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Latest Bristol & SW tech news, updates and training dates for your diary.

Our mission has always been to focus intently on our students learning experience and help them achieve their career ambitions. Over the last 4 years we have developed The Coding Fellowship – the most comprehensive tech career change programme in Bristol and the South West region. 

With over 5 years of highly successful delivery of all our learning programmes and 5 star ratings from our students; we are more student-centred than ever, and passionate in supporting people looking to upskill or accelerate their current or future tech careers.

As we enter a new decade and celebrate our fifth year in business – we take a brief moment to reflect. 

In 2020 we will have reached a unique ‘milestone’ – having helped over 100 successful graduates to achieve their career change goals, and worked with our 50+ committed hiring partners to grow their tech teams through the Coding Fellowship programme alone; with a subsequent and unrivalled 98% of graduate students moving directly into web / software development roles. 

As we were the first Coding Bootcamp established in the South West – we have always set the bar very high; and our ambition to provide the highest quality and most commercially relevant courses, has ensured that we have been on a constant learning journey both for us, our incredible team, our expert instructors and our students. We never stop refining our courses in alignment with industry standards and employer demand. 

We launched with four ambitious students in 2015. Thank you Simon N, Simon C, Kasia & Josh! Have a look at what Simon C is working on now, his own tech start-up!: https://www.seedrs.com/koor/

Coding bootcamp students on desks

As we now enter the next decade; we have combined all of our learnings from five years of delivery experience into shaping our comprehensive 16 week tech career change programme. To reflect the high value, there will be an adjusted price of £9,450 (£8,950 when full fees paid upfront) applicable from June 2020 

The Coding Fellowship has evolved dramatically over the last 4 years as we have consistently strived to create the best possible learning environment, curriculum and support networks to make our students’ transition into their new careers as effective and seamless as possible. Through all this our price has remained the same, this no longer reflects the quality of the programme and commitment of the growing team here at Develop Me. By choosing to study with us you can feel confident that you’re in very good hands! 

Our totally unique Coding Fellowship Programme has been designed to put you in the perfect position to land a job as a junior developer straight from graduation. With a 98% hire rate we even help you make that transition by organising multiple interviews with our hiring partners.

Yes – technical skills are fundamental in our learning programmes at Develop Me, but we believe  it is fundamentally all about people. Everyone has a different and unique journey. Our absolute focus is on helping people to get to where they want to go – both in terms of industry-relevant technical skills and also in supporting them with the vital skills required to make their learning journey a success. 

We therefore offer ‘lifetime’ career support to all our graduates as they transition into their 1st, 2nd, 3rd roles and beyond.

We believe in skills over formal qualifications.

We also believe collaboration, team work, critical thinking, emotional intelligence with problem solving are the skills required in the 21st century workforce – all married with a passion and purpose. We won’t call them ‘soft skills’ – as these are the fundamental skill-set required in any 21st century workforce. 

If you are looking to accelerate your existing or a new career in tech – talk to us to see how we can help you achieve your goals in 2020 and beyond.

The Coding Fellowship Programme is an immersive, project-driven, 16 week accelerated Coding Bootcamp programme in web / software development. 

You’ll get to grips with all the technologies, tools, processes and skills you need to embark immediately on a career as a web / software developer – whilst putting together a portfolio of real world project work and making some great contacts along the way.

Course Structure

  • Pre-course programme

4-6 week (60+ hours) completed online from home, that helps our students come fully prepared to make the most of the 12 weeks spent in class.

  • Bootcamp Programme

12 week full-time immersive classroom Coding Bootcamp Programme – which equips students with a solid and well rounded skill base, enabling them to enter the industry immediately from graduation.

  • Career Support
      • Guaranteed job interviews
      • CV workshops & interview advice
      • Portfolio development
  • Programme Features
    • Pre-course study support groups
    • Small class sizes 
    • Weekly 1:1 learning support sessions
    • Progress learning apps
    • Expert industry instructors
    • Creative studio environment
    • Networking opportunities
    • Assignment of personal industry Mentor for support 
    • Wellbeing services
    • Socials & Meet-ups
    • Alumni community
    • Lifetime career support

    For full details and how to apply please visit 

    https://developme.tech/fellowship/

    Finance is available to support your career change.

