As Tech Booms, Workers Turn to Coding for Career Change
August 5, 2015 9:35 AM   Subscribe

“Six figures, right off the bat,” Mr. Minton said. “To me, it was astonishing.” The average class length among the schools is just under 11 weeks, and costs $11,000.

One sure way to fill job openings in technology these days would be to attract more women. Only 18 percent of computer science graduates at four-year universities were women in 2013, the most recent statistic. By contrast, 35 percent of students at the specialized coding schools are women.
posted by mecran01 (77 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've been coding since my teens and have put in my 10000+ hours honing the craft. While perhaps not the world's best developer, I know what I'm doing and bring project experience as well as solid analysis/problem solving skills to the table.

In short, it's a skill set that took a lot of time to build. To me, it just doesn't compute for someone to go from 'Eek, math is hard' to $80k+ 'Software Engineer' in 24 weeks flat - with no real-world project experience, mind you. Looking over the syllabus for the 'Full Stack Developer' course at Galvanize leaves me rather unimpressed to boot.

Am I missing something, or am I just getting old?
posted by oxidizer at 10:01 AM on August 5, 2015 [50 favorites]


For mid-westerners like me it's important to keep in mind that these are mostly San Francisco dollars they're talking about when they refer to six-figure incomes. The cost of living is like 50% higher.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:03 AM on August 5, 2015 [24 favorites]


And then there's this LA Times piece: Tech industry's persistant claim of worker shortage may be phony.
posted by jrochest at 10:06 AM on August 5, 2015 [14 favorites]


How all of these botocamps are gonna fall out is definitely still a big question mark. It's interesting that almost all the bootcamp grads I know are working at webdev type startups - the kind of stuff that involves fairly rote, mechanical work (at least as far as software engineering goes), and doesn't require the kind of deeper analysis and experience that more involved development work required. This may just be biased by the slice that I'm seeing, but I don't know any bootcamps alums that work at Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. Whether this is a flash in the pan, a radical change in hpw software development works, or the beginning of the creation of two parallel tracks for people who write code for a living (the "coder" track and the "engineer" track), with associated differences in status and pay, stands to be seen.

Also, while the dude going from waiting tables to making six figures makes for a great pull quote it's very much not representative. Going from a math degree to data science is a pretty straightforward progression; data science is basically intermediate to advanced stats with some basic programming thrown on top. Most bootcamp participants, who don't have a math background, will have very different stories.
posted by Itaxpica at 10:07 AM on August 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


I just did a comparison on this site and $100K in SF translates to only $57K in my city. So I feel a little better now.
posted by octothorpe at 10:08 AM on August 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


(Or, to shoehorn in one of my favorite quotes ever: "a data scientist is someone who's slightly better at math than most programmers and slightly better at programming than most mathematicians")
posted by Itaxpica at 10:08 AM on August 5, 2015 [40 favorites]


And then there's this LA Times piece: Tech industry's persistant claim of worker shortage may be phony.

Related, from IEEE Spectrum: The STEM Crisis is a Myth:

Clearly, powerful forces must be at work to perpetuate the cycle. One is obvious: the bottom line. Companies would rather not pay STEM professionals high salaries with lavish benefits, offer them training on the job, or guarantee them decades of stable employment. So having an oversupply of workers, whether domestically educated or imported, is to their benefit. It gives employers a larger pool from which they can pick the “best and the brightest,” and it helps keep wages in check. No less an authority than Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, said as much when in 2007 he advocated boosting the number of skilled immigrants entering the United States so as to “suppress” the wages of their U.S. counterparts, which he considered too high.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:10 AM on August 5, 2015 [62 favorites]


I've been coding since my teens and have put in my 10000+ hours honing the craft. While perhaps not the world's best developer, I know what I'm doing and bring project experience as well as solid analysis/problem solving skills to the table.

I would guess you make more than $80,000 if you live in the bay area.

Honestly if someone had showed this much initiative I would at least be willing to interview them for a junior position. Not everyone has to be a rock star.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:11 AM on August 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I can't help but feel that this is propaganda to flood the labor market and drive down salaries.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:12 AM on August 5, 2015 [21 favorites]


Those six-figure Silicon Valley incomes also come with a Silicon Valley expectation of work: you live and breathe your work for an ungodly amount of hours each week. The hourly rate isn't as impressive when you factor that in.
posted by naju at 10:12 AM on August 5, 2015 [34 favorites]


That said - I've heard really good things about these bootcamps. I've also heard they're really intense. It wouldn't be too hard to condense the core of my computer science degree down to 24 weeks, material-wise. But those would be some jam-packed weeks. If trial by fire works, go for it.
posted by naju at 10:16 AM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's interesting that almost all the bootcamp grads I know are working at webdev type startups - the kind of stuff that involves fairly rote, mechanical work (at least as far as software engineering goes), and doesn't require the kind of deeper analysis and experience that more involved development work required.

I think this market is bigger than it might seem. We're looking for people to do this very kind of work: lower-level, tedious, repetitive. We can then free up some of our experienced developers to work on the tasks that require better skills.

If anything, I think this helps define the various jobs/tasks within the software field. Just as we need the right balance of construction workers to architects, we need people who can be given a spec, code it efficiently and correctly, and be able to catch those implementation details that a high-level person might have missed.
posted by bonje at 10:18 AM on August 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


Those six-figure Silicon Valley incomes also come with a Silicon Valley expectation of work: you live and breathe your work for an ungodly amount of hours each week. The hourly rate isn't as impressive when you factor that in.

This may be the case at some of these places, but I have friends that work at hot startups in SF that don't work much more than 9-6.
posted by Aizkolari at 10:18 AM on August 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


When I was getting my CS degree at the dawn of the WWW, one of my TA's advised us that we had better be prepared for boom-bust cycles. Hopefully the new coders will be ready for this.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:19 AM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Am I missing something, or am I just getting old?

I visited a couple of SF boot camps for a work assignment and know a few people who did the "boot camp to six figures" thing this article is talking about (one was a woman social worker who had a masters, she tripled her income by leaving that behind - the boot camp she went to was women only).

