Getting the scoop on Dev Bootcamp.

I feel like April O’Neil, chasing down the real story. I also feel like April O’Neil because I’m becoming a computer programmer. I also feel like April O’Neil because hockey players keep rescuing me from street thugs. That last one’s not true.

I’m about ready to send in my deposit for the program and secure a cohort date, but I want a little more information before I do. Dev Bootcamp boasts an 85% hire rate for graduates within three months of programming completion. They also claim a median income of $75K for these graduates. These numbers excite me. They also beg several questions:

Median income is the middle number of a set. Technically, that could mean the bottom 45% are unpaid internships, and the top 55% are making no more than $75K per year. What does the full income spread look like?

About those internships. How likely is is that I’ll be able to snag a junior developer gig vs. an internship or an apprenticeship? How much do internships or apprenticeships pay compared to bona fide junior dev work? I have mouths to feed here. Mine being the biggest.

More specifically, what does the spread look like in Chicago? Most DBC grads went to the original site in San Francisco, where the staggering cost of living creates a market where average wages are among the nation’s highest. Or maybe the high wages have driven up the cost of living. Or maybe there’s just correlation without causation. I just chose to name the most sensational explanation first, because readers get bored sometimes. Whatever the reason, people in SF make more money than people in Chicago. So I don’t need national averages, I need local examples.

I assume there is a causal link between the time I spend looking for a job and the quality of the job I get. How long (and how hard) are grads hunting for jobs before they find something that satisfies them?

Why is it so hard to find all this info online?

To answer my questions, I’ve reached out to some grads via Twitter and scoured the web for graduates’ blogs in an attempt to talk to real people with real stories. Firsthand information and all that. I just want a real human being to email or Skype me and tell me how it’s been for them since they finished their nine weeks. Is that so much to ask?

Here’s the rub. I want this so bad, I’m sure I’ll end up going for it. So why all the extra digging? Because I’m about to dive into something with both feet (I know that’s not how you dive, but I don’t know how deep it’s gonna get, safety first) and I want to focus on the work, not the result. Once my curiosity is satiated, I’ll be able to press on with all the obsessive fury I can muster, no qualms, no distractions, no looking back.

Unless I talk to a bunch of people who are all like, “Turn back! I hate the person I’ve become and I’m drinking trash can water to survive and shame on these people for throwing me to the wolves.” Then I’ll need to have a different conversation with myself.

As always, I’ll post that conversation here. Stay tuned.

Until then, dive into this.

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5 comments

  1. Brother, you are asking ALL of the right questions, and you are not out of bounds for wanting answers. Don’t feel committed to Dev Bootcamp man… there are A LOT of these type of coding camps vying for your time and dollar and given your intellect, commitment level and natural prediliction to the work I have no doubt you’d easily make the admissions cut at any of them. Dev Bootcamp may well end up being the right spot for you, but don’t sell yourself short either.

  2. Hey Duke –

    I came across this post via a google alert. I think you are right that there isn’t (and should be) more info online about these programs. I run a site called coursereport and we are trying to solve that problem. We have a couple interviews on our site (https://www.coursereport.com/blog?school=dev-bootcamp) with former DBC students that I hope you will find helpful. On the off chance you do it would be awesome if you’d link to our site (coursereport.com) as we are trying to get back links to build up our site’s reputation (we are still very new).

  3. Hi Duke, I’m Dave Hoover, the founder of Dev Bootcamp in Chicago. I’ve shared a lot of Chicago-specific details here: http://www.builtinchicago.org/member/davehoover (click the “Blog Posts” tab).

    Developers in Chicago do make less than developers in SF. Our grads in Chicago have median salaries around $65k. The spread for grads working in Chicago is apprenticeships starting around $40k (for a few months, then around $70k) up to $90k.

    Have you been able to talk with any Chicago alumni yet?

    1. Not yet, and I’d love to! I Facebook messaged about a dozen Chicago grads using the BootieTracker app Tiffany recommended. No replies yet, but I know someone’s bound to get in touch. My assumption is that programming in the real world is fairly consuming work, and those who are the most successful are the least likely to rush a reply. I emailed you on Wednesday evening, and I follow you on Twitter as @dukegreene. If you have any contacts you could send my way, I’d be stoked to pick some brains!

      Can’t wait to start blogging about the Decide/Do work. Assess is fun but a bit tedious. 🙂

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