Ultimate Guide to Frontend Bootcamps

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Frontend developers ensure web applications are well-designed, responsive, and friendly to touch on mobile devices. Thanks to frontend frameworks like AngularJS, frontend programming is becoming a more important part of the web development stack.  These new frontend frameworks allow developers to move programming logic and data that was once restricted to server-side development onto the frontend, which increases the speed and interactivity of user-facing functionality.

Meanwhile, the market demand for frontend developers continues to rise.  As a result of this market demand, and the increasing power of what can be accomplished on the frontend, a range of frontend bootcamps and courses have emerged. So we compiled the below list of top courses and programs. In this post, we’ll describe each course, and offer some opinions and recommendations. But first, let’s clarify a few things about frontend web development.

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Ultimate Guide to Ruby Bootcamps

Ruby Header Coding Bootcamps have erupted onto the scene just in the past three years and today there are *over fifty bootcamps* teaching Ruby on Rails alone. While some of these programs are well-oiled machines, others are just getting off the ground. So we decided to create a comprehensive guide — the kinda thing we wish someone had written for us.

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Meet Ben – Web Dev Program Directorben-circle

Ben is Director of Full Stack Web Development at Bloc, where he takes a holistic view of the program, iterating on the curriculum and managing Bloc’s Mentor team. Before that, Ben spent two years as a Mentor and helped over 40 students become full stack developers.  Prior to that, Ben was a web developer at Uceem and A10 Networks.

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Methodology

Rather than us writing a review of every program, we focused on the 11 most prominent courses and programs, but we think after reading this you’ll be able to take a critical look at *any* program’s curriculum and identify its strengths and weaknesses. Included among the eleven courses and programs below are four top tier bootcamps we highly recommend. Also included are three lesser-known bootcamps. Finally, we included four courses that often get lumped-in as learning-to-code tools, but follow a different format. Within each category, programs are ordered alphabetically.

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The Cream of the Crop

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Bloc

Online

$4,999

25 hrs/week x 18 weeks

Bloc offers a structured online program in full stack web development, (as well as programs in frontend, iOS, Android, and UX Design), built around the time-tested model of apprenticeship. Bloc students work remotely to learn Ruby on Rails through three to five hands-on projects and continuous mentoring from an experienced professional. In addition to the standard 40 hour/week full-time program, Bloc offers two part-time program lengths.

Ben’s Take:

Bloc is obviously my favorite. We do a fantastic job combining the flexibility of a remote program with the accountability of an in-person bootcamp. Each student is assigned an individual mentor to be their guide – which parallels how a lot of experienced developers first learned their craft. Because it’s 1-on-1, we can tailor the curriculum to each student’s goals.

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Dev Bootcamp

San Francisco, Chicago, and New York

$12,200

25-40 hrs/week x 19 of weeks

Our course consists of 9-weeks of part-time prep completed remotely, and 9-15 weeks of full-time immersive learning. You can repeat up to two phases for free and this safety net allows to continually push our pace of learning. Did we mention a week-long career phase after graduation?

Ben’s Take:

Dev Bootcamp is one of the most selective programs, and one of the first in-person programs to add a hybrid-online component. The first 9 weeks remote – which seems to be a new trend among a lot of bootcamps. The second half is  in-person at one of three cities. This is full-time, with many students spending 50+ hours/week. If you can make the time commitment, the combination of pre-course preparation and intensive in-person training gives Dev Bootcamp an attractive edge over other bootcamps. Dev Bootcamp was also acquired last year by Kaplan, so it has the credibility of an established institution in the higher ed space behind it.

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Flatiron School

New York City

$15,000

40 hrs/week x 12 of weeks

The program is designed give you the equivalent skill set and experience of an entry-level Ruby developer. Because we focus heavily on collaboration, you are required to be on campus Monday Thru Friday, 9AM-6PM throughout the duration of the program. There is certainly a fair amount of work to be done beyond those hours (many students choose to stay late and come in on weekends), but that’s the minimum. Prior to arriving to campus, you’ll also complete 4 weeks (80-120 hours in total) of pre-work assignments at home. This, plus the following 12 weeks of on-campus learning, amounts to a 16 week commitment.

Ben’s Take:

Flatiron is one of the most selective programs. It prides itself in it’s pair-programming structure and the fact that student will work on real world applications that will later be used by other Flatiron students. The provided pre-work allows students to get up to speed so that they are ready to hit the ground running when they arrive. While the course is well-designed, the tuition is higher than most. That, combined with the steep cost-of-living in New York may be difficult for some students.