    Please get in touch to find out more. 

    hello@developme.tech

    You can also hear from some of our graduates and hiring partners discussing their experiences of the bootcamp and their new careers as developers.

    #CodeyourFuture

     

It was great to hear what Gareth, one of our Coding Fellowship students on our Autumn 2019 cohort has to say about his background, life on the course and plans for the future.

What was your background before you attended the Coding Fellowship Bootcamp?

Prior to the course I studied Geography at university, with a focus on climate science. During this time, I learnt the basics of Python to develop a climate model that formed the basis of my dissertation — my first foray into the world of coding! Following graduation, I took on a role in financial services, but felt as though I was still searching for the right career.

Gareth Bootcamp Student What made you decide to attend the course?

To accelerate my learning and kick-start a career in the tech industry. The Coding Fellowship was the perfect opportunity to surround myself with like minded people with the same goal.

What were your main concerns/questions before deciding to enrol?

What concerns or questions did you have before deciding to take the leap and enrol on the Coding Fellowship?

A big concern was whether I would be able to learn both the knowledge and skills needed to build the foundation for a promising and sustainable career in coding, given the short learning period.

How does your experience on the Fellowship now answer those concerns/questions?

The course has given me confidence in the skills that I am learning, I feel that I am building a strong base in the different languages and topics that we have covered and can continue to build on these as I progress as a developer. The syllabus has been well considered and delivered in a way that enables you to develop not only your skills but also your ability to build on these on your own.

The course has been fast paced but I have loved the challenge — my confidence as a developer has grown greatly and I am excited to carry on the journey.

What coding experience did you have before starting the course?

Despite not having any commercial coding experience, I used Python (with the guidance of a great tutor) to develop a basic climate model when I was at university. Despite understanding little about the technical process, I loved the experience and the desire to learn more about coding stuck with me from that point onwards!

What part of the course curriculum have you enjoyed the most?

I found CSS enjoyable at the start of the course, due to the creativity involved, but have also found Laravel and React really interesting in the later weeks.

Gareth at his computerWhat part of the curriculum have you found the hardest?

React and Redux have been tricky at times, but are very rewarding when you finally get your head around them.

How would you describe the support on the Bootcamp?

The support on the course has been brilliant! The course leaders and teaching assistants are always there to answer any questions you may have, or to offer encouragement when you get stuck. You are also assigned an industry mentor whilst on the course, who can provide extra advice and insight into the Bristol tech bubble.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of attending our Coding Bootcamp in Bristol?

My advice for someone looking to take on the course would experiment with online coding games and tutorials, such as Codeacademy, they are a great introduction to coding! For those who have enrolled in the course I would put as much time into the pre-course learning as possible, it helps to have a solid foundation of knowledge later in the course.

What role are you looking for after the Bootcamp? Where do you see yourself in the future?

After the course I will be looking for a Junior Developer role in Bristol, I am open to different types of coding work as I have enjoyed a range of topics on the course. Ideally, I would love to work with a company that takes on diverse and creative projects and one that will help me grow as a developer.

We have been running Bristol Coding Bootcamps for 4 years and welcome anyone with a learning attitude. Find out more about our Bootcamp here and get in touch with any queries!

We had a nice chat with Charlotte, one of our Fellowship students a few weeks into the Autumn 2019 Coding Fellowship Bootcamp.  You can see footage of the interview here or read on to find out more about her background, why she chose to enrol on our Bristol based Coding Bootcamp and how she’s been getting on learning to code so far.

What was your background/career before you joined the Coding Bootcamp?

Art History Lecturer at University. I also taught maths as a private tutor up to A-level standard in my spare time too.

Coding Fellowship Bootcamp Student Photo Charlotte

What made you decide to attend the course?

I was looking for a career change and the deciding factor for me was coming along to one of the opening evenings.

How have you found the course so far?

I absolutely love it. I enjoy it so much and it really feels like I am taking my life in a new direction. It combines my love for logic, problem solving and creativity.

What have you enjoyed the most?

I have mostly enjoyed the problem solving aspect of the work and my friends on the cohort are fantastic as it is a great bunch of people and really relaxed and informal.

How would you describe the support on the Bootcamp?

The instructors are fantastic! So so helpful. We have had a few different teachers and they are all excellent. We have a teaching assistant  in the classroom at all times who is excellent too and you never feel like you cannot ask them a question – it is a very relaxed atmosphere. We also have a session every week with one of the course directors to check how we are getting on, so it is all set up really well.

