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Old 03-21-2016, 08:06 PM   #201
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

This candybar and daveT argument seems to get more and more personal lol.
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Old 03-21-2016, 08:36 PM   #202
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

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Originally Posted by daveT View Post
My resume must look fine, or I wouldn't be hit back with all sorts of amazing responses...
That's great to hear!

Quote:
Postgres database engineering and a bit of Linux stuff.
Quote:
SysAdmin role
Quote:
most of what I am for is SQL stuff
I was talking about software engineering interviews @ top tech firms btw - I don't really know what gets asked of database developer candidates or other roles. For example:

https://careercup.com/page?pid=googl...view-questions
https://careercup.com/page?pid=amazo...view-questions
https://careercup.com/page?pid=faceb...view-questions
https://careercup.com/page?pid=micro...view-questions
https://careercup.com/page?pid=uber-...view-questions
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Old 03-21-2016, 08:36 PM   #203
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

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Originally Posted by LonelyBox View Post
This candybar and daveT argument seems to get more and more personal lol.
I don't know how it is from his perspective but it's not personal for me at all. I love dave!
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Old 03-21-2016, 09:29 PM   #204
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

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Originally Posted by candybar View Post
That's great to hear!
The sarcasm wasn't dripping enough, I guess...

No part of my resume remotely suggests that I know how to scale up a cluster of 100 servers to 100K nodes. No part of my resume suggests that I know ES, Mongo, or Redis. In fact, it is so SQL-centric that NoSQL should logically run away, lol.

This "thinking I know **** I don't know at all" has been a strong trend. The other day, I applied to a Python + PostgreSQL role and they phone screened me on NodeJS and GIS, of all things. I was straightforward at the front and told them all my answers are going to be guesses, at best.

I think that, more often than not, the requisites for getting a job are way overstated. I contend that whiteboard and homework tests aren't that difficult to pass. I contend the programming quizzes are mostly intro-level, and I contend that passion, a healthy GitHub, an ability to create non-trivial programs, and all that other stuff is a load, and it doesn't serve people looking to get into the profession to overstate the baseline metrics needed to get a job. I sat in fear for nearly three years before I started applying, and now I know I should have started much sooner, but I read the same advice everyone else did, and it is, IMO, completely wrong.

Quote:
I was talking about software engineering interviews @ top tech firms btw - I don't really know what gets asked of database developer candidates or other roles. For example:

https://careercup.com/page?pid=googl...view-questions
https://careercup.com/page?pid=amazo...view-questions
https://careercup.com/page?pid=faceb...view-questions
https://careercup.com/page?pid=micro...view-questions
https://careercup.com/page?pid=uber-...view-questions
Those are all fine questions, though some are apparently jokes*. By definition, most software companies aren't top tech firms, and I don't think anyone is making this their immediate goal when they are thinking of self-study or a bootcamp.

* Design a ride sharing application

If it matters at all, the two anecdotes above are from "top" firms.

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I don't know how it is from his perspective but it's not personal for me at all. I love dave!
Not personal for me either... I have nothing but deep respect for candybar!
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Old 03-21-2016, 10:12 PM   #205
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

My experiences have been different than daveT's, but possibly it's because I self-select for jobs that are kind of bitchy about hiring. I tend to get most job leads through people I know, and most of them probably gravitate towards that same kinds of jobs with the same kinds of hiring strategies.

Some companies I interview at have little to no whiteboarding and only ask very trivial questions. But I have gotten some doozies.

Here's some stuff I've been asked to whiteboard in the last few years
* a solver for sudoku
* a thing that given a dollar amount and a set of coin denominations returns the minimum coins to make change
* data structures that are robust in multiple threads
* an "unrolled linked list" (I'd never heard of it, but it wasn't hard)
* an efficient algorithm for finding a continuous subset of a list of numbers with the smallest sum modulo a number
* given that you record time since the unix epoch in a double precision variable, when is the first time that you will not be able to represent microsecond precision
* a thing that takes multiple streams of sorted numbers with a given interface, and finds all the instances where there are at least N of the same number
* an algorithm for efficiently transmitting data over a lossy channel

Stuff I've been asked to write programs for in real time, with someone watching
* a document search routine (i.e. find documents that match a query string, ordered by # of matches)
* solutions for some little toy type games
* djikstra's algorithm (well, they didn't call it that, but they wanted the shortest path in a graph)
* heapsort
and many many more

These are not for entry level jobs - they're senior software engineer jobs. However, I think some of them might be tough without a CS background, even if you have some experience? Because unless you're interested in these kinds of things for fun, you probably haven't thought much about them. Dynamic programming is easy, for example, unless you've literally never heard of it. Heapsort is easy, unless you don't know how to implement a heap. And so forth.

