My Motivations For Entering A Web Development Bootcamp

My Motivations For Entering A Web Development Bootcamp

Apr 26, 2016
Adam Cuppy

If you’re around my age and spent a lot of time online when you were a kid, you probably had a Neopets account. In your early teens, you might have complained about school on LiveJournal, and kept in touch with your friends on MySpace.

In those days, if you wanted to customize your Neopets’ web pages, or the design of your LiveJournal or MySpace pages, you would have had to learn a bit of HTML and CSS. Whatever platform you were on, circa 2003, your page probably had a black background. The links might have done cool things like change colors or go strikethrough when you hovered over them. If you wanted to get really fancy, you might have turned the cursor into a shooting star or bunch of balloons.

And, if your story is like mine, as we all traded our MySpace pages for Facebook accounts, drag-and-drop tools made it easy to design a website without using HTML, and shooting star cursors stopped being cool, you might have stopped doing any sort of coding for a few years. It got so easy to do a lot of things on the Internet without knowing any code.

Let me introduce myself. My name’s Fiona Voss, I’ll be a student at LEARN starting this May, and that’s my early history with the Internet. Now I’m going to tell the story of how I came full circle and decided to not only take up coding again, but quit my job, enroll at LEARN’s bootcamp, and train for a new career as a web developer.

Despite my early interest in coding, I never thought to make a career out of it until about a year ago. In college, I majored in Art History and took mostly liberal arts classes. I didn’t give much thought to what kind of career I wanted to pursue until my last semester. I had always enjoyed studying foreign languages, though. I might enjoy teaching English as a foreign language, I thought.

To get my foot in the door as an English teacher I started by getting a CELTA, or Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. Getting a CELTA is actually pretty similar to going to a web development bootcamp, and my positive experience with it was one of the things that made me feel confident about enrolling at LEARN, so I’m going to spend some time going into detail about the CELTA.

The CELTA is an extremely practical introduction to teaching English. I got mine in an intensive program of just four weeks of full-time study: on site from 9 to 5, plus homework. On day one we observed our trainers teaching real students. On day two, we were thrown in the deep end and taught our first lessons. We learned how to communicate with learners, even beginners, using only English (plus lots of visual aids and gestures) and plan lessons that were both engaging and informative. By the end of the four-week program, I had personally spent a total of about four hours teaching, and several times that number observing my fellow trainees. Having my CELTA certification allowed me to get my first job as a teacher, at a language school in New York.

Of course, I wasn’t a fully formed teacher from the start after just four weeks of training. It took time for me to effectively apply the skills I had learned now that I was on my own. However, my teaching skills soon improved. My students enjoyed my lessons and made huge improvements in their grammar, vocabulary, and fluency. Throughout my teaching career, and especially in those first few months, I relied heavily on the practical foundation that had been built during my CELTA program. Looking back, I consider CELTA to be the most valuable educational experience of my life so far. I was acquiring practical skills in an extremely hands-on environment for a specific job that I really wanted to do. Because of that, I was incredibly motivated to learn—much more motivated than I ever had been in high school or college.

I taught English for almost 5 years in New York and San Diego. I met many interesting people from all over the world and developed a lot of confidence, as a person in general and particularly as a leader. All in all, my time teaching English is an experience that I’m grateful for. However, about a year ago I began to feel that it was time for me to move on. I knew I didn’t want to still be teaching English five or ten years from now, and the idea of moving up the ranks and becoming a school manager or academic director didn’t excite me, either. It was time to find a new field to go into—or maybe an old one.

I had seen a couple of friends go to bootcamp-style code schools and start new careers they loved in web design and software development. One of them had had such a good experience that her husband also decided to quit his job and do the same thing! They were doing so well that I had to stop and think about whether web development was an option for me. Their success showed me that, even though the last time I had done much coding was back when I was too young to vote, I could go to a bootcamp and get the skills I would need to start my new career. I spent some time practicing on websites like CodeAcademy, picked up the basics of JavaScript and Ruby, and saw some of the ways HTML and CSS have changed since the early 2000s. I decided that I would go for it. Now it was time to do some research into which bootcamp I would attend.

Looking back on my CELTA experience, and remembering how well it had worked for me, I wanted to learn web development in a similar environment: in-person, full-time, and intensive. After I visited LEARN, talked with Chelsea and Lisa, and observed the students working, I knew that it was the best choice for me. The internship component of the program was a major attraction for me as well: a chance for more hands-on learning inside a local company.

You’ll have to check in with me at the end of the summer when I’m done with LEARN to see how this story continues, but I expect it will be similar to my CELTA story. When I start my first job in my new career as a web developer, I’ll still have a lot to learn. In fact, in this industry, I know I’ll never stop learning. But thanks to LEARN, I’ll have a foundation of practical skills to build on. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be using those new skills for. I might focus on design, or back-end development, or mobile apps, or something I can’t even imagine yet. But whatever I end up doing, I know it will be way cooler than those web pages I designed back in my middle school days!

-Olivia Porter

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Can I work while attending LEARN academy?

We have had students hold part-time jobs while attending the coding bootcamps at LEARN academy. They tell us that it’s not too bad if your work is on the weekend, but working more than one night per week is really tough. It is tough but possible.