Coding Fellowship Bootcamp Student CharlotteWhat advice would you give to someone thinking of attending our Coding Bootcamp in Bristol?

Do as much prep work as you can – it is really really important! I definitely feel much more ready for it having done all the prep work. Also make sure you take breaks throughout the day whilst studying on the course. Make sure you get away from your desk however tempting it might be to stay there in front of the screen.

What role are you looking for after the Bootcamp? Where do you see yourself in the future?

I am really interested in front-end development and potentially working in the charity sector but I am keeping an open mind.

We have been running Bristol Coding Bootcamps for 4 years and welcome anyone with a learning attitude. Find out more about our Bootcamp here and get in touch with any queries!

“A learner-driven revolution in education is unfolding around the world”… is the opening sentence from the 2019 Pearson ‘Global Learning Survey’.

The survey was conducted recently with learners aged 16-70 in nineteen countries on subjects such as the quality of their nation’s education system, careers and the future of work and technology – marking a clear shift away from more traditional educational models.

Pearson Learner Survey Image

Develop Me have always focussed intently on our learners experience – the clue is in our company name. With over 5 years of very successful delivery of our learning programmes; we are more student-centred than ever, and absolutely passionate in supporting people looking to upskill or accelerate their current or future tech careers.

The traditional, linear career path is a thing of the past. The world is changing rapidly and more traditional educational institutions are not adapting fast enough to keep up with learner needs – especially in digital and technology skills training.

“Around the world, learners still place a great deal of faith in education to help them achieve success. But, the way they are obtaining that education is changing and it’s all because the new talent economy has arrived with its gig jobs, unconventional career paths and tech disruption.”

 Yes – tech skills are fundamental in our learning programmes at Develop Me, but it is fundamentally all about people. Everyone has a different and unique journey. Our absolute focus is on helping people to get to where they want to go – both in terms of industry-relevant technical skills and also in supporting them with the vital skills required to make their learning journey a success.

We believe in skills over qualifications.

We also believe collaboration, team work, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, problem solving are the skills required in the 21st century workforce – all married with a passion and purpose. We won’t call them ‘soft skills’ – as these are the fundamental skill-set required in any 21st century workforce.

Upskilling and reskilling are a global challenge for employers. The Pearson report states that employers are interested in outside support for everything from identifying the employees to engage (47%), to measuring the outcomes of learning and development programs (47%) to developing content and curriculum (43%).

We believe that our responsibility as ‘educators’ is that we need to start collaborating better together to build a holistic ‘ecosystem approach’ to service the talent demand from industry employers. The talent economy of the future must be more collaborative; delivered at reasonable cost with shared responsibility, inclusivity and accountability on the intended outcomes. Created and developed in mutual partnerships and progressive alliances with Universities, Colleges and Employers; where the student is at the centre of the experience.

John Fallon, chief executive of Pearson, said: “Gig jobs, unconventional careers, tech disruption and lifelong learning have ushered in the talent economy. Now more than ever, learners understand the need for lifelong education. People are meeting the demands of this new world of work by taking control of their own learning. Now, technology and innovation are giving educators, governments and companies the greatest opportunity in human history to rise to the occasion and improve lives through education.”

Our ambition is to continue to design and deliver responsive and adaptive learning programmes which can compliment an existing degree, vocational or employer-led learning programmes. We hope to explore this “new universe of opportunities to help people learn in more accessible ways, more affordably and with better outcomes.”

If you are a University, College or Employer in the Bristol or SW region – please do get in touch to discuss how we could collaborate in the development of learner-driven programmes in digital and tech skills.

For more info – www.developme.tech

Reference:
Pearson Global Learning Survey Report 2019:
https://www.pearson.com/content/dam/one-dot-com/one-dot-com/global/Files/news/gls/Pearson_Global_Learner_Survey_2019.pdf

We catch up with one of our Coding Fellowship Bootcamp graduate’s Kye. He absolutely flew through the Bootcamp; in fact he did so well we then hired him to work for us on graduation! He has since moved on to work for Swoop as a Software Developer.

We are now absolutely delighted to say he accepted our request to come back to Develop Me and teach on our Front End Web Development Course starting February 2020.

