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Coder Camps
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Become a full stack software developer in just 12 weeks
Become a full stack software developer in just 12 weeks

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FINAL PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: MICHAEL MILLER-HAIRSTON OF CODER CAMPS

Michael Miller-Hairston found a passion for coding during his degree in digital culture, then taught himself to code while waiting tables. He almost went back to college to study computer science, then came across Coder Camps and enrolled at their Phoenix, Arizona campus. Michael tells us about O Source, the project his team of three built in just three weeks. He shares his screen to demo the project and explains how he hopes it will help new coders build up their experience and portfolios. Watch the video or read the interview!

Q&A

Tell me about your pre-bootcamp story. What was your educational or career background before you decided to go to Coder Camps.

Before Coder Camps, I went to Arizona State University and graduated with a degree in digital culture. I did some programming, but it was more so for media, so I used Max/MSP, and Processing. Then I took a course for programming using Objective-C and Swift for Apple products. That’s when I really found a passion for it, picked it up, and started to pursue it.

After that, I was teaching myself while waiting tables. I found Coder Camps, and I figured it would expedite the process so that I could actually pursue a career in programming. And that’s how I ended up here.

Did you research any other coding bootcamps? Were there any specific factors that made you choose Coder Camps?

Coder Camps was the main one I looked at just because it’s in Arizona. So it was convenient for me to attend in person and feel like I could get more attention and help if I needed it. The language they teach was definitely a bonus because the market for JavaScript is really good right now.

Did you consider going back to college to study computer science?

I did actually. I was about a day away from going back to Arizona State University. The deciding factor really was the fact that I could do Coder Camps in 12 weeks or I could do another degree in two years.

Once you decided that you’re going to go to Coder Camps, what was the application and interview process like?

My admissions rep Jason called me, and we did most of the interview over the phone. They have a coding from scratch course that you have to pass before the course starts which is like an introduction to programming. During that course, Jason would call me at least once a week and check up on me, make sure I was okay, and to see if I needed any help. Once that was over, they signed me up for the next available class.

Once you started, what was your cohort like? How many people were there and was it quite diverse in terms of gender and race and background?

Yeah. We had nine people, and it was three girls and six guys, and two of them were remote. We had one guy who was calling in from Oregon and then a girl who was calling in from Houston.

The majority of the class had no programming experience. There was one lady who had a master’s degree from ASU in computer hardware, but she had no experience actually programming. Then there was a girl who was actually a front end developer for a while. Other than me, nobody really had any experience.

What was the learning experience like at Coder Camps? Give me an example of a typical day and the teaching style.

A typical day would start with an assignment from the night before. We would each go over our assignments, show what we had done, and talk about where we had problems. If we couldn’t complete it because of the problem, the instructor would help us through that.

From there, we jumped into the instruction, and the instructors live coded while we followed along. That was a great way to solidify our skills. After lunch, we did some more lessons and then worked on an assignment until class was over. Most of us would stay on campus afterward and work on the assignment until we finished it.

I’m interested in the project that you’re going to show me. What kind of assignment were you given for this project and how long did you have to build it?

There were no real guidelines. It was essentially “Make something with the stuff that you’ve learned.” We originally had six weeks to work on our final project, but halfway through that, the guy whose idea we were working on left, so we basically started over.

So we had just three weeks to build the app that we have now. We were always told to contribute to open source projects because that’s a good way for employers to see that you’re actually pursuing the knowledge and using it. So we wanted to do that, but we didn’t know how, so our app helps you with that issue.

Can you show me a demo of what the app looks like?

Our project is called O Source. There is a landing page where it gives you some general information about the website and what it does. Then there’s an “About” page that talks about the three of us who worked on it. You can log in with GitHub or LinkedIn, but to access all the features at this point, you need to log in with GitHub.

From there, you can see your GitHub repositories. It pulls those so that you can add them to the open source project. You can fill out a form describing what your project is and what language and frameworks it uses, then it’s all added to our system so that people can search for your project based on what they’re good at, and their skill level. Then they can contribute to your project, and you can also search and contribute to other people’s projects.

Who is this app aimed at? Is it people who are new to coding?

It’s aimed at all developers. So essentially if you’re a new developer and you want to find a project to contribute to, you can use it for that. Or if you’re an established developer, and you have an open source project that you need help with, you can also use the site to find help.

How big was your team and what technologies did you use to build that?

There were three of us. We used the MEAN Stack; MongoDB for the database, Express, and Node on the back end for the queries, and then Angular for the front end.

How do you divide up tasks amongst you and your team members?

We basically laid everything out that we had to do, and then ranked the tasks by the difficulty level. Then we each picked the easier ones so that we can knock them out real quick and focus more on the difficult task. After that, we just grabbed whichever tasks everyone thought we would be good at, and worked on it until we finished. Then we grabbed a new one.

Were there any particular technologies that you had to learn how to use especially for this project?

For the login service, we used a third party login service so I had to tinker with that quite a bit. It came pre-built so you can use GitHub, LinkedIn, Facebook, and basically any social media that you needed. But it had some issues, so we had to work through those and learn those as we went along.

What would you say was the biggest challenge you had while building this project?

I would say the time span because we had already been working on a project for three weeks, then we had to start over. Not only from concept and the idea, but we had to do it all the way through to what you see now.

So what are your plans for the future of this project? Are you going to continue working on it and launch it live?

We are. Right now it’s almost ready. We have a few tweaks, but we’re focusing our energy on starting careers, and then once we get established in that part, we’ve all agreed to come back to it and work on it.

What have you been doing since you graduated from Coder Camps?

I’ve actually been learning a new technology – React. I’ve also been looking for a job. I had an interview the other day with Red Ventures, which is in North Carolina.