Now I am no expert on tech or programming, but it seemed like these kids (and a LOT of them were VERY young at one of the ones I went to) were basically going for the most entry level jobs at the most precarious startups. Which in SF dollars is yeah, like $80k for anyone who can throw together some basic webdev stuff it seemed. None of the bootcamps seemed to be teaching anything a highly motivated person couldn't learn from a few wikis or forums online, it was just a crash course where they stuffed a 100 highly motivated people in a dark room and threw coffee at them until they could manage to string some lines of code together. From the people I talked to they weren't going immediately to Apple or Google - they were going to startups who just needed, basically, a working mock up to show investors, low level work. Maybe they went on to Google after that but I have no idea.

These articles seem to have an agenda behind them to me. $80-100k in SF dollars is not much at all, and these young people going to startups are working insane hours because those are the only people hiring them with this barebones skillset. Makes a good headline though about the "economy of the future". A lot of people in the bay area are willing to make that trade though with the housing crisis the way it is, but it doesn't seem like any sort of sustainable career path to me.
posted by bradbane at 10:19 AM on August 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


Honestly if someone had showed this much initiative I would at least be willing to interview them for a junior position. Not everyone has to be a rock star.

Maybe this whole "rock star" meme is part of the way workers are controlled? That is, this promotion of the idea of coding as a pure meritocracy where the rock stars rise above the masses, and if you're not doing as well it must be because you aren't good enough. It discourages workers from working together.

If I were a tech CEO I'd be leaving Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard stuff all over and promote libertarian ideas nonstop. Who doesn't want a workforce that actively despises labor regulations and unions?
posted by Sangermaine at 10:21 AM on August 5, 2015 [43 favorites]


I think this market is bigger than it might seem. We're looking for people to do this very kind of work: lower-level, tedious, repetitive. We can then free up some of our experienced developers to work on the tasks that require better skills.

If anything, I think this helps define the various jobs/tasks within the software field. Just as we need the right balance of construction workers to architects, we need people who can be given a spec, code it efficiently and correctly, and be able to catch those implementation details that a high-level person might have missed.


That may be the case, but this gives me pause for two reasons:

1. it feels a little disingenuous to draw people in to these bootcamps with the promise that they, too, can make all that hot software engineer money before ultimately shoehorning them in to a lesser job bracket, and
2. if, as the article says, these bootcamps are enrolling significantly more women than four-year college-level CS programs are, then what does that say about the makeup of our future technical overclass vs underclass?
posted by Itaxpica at 10:21 AM on August 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm just old enough to remember all the articles posted to slashdot every day in 1997-98, as I was about to start high school, about how you were guaranteed riches if you majored in computer science and if you didn't you'd spend your days in menial labor as your intellectual betters ushered in the digital utopian future.

And then the daily stream of articles a few years later, as I was about to start college, about how there were way too many computer science graduates and nobody could get a job.

I also remember all the articles in about 2005-6 about frustrated, underemployed young people making fantastic amounts of money after spending several thousands of dollars getting their real estate licenses.

NB fully 1/3rd of the article's "success stories" are employed by the "school" being profiled -- a time-worn tactic of scammy educational providers for keeping their numbers up. Shovels in the gold rush.

You can find out all about how the "school" is VC funded on Crunchbase, where you'll also discover that it's really an arm of its founder's own VC firm. The NYT has been a hype machine for the ruling class for a long time.
posted by junco at 10:26 AM on August 5, 2015 [47 favorites]


I dunno. I actually kicked around the idea of doing one of these things and then decided that I'd probably be bored with the work. I've done a tiny bit of coding and really enjoyed it, but I'm not sure I want to do it all day. But I see a fair number of people I know going to community college for various career and tech programs, and I think you could see this as equivalent to that. It's not any different from getting a two-year dental hygienist degree or doing an apprentice to be an electrician. And I think those can be valid career paths for some people, although I'm not sure they'd be things that I would want to do. Not everyone is going to be an engineer or a CEO.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:28 AM on August 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


But I see a fair number of people I know going to community college for various career and tech programs, and I think you could see this as equivalent to that. It's not any different from getting a two-year dental hygienist degree or doing an apprentice to be an electrician.

Yes, it is, because community colleges are far less expensive for a better education and don't make this guy a shitload of money through an educational lending scam.
posted by junco at 10:30 AM on August 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Those six-figure Silicon Valley incomes also come with a Silicon Valley expectation of work: you live and breathe your work for an ungodly amount of hours each week. The hourly rate isn't as impressive when you factor that in.

This is definitely the case for some companies. But I can tell you from first-hand experience that you don't need to be in the Bay Area to easily earn well into six figures as a software engineer, and not all companies make people work crazy hours. Sometimes I feel like this is a reflexive "it's too good to be true" response. Both cost of living and work/life balance are really important to talk about. But it is absolutely possible to make high salaries in places with costs of living WAY less than the Bay Area, and without working yourself to death. I swear.
posted by primethyme at 10:30 AM on August 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


Perhaps it is time to drag out this old article: Learn to program in 10 years.
posted by poe at 10:36 AM on August 5, 2015 [21 favorites]


That's true, junco. Is there anything similar that isn't for-profit? My university offers something that they call a bootcamp, but I'm not sure that it's really the same. It seems to be a series of shot-term seminars on different topics, but I'm not sure it's designed to take you from zero to employable the way that the for-profit bootcamps say that they'll do.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:39 AM on August 5, 2015


We're looking for people to do this very kind of work: lower-level, tedious, repetitive. We can then free up some of our experienced developers to work on the tasks that require better skills.

When I'm hiring, I want developers who can work on tedious, repetitive jobs and make them no longer tedious and repetitive. That's the whole game. I don't see that this is lower-level work at all.

And I think code school graduates can do that. At my last job we hired one code school graduate, and she was awesome, but she was probably the 40th code school grad we looked at.

It seems to me that the industry needs some alternative credentials. A CS degree costs $50k and four years. My experience hiring tells me that lots of CS grads don't know how to program computers. I agree that the worker shortage is partly fake, but it also seems like the market has a bottomless appetite for software. Getting more people into the field can be a win for everybody.
posted by chrchr at 10:40 AM on August 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Am I missing something, or am I just getting old?