It’s always been about the code

Front End Web Developer Kye Canoeing For me, my life in code started before I’d found my first proper text editor. I’d been working in financial services for 5 years, from management and sales to project delivery, I was challenged but I wasn’t enjoying myself and I certainly didn’t feel valued.

Time for a change

Fed up with my work, I started soul-searching, is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life? I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t dreaming of working for a poorly-ran high street bank when I was in school, but I was playing with computers – a lot! Throwing around ideas of what I used to enjoy and several career advice questionnaires later, things just kept coming back to programming. I actually remember the National Careers Service suggested I’d become a Vicar, so things could be very different for me if I’d followed their advice. I kept faith in programming and I started to dig deeper into how I could become a developer. 

This really shouldn’t have been news to me though. When I was a teenager, I was always “fixing” computers for friends and family. In fact, a friend and I started to build an absolutely terrible website in Dreamweaver as part of setting up a PC repair service – it didn’t really take off. Besides all of that, I enjoyed learning about these things and the challenges that came up. In 2008, I studied an IT course at City of Bristol College and it gave me a light introduction to HTML and CSS, I loved it! I’m still not entirely sure why but instead of following the natural route and completing a Computer Science degree, I decided to play poker for a living instead, I was never one for the straight and narrow…

Self study vs bootcamp

When I started my journey into programming, I decided to study from home. I’d finish work at 5pm, get home for 6pm, quickly eat tea and then turn on my PC. I didn’t really know where to start, there’s an insane amount of things to learn. I found a course on YouTube and started to build a portfolio site in Bootstrap and I seriously enjoyed it. I’d be up way past bedtime adding a new feature to the site or learning something new. I’d wish away my day at work just so I could get back to my personal projects at home.

I studied at home for around a year, but I didn’t really see how I was going to get a job from this and I’d been suffering from burnout for a while. I needed a fast-track, I was willing to take the risk to do something I really enjoy. It was actually my mum who found Develop Me and their coding bootcamp. I met Oli and Pete at the taster evening, everything felt right and I signed up for the Autumn 2017 cohort. 

A decision I’ll never regret

Coding Fellowship Bootcamp Student GroupI met some amazing people during the bootcamp, people that have changed my life. The course was exactly what I needed and it’s incredible just how much I learned, and gained in self-confidence, during those 12 weeks. Upon graduation I landed a Developer role at Lunar and I also became a Teaching Assistant at Develop Me. I’d never enjoyed my job(s) so much, I had amazing mentors there and these people truly valued me. Coding in itself is great and you learn an awful lot, but trust me when I say that when people ask you to explain what you know, that’s when you really learn. I felt like I had the perfect introduction to the industry. 

New challenges

After a year at Lunar, I started to look for a fresh challenge and applied for a Mid-Level Software Developer role at my current company Swoop. Swoop are an adventure travel company who recently moved their software development in-house. I joined them knowing that there would be lots of new things to learn and in the past 9 months I’ve played a key role in rebuilding our customer portal, feedback system and migrating some of our legacy code to Laravel.

One of the biggest things I’ve had to get used to is making mistakes, as a developer you’ll make plenty and you have to be comfortable with that – these mistakes will help you grow and mature as a developer. I’ve made some blunders of my own, but maybe you can ask me about that later. Basically, don’t edit code directly in production no matter how close the deadline is 🤦‍♂️.

Code === Fun

Sometimes I have to pinch myself, wondering if what I do for a living is really a job – for me, coding is no different to playing computer games. Despite leaving the bootcamp in 2017, I continue to invest a lot of my time learning new things, I listen to a couple of podcasts a day on my commute and will either use a lunch break or evening to work on a side project, the fun never stops! 

Although web development may be all fun and games for me, the one thing I have missed since leaving Develop Me is teaching others, so I’m really excited they have asked me to go back and teach their 6 week part time Front end web development course starting in February! It is going to be so satisfying getting back to the classroom and you never know, perhaps I’ll learn a thing or two as well!

We are running two taster sessions for our February front end web development course. One in November and one in January. We also have two scholarship places available on this course.

We caught up with Kate 18 months after she graduated from the Coding Fellowship in the Summer of 2018. why she chose to enrol on our Bristol based Coding Bootcamp and how she’s been getting on working in the tech industry since graduation.

