Creating Awesome New Developers: Dev Bootcamp Visit

Last week, Chris and I visited Dev Bootcamp in Chicago. We talked with Dave Hoover and our old friend (and inaugural QCMerge speaker) Jen Myers.

Dave’s Twitter bio does a great job summing up the person I met:

“Latent human potential pisses me off.”

You can tell he’s driven to help people improve. He didn’t start coding until he was 26 years old. He was a partner at Obtiva, went to Groupon, wrote a book and a whitepaper about apprenticeship and is an awesome person. As you can see, we talked quite a bit with Dave. His major and experience before becoming a developer is psychology.

That convergence of disciplines creates an interesting individual. A therapist who knows how to help people reach new levels in their own lives and careers.

It shows at Dev Bootcamp, too. On the walls are motivating quotes. The large pairing room is quiet. Students in the current “cohorts” are heads down, learning new techniques almost hourly.

A bit of an explanation, first. A cohort is a small batch of aspiring developers. The cohorts go through three phases during their time at Dev Bootcamp.

It’s a super intense, nine week program divided in to three phases. The first phase focuses on Ruby, the language. Next up it’s databases and ActiveRecord. Just the gem, not the full Rails stack. The third phase dives in to all things Rails. Phase three is when the students pitch each other ideas, choose the one they’re most interested in and form a group to get busy.

You won’t graduate an expert, but you’ve got a great head start. Most grads get jobs at places like Groupon. Not too shabby for your first development gig. As experienced developers know, you’re always learning. Dev Bootcamp gives you the tools to keep learning and growing.

I’m interested in making development accessible to new individuals. As a self-taught coder, I want more people to understand what’s available. Dave Ramsey often uses the phrase “changing your family tree” and I believe that to be true here as well. Showing someone how to move up an income bracket is life changing. Pretty rewarding, too.

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