Before joining Codesmith, I had just graduated Binghamton University with a BS in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science. While I didn’t have enough time to complete a full major of Computer Science and cannot speak to the knowledge gained of taking any 400 level classes, I actually took more classes than my minor required, taking a decent number of 100, 200, and 300 level classes.
Over my 3 years of taking those courses, I became increasingly aware that while I was learning so much about how computers run in an abstract way, I still knew nothing about how to code out an actual usable app. Many of the modern skills that I knew were integral to most Software Engineers in the field such as creating a website, setting up and deploying a virtual machine, or how databases work was never taught to us in class. School in general was more concerned that I was taught how logic gates were handled that it did with my ability to collaborate in a team to work towards a meaningful goal.
I truly became aware of the shortcomings of this type of learning when I finally began to look for a job in Software Engineering. Despite having B+ GPA in my Computer Science classes, there were almost no projects I could put on my resume, my Github completely unused, and no idea what the best practices for approaching interviews would be like. Looking back, I could’ve done more on my own such as seek out my own side projects or explore interviewing talks online but even if I had done so, I think it becomes important to wonder why one needs to invest so much money into university if you need to put in so much extra work by yourself anyways.
After coming to Codesmith, I have realized the secret that not many people in university want to admit; the most important skills the industry looked for during interviews, such as teamwork and learning how to approach new technologies, are left completely off the teaching curriculum. In contrast, everything from the extremely supportive environment to the project based learning process is geared around helping individuals gain the confidence to attack tougher and tougher new issues. In the course of 4 weeks, people here went from struggling with the concepts of linked lists and arrays to creating full-stack applications with authentication and encryption.
Lastly, Immersive programs like Codesmith are extremely invested in your ability to land a job following graduation and will offer a lot of one on one time checking in with your job hunt and resume prep in a way that a university never will. Codesmith makes it a point to make sure that students understand that they are part of a community that they can constantly come back to for additional guidance on how to pursue not just that first job, but also the 2nd, 3rd, ... etc. To juxtapose that to university, I had my resume reviewed once by the career office.
I hope that my experience in both camps of education was able to help offer some perspective to anyone who has stumbled across this looking for guidance onto what bootcamp experience is compared to a university education.
Blog written by Karandeep A., Codesmith NY Cohort 16