I think at some point you're probably going to have to teach yourself some CS-type stuff just to find the next job. There are pretty easy ways to do it. Hackerrank seems like a good way to brush up for the simpler stuff.
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Old 03-21-2016, 11:37 PM   #206
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

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Originally Posted by daveT View Post
The sarcasm wasn't dripping enough, I guess...
I completely missed it!

Quote:
I contend the programming quizzes are mostly intro-level, and I contend that passion, a healthy GitHub, an ability to create non-trivial programs, and all that other stuff is a load, and it doesn't serve people looking to get into the profession to overstate the baseline metrics needed to get a job. I sat in fear for nearly three years before I started applying, and now I know I should have started much sooner, but I read the same advice everyone else did, and it is, IMO, completely wrong.
I totally agree. I wasn't saying that you must be able to pass a Google data structures interview before applying anywhere, but more that CS knowledge can prove useful during interviews. I think the entire forum has been united in telling you not to sell yourself short for years.

Quote:
Those are all fine questions, though some are apparently jokes*.

...

* Design a ride sharing application
This is probably not a joke - "how would you design this product we have or a feature in our product" is an extremely common interview question.
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Old 03-22-2016, 12:29 AM   #207
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyBrooks View Post
My experiences have been different than daveT's, but possibly it's because I self-select for jobs that are kind of bitchy about hiring. I tend to get most job leads through people I know, and most of them probably gravitate towards that same kinds of jobs with the same kinds of hiring strategies.

Some companies I interview at have little to no whiteboarding and only ask very trivial questions. But I have gotten some doozies.

Here's some stuff I've been asked to whiteboard in the last few years
* a solver for sudoku
* a thing that given a dollar amount and a set of coin denominations returns the minimum coins to make change
* data structures that are robust in multiple threads
* an "unrolled linked list" (I'd never heard of it, but it wasn't hard)
* an efficient algorithm for finding a continuous subset of a list of numbers with the smallest sum modulo a number
* given that you record time since the unix epoch in a double precision variable, when is the first time that you will not be able to represent microsecond precision
* a thing that takes multiple streams of sorted numbers with a given interface, and finds all the instances where there are at least N of the same number
* an algorithm for efficiently transmitting data over a lossy channel

Stuff I've been asked to write programs for in real time, with someone watching
* a document search routine (i.e. find documents that match a query string, ordered by # of matches)
* solutions for some little toy type games
* djikstra's algorithm (well, they didn't call it that, but they wanted the shortest path in a graph)
* heapsort
and many many more

These are not for entry level jobs - they're senior software engineer jobs. However, I think some of them might be tough without a CS background, even if you have some experience? Because unless you're interested in these kinds of things for fun, you probably haven't thought much about them. Dynamic programming is easy, for example, unless you've literally never heard of it. Heapsort is easy, unless you don't know how to implement a heap. And so forth.

I think at some point you're probably going to have to teach yourself some CS-type stuff just to find the next job. There are pretty easy ways to do it. Hackerrank seems like a good way to brush up for the simpler stuff.
Shouldn't a CS fresh grad know how to at least begin to approach all of these problems? I'll admit that a few of those would stump me at zero, especially the linux time and data transmission ones.

For "mid-level," the general stuff has been things like:
* Write function that takes a list of names returns a list of unique names that start with "S."
* Write a function that returns a list of lists, [[username, cnt]] that counts how many times a each user logged in during the month of December.
* I did get some matrix stuff once, but I don't recall the details of it. I think it was transposing or seeing if the rows, columns and diagonals had equal sums.
* Do you use Sublime Text?

Overall, 90% of what I've gotten was string processing stuff.

