Find out more and read Devmountain reviews on Course Report. A version of this article was originally published on Course Report and was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with Devmountain.
At Devmountain, we’ve been helping individuals seeking to change their career into the tech industry since 2013, and now we’re expanding our programs to include more of the skills that today’s employers are looking for. Our President and General Manager, Hideo Hansen, discusses three of our new course offerings, and what kind of support remote students can expect. Plus, he shares details about our new Coding Basics course geared toward total coding beginners, whether you are pivoting into a tech career or just want to add a new skill to your toolbox.
Devmountain has been teaching programming and Quality Assurance (QA) for nearly a decade! What are the major changes that students can expect in 2021?
We have an enthusiastic career-support team that has been working with employers to learn which competencies are most valued as technology advances. There were three skill sets we knew we could start teaching right away: Python Engineering, Java Engineering, and Data Analytics. So we’ve added 16-week courses in those areas to our lineup.
We also modified our popular Web Development program to match the same format, which meant adding 3 weeks of content to that program.
In addition to those career-focused courses, we’ve also added a 4-week Coding Basics class. This is a great option for anyone who thinks they might be interested in a full Devmountain course but wants to take Devmountain for a little test drive first. We’ve also found it’s very helpful for professionals who aren’t necessarily looking to switch careers, but who would benefit from knowing a few coding essentials. Many of us aren’t developers and we have a hard time communicating back and forth because there isn’t a common language. This course can help.
Finally, we are working hard to add additional programs in 2021 to respond to student and market demands more quickly. If you’re not finding what you hoped for on our website, please let us know about it! We absolutely want a strong student voice guiding us as we plan for the future.
Could you walk us through the subject tracks that Devmountain will teach in this new format?
I think it goes to show that in 2021, many roles are becoming tech roles, and the more you understand about the different roles you work with, the better off you are.
Web Development: This is closely related to the web development program we’ve been teaching for years, but with a few improvements. The course has always had more of a front-end focus, and now that we have two programs that are concentrated on back-end development, we’ve leaned into that front-end focus even more. This makes a great program for our students who discover they love front-end work, while those who learn they love back-end work can transfer over to one of our engineering courses. Additionally, we’ve added more instruction about the fundamentals of development work — broadly applicable skills and topics that can make students better employees regardless of specific roles or organizations.
Software Engineering (Python): Python is a language we’re frequently asked about, and we’re thrilled to be adding this course to our mix. Many think Python is highly readable and has a straightforward syntax, which makes it an ideal first language to learn and grow with. Like all of our new programs, the first half is devoted to learning coding fundamentals, things that will be useful no matter what specialization you pursue. Not only is this a sound instructional philosophy, but it also gives our students a chance to make sure they’ve chosen the right program.
For those who learn or already know they want to specialize in Python, in the back half of the course they will learn how to use Python and other tools to build object-oriented programs.
Software Engineering (Java): A lot of people think Java can be difficult to learn and master, but those who are eager for the challenge will find that Java is used in a lot of applications, in a lot of industries, and in a lot of ways. After learning some fundamentals, those who choose to specialize in Java development will learn to use Java and other languages and tools like SQL, Spring Boot, and GitHub, to build object-oriented programs. We hope the effort it takes to learn this language well will help these students stand apart for any company looking to add some new Java engineers.
Data Analytics: As we all are moving across the internet, downloading apps, spending time on social media, and more, there has been an explosion of data collection. Many companies are hoping to better collect, sort, and meaningfully understand data, which makes data analytics an interesting tech field — it’s not just for people who want to build apps or software, but could be for marketers, accountants, managers, and or just about any business professional who is looking to get insights from quantitative information. In this 16-week course, students will learn the fundamentals of development before learning to use tools like Python and SQL to manipulate and understand data.
We will also continue to teach our legacy iOS development, QA testing, and UX Design programs while we explore how to modify those to match the same format as our new programs.
Is the new bootcamp format offered online and in-person?
We are launching the new programs online, but we hope to offer all the new courses in person this summer or fall. We miss seeing all our students on campus! We will continue to offer Web Development, iOS Development, UX Design, and QA Testing remotely or in-person as local public health guidelines allow.