What is the class schedule?

LEARN academy’s 4 month bootcamp is Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.


What do you mean by "full-time"?

LEARN academy’s full-time course is Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Students spend the first 12 weeks working in the online classroom and the final 4 weeks in their remote programming internship.


What is the background of the typical LEARN Student?

There isn’t really a typical student at LEARN academy. Most have not taken computer science classes in college, although some have. Some have not gone to college at all, but many have undergraduate degrees in something other than computer science. Past graduates have been in the entertainment industry, waitresses, massage therapists, in the military, and just about anything else you can think of.

Can I call you or drop by to talk?

Absolutely! We love chatting with potential partners and students. It is always best to make an appointment first so we can make sure someone is available to answer your questions. You can email us hello@learnacademyorg.


Is there any required prep work?

Students who are accepted and enrolled in the 4 month bootcamp are required to attend and participate in a workshop, called Jumpstart, offered by LEARN academy prior to the first day of the program. These workshops are free for students and included in the price of the tuition for the bootcamp. LEARN academy offers multiple workshops leading up to the start of class that students can sign up for.


I don't live in San Diego, can I still apply?

Yes! LEARN academy’s live-remote courses allow students to take our courses from just about anywhere in the United States. However, we are not able to support International students at this time.


How long should my application be?

One of the things we look for in an application is – did we get to know you? It’s almost impossible for us to get to know a candidate if each of the essay answers is only two sentences long. It doesn’t need to be a novel, but before you submit, check to make sure your personality is coming out in your writing.


How old do I have to be to attend LEARN academy?

Code school students must be 18 years old by the date of the first class as we are not legally able to accommodate minors.


What does the application process look like at LEARN academy?

Once you have submitted your application, the team at LEARN academy will review it and be in touch within a week of your submission date. If we feel it is a good fit we will ask you in for an interview. It is an informal interview. A chance for us to get to know you and for you to ask any questions you might have about the coding course. We know that it is vital to your success to find the course that is best for you and your learning needs. We use the interview to find out if we are the best fit for you! If at that point we both agree that it is a good fit we will invite you to secure a seat in the class of your choice.


Can I work while attending LEARN academy?

We have had students hold part-time jobs while attending the coding bootcamps at LEARN academy. They tell us that it’s not too bad if your work is on the weekend, but working more than one night per week is really tough. It is tough but possible.


What is the class schedule?

LEARN academy’s 4 month bootcamp is Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.


What do you mean by "full-time"?

LEARN academy’s full-time course is Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Students spend the first 12 weeks working in the online classroom and the final 4 weeks in their remote programming internship.


What is the background of the typical LEARN Student?

There isn’t really a typical student at LEARN academy. Most have not taken computer science classes in college, although some have. Some have not gone to college at all, but many have undergraduate degrees in something other than computer science. Past graduates have been in the entertainment industry, waitresses, massage therapists, in the military, and just about anything else you can think of.

Can I work while attending LEARN academy?

We have had students hold part-time jobs while attending the coding bootcamps at LEARN academy. They tell us that it’s not too bad if your work is on the weekend, but working more than one night per week is really tough. It is tough but possible.


What is the class schedule?

LEARN academy’s 4 month bootcamp is Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.


What do you mean by "full-time"?

LEARN academy’s full-time course is Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Students spend the first 12 weeks working in the online classroom and the final 4 weeks in their remote programming internship.


What is the background of the typical LEARN Student?

There isn’t really a typical student at LEARN academy. Most have not taken computer science classes in college, although some have. Some have not gone to college at all, but many have undergraduate degrees in something other than computer science. Past graduates have been in the entertainment industry, waitresses, massage therapists, in the military, and just about anything else you can think of.

Can I call you or drop by to talk?

Absolutely! We love chatting with potential partners and students. It is always best to make an appointment first so we can make sure someone is available to answer your questions. You can email us hello@learnacademyorg.


Is there any required prep work?

Students who are accepted and enrolled in the 4 month bootcamp are required to attend and participate in a workshop, called Jumpstart, offered by LEARN academy prior to the first day of the program. These workshops are free for students and included in the price of the tuition for the bootcamp. LEARN academy offers multiple workshops leading up to the start of class that students can sign up for.


I don't live in San Diego, can I still apply?

Yes! LEARN academy’s live-remote courses allow students to take our courses from just about anywhere in the United States. However, we are not able to support International students at this time.


How long should my application be?

One of the things we look for in an application is – did we get to know you? It’s almost impossible for us to get to know a candidate if each of the essay answers is only two sentences long. It doesn’t need to be a novel, but before you submit, check to make sure your personality is coming out in your writing.


How old do I have to be to attend LEARN academy?

Code school students must be 18 years old by the date of the first class as we are not legally able to accommodate minors.


What does the application process look like at LEARN academy?

Once you have submitted your application, the team at LEARN academy will review it and be in touch within a week of your submission date. If we feel it is a good fit we will ask you in for an interview. It is an informal interview. A chance for us to get to know you and for you to ask any questions you might have about the coding course. We know that it is vital to your success to find the course that is best for you and your learning needs. We use the interview to find out if we are the best fit for you! If at that point we both agree that it is a good fit we will invite you to secure a seat in the class of your choice.


Still have questions?