SQL stuff tends to be super-specific to the system you are writing on:

Write a query with the result colums:
-customer name
-running monthly spending for customer
-running monthly spending for all customers
-running average monthly spending for all customers
-difference of monthly spending for each customer -vs- the global average

-order by customer spending max to min
-limit to customers with yearly spending over 5,000

If you have windowing, this isn't difficult to write. If not... beg for mercy. To be fair, I only got this level of insanity once, but most are kind of in the arena, where having windowing makes a huge difference.

The rest tend to have a somewhat "right" answer, meaning you are going to get syntax disagreements on string concatenation or string splicing. But ultimately, do you know the difference between the joins and stuff like that.
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Old 03-22-2016, 12:31 AM   #208
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

As far as "0" to great job goes, no, of course any decent bootcamp requires you to have some coding experience going in. A bootcamp that allowed 0 would be laughable (but I'm sure there are some). 20 to 70 is more reasonable.
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Old 03-22-2016, 12:37 AM   #209
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

Noodle, what are the two weeks going to focus on? Just Ruby? Check out the Chris Pine Learn to Program book if you haven't. It might be too basic for you to read cover to cover, but I'd assume some of the stuff will be good for you. Flip through it at least, free online.

I did every problem in that book without looking up "hints", some of them I had to hammer away at for many hours. I attribute that attitude to my strong early grounding in basic Ruby which eventually helped me get into AA. I remember posting here when I was trying to do an alphabetize problem without using .sort. How adorable.
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:38 AM   #210
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

yeah, i think i've read that book fully once, put it on the nightstand a couple nights ago to thumb through again.

It is fully focused on ruby afaik. That's what their github page for the course seems to indicate.

I tend to like to way overprepare, and having already done like all of the material they recommend, plus some, plus most of the material we're supposed to cover in the program, plus a few extra books, plus... Well, you see where I'm going.

But they say the final sort of challenge is an hour to pick your poison. Way to many problems to solve in the time allotted. I always take that as a personal challenge though.

In full on loss-of-sleep freak out mode atm. Trying to figure out if I should drive four hours a day or pay an extra grand for airbnb is making me nuts. I found one decent place but that got scooped, i'm 99% sure, by someone else going, because suddenly the exact same time slot for the course is blocked out on the calendar. Argle bargle!

Just something about not knowing the area at all, having basically no experience with mass transit, disliking large crowds of people and travel, not knowing where to get food, all that stuff is making me slightly crazy atm. I'm sure it'll get sorted, but, uh, blah.

On the plus side, the stress from trying to figure out the trip is activating my latent procrastination mode, wherein I do every other single thing I could possibly need to do before the one that's stressing me out. So getting lots of coding and house cleaning and homework done!
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:53 AM   #211
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

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Originally Posted by Noodle Wazlib View Post
Trying to figure out if I should drive four hours a day or pay an extra grand for airbnb is making me nuts.
If I understand you correctly you are considering doing App academy and driving 4 hours a day? Otherwise none of the following applies lol.

Driving 4 hours a day is really going to hinder you. Every hour you can should be devoted to programming. Very few people at HR left right at 8pm, most stayed until 9 but some of the very successful ones were going until 10:30-11:00. If you leave every day at 8pm it will be very hard to be successful.

It is absolutely possible to find a place for around 1500 a month here. I was paying 1300 for my own room. Several cohort mates shared rooms for 800 per person. Air bnb is usually overpriced, craigslist tends to be better priced but sketchier. If you want I could ask my groupchat if anyone has anything. I know someone was trying to rent out half their apartment for somewhere in the $1800.
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:22 AM   #212
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

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I do have a BA degree (history major), but I assume that won't do much for me when applying for programming jobs. My thinking is that a bootcamp won't be sufficient to make up for my total lack of relevant education/experience, so a more respected credential may be worth obtaining.



This is very welcome food for thought. I live in Vancouver, Canada, so the local bootcamps obviously aren't going to be on the same level as the bootcamps in SF or NY. But since cost isn't a factor for me, maybe it's better to do a bootcamp first, and see where that gets me before pursuing a more formal credential. I see a lot of negativity about bootcamps both here and on reddit, so I had previously dismissed this idea, but perhaps it's worth reconsidering?
r/cscareerquestions is filled with a bunch of elitist snobs. they would probably also say your cs degree is worthless if you dont attend stanford or berkley. bootcamp + supplement it with some cs intro/ds&a classes would be my advice.
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Old 03-22-2016, 08:28 AM   #213
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

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Originally Posted by daveT View Post
Shouldn't a CS fresh grad know how to at least begin to approach all of these problems? I'll admit that a few of those would stump me at zero, especially the linux time and data transmission ones.
Yeah, that's kind of my point. They're the kind of thing you spend a lot of time on in an undergrad CS degree, so they're the kind of thing CS grads can do. I don't think self-learning or non-trad paths are going to tread on these very much. So I think that can make interviewing harder for non-trad applicants.

