An Inside Look: Week One in Tech Elevator’s Coding Bootcamp
Every coding bootcamp promises you the world, but not all can deliver on that promise. Once you get past the glitz and glamor, what are they actually teaching you? Do you learn to code like a real-life full-stack developer? What will your day-to-day life look like during the program?
At Tech Elevator, we make bold claims about how successful and hirable our students are after graduation. What’s more, we back those claims up with audited outcomes. In fact, we’ve earned a reputation for industry-leading placement performance—with a graduation rate of 95% and a 180-day job placement rate of 90%.
But, we also think it’s important for potential students to better understand what it takes to achieve these results—so we decided to share a sneak peek into the first week of our lauded coding bootcamp.
Lending insight into our week one coverage is one of our very own curriculum developers David Pfaltzgraff-Carlson. David has been with Tech Elevator for over three years, of which the first two were spent as an instructor before moving into his current role. His experience in multiple roles enhances his ability to produce valuable curricula—and insights for this article!
Speaking of curriculum, let’s quickly cover how we develop the content and activities you’ll absorb and experience in our program before jumping into week one.
How Tech Elevator Develops Curriculum for Student Success
“First and foremost, our curriculum is produced through a collaborative, iterative process,” says David. This is done to ensure the content is high quality, considering multiple perspectives and diverse experiences. Individual contributions are always reviewed by several peers, who provide feedback for further content refinement.
Our curriculum is constantly under revision, as market demands are always shifting and technology is ever evolving. Not to mention we seek feedback from students, instructors, and hiring partners. We strive to provide a curriculum that reflects best practices and the current state of the industry. Hence why our curriculum differs from cohort to cohort; graduates are assured their education and training are in line with employer needs.
Still, while our coding bootcamp’s rigorous curriculum produces successful graduates who go on to work for great companies, there’s an important consideration for would-be students.
“We call it a bootcamp for a reason,” David explains. It’s challenging and tough—on purpose. We set up the program to not only deliver relevant knowledge, but also to hone your skills and build your ability to learn so you can provide incredible value to potential employers. That way, you’ll be invaluable once hired. This is how we maintain such a high placement rate.
Coding Bootcamp: Week One Rundown
For starters, here are a few things you can expect in your Tech Elevator experience throughout the first week (and every week afterward):
- Daily progression. Typically, mornings are focused on instruction, while afternoons provide the opportunity to apply concepts introduced earlier in the day.
- Weekly progression. Each program week consists of five days, with the first four days focused on mastering daily concepts. The fifth day typically requires a more rigorous application of the week’s concepts in a partnered format, namely pair programming. This practice helps prepare you for real-life team dynamics.
- Feedback. Our coding bootcamp employs lots of feedback mechanisms—quizzes, software testing, instructor commentary, etc.—to ensure you stay on course for success.
“Students come from diverse backgrounds. Some have computer science degrees, while others have little to no technical knowledge or experience,” David explains. “So instructors avoid making assumptions and teach in a way that ensures all students have a fruitful learning experience. Though they’re not afraid to push students to their limits—that’s where the real growth happens.”
Now let’s get into the week one day-to-day breakdown.
Day One: Introduction to Tools
The first day is set up to get you used to the tools you’ll be working with during the program—version control system Git for example—and other elements such as file structures and the command line interface. “You’ll learn the fundamentals of working with Git on day one, because you’ll be using Git every day,” says David.
You’ll also be introduced to the concept of software testing. It’s quite a meta concept—you run one program to test another, ensuring it works as intended. David notes that software testing will be an important feedback mechanism on the student journey to full-stack developer.
Day Two: Variables and Data Types
Up next are variables and data types, two important programming concepts. Variables are values that can change while a program is running. The data types associated with variables can be anything from letters to numbers to Booleans (true/false values).
Day two is also when you’ll write your first piece of code! What language you write that code in will depend on your desired track (Java or C#).
Day Three: Expressions
Day three is when you’ll learn how to manipulate variables using expressions. It’s also when you’ll be exposed to coding katas, exercises that help you hone your skills through practice and repetition. “Katas are small challenges that reinforce key concepts. For example, given a variety of numbers, your program may need to distinguish the odd ones from the even ones,” David explains.
Day Four: Loops and Arrays
Day four is similar to day three, only you’ll be working on coding katas using loops and arrays. Loops repeat a process a specified number of times or until a programmed condition occurs. Arrays organize and keep data together so you can manipulate a set of values at once.
Day Five: Command Line Programs
The last day of week one integrates all the concepts you’ve learned throughout the week. You’ll write an actual program that interacts with a user. For example, consider a temperature conversion program. The user enters a temperature in Fahrenheit, and your program needs to convert that value into Celsius and display it for the user.
David shares a few markers of success for week one:
- You can write a command line program that works (including passing tests).
- You do well on most quizzes.
- You receive mostly positive feedback from your instructor, but also expect constructive criticism.
“Week one is challenging, and it’s common for students to get frustrated,” says David. “But we’re dedicated to your success.” If you stick with it and stay motivated, you’ll learn to code (and land great jobs) like the many amazing graduates before you.
Ready to start programming?
If you’re looking to make a career change and appreciate a challenge, our coding bootcamp may be just what you need. Join over 2,000+ successful graduates making waves in tech. Take our free Aptitude Test to see if a career in coding is a fit for you!