No, you aren't missing anything. But what the journalists writing these stories are missing, is that "Software Engineer" is not some monolithic role. My mother used to say "the world needs ditch diggers too" whenever I failed a test in school because I didn't study for it. Well, software development projects also need their own form of ditch digger, and that's what is coming out of these programs.

I've interviewed and hired bootcamp grads. Although, the people I've hired were front end developers transitioning into something more full stack like Rails. Someone that junior is great for the "our RSpec suite hasn't passed in 4 months, beat on it until is all our tests pass" and "migrate these apps from Rails 3.0 to 3.1" types of things.

The entertainment industry equivalent of this would be "actors" trying to break into the business by starting our as an extra. Yeah, getting work is really easy, but your job prospects pretty much ends at 'get paid $75 to stand around all day'. Really being successful means a life long dedication to your craft. Same with software engineering.

Also, as others have said, $100k isn't really that much for a salary in SF and The Valley. With RSUs and all that, it's about 50% of the compensation of a senior engineer.
posted by sideshow at 10:40 AM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


While I'll readily admit there are good coding bootcamps out there, they almost all read like predatory diploma mills. Telling the decent ones apart from the scammy ones is nearly impossible, and even decent ones often engage in predatory tactics.

When they cost $1k/week, offer loans, claim "98% placement rate" and "100k+ salaries!", have no prerequisites, and their success examples are stuff like "college dropout who did it part time" and "hired back by the school" it hits all the red flags. If there was a bingo card for predatory for-profit technical certifications this article would be a winner.
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 10:41 AM on August 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


As a CS fail-out with a degree in English, and really unhappy with the two jobs he's had that are in the wading pool end of technology (community guy for a startup, web producer in medical journalism), I've given some thought to doing one of these. Then, I realize that I'm already $35k in debt from my college misadventures, and I'd have to get private loans to pay for this crap, and well, fuck that.

I think the only people really getting rich from teaching people to code are the people running the damn coding schools.

I do have an Ask brewing about how to get my web skills up to date for 2015. I came up in at the start of doing stuff with CSS, but never learned jQuery or any interactive stuff. My skills in web stuff plateaued around when I graduated college in 2008. Which is perfect for doing email newsletters, like I do now, but useless for any modern web stuff. But I don't want to pay $11k for a crash course.
posted by SansPoint at 10:43 AM on August 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


I live in St. Louis, have a bachelor's degree in Management Information Systems (from a state university), and have been in software development for 24 years now. I don't make six figures yet, but I might in 4-5 years.

But then, my mortgage is $750/month on a 1450sq ft house. So there's that.
posted by Foosnark at 10:44 AM on August 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


Well, it'll give all those fracking workers a new boomtown to scurry to now that oil prices have tanked.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:44 AM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


My problem with coding is that there's no guarantee that whatever code you know is what is needed. Heck, there's no guarantee that your codeset will even exist as a thing in five to ten years. I mean, sure, you know C++, but do you also know COBOL? Hey, this company is hiring and paying out the wazoo, but they're looking for someone with DB2 experience. Your HL7 certificate is fancy, but we don't use Cloverleaf, we use a heavily modified EDI, that some coder modified in the 70s, and we don't want to pay anybody to update it. So you need to know that before we offer you a position.

If these things sound dated, they are. They're the exact reason I didn't get into CS some twenty years ago when I went to undergrad. Even today I work on software that has barely existed for give years, but I routinely see recruiters looking for 10+ years of experience with it. Of course, I still work as an analyst, but my degrees in Philosophy and Political Science have opened more doors in the industry than any ISOM degree ever will.
posted by Blue_Villain at 10:53 AM on August 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


Eleven week courses? That explains Windows 10!
posted by adept256 at 10:54 AM on August 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


At my company coders are a dime a dozen thanks to massive layoffs locally (including here). Definitely not a six-figure "career" by any stretch.
posted by tommasz at 10:59 AM on August 5, 2015


The thing about programming languages is that you get to a point where you can pick up a new one in a few days, or maybe a few weeks for a new paradigm or something really obscure. This is the kind of skill a bootcamp can't teach, but to be fair, neither can a lot of CS programs.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:00 AM on August 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


Is there anything similar that isn't for-profit? My university offers something that they call a bootcamp, but I'm not sure that it's really the same. It seems to be a series of shot-term seminars on different topics, but I'm not sure it's designed to take you from zero to employable the way that the for-profit bootcamps say that they'll do.

I think my point, and I think it's a similar point to what sideshow and subject_verb_remainder are saying, is that the "zero to employable" promise is a con. Any of the college-educated students profiled in the article could have taught themselves the same thing -- here is how you write a for loop in whatever the trendy language of the moment is -- for free on the internet instead of paying $11,000 for what would be essentially one class of the first semester of a real CS degree. I know plenty of people with the degrees that the article mentions -- math, english -- who got well-paid programming jobs without paying $11,000 to get a certificate from a "bootcamp" profiled in the NYT. And without a college degree, at many community colleges you could get for your $11,000 an actual accredited, transferable degree and a well-rounded education with a better foundation in CS. I'm reminded of all the fuss in the tech press a decade ago about how university CS programs all used Java and nobody in industry used Java, which is exactly missing the point. Some of this program's students will get good jobs, but, but it's more a function of the bubbly tech sector than anything else.
posted by junco at 11:05 AM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


This reads like pure paid placement.

I wonder whether Jill Abramson was fired because she wouldn't put up with bullshit like this.
posted by jamjam at 11:07 AM on August 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


Blue_Villain: My problem with coding is that there's no guarantee that whatever code you know is what is needed. Heck, there's no guarantee that your codeset will even exist as a thing in five to ten years. I mean, sure, you know C++, but do you also know COBOL? Hey, this company is hiring and paying out the wazoo, but they're looking for someone with DB2 experience. Your HL7 certificate is fancy, but we don't use Cloverleaf, we use a heavily modified EDI, that some coder modified in the 70s, and we don't want to pay anybody to update it. So you need to know that before we offer you a position.

