Written by Byte Academy student, Jason Pruski
To Learn Programming the Right Way, Choose Your Tech Stack Carefully
Before choosing a full stack coding bootcamp, I did my due diligence (as I recommend anyone should) on both bootcamps and the curriculum that they offer. I suggest that potential students research different coding and data science bootcamp options on reviews site like SwitchUp, and learn as much as possible about the different languages.
Some languages are preferable for different careers and functions while some languages are more difficult than others. In choosing a bootcamp, a prospective bootcamp student must realistically consider his or her own background, current expertise and career goals. Needless to say, I was not a computer science major, so I needed to choose an easy language to learn, one that is popular (so I can get a job), and a language that adopts best practices (meaning that it is the future and not the past).
Why I Chose Python
Before I arrived at coding school, I had actually earned my MD, which contributed to choosing Python as my primary language of focus. Python is heavily used in the medical technology industry in addition to other fields that require a lot of data analysis and number crunching, such as finance, data science, even media (Buzzfeed is a big Python shop). As some examples: Bank of America switched to Python for its trading and risk management platform, Quartz. The language is also popular at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and other top-tier banks (where some of our instructors actually hail from). Perhaps due to its applications, a 2016 Course Report survey shows that the Python boot camp grads end up making more money than their counterparts. For my purposes, Python is great in scientific computing.
At Byte Academy, the best group projects were developed by people with complementary skills. Therefore, people who preferred front-end programming worked with those who preferred back-end. Different instructors (full stack vs data science/engineering) and even industry mentors also served as resources for projects which were built from ground up in a short time period. Though small scale, the projects were great preparation the “real world” workforce. Even for students that may go into a career in front-end development, starting off with Python or Ruby is a great way to learn programming.
While you may learn unfamiliar sometimes boring technical jargon during the bootcamp experience, you’ll make awesome apps at the same time. The first app my group made was a command line virtual stock trading platform coded from scratch which we hooked up to an API for stock prices. Though starting off surprisingly easy, building the app became more difficult as we improved the look, accessibility, security and performance. The instructors are patient so we didn’t worry much about getting lost.
Though a lot of hard work, the bootcamp experience was highly beneficial. Just like the military, almost everyone is pushed through the transformative experience together (coding bootcamps aren’t compared to military boot camps for nothing). While there is hand holding and code alongs, the instructors will also make you struggle a little. In the end they will give you their answer with thorough explanation if you cannot arrive to one on your own.
- edited by Emily Hunt