What was your background/career before you joined the Coding Bootcamp?

I studied Psychology, worked in a box office and then was working in recruitment when I decided to learn to code.

Coding Fellowship Bootcamp Graduate Kate

Why did you decide to learn to code?

I enjoyed doing little bits of programming for experiments and statistics at uni, and came back to this later while I found myself looking into the possibility of working in UX. I was probably aware of the Bootcamp for about a year before finally enrolling. I did a few online courses and a short evening course in programming at the City of Bristol College which had helped me decide that this would be a suitable path.

How did the Bootcamp prepare you for industry?

There was a collaborative nature to a lot of the projects we worked on during the course, and a good grounding in Git, which is essential for any developer.

How many jobs have you had since graduating from the Coding Bootcamp?

I’ve had two – I worked for three months as a Developer/QA tester at Toumetis before I got a job purely focused on development last summer where I currently work as a Front End Developer at Simpleweb.

What kind of projects do you now work on?

We mostly work with startups and make a lot of React Native apps, for which the Coding Fellowship really helped prepare me. There are other clients with more established digital products, and also other technologies being used including WordPress and Ruby on Rails.

What has been your favourite project so far?

I worked on an app called Giki, which you can use to scan supermarket products and find out how sustainable, recyclable, healthy etc. they are. It was my favourite not only because it is a cool product, but also because the codebase was really tidy when I got to it and the client was really nice and tech-savvy.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of attending our Coding Bootcamp in Bristol?

If you’re thinking about it you must be pretty interested in development already, and if you can commit to lots of hard work and intensive learning for 12 weeks I’d say go for it!

You must be very proud of your career change – what is it like being a women in Tech?!

I am pretty proud; it’s definitely one of the better decisions I’ve ever made. As for being a woman in tech, I can’t really compare it to not being a woman in tech, but my experience has been nothing but positive.

We have been running Coding Bootcamps in Bristol for 4 years! We welcome anyone with a positive attitude to learning. Find out more about our Coding Fellowship programme here and get in touch with any questions!

We caught up with Paul on our Summer 2019 cohort to find out more about his background, why he chose to enrol on our Bristol based Coding Bootcamp and how he’s been finding learning to code so far.

What was your background/career before you joined the Coding Bootcamp?

I studied for a degree in modelmaking and have been working as a modelmaker ever since, specialising in recent years in lighting and electronics for models, exhibitions and installations.

Why are you attending the Coding Bootcamp?

In order to fast track a career change into web development

What were your main questions/concerns before joining the bootcamp?

One of my main concerns before starting the course was finding work on graduation.

How does your experience on the bootcamp now answer those questions/concerns?

Develop Me has great links with tech companies, industry mentors and arranges for interviews at the end of the course which has made me feel more confident about finding work on graduation.

What was your coding experience before the Course?

I didn’t have much in the way of web development coding experience other than doing online courses such as Codecademy. I had however been writing code for several years as part of my job using Arduinos for lighting and electronics.

How have you found the course so far?

I have really enjoyed it so far. Its been fast paced and challenging but thoroughly rewarding.

What have you enjoyed most?

HTML, CSS and Javascript.

What have you found the most challenging?

I have found React to be challenging, but also enjoyable and interesting.

How would you describe the support on the Bootcamp?

I have found the support on the bootcamp amazing. There is always someone on hand to help, whether that’s a tutor, classroom assistant or fellow student. We also have one-2-one sessions weekly which gives you the chance to talk anything over.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of attending our Coding Bootcamp in Bristol?

Do as much of the prep work beforehand as possible. The course is intense and challenging but enjoyable and throughly rewarding.

What role are you looking for after the Bootcamp? Where do you see yourself in the future?

So far I have really enjoyed front end development and WordPress, so would be hoping to find a role in one of these fields but I am keeping an open mind at the moment.

We have been running our Bristol based Coding Bootcamp for almost 4 years! We welcome anyone with a learning attitude. Find out more about our Bootcamp here and get in touch with any queries!

One of the main questions we get asked when interviewing students for our Bristol based Coding Bootcamp is ‘Will I find a job in tech as soon as I graduate?’.

Develop Me has a wide pool of hiring partners who interview and hire our Bootcamp Students on graduation. Goram and Vincent have employed 3 of our graduates so far and they explain exactly why they love hiring our Bootcamp Grads.

