More Than Code: Benefits Of A Bootcamp | The Benefits And Pitfalls Of Self-Study

Aug 12, 2019
Mandy Arola

Just joining us? Catch up with the first two posts in this series: Exploring A Career Change and NSS Bootcamp Vs. Self-Study.

The other week our web development alumni shared the pitfalls they found with self-study when trying to change their careers and what led them to Nashville Software School (NSS). Today, they share how NSS prepared them for the job in ways beyond just learning to code. Here is what they had to say in their own words.

Development Is A Team Sport – Bootcamp vs. Self-study

Trent Hand, Web Development Cohort 16

“I tell people that I learned more in the first two weeks of NSS than I did in my four months alone. Instead of every project being my own little thing, I had to really learn version control and how to work on teams. In my job search this was brought up over and over again. Knowing how to use version control and work with others is probably a bigger factor in my being hired than my knowledge of the languages.”

Jordan Castelloe, Web Development Cohort 23

“[NSS] teach[es] you to work on a team and they acclimatize you to the routines and ceremonies of a real dev shop. Most importantly, NSS gives you tools for getting yourself un-stuck. When they throw you in over your head, it's always strategic-- an instructor is waiting to throw you a line, help you hone your Google search, or point you to example code. That wasn't always the case when I was trying to teach myself; I often got so stuck that I had to give up on a project. NSS gives you resources and teaches you how to use them in a way that self-study never could.”

Jeremy Wells, Web Development Cohort 21

“While six months is still a short amount of time, going to a bootcamp like NSS helped me to focus my learning and to make sure that I understand how application components work together. While I certainly didn't start my first job in development with any expertise, I was well-versed enough in each part of the stack, eg. client-side code, APIs, databases, deployment, that I could understand the conversations that were happening on my team and to be able to ask the right questions. More importantly, I gained the experience of working with a team and managing source-code that I would never have gotten through self-study.”

John Achor, Web Development Cohort Evening 7

“NSS's curriculum includes way more than just how to write code.  From networking to resume advice to agile development to team contribution, the classroom environment and study sessions taught me all of the things I would never have known where to look for otherwise.  The best way to learn is by doing, and by putting us in situations that simulate real-world development, I felt 100 times more prepared to enter the field than I ever would have alone.”

Jonathan Edwards, Web Development Cohort 27

“I kind of assumed before starting NSS that software development was something one person could do by themselves, but in the real world, software development is a team sport. NSS gave me the ability to work with all kinds of people and build some really cool stuff.”

Laura Pinell, Web Development Cohort 24

“It pointed out [the] blatant weaknesses I had in my soft skill set. [And] it provided a pre-built network of people that I still utilize today.”

Jeremy Landi, Web Development Cohort 12

“First, NSS teaches you “soft-skills” that self-study and, I’d argue, university does not. I’m talking about collaborating, working on projects in a team, using Git/Github in a team environment, and getting continuous feedback from other students and teachers. In retrospect, it was somewhat of an emulation of what the "real-world" was going to be like. When I was interviewing, being able to talk about these experiences made me stand out compared to recent 4yr grads let alone self-taught.

Second, the breadth of knowledge. When job searching I knew that in the grand scheme of things, I didn’t know a whole lot, but I knew enough to be dangerous. I felt comfortable talking intelligently about a wide range of things from dev tools to source control to code and patterns. 

Finally, confidence. Imposter syndrome is a real thing and even though it was still there, I knew that I had learned a lot and felt confident going into interviews.”

The Job Search | Bootcamp vs. Self-Study

Jeremy W.: “I don't think I would have been able to interview for junior developer positions with only self-study.”

John A.: “I was referred for my first position through a contact at NSS and was hired two months before graduation!”

Laura: “The real difference was the amount of confidence I had in my skills after bootcamp compared to self-study which actually makes all the difference in landing a job. If they don’t feel your confidence, it’s so much harder to get a job.”

There is no doubt these alumni felt more confident and prepared heading into their job search after bootcamp then they did after self-studying. Next week we’ll wrap up this series with the advice they’d tell their friends (and we’re all friends now, right?) on why you should consider a bootcamp instead of self-studying for years to make a career change. We’ll also share how their experience with self-study is benefiting them now as working developers. Read The Advantages of Self-study Skills.

Topics: Student Stories, Learning, Web Development