New Journey with Makers Academy
I’ve been accepted into the Makers Academy bootcamp starting in the June Cohort. Situated in Shoreditch London, Makers is a intensive coding bootcamp that aims to take students from beginners and turn them into junior developers in 12 weeks. Judging by their website, days last from 9am till 7pm and there are challenges and work to do over weekends.
The course uses the language Ruby, but the aim is to make students become language agnostic. During my interview, my interviewer Ollie mentioned that 90% of the students who graduate from Makers end up in jobs that don’t use Ruby, because they have the skills that allow them to transfer from language to language. In the last two weeks of the course, all students work on a final project that are showcased in the final week along with a job fair that Makers’ hiring partners showcase their job vacancies. A typical Makers graduate will find a job between 1–3 months after the program.
Why I have been looking for a bootcamp?
I’ve spent a couple of years on and off learning how to program in my spare time. My degree is in Management Information Systems, so I spent more time learning how to manage big systems rather than the development of them. In my opinion, developing systems and applications are likely to be in more demand for the foreseeable future, so I was looking for a place were I could get the skills required without having to go back to university.
Another reason I was looking for a local bootcamp was the fact that I have just moved back to the UK after living in New Zealand for 6 years. I’ve become billy-no-mates and I need to build up a local network. I’ve wanted to move to London for sometime, so the possibility of networking with people in London while doing a intensive bootcamp was a no-brainer for me.
Applying was pretty straight forward. The first stage requires you to fill out an online form with a couple of questions: Why join Makers Academy and how much coding experience you have. If you pass the first stage, you get invited to a phone interview to talk further about motivation for doing the course, past experience etc.
The third stage requires the most effect and preparation. In order to prepare, you need to finish both the Ruby lessons provided by Codeacademy as well as chapters 1 to 8 in Chris Pine’s book Learn to Program. This includes completing all the exercises and challenges. I’d also recommend that once you’ve done these, sign up to codewars.com and try some of the basic problems there. That will get you used to solving problems and challenges in Ruby.
During this stage, I can’t emphasize how important it is to DO the exercises rather than just reading the book. You have to get used to writing out code rather than just trying to memorize everything.
The interview itself is onsite at Makers. It lasts 45 minutes long and consists of logic exercises and pair programming tasks. I won’t reveal too much about how to solve the interview, but my logic games consisted of guessing a number within a range and variable instantiation.
Once they were completed, we moved onto the pair programming exercises. Again, I won’t reveal too much about what is required, but it’s designed to test HOW you solve problems, rather than how well you know the Ruby syntax. My advice is to think out loud. If you’re going to attempt a problem a certain way, say what it is and what you expect the output to be. There is a great article here on how to ace the interview which you can read here.
Now it’s on to the Pre-Pre-Course! After Maker’s confirmed my place they sent me an email with some work to do regarding typing skills, Github and Ruby, so there’s a lot to work on before I start this process in May!
As I go along, I plan to keep this blog updated (Even though I imagine most of my time will be spent problem solving!). Hopefully my adventures will shed some insight into life at Makers and maybe convince you to start your journey.