a liking to freelancing.

Student Services:

  1. Had not heard of this before the PT bootcamp but this person keeps track of the overall well-being/health of the student. It’s important that you stay focused and this person understands the challenges you face and comes up with solutions to help you stay on track.
    1. You also schedule one on ones with this person periodically throughout the class to assess any concerns.
  1. Surveys – Expressing how much time you’re spending with the material and how the information is being presented to you.

 

Probability of getting a job – TBA