Entry-level and early-stage are not the same thing.

Why Tradecraft has launched an alternative to the “traditional” coding bootcamp.

Jan 15, 2015 · Unlisted

Summary: Tradecraft has launched an engineering track specifically for people who want to be engineers at early-stage startups. You can get more info and apply here.

We are huge fans of coding bootcamps. Always have been. While no one can go from amateur to world-class in three months (or three years for that matter), traditional bootcamps have shown that the right combination of guidance and support can dramatically shorten the time it takes to become an entry-level engineer. The key is focus.

That being said, it’s time for us to recognize an important distinction:

Entry-level engineers and early-stage engineers are not the same thing.

We’re not saying one is better than the other — both are worthwhile endeavors — but they are different and it’s time we recognize that.

Entry-level engineers aspire to:

  • Assemble complex systems
  • Explore available technologies
  • Solve problems in novel ways

Early-stage engineers aspire to:

  • Build compelling experiences
  • Solve real-world problems
  • Solve problems as fast as possible

Why is that distinction so important? Focus.

The truth is that most early-stage engineers don’t need deep technical knowledge. They just need to get shit done. -Tweet this

An interest in, and commitment to, mastering their craft is important, but knowing how to create (or even implement) an advanced recommendation algorithm isn’t particularly useful until you have enough data to guarantee some level of statistical significance. That’s a Friday problem. Early-stage engineers should be generalists not specialists. One moment they’re putting together a quick and dirty prototype, the next their marking up a landing page, handling a support ticket or doing whatever else their CTO needs off her plate.

On the other hand, if your goal is to become that esteemed “world-class engineer” then why would you waste time learning how to mark-up the latest-and-greatest front-end design patterns? It may feel good to put something pretty on the page, but it won’t move you down the path towards mastery. You should be focused on the fundamentals, learning how this stuff really works, so you can make a meaningful contribution to both your team and the community as you work towards that “benevolent dictator” status.

Again, one is not better than the other — they’re just different. Unfortunately, the market isn’t treating them as such.

Hack Reactor, DevBootcamp and Flatiron are all AMAZING places to train if you want to become an entry-level engineer at a well-established company, but they’re not setup to train the kind of early-stage engineers that startups need. They can’t be. Their business models won’t allow it.

Bootcamps that make a vast majority of their money on placement fees have no choice but to be biased towards the skills that larger companies require. -Tweet this

That’s why Tradecraft is starting a coding school focused exclusively on training early-stage engineers.

Liz Howard and Janardan Yri are our lead instructors and they will teach you how to:

  • build and maintain a server in node.js
  • hack together a pretty & functional web client
  • launch an iOS app with Swift and Objective-C

Our next class starts on September 14th and will be capped at 6 people. It lasts 12 weeks (but allows students to stay indefinitely), costs $14k and comes with a 100% money-back guarantee. If you don’t get a job at an early-stage startup when you graduate (or have the chops to work on a startup of your own) then we’ll give you your money back no questions asked.

If you want to become an early-stage engineer, get more program info here.

Why you should consider coming to Tradecraft…

But if your primary objective is to become an early-stage engineer, the guy or girl who can just “get shit done” for either your own or somebody else’s startup, then we can help make that happen. Our entire infrastructure has been built around this type of early-stage education, which means that from day one you will get to work on exciting real-world projects (last year our members worked on Product Hunt, Readme.io and Sprig to name a few), learn from world-class teachers and mentors, and pickup some crucial cross-functional knowledge in product design, marketing and sales.

If you’ve considered coding bootcamps in the past but aren’t sure that you want to be a software dev at a big company, get more info on our program and apply here.

Side note: One of the benefits of adding an engineering track at Tradecraft, and keeping our commitment to cross-functional exposure, is that EVERYBODY who graduates from Tradecraft will now graduate with some level of technical knowledge. Our product designers may not leave checking-in a lot of production-level code, but they’ll be able to markup their own prototypes and explain the difference between java and javascript.

This post was authored by Russ Klusas with input from Janardan Yri, Liz Howard, Justin Sherratt, Nick deWilde, and Misha Chellam.

Thanks to Lyle McKeany and Janardan Yri



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