But whether our courses are delivered remotely or in person, we’ve worked hard to keep the bootcamp style — providing live lectures, real-time help, and lots of hands-on learning upfront, before turning students loose to work on their own projects, applying what they’ve learned with some gentle guidance.
Should applicants have a technical background before applying for Devmountain?
Our courses are designed to be beginner-friendly. Of course, the more experience and ability you have, the easier things will be. We often find that a student's level of commitment is much more important than their incoming knowledge. For anyone who is worried about their preparation, something like the Coding Basics course can be helpful.
Has the admissions process changed for this new bootcamp format?
Nope! The admissions process still consists of:
I’ve learned over time that some people get nervous about the consultation or the skill review like it’s a job interview where they have to prove they are worthy of moving toward a career in tech. The truth is we really want what is best for our students, and the consultation and skill review help us make sure what we offer is aligned with the applicant’s goals and to help give them an idea of how ready they are for the program.
We don’t expect you to be an expert and it’s okay to not have a lot of relevant experience. We are really looking for passion, commitment, and goal alignment, not business attire and a resume.
What kinds of projects will students work on in the new courses?
This is a bootcamp, so the projects start early. Some projects will give you a chance to learn on your own, while others provide an opportunity to check your own progress and understanding. As students go further, they will begin working on projects that can go into a portfolio. Choosing those projects is usually a collaboration between students, who know what their interests are, and staff, who know what is feasible given the constraints of a highly-compressed training experience.
Obviously, different students in different specializations will make different projects. One of the great things about working at Devmountain is seeing the original and creative projects students build. At one end of the spectrum, we often see practical things like classification, inventory, or scheduling programs, and on the other end of the spectrum, we see fun projects, like digital adaptations of popular games, programs that can tell you where the “best” bars are located in a specific city, or even an application that will tell you when the avocados you bought are ripe.
No matter what the project is, we’re committed to helping students do work that will show off their personalities, passions, and new abilities. We want our students to come out of Devmountain looking good.
Does Devmountain offer a prep course to ramp up new students for this new bootcamp format?
If a student is struggling with the bootcamp, how can they receive extra support?
Our health as an organization is deeply connected with the well-being of our students. The reality is bootcamps are hard and most students will hit a stretch where they feel like they are struggling. When they hit those rough patches, we will be there to offer support. In addition to our great team of instructors, mentors, and subject-matter experts, we also have a team of student experience and community managers. These in-class and outside-of-class teams meet regularly and discuss student progress name by name.
Sometimes we will reach out to students to offer extra help and support before they reach out to us.
In cases where we don’t reach out first, students can contact instructional staff or their assigned experience manager. Together they can meet to discuss the issues — whether they’re in or outside of class — and make a specific plan to help the student get through the course.
In addition to these more formal channels, we also do our best to promote robust communities where students who are further ahead in a program can help those who are just starting, or where students with more experience in a cohort can help those who might have less. We believe a healthy, supportive community of learners is an invaluable resource and potential teaching tool, whether you’re the one seeking help or offering guidance.
What do career prep and job placement look like in this new format?
Our career services team will help students prepare their resumes, hold networking events, and even help students with interview prep. They are eager to help and love nothing more than when a student partners with them to try to find their new career.
After graduation, our students can continue their journey with ongoing access to the graduate success team, career fairs, and invitations to networking events to help get them in front of tech employers looking for fresh talent. Our graduate success team meets regularly to discuss every student — they aren’t happy until our students are happy.
Do you have any tips for new students who are looking to get the most out of this new bootcamp format?
Career changes can be hard, and it’s easy to procrastinate a journey like this. But the sooner you begin, the sooner you’ll be on the path to a new job — hopefully, one that is fulfilling and that you will be proud of. The best part of my job is seeing all our students’ hard work pay off. Nothing changes unless you do. If you believe you want to do this, but are sitting on the fence, then I’d encourage you to go for it.
If you aren’t sure if you want to do this, fill out an application, talk to a counselor, and get a little experience with our skill review.
Most of us learn what we want by getting out, taking the next step, and having an experience rather than sitting around and thinking.
At Devmountain, we are passionate about providing engaging experiences that change lives. We are always trying to make Devmountain more and more accessible to everyone, but none of that does any good unless you are willing to bet on yourself. Betting on yourself is scary, but we see students do it regularly and it’s inspirational. It’s your life! Be bold and make a lasting impression.