This does not match my experience. There are definitely some places that will ask you to have nineteen different skills and disqualify you if you don't have all of them, but in most cases, the job will be posted with nineteen skills as a means of casting a wide net to match keyword searches, and they'll be happy if you have a handful of those skills and are willing to learn a few more of them.

Of course, it's definitely true that flavor-of-the-week-ism is a problem in the field, but not every company has that disease*, and if you have programming chops, you'll be able to stay current as long as you can find time to learn new tech in between getting your normal work done. This isn't a luxury in many places, so you might have to do so on your own time, but it is doable.

* Generally, I've found that the farther you get from the client-facing front-end stuff, the longer you can use the same set of technologies without having to pick up something new. This is changing a bit with the advent of NoSQLy "big data" stuff, but I'd still rather be in the mid-tier/backend than closer to the front where the marketing droids are making you change things every few weeks.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:15 AM on August 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Hi! I'm a graduate of one of these programs. I live in Chicago and make a little more than $60k/year at a small firm here that does a smattering of types of projects; I'm primarily working on webdev work. I graduated from Dev Bootcamp last year, and it took me about 3.5 months to find a job afterwards. I was a teacher before I went to DBC, and I more than doubled my previous salary after the program. I dunno, maybe I'm just a ditch digger doing rote mechanical work, but I like what I'm doing and I'm learning new stuff pretty much every day at work, plus going to meetups and working on side projects on a regular basis to keep building my skill set.

Out of our class, we have 100% employment, 90% tech employment, and 86% completely DBC-independent tech employment. Most of our cohort had jobs within two months of graduating DBC. One member started a non-tech business shortly after DBC, one took a job offer they had on the table before DBC, and one is working as a junior instructor at DBC; everyone else is working in a development position elsewhere. I must be missing the scam here.

The thing about programming languages is that you get to a point where you can pick up a new one in a few days, or maybe a few weeks for a new paradigm or something really obscure. This is the kind of skill a bootcamp can't teach, but to be fair, neither can a lot of CS programs.

I mean...I guess? DBC involved rapidly learning two languages, a couple of frameworks/libraries, and a ton of new concepts in a very short amount of time. It seems like doing well in that environment would actually be about the best training you could get for picking up new stuff quickly.

Any of the college-educated students profiled in the article could have taught themselves the same thing -- here is how you write a for loop in whatever the trendy language of the moment is -- for free on the internet instead of paying $11,000 for what would be essentially one class of the first semester of a real CS degree

Yeah, in theory, we all could have taught ourselves everything. In theory, anyone could teach themselves just anything, but we've discovered that it's helpful to have an organized curriculum and people to assist with the learning process, and that lots of people need help with motivation when it comes to learning things, so we build these structures where people can be educated.
posted by protocoach at 11:16 AM on August 5, 2015 [34 favorites]


Hello, friend. Are you a holder of a liberal arts degree? Are you clever and hardworking, but woefully underpaid doing menial work? Do you dream of something more? Something challenging and sexy where you can use all those smarts? Something guaranteed to be lucrative?

Have I got an answer for you...

Take out a loan and go to law school coding school!
posted by overeducated_alligator at 11:38 AM on August 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


I just took a class on SQL/database management. I was good at it, and I super want to get an analyst/data management type job (transitioning out of admin work) But now I'm at a standstill, because the school doesn't offer any more classes specifically on SQL, and my current job doesn't really have opportunities to develop any databases or SQL work. (I mean, I could noodle around and make SOMETHING, but it would be a pet thing, because some of my coworkers are making tables in Word because they're afraid of Excel, for petes sake, so getting them to use a database is a no-go).

So what do?? It seems like the classic experience/job dilemma a college student has... except I'm 30, and I'm taking classes, but I can't get practical experience, so how do I convince an interviewer that I'm capable of doing an analyst job with just this class under my belt? Do I noodle around and make a fake portfolio?
posted by nakedmolerats at 11:47 AM on August 5, 2015


Eh...during Web 1.0 days you could get paid north of $50K to just to slice GIFs for websites all day, when a company might pay $250K to someone like Organic to design and deploy a website for them. Then shit hit fan and GIF slicers were back to foaming milk or pulling beers. If history repeats itself, there will another similar fallout at some point and the least skilled workers in this current cohort will find themselves laid off and likely priced out of the SF bay area.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 12:08 PM on August 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


So I'm in the middle of getting my BS in computer science from a large state school with a decent but not particularly well known CS program. I've got about a decade of hobbyist programming under my belt already, with particular experience in web programming which has put me leagues ahead of my classmates. That being the case, I keep vacillating between the extremes of "I know what I'm doing, why am I wasting time and tuition money? I should be applying for jobs already" and "holy crap I don't know what half of these requirements on the job posting even are."

I can't tell tell whether I have a serious case of impostor syndrome or I'm being delusional by thinking I have what employers are looking for already. I also have a huge amount of anxiety that after I graduate at the age of 28, I won't have the skills and employers in tech sector are looking for someone younger anyway.

How screwed am I? Or more positively, what can I be doing right now to help me find a job that will pay me a good wage without eating my life? Are there any technologies I should be learning or particular classes/projects/internships I should be doing?
posted by arcolz at 12:10 PM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I work for one of the boot camp companies that does information security. People get so snowed by stories similar to this one that they get ideas into their head that words like "Cisco" are magic and lead to $80,000 salaries instantly. I have to break the news to them that yes, CCNA boot camps exist, and yes, some of them run five days. But I can no sooner take a person in off of the street and turn them into a CCNA in five days than someone could help you pass the bar exam with just a week of bar review and no law school. They're exam preps, not start-from-scratch educations. It may be different for coding. Maybe they really can start you from scratch and get you coding. But in my field, many of the people who approach us, we have to talk them down and tamp down their hopes a bit. "Maybe if you start with Network+..."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:10 PM on August 5, 2015


All of the people I know who went through a bootcamp like this is happily employed. Sure, they start out at a junior position, but once their foot is in the door at one company, they have actual work experience to put on their resume.