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General Assembly

Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Sydney, and Washington D.C.

$11,500

40 hrs/week x 12 of weeks

We teach the skills you need to kickstart your career as a developer and a lifelong learner. From programming fundamentals to launching full-stack web apps, you’ll learn to solve problems with code while applying industry best practices in a collaborative environment.

Ben’s Take:

General Assembly has 13 locations spread around the country and world, making it the bootcamp with the widest geographical footprint. It looks like some of these locations don’t have any Web Development Immersive cohorts starting in the next three months, however, so you’ll definitely want to find out if they’re actually offering the program at the location nearest you. GA also offers numerous smaller workshops for those not looking for an immersive program but instead for a short skill refresher. Their Web Dev Immersive program is primarily designed to bring beginners up to speed and jump-start career changes. General Assembly provides job preparation, career resources, and networking opportunities.

Others

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App Academy

San Francisco, and New York

18% of your first year salary

40 hrs/week x 12 of weeks

App Academy teaches you everything you need to become an entry-level web developer. We teach the full web stack. For server-side, backend work, we teach Ruby, PostgreSQL, and Rails. Client-side front-end technologies we teach include HTML5/CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, and Backbone.js. Take a look at our week-by-week breakdown; you’ll be amazed by how much you’ll learn in 12 weeks.

Ben’s Take:

App Academy is another full-time, in-person bootcamp focused on job placement, with an interesting twist. Students pay nothing up front. Instead they pay a placement fee after they get their first job. The fee is 18% of the first year salary, payable over the first 6 months of work. Application to the program is very competitive, with less than 5% of applicants accepted. The course provides a thorough introduction to Rails, HTML5, jQuery, software design and best-practices, algorithms, data structures, and code readings. If you already have enough coding experience to pass their admissions challenges in the top 5%, and can live frugally for the 3 month program and your first six months of working, App Academy’s no-up-front tuition model could be a great fit. At the same time, it’s important to note that this school is definitely not for beginners; you’ll need serious developer chops just to get in the door.

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Code Fellows

Seattle, Washington

$15,000

40 hrs/week x 12 of weeks

We’ve worked closely with our partner companies to identify the most important skills, and our expert instructors have created curriculum and a team learning environment that will prepare you for a successful career in tech. Code Fellows partners with Hulu, Moz, Amazon Web Services, and others to place students into developer positions.

Ben’s Take:

Code Fellows has a very unconventional approach. They actually break their 12-week program into two separate courses. First, they offer a 4-week bootcamp for $5,000 that teaches foundations. Then, they offer an 8-week Ruby on Rails Development Accelerator that is designed to help people with previous developer experience get the skills necessary for a job. The really interesting thing is that the Development Accelerator comes with a $60K salary guarantee within 9 months of graduating, or your money back. If you can pass their admissions process, you may be able to skip-over the $5,000 bootcamp and go straight to the Development Accelerator, bringing the tuition down from $15,000 to $10,000. A great choice if you are based in Portland or Seattle.

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Startup Institute

Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York

$5,250

40 hrs/week x 8 of weeks

Startup Institute’s focus is to teach Rails to developers who already have a strong grasp on at least one other backend language. In the first two days you will have a solid understanding of a model-view-controller architecture, followed by a series of rails labs helping you build your first rails app. From here you will focus on a pair programming project with a strong focus on agile development tactics. In addition, the sessions will give you exposure to topics such as test driven development, git, AWS, Heroku, node.js and mobile-first methodology.

Ben’s Take:

Startup Institute is one of the best in-person bootcamp values. At 8 weeks, it’s a little shorter than other bootcamps, but the price makes it a great deal. They have a pretty standard immersive curriculum, which provides a solid introduction to Ruby, Rails, and general web development. Eight weeks is a fast introduction to Rails and might not be long enough to fully prepare students for Junior Developer positions. That’s likely why they claim you need prior familiarity with another backend language before enrolling. If you are living in one of the 5 cities they operate in, they are worth looking into.

 

Non-Bootcamp Programs

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Betamore Academy

Baltimore Maryland

$3,400

6 hrs/week x 12 weeks

Maybe you have the next big idea? Maybe you want to join a team who’s already building the next big idea? This course will walk you through the full stack of web application development from databases to object-oriented programming in Ruby and app development on Rails. You’ll be building your own apps within 12 weeks using the same programming framework that Twitter, Github, LivingSocial, and many others are using.

