Prepping for an Online Coding Bootcamp — Part I

Hello world! Okay, I know, overdone beginner programmer/blogger joke. Let me start over.

Thats me!

Hey everyone, my name is Garrett Weinert and I am beginning my venture into one of the 14 week programming bootcamps that the internet has been buzzing about. My hopes in writing about my adventure is to spread word and inform others on my journey and what I’ve learned at the bootcamp I attended. So where to start..

I’ve always had a bit of a nerdy side to me, growing up I constantly played video games, surfed the internet, and I started my first smartphone relationship. This unhealthy relationship between me and my iPhone was what ultimately led me to discover the awesomeness of computer science, but it took time.

UCSB Campus — yeah, its like this most of the year

Fast forward a few years and I found myself surfing the waves at UCSB. While at school, I tested the waters for many different types of majors. I took Chem, Physics, Math, Economics, English and ultimately decided with going into Economics and Accounting (I know, boring, but practical!) However, in my junior year, I took an intro to Computer Science class and absolutely loved it. I couldn’t get enough, I took as many CS classes as they would let me, but the school eventually denied me from taking anymore classes, because I would have too many units or some bull like that.

Sweet keyboard, huh

I knew what I wanted to do when I graduated, and I wasn’t going to be a “bean counter”. I wanted to build something! And I thought the coolest way was through coding. I then began supplementing my accounting classes with Treehouse’s online tutorial videos, where I learned web development languages like HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and jQuery. This was a great intro into web development, but I knew if I wanted to get a professional job in this field I would need to build some impressive projects.

I needed guidance if I was going to make something make any impact on any prospective employers. I looked into going back to school, but the collective internet advised against that as it was time consuming and expensive. As I researched more, I came across these programming bootcamps. I ultimately decided to go with Viking Code School, an online coding bootcamp, because it would have been difficult to relocate to LA or SF, and they offered a fantastic tuition deferral program where you only pay if you get a job. That was it, I was sold. The next step was to apply.

The application process was a more intense than other coding bootcamps, which made me take comfort in that it was a legit program. I first had to do a basic application explaining why I was a good fit for the program and my background. They reviewed my application and sent me a link to a coding challenge. I needed to complete some computer programming challenges within 60 minutes in order to pass. To prepare, I studied up on some of Viking’s coding prep work and ended up passing the test. I won’t lie, coding under pressure makes it quite a bit harder.

Erik, founder of Viking Code School emailed me later that day requesting we do a technical interview to see if I would be a good fit for the program. In the interview, I was tested to see if I could clearly communicate how to program through a complex problem. These problems were trickier than any of the other challenges, and in the end I passed.

Finally, Erik requested I build a small web application using Ruby to see how fast I could pick up new languages. I found Ruby really interesting to work with and really liked doing the small project. So much so, I actually went above and beyond and made sure the front end of the project also looked good. After submitting the small project, I was informed that I was accepted into the program! Rejoice!

Hurray for Internet Memes!