Note: I am not saying that these are actually good methods to determine if someone is good at programming. Just that they're common barriers to entry.

2nd note: The unix epoch is midnight on Jan 1, 1970 and unix time is just seconds since that instant.
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Old 03-22-2016, 10:36 AM   #214
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

Noodle: be open to sharing a room. There are places that lease 4-person rooms for as low as $595 in walking distance of AA. That would be more an option for the full course though.

Don't drive 4 hours a day.
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Old 03-22-2016, 11:16 AM   #215
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

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If I understand you correctly you are considering doing App academy and driving 4 hours a day? Otherwise none of the following applies lol.

Driving 4 hours a day is really going to hinder you. Every hour you can should be devoted to programming. Very few people at HR left right at 8pm, most stayed until 9 but some of the very successful ones were going until 10:30-11:00. If you leave every day at 8pm it will be very hard to be successful.

It is absolutely possible to find a place for around 1500 a month here. I was paying 1300 for my own room. Several cohort mates shared rooms for 800 per person. Air bnb is usually overpriced, craigslist tends to be better priced but sketchier. If you want I could ask my groupchat if anyone has anything. I know someone was trying to rent out half their apartment for somewhere in the $1800.
This is just for the 2 week jump start program. The wife is applying to jobs out there, so if I get accepted we'll likely be relocating between may and july, preferably within short distance of a bart station.

I know someone had posted a link either in this thread or another of living spaces for A/A students, but I don't recall what it was called. Also may have been more like what BJ is talking about, room sharing for multiple people.

I don't think I could ever do that, though. I'm kind of nuts about noise and really need a sanctuary away from others at times. Maybe that'll change after I'm locked in with some fellow students 12 hours a day, but for now that's me.

I can rent a car for like $440 for the trip, or get an airbnb for th entire trip for $600-800, or try to do a mix of airbnb and staying an hour outside of town and being a fairly big burden on friends and family for about $450.

I don't mind just dealing with traffic and driving if it means I'm not a huge encumbrance on others. Again, it'll only be a total of 8 days of driving.
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Old 03-22-2016, 12:36 PM   #216
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

Good luck with the course, I am sure you will get in! For me sharing was also completely out of the question. Having alone time every day was critical for me.
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Old 03-22-2016, 12:43 PM   #217
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

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Thanks very much for your input, candybar. FWIW, the 2-year program I'm considering is highly regarded (locally, anyways) and grads seem to have no problem finding good jobs. But if I could get a job with only a bootcamp, some MOOCs, and some personal projects on my resume, that would definitely be preferable. Lots to ponder...
Yeah local factors can dominate here - I would definitely ensure that the types of jobs that the graduates end up with are the ones that you'd be okay with and give you some mobility. The first job can be the hardest so if you're comfortable that finishing that program can get you an acceptable first job with some upside, that could be a good path as well.
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Old 03-22-2016, 12:51 PM   #218
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

In MY day at AA, we lived in the office building on the border of the Tenderloin with ~50 of us on cots, and we walked a mile in the snow in the morning to the gym to take a shower.
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:06 PM   #219
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

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In MY day at AA, we lived in the office building on the border of the Tenderloin with ~50 of us on cots, and we walked a mile in the snow in the morning to the gym to take a shower.
20th century is over.
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:08 PM   #220
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

snow? in san fran?

heresy!
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:09 PM   #221
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

seems crazy to me that hack reactor's online booking thing is completely full, all the time, and they charge 18k up front to get in, yet A/A is no tuition to start (sort of, just ignore that 5k down payment) and I was able to find several bookings for online interviews

wonder if js is just hotter right now

Last edited by Loki; 03-22-2016 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:17 PM   #222
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

Despite my earlier comments to the contrary, I actually do think Hack Reactor was a decent program overall. We spent a lot of time doing data structures, recursion, search algorithms, talking about pointers, ect. There were of very smart people and I think the staff was dedicated and did care. For what you are getting though I still think it is a bit overpriced.