Ben’s Take:

Betamore Academy is a very attractively priced in-person, part-time, learning co-op in Baltimore. They’re a good option if you’re in Baltimore, looking for an in-person experience, but unable to enroll in a full time course. Betamore is also tied into the to local Baltimore tech scene, offering students the opportunity to meet and network with local tech movers and shakers. Given the low time commitment per week, they don’t really qualify as a bootcamp. However given the part-time nature of the program, the total number of learning hours is going to be much lower than a full-time program or a longer part-time program, and students may not be fully prepared to get a junior developer job after graduation. This might be a better fit for someone who wants to remain in a non-techincal role, but get some basic developer know-how under their belt.

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Code School

Online

$29/month

Code School offers you the chance to go at your own pace and learn a wide range of topics from Ruby on Rails to iOS to Frontend. Start by learning the basic building blocks of Ruby, all in the browser.

Ben’s Take:

Code School is an on-demand video tutorial platform. Code School’s material is slickly produced, with entertaining videos, highly polished course materials, and in-browser exercises. Access to all Code School courses is available for a very reasonably monthly subscription that can be cancelled/resumed at any time. A great resource for aspiring developers looking to jumpstart their Rails knowledge or intermediate developers wanting to dive deeper into testing, APIs, and Rails 4 patterns. Like Codecademy, the lack of mentoring, structured progression through the material, or advanced projects means it does not fall into the code bootcamp category.

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Codecademy

Online

Free

9 Learning Hours

This tutorial will introduce you to Ruby, an object-oriented scripting language you can use on its own or as part of the Ruby on Rails web framework.

Ben’s Take:

Codecademy is a fantastic beginner resource, and one we recommend students work through before starting with Bloc. The material is high quality and aimed squarely at new programmers. Students work exclusively in browser, negating the need for setting up a local developer environment. The lack of mentoring, structured progression through the material, or advanced projects preclude it from being considered as a bootcamp.

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Skillcrush

Online

$399

10 hrs/week x 12 of weeks

If you like to make things: to build furniture, knit cozy sweaters, throw a ceramic mug, then you will love learning how to make your creative vision and build it into a real-live web application. Web developers are builders and problem solvers. Every single website, app, and piece of software you work on daily was created by a developer. Developers love to dream up a crazy idea or identify a BIG problem, and then come up with an elegant solution.

Ben’s Take:

Skillcrush, like Treehouse and Code School, de-emphasises live instruction in favor of recorded videos and text-based tutorials. They offer optional live office hours with other students and an instructor. So while the program covers many of the same topics, without that human element, I wouldn’t consider it a developer bootcamp.

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Conclusion

It is an exciting time for programming education. The ascent of coding bootcamps has opened the doors to new skills and careers for many people. We’re excited to be part of this transformation that is combining the best methods of many different educational systems to create student focused outcomes. The job market for Rails developers is booming, and there’s never been more ways to make the career change. We hope this guide will help you in the decision to make the next exciting step in your personal and professional development.

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Spotlight Alumni: Frontend Web Development

 Carmen Krol, a Frontend Spotlight Alum

Before Bloc, Carmen was an: Administrative assistant at Columbia University

After Bloc, Carmen is now a: Freelance Frontend Developer

Why did Carmen enroll in Bloc? She loves Minecraft, and her boyfriend saw a lot of similarities between the game and frontend development. After discovering this, Carmen decided to enroll in a bootcamp. She also wanted to create something that would impact others Carmen felt that she made little impact on others in her old job.

Read the rest of Carmen’s story and Bloc experience on our Alumni Page.

Carmen’s Capstone: Listy-“Users can create an account in which they create and edit bookmarks. The bookmarks can include a link, comments, and tags. Users can search bookmarks and sort them by tags. The tags can be edited and deleted.”

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Spotlight Alumni: UX Design

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Gemma Haylett, a UX Design Spotlight Alum

Before Bloc Gemma was an: Aerospace Engineer at Space Systems Loral

After Bloc Gemma switched careers to: Frontend Developer at Sephora

Why did she enroll in Bloc? With a degree in Computer Science, Gemma decided to quit her job as an Aerospace engineer to pursue her passion. This was sparked after After her husband land the job of his dreams; Gemma also wanted a job that she loved.

Read more about Gemma’s story and her Bloc experience on our Alumni Page

Capstone Project: Jott.ly. A web application focused on allowing users to sign up and create an account, make simple content pages, and provide a way to collaborate with others within their organization.