What kind of job, in particular, are you hoping to get?

The job I interviewed for is a full stack position. That’s the dream. I hope I get that one. I’ve been applying for a lot of either front end specific, back end, or just full stack positions, but they’re all JavaScript.

What kind of career advice or job help did Coder Camps give you?

Oh, they’ve given us a lot. Everything from resumes, your LinkedIn, and your social media presence. But they’ve also given us mock interviews, so we’ve done whiteboarding, and technical interview practice. They have people here looking for positions that they think you’d be a fit for and they set you up for interviews and phone calls. They’ve helped me basically every step along the way.

Now that you’ve graduated are you still keeping in touch with staff and alumni from Coder Camps?

Yeah. I talk to the guys from my project group all the time, and then they check on me every now and then to see if I’m doing okay. It’s almost like a big family here at Coder Camps.

What would you say has been the biggest challenge overall going through Coder Camps?

I would say the dedication because it is a lot to learn within 12 weeks. Six of those weeks is the actual learning process, so it’s a lot of information in a short amount of time. You have to really be sure that this is what you want to do because if you get left behind or if you get stuck, there are people who can help you, but it’s only going to hurt yourself in the end if you don’t put the time in.

What advice do you have for people who are thinking about going through a coding bootcamp?

My main piece of advice is to make sure this is something that you want to do because I don’t think it is for everybody. If it is for you, but you’re not sure, there are people who can help you do it, but that dedication definitely makes it easier. There are going to be times where you run into problems that you’re not going to be able to fix immediately, and if this isn’t for you, you’re not going to want to put that time in to fix it.

Read another Coder Camps review and check out the Coder Camps website.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Imogen crispe headshotImogen is a writer and content producer who loves writing about technology and education. Her background is in journalism, writing for newspapers and news websites. She grew up in England, Dubai and New Zealand, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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HOW TO MAP YOUR EDUCATION TO HIGH-PAYING DEVELOPER JOBS

If you’re a programming student or someone considering a career change to software development, the road ahead has never looked brighter. But how do you take the path with least resistance, so to speak? How do you get to that hot new developer job most effectively? Understand the technologies that are in high demand and low supply.

You likely know Stack Overflow as a place to ask questions and find jobs. The programmer community is a great resource for both of those things and interestingly, they also ask questions of their developers once a year to gain insight on the year ahead. In 2016, the fourth annual developer survey looked at technologies we love, hate, wish we used and which ones represent the highest paying jobs. More than 50,000 responses from around the globe were tabulated and show some pretty strong opinions on the life of a developer.

(If you’d like to weigh in on the annual survey, data collection for 2017 is now open and can be completed here. Results will be published in late March.)

For as long as the survey has been running, JavaScript has been the most popular technology and that did not change in 2016. Node.JS and Angular are on the rise however and use of PHP appears to be declining. Rust, Swift and F# are the top three most loved and (not surprisingly) more developers ‘dread’ using Visual Basic and WordPress than anything else.

Respondents also said cloud technologies represent the highest paying jobs – with Spark and Scala users making an average of $125k annually. When categorized by occupation (full-stack, front-end, mathematics and mobile) the highest paying jobs are for developers who identify with Cloud hosting, React and Redis for positions that pay $105k annually.

Best Jobs in America

The 2016 Stack Overflow developer survey is a nice benchmark for current programmers, and provides important insight on rising technology tools for aspiring developers. Especially when you line that up with the 50 Best Jobs in America which was just released by another popular job search resource, Glassdoor. For 2017, the top three ‘best jobs’ as determined by job openings, salary and job satisfaction are, in order: data scientist, DevOps engineers and data engineer.

We don’t yet have this year’s results from Stack Overflow but it will be interesting to see how well developers’ self-reporting lines up with 2017 job availability, salary and satisfaction as compiled by GlassDoor. But for individual software engineers, survey information is a goldmine that can help you map your education to high paying, enjoyable careers without wasting time and brain power on technology tools that are on their way out.

To ensure there are no gaps between your current education plan and the high paying job you seek, follow these 3 steps:

1. Align your learning strategy to the technical skills that are in high demand and low supply.

2. Pursue learning options with an emphasis on effective outcomes, not just a collection of materials.

3. Don’t over plan your learning; the best approach is to start building something and adapt as you discover.

Best Cities to Work

This is where it gets inspiring…if you’re thinking big. Along with mapping the top 50 best jobs in America, Glassdoor also publishes the top 25 cities to work based on the geography’s opportunity to get hired, cost of living and work/life balance. The good news for rising software engineers is depending upon the specific job role you’re working toward, you have opportunities in nine of the top ten markets. Hot jobs in these cities include software engineer, solutions architect, web designer, UI-UX designer and others.

2017 is a great time to be a software engineer. Never before have there been so many exciting

By Chris Coleman, COO, Coder Camps

https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisecoleman

Codercamps New Website Learn More

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WATCH CODELIFE VIDEO 1st EPISODE CODERCAMPS with HIPHOPGAMER

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Pax South 2017 footage more to follow!

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Learn to Code in Phoenix and online at codercamps.com

The nation’s sixth most populous city is “quickly, and quietly becoming a hub for innovation” according to a recent write up in Geekwire. Also called the “Silicon Desert” by local tech scene enthusiasts and investors, you will experience a cool start-up vibe in Phoenix. The casual southwestern city is an up and coming choice for software engineers looking to join a start-up or work for a large corporation that offers a well-defined career path. Established tech companies that call Phoenix home include GoDaddy, Intel, Orbital and Motorola, just to name a few. Coder Camps Phoenix will prepare you no matter which career path you choose; get started today.

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