Bootcamps fill a niche. A large amount of programming work does not require a CS degree, but does require more knowledge and experience than most companies want to teach by on-the-job training. Even if they wanted to or if it was financially practical, it's still really hard to find people who are competent programmers and great teachers in order to do training in house. Thus, a bootcamp, where someone learns just enough to not blow stuff up in PROD when you hire them.
posted by tofu_crouton at 12:16 PM on August 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


Maybe this whole "rock star" meme is part of the way workers are controlled? That is, this promotion of the idea of coding as a pure meritocracy where the rock stars rise above the masses, and if you're not doing as well it must be because you aren't good enough. It discourages workers from working together.

If you approach the term "rock star" as a matter of simple coding rather than overall effectiveness I would guess that would be true. That's not what I meant by it though: the rock stars I've worked with were all at a minimum technical leaders -- meaning that they worked with just about everyone, and were widely respected for their abilities. A clear technical vision is not something that you can fake for long.

They also had at least the minimum level of political skill to get things done in a bureaucracy.

You can argue about whether they merit their pay or not, but as far as I've seen people who are born with or acquire such talents are worth their weight in gold. Sure, other people get promoted to the same levels they do, but it's very clear who is worth listening to.

The stereotype I have of the folks who come out of these programs is that they're not going to be these leaders, but who knows? Perhaps they'll grow into the role.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:28 PM on August 5, 2015


In short, it's a skill set that took a lot of time to build.

I think you vastly overestimate the demand for jobs that require your level of expertise. There IS a demand for programming and data science jobs, but the work required isn't overwhelmingly sophisticated. Boot camps show that you can teach lots of people these kinds of skills.

I have a friend who lives and breathes conversations at work with his colleagues talking about corner cases in C++ -- which you only encounter after years and years of coding in that language every day. Hardly any programming jobs require that kind of knowledge.

The tech industry is much like any industry: a few people doing sophisticated work at the top. Most everyone else doing scut work that needs to be done.
posted by deanc at 12:47 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I do have an Ask brewing about how to get my web skills up to date for 2015

My book on JavaScript is free online, as are many other resources. I think if you have an understanding of the basics, and the time to burn on it, just using online resources can be a perfectly viable way to learn this stuff. Learn to use Google, IRC, and StackOverflow to find solutions when you are stuck.
posted by marijn at 12:47 PM on August 5, 2015 [40 favorites]


How screwed am I? Or more positively, what can I be doing right now to help me find a job that will pay me a good wage without eating my life? Are there any technologies I should be learning or particular classes/projects/internships I should be doing?

Get the piece of paper. It's an entry pass and going back for it later is a pain.

When looking for a company to work at concentrate on places that emphasize being family friendly. Having a lot of people with kids about severely curtails expectations of people working at all hours. Sure, you may end up picking up some of the slack but overall the work culture is going to be a lot less frenetic.

I personally would focus on the compiled languages: C, C++, Java. Web coders are cheap and plentiful. If you want to have useful scripting: Perl, Bash, Python (I order that list reluctantly, in a reasonable world it would be reversed). Learn something about hardware if you can -- the closer you get to the processor the more unique and valuable you get, and in any case knowing what is going on below can be very helpful.

Last but not least do your projects on Linux. Every embedded system I know of is headed straight towards Unix, and most of them towards Linux. Experience programming on Linux is not that uncommon but it can make a big difference.

DO PROJECTS AND INTERNSHIPS. I'd have to be very desperate before I hired someone who had never released a finished product (I don't much care what the project was, as long as it was finished and preferably released to a general audience). Internships aren't quite as important but there is something to be said for someone who has already experienced the business environment.

With regards to job advertisements, go ahead and be bold if you have some of the basics down. The worst that can happen is your resume gets tossed, the best that can happen is that the hiring manager has realized that the superhuman who knows everything, has been everywhere, and will turn the drastically behind schedule project around in a day won't be applying.

And somewhere there will be a group of engineers like me who will say "He obviously doesn't have the specific skills, but I think he'll be able to pick them up easily enough."

Anyway, there you go. 25 years of embedded systems hiring experience in a nutshell.

P.S. From my game developer friends: DO NOT GO INTO GAME DEVELOPMENT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:59 PM on August 5, 2015 [46 favorites]


I think it's also about motivations. Are you doing programming jobs or taking computer science (emphasis on "science") classes because you want to learn about computing? Or because you see it as means to personal subsistence? Or because you want to "help people"? How would you like to synthesize your differing values and goals, especially in scenarios or from perspectives where they may conflict? These are the kinds of personal, a priori, choices that affect how a person even begins to think about computer programs in relation to modern society.
posted by polymodus at 1:03 PM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


here's some things you missed at boot camp:

The most common design pattern
the rules
where do patterns come from? Christopher Alexander
learn programming in ten years (dated, but the principle stands)
object reuse
world's first wiki!!! the Portland Pattern Repository
todays thought leader (well, one)
code smell
where software quality comes from
David West brings the OODD - This is new and awesome, the first part is dense, but it gets good fast

The Man (OOP in the face of a stiff breeze and a feisty mob) today's dominant coding paradigm continues to be data-oriented and largely procedural. The practical impediment to implementing like this is that the integrated *productivity* toolsets in use (entity, telerik-controls) all are based on public getters and setters AND data-binding. It's not called 'object-binding' is it?

The Man (Microsoft Enterprise)
The Man (Microsoft indy dev)
The Man (Net Community)
The Man (JavaScript) (I recommend 'Function The Ultimate')
The Man (gritty javascript - warning harsh language often)
The Man (practical hell)
posted by j_curiouser at 1:04 PM on August 5, 2015 [47 favorites]


marjin I think if you have an understanding of the basics, and the time to burn on it

There's the rub. Time. I work full-time and can barely make time for my personal stuff...

I'm totally adding this to Instapaper, though.
posted by SansPoint at 1:12 PM on August 5, 2015


Tell Me No Lies speaks great truth.
posted by djeo at 1:14 PM on August 5, 2015


My book on JavaScript is free online

Wait a moment. The author of Eloquent Javascript is MeFi's Own?!
I'm in awe, really. Your stuff is some of the best on learning Javascript on the web, and given just how much is out there, that's really saying something.