Coding Bootcamp Student at her desk after being hired from the coding Bootcamp

What does your company do? 

Goram and Vincent is a Bristol-based digital agency specialising in enterprise-level ecommerce, offering design, build and optimisation services. We work mainly with direct-to-consumer lifestyle brands selling via Magento and Shopify.

 

What has been your experience hiring Develop Me Coding Bootcamp graduates?

Despite some initial skepticism we’ve gone on to hire three Develop Me Coding Bootcamp graduates in the last 18 months and we haven’t looked back. We now see the course as a critical part of our long-term recruitment strategy and we plan to work ever more closely with the Develop Me team going forward.

The course is very bold in its aims and as such it seems to attract brave, ambitious individuals who are brimming with ingenuity and a fresh outlook – which is exactly what we look for when recruiting for new G&Vers. More often than not we meet candidates who are career changers who in turn bring a wealth of experience from other roles and sectors they’ve previously worked in. They bring so much to the culture of the company as a result and it helps prevent us from becoming too inward looking and keeps our perspective fresh.

Helen, DevelopMe Bootcamp Graduate

Helen – Graduated early 2019- now working at G&V

We pride ourselves on the nurturing atmosphere we have within the team and we’ve found the Develop Me Coding Bootcamp graduates seem to flourish within the setup we have – and we’re really proud of that.

What have you learnt about hiring / supporting Coding Bootcamp graduates? 

We give the graduates a proper role from the off (no internships), with real/significant tasks to work on, but with the time, space and the safety net of the wider team behind them who’re committed to supporting their progression. This creates an environment where they can grow rapidly, enjoy and take full credit for their successes, while also being allowed to fail (and thus learn) in relative safety – basically owning the whole process. What we end up with in return are new developers who, within 6-9 months, are contributing at a level, and with a confidence, that utterly belies their time in the industry.

If you’re thinking of hiring from the Coding Bootcamp for the first time, it’s absolutely key that you have an established team in place already who are fully onboard and committed to helping develop junior talent – you owe the graduates that much. And if you just think of this as a source of cheap development resource, that’s absolutely the wrong attitude to have.

We’ve taken an organic approach so far, but after the success we’ve had with our graduates to date, we are now in the process of putting together a more structured induction programme specifically tailored to the Coding Bootcamp students.

Sam. Bootcamp Student from summer 2018

Sam – graduated Bootcamp Summer 2018 now working at G&V

What the course delivers for us is bright individuals who have proven they can learn at pace and adapt to coding principles quickly, but it’s our job as employers to continue that development and nurture the potential. If you can manage that, the graduates will pay you back in spades.

Did you have any reservations before hiring your first bootcamp graduate (did you think they could really learn to code in such a short space of time)? 

Absolutely. As someone who has done the traditional degree route myself, with a placement year in industry, and having over 16 years experience to date, I was utterly cynical of the whole thing.

But Pete the recruitment specialist at Develop Me caught me at a time when I was struggling to fill a mid-weight frontend position and convinced me to see a few graduates from the cohort at the time. Liz who graduated in Autumn 2017 walked in the door and within minutes blew us away with her confidence, attitude and positivity, plus a great piece of final coursework, and a WordPress portfolio done in her own time. We as good as hired her on the spot and she’s been a key member of the team for over 18 months now.

Pete - Develop Me's recruitment specialist

Pete – Develop Me’s recruitment specialist

Since then it’s totally redefined how we recruit and build our team going forward. It’s driven us to focus on bringing new/fresh talent into the business more often and to commit to developing them further within the business. Culturally it’s been an absolute joy to work here as a result and the vibe is fantastic. It also has the knock on effect of giving the more senior team members bags of personal development opportunity as a result of building the team this way.

Any tips for companies hiring junior developers / bootcamp graduates for the first time?

You need an established development team in place who are all aligned and on board with this approach as it needs to be a team effort. Doing this right is a commitment and an investment but the developers we’re getting out of this are a joy to work with.

Get your development house in order first. The cleaner your process and the more robust your tech stack and documentation is, the more frictionless the whole process will be. If you’ve got a backlog of maintenance and improvements you’ve been dying to make but haven’t got round to, do them first. You’ll find onboarding Bootcamp graduates far easier and more productive (and less stressful for them) if your ways of working are concise and slick.

