4 Steps to Choosing the Web Development program that’s right for you

So wanna learn to code. Maybe you’ve tried learning on your own with services like Codecademy, Hartl Rails Tutorial, Udacity, or Udemy. Like most folks who attend our info session, you’ve probably been frustrated learning on your own. And you’re ready to get serious about learning.

How should you decide on the best program for you? There are four key considerations when choosing the program that’s right for you.

  1. Pick the program that aligns with your goals.
  2. Choose the learning approach that’s right for you
  3. Review the syllabus and understand what you really want to learn
  4. Choose the course that fits into your life

 

1. Pick the program that aligns with your goals.

A sample of Bloc students:

60% want to become entrepreneurs
35% Want a job as a full stack web developer
15% have a background in coding or computer science, but want to brush-up their skills

2. One size does NOT fit all. What learning approach is right for you? 

A one-size-fits-all approach to education is bad for learning outcomes. Web Development and Leaning to Code is no exception.

We’ve known for quite some time that people learn in different ways. The one-size-fits-all approach that traditional education institutions have taken – especially in higher education – is an attempt to gain economies of scale so that everyone can get a college degree. Meanwhile, the market has stopped valuing these degrees, with the underemployment rate among college grads now topping 41%.

We believe in 1-on-1 learning. Every student learns differently, at a different pace, and has different interests and goals. We can go deeper on JavaScript for an advanced student or go slower on Ruby syntax for beginner. You’ll meet AT LEASTthree times per week with a mentor vested in your success. Which means you’ll constantly be pair-programming, debugging, and iterating with a real developer.

Luke and Yoda learning one-on-one is similar to the bloc approach to apprenticeship in learning web development

A Bloc mentor meets with you one-on-one, and is deeply vested in your success. Meeting with them constantly accelerates your learning.

We believe in learning from a professional. You choose your own mentor. Bloc mentors are serial entrepreneurs and have 10 years of dev experience on average. This means they are invaluable resources for career advice. One is Y-Combinator alums. Another has successfully sold four startups. Another is a CTO of a 100 person company. One is the former head of product design and development at Disney. Another is a major open source contributor to Ruby on Rails. All are deeply passionate about teaching.

We believe in building real stuff. We’ve developed our own custom curriculum that’s deeply rooted in building your own projects from scratch. You’ll build versions of Reddit, Digg, Wikipedia, and Kissmetrics. You’ll learn how to process payments on your site and how to integrate with social network APIs.

We believe in entrepreneurship. During the last module of Bloc, students spend about three weeks building their own startup MVP. They define the MVP scope with their mentor, design, build, and launch their app. Some of these become real companies.

We’re not a content company, we’re an outcome company.
Our outcome is turning you into a web developer.

3. Review the course syllabus

What you’ll learn at Bloc

1) Developer Fundamentals

First you’ll learn Fundamentals of Ruby Programming. Then you’ll set up a developer environment with Github, Heroku, Sublime, and Command Line

2) Build Your First Web App

Next, you’ll build your own version of Reddit – called Bloccit. Over the course of building this first app, you’ll learn the basics of many languages including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery, Ruby on Rails, and SQL. Your new app will have a powerful back end with user accounts, passwords, logins, and objects that users can create, view  edit, and delete.

3) Advanced Web Development

In this next section, you’ll build your own versions of Wikipedia, Kissmetrics, and Digg. During the development of each app, you’ll learn a new concept. While building the Wikipedia app, you’ll learn how to build Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) functionality, and use the Stripe API to add payment integration to your app, so you can charge money to customers.  While building your Digg social bookmarking app, you’ll learn to build social networking functionality and email logic. Finally, while building your Kissmetrics app, you’ll learn to build a back-end reporting dashboard.

4) Capstone

In the capstone phase of the project, you’ll incorporate everything you’ve learned into building one amazing app. Many students use their capstone as their MVP for their future startup, whereas others use it as the final project in their portfolio. In both cases, it offers an opportunity for students to go deeper into an area of interest, with their mentor’s guidance. First, you and your mentor will sit down and discuss your vision, and define the scope for an MVP that can be completed in-time for graduation. Next, the two of you will define the specifications for the app, design, build, test, and launch the app.

4. Choose the course that fits into your life

One of our biggest goals when founding Bloc two years ago was to provide a bootcamp-like experience without the typical  constraints of a physical bootcamp. We were able to serve students all over the world, not just the students living in San Francisco.

As we evolved, we found that students learned better 1-on-1, which enabled us to adapt the pacing of the program to an individual student. Today, you’ll get more 1-on-1 instruction at Bloc than at any other program, and you’ll form a relationship with a mentor vested in your success. The individualized capstone allowed our entrepreneurial students to graduate with a startup MVP.

Finally, by enabling learning day or night, with mentors in time zones across the world, we enabled students to get a bootcamp-like experience without having to quit their day-job.

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