Carry on, sorry
posted by CrystalDave at 1:27 PM on August 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm doing a Bootcamp right now though not one of those intensive 2 month, 12 hours a day, 11,000 dollars one.
Mine it online but has lots of student and teacher contact. I have a mentor that I work one on one with. Being able to work through problems with an experienced developer in real time is just amazing.

I did tons and tons of research into different programs and originally was going to do a 2 month intensive and take out a loan. Ended up finding this one which is 4 months and 3rd of the cost. Also means I can keep working during the program. This one does not promise a job though they give lots of job search support. They also are super realistic about the types and levels of work that students get. Their main goal is to teach the basics of programming in general and enough so that students can get jobs and keep learning. We're learning how to learn as well as the languages and frameworks.

I don't have rock star money aspirations. I'm okay starting on the bottom with scut work. I just enjoy coding enough to want to make a go of it in an industry that overall has more potential opportunities for different types of work then the one I'm in now. The money is also better. Even an entry level, lower on the pay scale jobs pay almost twice what I'm making now. Just having the potential of working my way into an even higher paying position is good enough in comparison to my current prospects.
posted by Jalliah at 1:43 PM on August 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'd propose another approach :
- Install a Linux distribution like Debian, Ubuntu, etc., not 100% necessary if you've a Mac, but still good.
- Play with all that open source software, but especially with the easier things, like user interfaces and web applications.
- Brows open source projects. Identify some you consider worth improving.
- Explore their developer communities on sites like github. Find some where the people seem nice.
- See what languages those projects are using. Read some introductory material to those languages.
- Pick a language, maybe one with multiple interesting projects. Work exercises in that language.
- Try to submit a some useful improvements to said projects.

Vola, you've now starting learning :
- Linux system administration. Apache perhaps too.
- Version control, probably git.
- Issue trackers.
- Programmer resources, like Stackoverflow.
- Some programming language.
- Some library, probably a web or GUI toolkit.
- Some existing code base.

Ask yourself if you had fun. If so, keep doing it. You're a programmer!

If you like school, then by all means do take a class at a community college. If you did not like school though, then maybe you should start out with a project like this.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:53 PM on August 5, 2015 [17 favorites]


Working through an introductory book on a language and then attempting to work on an open source project in that language is not unlike trying to draw a horse.

Working on a personal project of interest to yourself, with a mentor to check in on you and your work now and then, would be my recommended method for self-learning. The 'mentor' can be a community, if you are studying from a book like Learn Python the Hard Way that has a lot of other people going through it at the same time.
posted by tofu_crouton at 2:17 PM on August 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


So basically what I've done is that when I'm doing something at work and I think "boy, I wish this random thingie existed," I've been trying to see if I could make that random thingie. It's gone ok: I've made a couple of useful little thingies. But I am totally lacking in mentors, and I am totally lacking in a community. I show my thingies to my co-workers, and they're like "cool! I'm so impressed you made that thingie!" And that's it. I guess that what I would like is some other people who were working on their own, equally simple and basic thingies, and they could look at my thingies and say "hey, have you thought about making it better by doing this?" And that's just not easy to find when you're a grown woman in a totally non-tech-related job whose friends mostly have graduate degrees in the humanities. I know there are communities online, but I don't think they're mostly aimed at people who are at quite my level of basic-ness. And I especially don't know that they'd be open to middle-aged ladies who are doing things that would probably not challenge your average tech-interested seventh-grader. I just think that people in the field underestimate the challenges for those of us who are adults and not in milieus where people are interested in this stuff.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:36 PM on August 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


One can learn to write a screen play or a novel with a short class, so teaching code seems reasonable. Results may be about the same.
posted by humanfont at 3:09 PM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


As somebody with a foot in the hardcore CS camp and one in the front-end dev (and therefore an expert in neither), I have my own take vis à vis the coder/engineer dichotomy. The standard interview process for Big Software Companies involves whiteboarding out algorithm-design problems that are familiar to clever CS graduates and to no-one else. (I know the optimal algo to find cyclicality in a linked list; so do you; therefore, apparently, we can work together on any problem that crops up.) To a a computer scientist, this kind of problem-reduction is paramount. If we can prove that a given problem is NP-hard, then we know which heuristics we can apply to it. This is without doubt a valuable skill: peer-reviewers who are better at this than me have ridden a coach and horses through my reasoning in the past and I'm better for it.

In my experience, web development - especially front-end development - requires different skills, hence the frequent complaint from FE devs who interview at places like Google. When I started in webdev, Rails was about to kill PHP; now, it seems, Node is about to kill Rails. (The wheels of networking simulators move much more slowly than this.) Web devs have a much faster-moving cutting edge to keep up with, which is often poorly documented, with plenty of security holes (in the most diverse execution environment in the world, with the most malicious actors). This is quite apart from the people skills that FE devs need to acquire: data scientists, for example, don't need to worry about HSV values, let alone keeping clients happy.

I'm not necessarily sorry to see a divergence between "front-end developers" and "back-end engineers", because they strike me as different jobs. But they're both important, and I know that a perennial complaint from FE devs is of being undervalued. This is a shame: we need smart people to design the web for us, seeing as it isn't going away.
posted by Zeinab Badawi's Twenty Hotels at 3:35 PM on August 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


I just came in to say what junco said. We saw these kinds of things pop up pre -dotcom crash, and pre-housing bubble crash. I don't know if this is the sign of the startup crash or a coding crash. Don't get me wrong, people back then got into those classes and most did come out hirable and making okay money (or in the real estate market, selling houses with some level of profit).

It's probably exactly what is said here, there is a need for scut work, blue collar coding. The work won't go away, but it will become just another job. Much will probably be outsourced as is currently happening. The markets will settle, and people will be sad about the days they made x more than they can now, and because of the over abundance of unemployed coders, work conditions will be shitty for those working. The day of the coder king or entire department who rolls in at 11am comes to an end.

(Hoping I'm wrong, I just recognize this song.)
posted by [insert clever name here] at 3:40 PM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


To me, it just doesn't compute for someone to go from 'Eek, math is hard' to $80k+ 'Software Engineer' in 24 weeks flat - with no real-world project experience, mind you. Looking over the syllabus for the 'Full Stack Developer' course at Galvanize leaves me rather unimpressed to boot.