That being said no tuition from App academy seems like a much better deal and I think that should be the industry standard. As one of the top bootcamps, I think if Hack Reactor charged no money up front they would move the industry in a much better direction. Also the decision to teach Rails is much better than teaching Node. Rails is used by a ton of startups which makes finding that first job much easier. The reason I believe that App Academy is not as booked is just marketing. HR markets themselves extremely well.
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:28 PM   #223
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

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Yeah, that's kind of my point. They're the kind of thing you spend a lot of time on in an undergrad CS degree, so they're the kind of thing CS grads can do. I don't think self-learning or non-trad paths are going to tread on these very much. So I think that can make interviewing harder for non-trad applicants.

Note: I am not saying that these are actually good methods to determine if someone is good at programming. Just that they're common barriers to entry.

2nd note: The unix epoch is midnight on Jan 1, 1970 and unix time is just seconds since that instant.
If companies want to focus on college grads, there is nothing wrong with that. It is plainly obvious I never been to college, so I probably don't ever get contacted by companies that care.

Yes, you are correct, non-trad paths aren't going to cover everything. I'm totally self-taught, and I worked through some of the golden books of CS, but as anything, there is going to a ceiling and some things that are missed or just not understood very well.

I'm trying to think of the person building web-scrapers and how that interview went:
-- Do you know how to program? No
-- Do you know HTML? No
-- Do you know how to use the command line? No.
-- What is your qualifications? I'm awesome!

"Great, you're hired!"

6 months review:
-- How is your HTML? Getting better but don't really understand it.
-- How is your programming? Well, there's this stuff....
-- What did you learn that is new? uh... something called Regulexes or... are those important to know about?
-- How do you change directories? You open up the file system and right-click to open the command prompt?

"Great, you're extended!"

I get the impression that there are some major extremes. If you look at one extreme, you are only seeing a very small picture of the world.
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:47 PM   #224
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

No, I agree with that. I've also had interviews that were very pro forma. 1 hour, stuff like "how do you sort a list in python" (answer: sorted()).

But, spoiler alert, those jobs are probably horrible.

It's easy to go overboard with your interview process and exclude people who should be included. But it's also easy to go the other way and hire a bunch of asshats that no one wants to work with because they're awful. And most places never fire anyone so, enjoy!
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Old 03-22-2016, 08:35 PM   #225
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Re: Online Bootcamp or Physical Classroom?

I had started a detailed version of my story, but then figured, who wants to read that? So I'll just keep this simple & mostly only ask questions. It feels necessary to preface this by saying I'm a 30 professional poker player looking transition out of it, with 2 young kids, live in midwest, have "some" poker money saved (not as much as I should) and a wife with a decent teaching job. At this point in time I'm thinking coding is the most logical career path for me to embark on at my "old" age, and I think it suits me for a variety of other reasons.

These are the potential steps I'm considering (not in order), any thoughts on them would be greatly appreciated.

-2 year all online CP degree at a local tech school, a friend did the same program recently, then did a 10mon internship and got a job quickly after.

-As much online "self" teaching as is suggested by you experts. I have read the thread in it's entirety so I'm thinking I'll start with intro to Web Development at Odin. I haven't really checked out the others that were mentioned. Viking, codeacademy etc. I have dabbled on treehouse.com a bit, but no one here has mentioned it and I do pay $25 a month for it so I'm guessing it sucks?
- There are bootcamps within a few hours of where I live in Minneapolis, MN that could be doable if they are deemed worth it.
- There is a state university in the city that I live that I have a handful of credits at that does offer an apparently decent CS program. Unfortunately none of those credits are computer related.

I would prefer the quicker more efficient route, but not necessarily in a gigantic hurry either. Since time is somewhat a priority & the fact that I think the Math burden would be fairly cumbersome for me, I think the CS BS degree is the option I'm the least inclined to take, although I could be talked into it.

Any thoughts on my situation would be greatly appreciated, and thanks to all of you for this thread, I feel the half hour I spent reading it has been more informative & beneficial then weeks of googling.
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