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Spotlight Alum: iOS Development

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Kervins Valcourt, an iOS Spotlight Alum

Before Bloc, Kervins: graduated with a degree in mathematics and applied computer science and went on to become a Data Analyst.

After Bloc, Kervins is now: interviewing for jobs in his field, and about to release a new app.

Why did he enroll in Bloc? He realized he needed additional skills to become an entrepreneur, build his own app, and land a developer job.

Read the rest of Kervin’s story and his Bloc experience on our Alumni Page.

 

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Spotlight Alumni: Full Stack Web Development

hml_sepia_crop.jpgHarry Levine, a Full Stack Spotlight Alum

Before Bloc Harry was the: Director of Training for a software company

After Bloc Harry switched careers to: Ruby on Rails Developer at FirePoint

Why did he enroll in Bloc? Harry had a desire to change careers, but hardly had time with a full-time job and family. He enrolled in night classes at the University of Denver, but found that the curriculum and materials were outdated. After 1 quarter, Harry made the decision to quit school and invest his time in an online bootcamp. Shortly after, Harry stumbled upon Bloc.

Job Prep: Following Harry’s successful graduation from Bloc, he qualified for our Job Prep Phase. With the help of Job Prep’s mock phone calls and practice technical interviews, Harry landed a job at FirePoint.

Read more about Harry’s story and his Bloc experience on our Alumni Page.

Harry’s Capstone: Mind On Rails. A memory aid and notes capture app for developers learning Rails.

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Developer Advice from a Salesforce Software Engineer

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Nick Ferraro, an iOS Development mentor gives his perspective of the Bloc experience. After mentoring numerous students through their courses, Nick not only has extensive knowledge when it comes to coding, but knows what it takes for a student to achieve success.

Background:

Nick Ferraro, a Software Engineer for Salesforce.com, and an Adjunct Professor at Oregon Institute of Technology, has been a mentor for Bloc’s students who enroll in iOS and Android Development courses. We sat down with Nick to get some career advice for aspiring JavaScript devs. Most recently he has been diving into Frontend development with a focus on applying it to Mobile development. This year Nick gave a presentation at Dreamforce 2014  on how Salesforce IT builds apps with frontend frameworks. With so many frameworks to choose from, Nick made it his goal to dive deep into NodeJS, AngularJS, ReactJS, Famo.us, MeteorJS, EmberJS, BackboneJS,so he can distill and share that knowledge with the students he works with.

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UX Design Student’s Project Gains Popularity on Dribbble and The Bold Italic

bw-vis-photoMichael Horton, a 26 year old freelance video producer, entrepreneur and now a UX Design Bloc student, recently launched Midnight Express – an Uber-for-busses startup that offers late-night bus service from San Francisco to Silicon Valley. With Midnight Express, those wishing to return home to the South Bay after BART and Caltrain close can reserve a seat online and get a safe ride home. Since it’s launch just four weeks ago, Midnight Express has been featured in the Bold Italic, 7×7, FoxMission Local, and Metro Silicon Valley.

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D​ribbble is an invite-only online community for professional designers (our UX Design students actually get special access when they join Bloc). Designers often post their new projects to the Dribbble community to solicit feedback. When Michael posted Midnight Express to Dribbble, he received a tremendous amount of positive feedback. According to Joey Kirk, Bloc’s UX Design Course Director, “[Michael’s] debut is leading the top of popular shots right now, and I would say easily the best debut by one of our students ever on Dribbble.” (more…)

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Affiliate Linkr Founder Shares Developer Advice

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One of our Frontend Web Development mentors shares advice and tips on how to be successful in a course at Bloc.

Background:

As the founder of Affliate Linkr,  the owner of Zerrtech, and 12 years of practice under his belt, Jeremy is an experienced developer. When Jeremy isn’t spending time mentoring, he works on his own web properties; Affiliate Linkr, a site that allows users to manage all their affiliate networks in one place, as well as Zerrtech, his personal blog, and Running Shoes Expert, a running shoe review and price comparison site.

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Job Trends Report: The Job Market for JavaScript Developers

Are you thinking about attending a frontend dev bootcamp that teaches JavaScript or the MEAN Stack? This report brings together JavaScript developer job market trends from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dice.com, Code.org, PayScale, O’Reilly Radar, and more.

1 Million More Jobs Than Candidates

According to the  Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 there were over 900,000 software developer jobs posted, with an expected increase of 30% by 2020. There’s also the often-cited analysis from Code.org that underscored the widening gap between supply and demand (the yellow wedge below).

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