Am I missing something, or am I just getting old?


To be fair, Mr Minton is a math major, and the math majors I've met at university were quite often extremely intelligent, like an entire standard deviation above the rest of us. It felt like the reason they were in math was because math was a pure expression of their intellect or something, and they didn't want to specialize into something as mundane as finance or computer programming.

Then some of them realise being good at math doesn't pay the bills and some move into investment banking and software engineering...
posted by xdvesper at 4:34 PM on August 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've been working in real time embedded systems for 33 years now, and find that for debugging purposes it is still useful to be able to understand the assembly language of your target. You don't need to be able to program in it, like I did for about half of my career, but if you keep your debugger in HLL mode all the time you will miss things.

I wonder if they have a boot camp for asm?
posted by rfs at 5:03 PM on August 5, 2015


I wonder how the bootcamps compare to the much cheaper online options like Treehouse. I've been doing the Treehouse HTML/CSS classes to figure out how to modify my website and I'm having fun with it. I've put in about 50 hours and I'm really pleased with how far I've come. It's been fun, I'm the type of person that does logic puzzles for fun so spending time figuring out why things aren't working does not frustrate me. I think I'll try Java next.
posted by Hazelsmrf at 5:08 PM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I wonder if they have a boot camp for asm?

As far as I can tell, students getting CS degrees don't need to know assembly language these days. Or at least I've talked about doing asm and machine language programming to recent grads at work and they've looked at me like I was crazy.
posted by octothorpe at 7:13 PM on August 5, 2015


"our RSpec suite hasn't passed in 4 months, beat on it until is all our tests pass" and "migrate these apps from Rails 3.0 to 3.1"

This motivates me to want to do something else other than code... Anything else...
posted by Stu-Pendous at 7:54 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


2. if, as the article says, these bootcamps are enrolling significantly more women than four-year college-level CS programs are, then what does that say about the makeup of our future technical overclass vs underclass?

This this this. The people who are taking these courses are setting themselves up for permanent underclass status because the people making promotion decisions have a really great excuse not to take them seriously as candidates. "Oh, her? She doesn't even have a CS degree, she couldn't possibly be asked to take that on." I'm super glad that I'm a little bit too old and grizzled to be mistaken for a bootcamp grad because hell if I need to give the powers that be another reason to discriminate against me.
posted by town of cats at 8:04 PM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


My brother is about to start one of these coding school things, in New Zealand, so it's a bit different perhaps, but the same general model. I think it's a four or five month course? I'll be curious to see how it works out.

He's in his thirties and has only worked in food service and phone helpdesk jobs so far, and has no coding experience. He doesn't have a high school qualification, either, although he's smart, just not very motivated by academic things. I'm a bit concerned that he's not going to put in the effort to keep up early on, and they presumably move pretty fast to get people good at programming in such a short timeframe. It's costing him $10,000 or so that he doesn't have, so he'll be going into debt with no promise of a job after.

I also don't know that people can get a good sense of whether they will want to work as a programmer until they have a fair bit of programming experience already, so what if he hates it? The course claims an 80-something percent placement rate at the end, though, so that's something.
posted by lollusc at 8:43 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh hey, I went to one of these bootcamps. (Specifically, App Academy.)

While I knew that *theoretically,* I could've sought out wikis and books, I knew that having a guide was going to be helpful, for dealing with unforeseen problems. I didn't realize beforehand that the curriculum was under constant development - it's all on Github - and by comparison I know it's more current than anything in print, and more coherent than any wiki I've seen.

The languages I picked up there were Ruby and Javascript, and I don't think Javascript is going away any time soon. (Alas.)

I have a CS degree, but it didn't really touch on anything web-related; my school wasn't the quickest off the block there.

I know graduates from my bootcamp are working at Apple, Google, Paypal, Uber, Yelp, and *maybe* Amazon, but I can't confirm the last one.

It was intense! And not as dumb as you might think, unless the details of building an associative array seem trivial to you.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:47 AM on August 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Ah, I found an alum at Amazon.

I like Tell Me No LIes' comment, though the languages seem iffy, I think because they're focused on embedded development.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:33 AM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


it didn't really touch on anything web-related; my school wasn't the quickest off the block there.

I actually think you are one of the best audiences for coding bootcamp. The thing is though that it should be employers that are paying for them, not employees.

One of the structural problems with the tech industry is that you are considered only as good as the last language/technology you've used, and if you show a high proficiency in that, then you have an advantage. There would be a big advantage to larger employers cycling their experienced employees through coding bootcamps when they migrate to a new platform.

That said, the fact that this is being marketed so heavily is a sign of a bubble about to burst, if only because this is making computer science less about an academic discipline and way of thinking than a not-particularly-respected rote skill.
posted by deanc at 6:10 AM on August 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


A quote from a recent blog post by George Siemens, inventor of the term "MOOC," that reminded me of this article and touched a nerve:

I’m worried that the future will have an education system where the wealthy continue to receive high quality education on campuses, but the poor receive some second-tier alternative system that prepares them mainly to work [i.e. coding bootcamps] but not to be change agents in the world.
posted by elisse at 10:35 AM on August 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


STEM is now getting a taste of what happened in law, nursing, and pharmacy. It's the American way, after all, so it was inevitable.
posted by gehenna_lion at 4:26 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


The entire world needs software and this need will only grow.

There will be no end to software jobs for the foreseeable future. The need for programmers of all skill levels will only increase. You and I will be long buried before the software industry, such as it will be, will run out of jobs.

Sure, there will be ups and downs, but the medium-to-long term outlook is nothing if not up.

At some point, I think within our lifetimes, some kinds of very important software development will not even look like software development. Some of that software development will be done by non-humans. The advent of non-human software development will not obviate human software development. On the contrary, the advent of such systems will only increase the need for human developers.

Anyway, getting back on topic (sort of), one of the things that distinguishes a strong software developer from a weaker one (in terms of coding skill) is the ability for a developer to learn material unassisted (or infrequently assisted).