Have a development plan in place. When mentoring Bootcamp graduates (and when they start with us), the most common thing they want to know is, “what is it like working in the real world?”, and “how well should I be doing after a week, a month, 6 months, a year, etc?”. We try to keep things relaxed but we give the grads clear things to aim for such as, “deploy something to production in your first week”, “complete a support/change ticket and get it into a release within your first month”, and “ship your first complete small feature/module within 3 months”. We’re planning to take this further and create a more formal roadmap for them to follow, but please just have a plan (beyond a few days) for what you want them to achieve.

Liz Bristol Bootcamp Student

Liz – Graduated from Bootcamp Autumn 2017 now working at G&V.

There’s nothing worse than turning up to your first development job and finding there’s no computer, your desk isn’t properly setup, nobody has any time for you and everyone is too frightened/busy to give you anything to do apart from “read documentation”. Don’t be that company!

Is there anything you would tell students at the start of the coding bootcamp that you think would help them on the course?

Don’t panic! You’re going to cover a lot of new things at real pace, and in a very short space of time. There’s going to be an inevitable amount of anxiety and an urge to rush in order to keep pace, but in development sometimes you really do need to slow down in order to go faster.

Listen to the instructors, don’t be afraid to ask for help (again and again) and don’t suffer in silence.

If you’re having a good/easy week, help someone else. It’ll be credit in the bank when you have a tough week and you’ll learn far more from explaining something to someone else than you did by doing it in the first place!

Any advice you would give current bootcamp students about how to prepare for their first developer job in the industry? 

When it comes to finding a job and doing interviews, there’s probably a lot of personal pressure to just find a job. But don’t accept anything that doesn’t feel right – listen to your gut.

Don’t be afraid to push the interviewer on their approach to hiring junior development talent. Ask – do they have a plan/proper induction programme? What does the established team look like? Can someone demonstrate what the dev stack and code base looks like? What will my first week, month, year look like? Do they have any previous graduates/junior developers that they’d be happy for you to meet/talk to? An inability to answer any of the above satisfactorily could be a red flag.

When I mentor students I normally advise them not to accept too specialised a role unless they’re 100% sure it’s what they want to do. You’re so early in your career and you have plenty of time to specialise later on if you want to. But for your first role, taking on something broad will allow you to explore a wider piece of the development stack and will only help in the long run.

Do draw on previous career experience in the interview and absolutely sell your story of how you ended up doing this. While we naturally try to choose the strongest graduates from a given cohort, it’s normally the graduate’s previous career/life experience and how passionately they told their story that influences our final decision.

Finally, please try to hit some stretch goals and do a really great README on your project!

In your experience how quickly do bootcamp graduates start making a genuine and valuable impact?

We always aim to get graduates working on building releases and doing production deploys within in their first month, which builds confidence and gives a real feeling of contribution very early on.

We typically see a ‘net contribution’ (where the amount of work a graduate produces outweighs the amount of support they need from other team members, or training time they’re being allocated) in the first 2-3 months. There’s generally a huge leap in confidence/ability around the 6-9 month mark where they even have the confidence to help new graduates. After a year we start to see a graduate’s confidence reach the point where they start contributing to process and decision making within the development team.

Our Coding Bootcamp is a 12 week immersive classroom course with a 4 week part time online course as preparation. 98% of our graduates now work in Tech roles most of which we placed in their first position straight after completing the Bootcamp – we are very proud of our students love watching each of them move into Tech from a huge variety of different backgrounds! 

We caught up with Sasha on our Summer 2019 cohort to find out more about her background, why she chose to enrol on our Bristol based Coding Bootcamp and how she’s been getting on learning to code so far – you can also see Sasha chatting with us here.

What was your background/career before you joined the Coding Bootcamp?

I have a degree and masters in Animation and worked for Aardman Animations before the course. My role was as a Puppet Wrangler on the new Shaun the Sheep Movie this involved herding puppet sheep – quite a unique job I know!

Sasha one of our Bristol Bootcamp Students

Why are you attending the course?

I wanted a new direction into a career as a web developer and the Bootcamp seemed like the best solution for me. To learn in supported environment and meeting other like minded people.

What were your main questions/concerns before joining the Bootcamp?

