So my part 2 has been overdue, mainly because I’d been struggling on what to include or talk about that would provide real value to someone looking at this in the future.
Then I got an e-mail from a prospective student asking for my honest feedback, and I realized that my reply is basically my review of The Firehose Project! So here’s what this post is going to be. 1. My reply to this prospective student 2. Accompanied by a post to Codenewbies where I’m opening it up to questions.
I will update this post with any relevant questions and answers that result out of this.
So let me anonymize the sender, and give you pretty much word for word my e-mail exchange reviewing TheFirehoseProject.com online bootcamp:
First the question:
Angel, your candid appraisal of Firehose is what I am after. You clearly (and successfully!) made a large career transition and I would like to know what Firehose did very well and what Firehose did very poorly, in your opinion. Your thoughts would be extremely useful to me and I appreciate any information you would be willing to provide.
No worries. I was in your shoes really not too long ago. Here’s my 2(or more) cents:
Ken / Marco are genuinely stand-up guys. They care for their students and it shows in the interactions. They’ve gone out of their way many times to show support, even after course completion.
The curriculum apps seem a bit basic on first sight, and when you’re being hand-held through them, they’ll be challenging, but especially with your familiarity with Ruby code they shouldn’t be out of your comfort range. I really didn’t see the biggest value of the lessons until after I completed and started working at my current gig.
I’ve gone back so many times to review a concept that now is being used in my current code. The foundation is there. Another plus is the focus on learning how to ‘learn’. Many of the lessons will give you a slight explanation and then send you off to research StackOverflow or Google. This seemed a bit off-putting at first, until I realized that’s such a huge part of a day to day coding job.
Also, I didn’t realize how important git team collaboration was at the time. Every project and team project will be worked on and collaborated on through git (command line). Something that at the time seemed simple enough, learning about pull-requests, merging, merge conflicts, etc is so important when you’ll start working with other devs. I’m glad there was a focus on this during the course. Also, my current job has mainly remote devs. Working with them is very similar to working with a remote ‘team’ in FH.
One more note on taking advantage of weekly office hours – I’ve seen many students in the office hours not ready with questions. Maybe they can help focus students and having ?s ready for this weekly hour. I would always write questions out as the week went by, and would always have something to ask. Even if you think you solved it, ask it anyway. It’ll help your learning process.
Negatives: After burning through the core material, there could have been a bit more structure on ‘what’s next’. Take into account that I was working on it for about 6-8 hours a day, so I definitely went a bit faster than they had planned on. However, last time I peeked at the material and from hearing some of the newer students they’ve added more exercises to balance out the core program, and the team collab also has more structure now.
I did have a close-out meeting with Marco, and expressed this same feeling to him. I believe that this is something that has either been solved, or is in traction to be solved.
So there it is. If there’s something very specific that you want to know about the program, feel free to ask. FYI, I did try to come up w/ more negatives, but it truly was a great experience for me.
Angel, I appreciate your thoughtful reply! What was your job hunt like? How long did it take after completing the program? Anything you would have done differently if you were going though it again? Thanks for everything!
Job hunt can be tough, but then again your circumstances may be different than mine.
I’m 33, no college (not just no CS degree) and no obvious tech experience. However, I knew that going into the program. I started going to tech events before I completed the program, and I started applying for jobs around the same time.
I did get a couple interviews out of traditional resume submitting, and the conversations looked promising but it never converted to anything.
Ultimately what worked was helping out a start-up. That led to a bit more and more. That led to a 3 month consulting gig, which lasted 2 months because they ended up just giving me a full time offer. I started my consulting gig 1.5 months after finishing program.
I met the founders of this startup at a networking event, and there was no guarantee that it would pan out to anything. But I figured that even the experience of working on a project that wasn’t ‘mine’ or wasn’t a student project would be worth while. Careful with this strategy, I had a very good gut feeling about these folks, but there will be many who will try to just get free code from you and really have nothing lined up for the future. For me, it worked out well.
Done differently: Work on more side projects while still going through the course. You’ll miss having a weekly mentor once that’s over. Take full advantage of it.
Thanks Angel. You experience during the program and following is more-or-less what I am expecting. Kudos to you for making it work. Well done. Thanks again for your thoughts.
I wanted to share this because when a ‘real’ person asked for help, the motivation to help them was much greater than writing a review post for an ‘unknown’ audience. Yet I know there are many real people out there needing some guidance before committing both financially and in time and effort to one of these programs.
Feel free to post comments, go to codenewbie or tweet @ajose01 if you are in a similar situation and have a question that I haven’t addressed.