Some developers need an introduction and/or mentoring. However, once past the absolute fundamentals (e.g. basic control structures and logic), mentoring becomes more strategic (less about technical details), and improving as a coder is a matter of how adroitly one can understand more complex patterns and absorb novel formalisms (frameworks, languages, hardware, integrations, etc.)

Beyond that is working with individuals and teams of people to coordinate the development of larger pieces of software. These human/machine systems are very complex and highly dynamic, to the point that there are no accurate models to describe how they work.

EVERYTHING is custom and cutting edge.

Which contradicts the tone of some of what's been posted above which reads as if the software industry and the roles developers occupy within it are well-understood and that the career paths of developers are easily predictable taking into account educational backgrounds.

Such assumptions are not even close to being wrong, they model the reality of software development so poorly.

There will be lots of room for grunt coders who start off in code academies, sure. But some of those coders will start entry level and then go on to help develop world-altering highly-regarded software. Some coders trained at the most elite institutions will never contribute even one code block to a useful project of any kind. (I'm exaggerating, but you get my point.)

TL;DR: Code academies are simply another means by which humans will become part of the software industry and the status and stature of developers so initiated will be manifold.

P.S. Making six-ish figures in, say, SF is NOT equivalent to making $75-ish K in, say, Columbus, Ohio, despite what your cost-of-living calculator says. Things like art, music, theater, restaurants, ethnic diversity, socioeconomic strata, civil infrastructure, public transportation, spontaneous gatherings, serendipitous circumstance, etc. are intensified in a technologically-progressive metropolitan area. And *without* those, the 25K pay differential is a substantial compensation difference even taking into account "cost of living". (Which, by the way, isn't "living" something worth paying more for if one considers that the living one gets in some places that have a higher cost of living may actually be better than in some places that have a lower cost of living?)

P.P.S. It is not difficult for a self-motivated and forward-moving learner (of whatever educational background) to go from entry level developer to a six figure developer inside of five years.

posted by mistersquid at 10:22 PM on August 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


P.S. Making six-ish figures in, say, SF is NOT equivalent to making $75-ish K in, say, Columbus, Ohio, despite what your cost-of-living calculator says.

Well sure but I spend a fair amount of time in the Bay Area and you really couldn't pay me twice my salary to live there. Maybe I make less than $80K but I live in a $200K 1869 townhouse in walkable victorian neighborhood with decent access to public transportation where it's a twenty minute stroll through 200 year old park to Downtown.

If we lived in the Bay Area, we'd be living in some god awful modern condo and driving hundreds of miles a week to commute and having to deal in that horrible fast paced money oriented tech culture and not a much more laid-back mellow rust belt one. Also, I'm old enough to accelerate my 401K contributions and it's so cheap to live here that I put in 29% of my gross from every paycheck.
posted by octothorpe at 4:56 AM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


So I did one of these bootcamps. I am fully aware it does not make me a real programmer and that I will need years and years to become a real programmer. I'm not really sure I have the talent or intelligence to ever make it to that point. All evidence so far points to me being too dumb to be a programmer. I know this.

However, I was making peanuts in a dying industry despite years of experience and two great degrees. I was completely unemployed. With just a few months of savings earned from some shitty temp jobs, I was able to get a program on my resume that tells employers I'm happy to dive into new material and pick up new skills, I can understand some of the most important language surrounding (if not always the concepts behind) the most in-demand tech skills right now and can speak reasonably intelligently with more senior devs about what they're doing and what my low-level, spec-driven front-end coding needs to do so that it stays out of their way and doesn't fuck up their code, and that I was probably pretty desperate for a job to enter one of these programs in the first place and will likely make a happy employee just because I'll be employed.

So no, my dev job is not sophisticated. What they call "junior web dev" at my employer is not really programming or coding. I throw together some HTML/CSS, use some plug-ins, convert some Flash to HTML5, whatever. It needs to get done, and real programmers certainly don't want to do it. I have a job because I went to a bootcamp, my bosses have someone to do the boring work that doesn't demand as much money as a real programmer would because these bootcamps exist, and everyone's happy. So any real coders who are asking if they're "missing something" are only missing that lots of people who are "web devs" now are not under the mistaken impression they can code. They are just people who work in the tech industry and do something that makes something else work on the Internet, but they are not under the delusion that they have CS degrees and neither are the companies who save money employing them.

In addition, lots of us have other skills after years working in other industries, so sometimes it's helpful for our employers to have someone around who knows about legal work, publishing, customer service, fact checking, whatever. It's not always part of our job descriptions, but I can't tell you how much spelling/grammar I correct for the real coders. And that skill comes with me for free, but I imagine it will have value as time goes on.
posted by Yoko Ono's Advice Column at 2:46 PM on August 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, this was a lower-risk way for me, a women, to enter the tech field, and that can't be discounted. I was always really envious of my male friends in college, all of whom were CS and engineering majors, and always believed I was too dumb to do what they did. Maybe I am, or maybe I just went to college in the '90s when there wasn't a movement to encourage women to enter these fields or a way to take a course without being surrounded by guys who'd been coding since they were kids.
posted by Yoko Ono's Advice Column at 3:05 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


As to whether I'm one of the females who's helping to create a new tech underclass made of women or whether I'm just a GIF slicer who'll be back in the unemployment lines once tech goes bust, fuck it. Needed a job. Now I have one. I'll leave it for richer people with more stable employment to be philosophical about what my entry into this field means and how I'm setting it up for failure.
posted by Yoko Ono's Advice Column at 3:33 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yoko Ono's Advice Column, I think you may be selling yourself short. I'm familiar with the kind of work you're describing and that you're able to do it testifies to the fact that you are NOT too dumb. Period.

The kind of work you describe yourself as doing fits the description of entry-level front-end coding and there are many pathways up from there.

You will find your skill set growing. You'll learn new things. At some point you'll find yourself fixing more thorny JavaScript bugs, for example, things that use more of what people recognize as programming skills. You'll be tasked to build a small JavaScript function to match the UX spec'd by design.

Rinse. Repeat.

You'll be higher in the coder hierarchy than before with better pay and more responsibility.

But don't fool yourself about where you are now; you already are a real programmer, even if you're just starting out.
posted by mistersquid at 7:29 PM on August 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


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