I wondered if I would be able to keep up with the intensity of learning new things for the 12 weeks.

How does your experience on the Coding Bootcamp now answer those questions/concerns?

I’ve managed to keep up and one of my favourite things is learning something new everyday.

What was your coding experience before the Coding Bootcamp?

I had no previous coding experience except for doing a few online coding lessons and the prep work.

How have you found the course so far?

The Coding Bootcamp has been brilliant, I’ve been impressed with all the teachers and their specialist knowledge of each subject.

I’m enjoying the problem solving nature of tech.

What have you enjoyed the most?

I have mostly enjoyed the front-end; HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I also found WordPress quite interesting.

It’s also been eye opening to me to see how animation can be used in CSS and JavaScript.

What have you found the most challenging?

Whilst learning something new everyday is great but changing topics every week can be hard as you feel like you want more time to get stuck in with the topic!

How would you describe the support on the Bootcamp?

The level of support is one of the best things about the Bootcamp. You get one-on-one feedback every week so you feel very supported and day to day there is a lot of help from the teachers and Jack (the teaching assistant).

What advice would you give to someone thinking of attending our Coding Bootcamp in Bristol?

Go for it, you will not regret it! Do as much prep work as you can.

What role are you looking for after the Bootcamp? Where do you see yourself in the future?

I am interested in front-end development, but am open to all options. I would like to in the future work in the charity sector.

We have been running Bristol Coding Bootcamps for 4 years! We welcome anyone with a learning attitude. Find out more about our Bootcamp here and get in touch with any queries!

We caught up with Jonathan on our Summer 2019 cohort to find out more about his background, why he chose to enrol on our Bristol based Coding Bootcamp and how he’s been getting on learning to code so far – you can also see Jonathan chatting to us here.

What was your background/career before you joined the Coding Bootcamp?

I studied photography at college and university, then spent 2 years living in California, had 2 years working in childcare, then spent 2 years working as a digital consultant, which included building websites in Squarespace, print and creative design, digital marketing and configuring online booking systems.

In April 2018 I started my own web consulting business, which led me to Develop Me.

Jonathan - Bristol Coding Bootcamp Student

Why are you attending the Bootcamp?

I’m here because I enjoy learning and I wanted to expand the scope of my business and advance my skills in all aspects of professional web development.

What were your main concerns before joining the Coding Bootcamp?

I think my main question was related to ROI (return on investment). The course was a major investment for me and I wanted to make sure it was money well spent.

Does your experience on the Bootcamp now answer those concerns?

Develop Me have around 50 hiring partners and they arrange between 4 and 6 interviews for us at graduation, and I will likely receive up to 3 or 4 job offers as a result. The cost of the course is a small price to pay for the expert teaching and career progression / promotion opportunities that I’ll get as a result.

What was your coding experience before the course?

I had taught myself HTML and CSS, and used both in my work over the 3 years preceding the course.

How have you found the Coding Bootcamp so far?

It’s been fantastic! I’ve learned so much and definitely have a lot more hope and vision for my future. The course is fast paced for sure and very intensive. I’ve been very impressed by the curriculum structure — each day builds on the last, and each week on the one before it.

The tutors are “real” and friendly, very approachable and make for great ping pong opponents!

What have you enjoyed the most?

I think I enjoyed the PHP week the most, because it just seemed to click with me, and specifically the Object Oriented Programming (in both PHP and JavaScript). Learning React was hard work, but also pretty exciting.

What have you found the most challenging?

Lifting state in React was definitely the hardest in terms of content, but the biggest learning curve was realising that my brain would generally be 2 days behind, but that’s the nature of a bootcamp.

How would you describe the support on the Bootcamp?

Top notch!

What advice would you give to someone thinking of attending our Coding Bootcamp in Bristol?

Weigh the cost, make sure you can put your life on hold for 3 months, but if you’re passionate and determined and want a fast-track to a career in web development, it’s well worth your time and money!

What role are you looking for after the Bootcamp? Where do you see yourself in the future?

I’d like to work in a full stack role because I like both front-end and back-end development, but I’m leaning more towards PHP than JavaScript, so we’ll see! One day I’d love to start my own web development agency.

We have been running Bristol Coding Bootcamps for 4 years! We welcome anyone with a learning attitude. Find out more about our Bootcamp here and get in touch with any queries!