A Coding BootCamp Review

Written By: William R Thompson Jr
Editing Help: Deborah Akers

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This will be the first time that I have ever review anything and I definitely do not know how to rate anything outside of star reviews but I wanted to write a review about this particular organization called WeCan{Code}IT. WCCI is a bootcamp 14 week full time bootcamp, although it doesn’t involve physical training of any sort, it will push your intellect abilities as well as your imagination. Ever hear of a coding bootcamp? Neither did I until I wanted to make a career change that eventually lead me to the fascinating world of software development, aka computer programming. The best thing about it is you do not need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a two year or even a four year degree.

Being an Marine Rifleman (0311), life after the military is usually limited to certain careers unless you had skills before you joined. But like many of us, if your Military MOS is the only skillset you have then your options are limited. The most common areas that vets go into are law enforcement, corrections, or security. Several years after I left the Corps I was unhappy with my job choices and did not want to follow the norm. Security jobs do not pay well, corrections work too many hours and law enforcement is too political for me.

As the average patriotic loving American that plays video games and watches anime like the nerd that I am and who just loves electronics I figured that maybe the Tech field is where I should be especially since the Tech industry is growing and offers many opportunities. I am lucky as a veteran to be able to utilize the Post 9/11 GI Bill however expenses from my previous marriage and family needs exhausted most of it. So instead of wasting the rest of it I decided to leave college altogether and find a program that could lean more towards a trade/skill set rather than a 4-year college degree.

By 2017 I started researching coding bootcamps which range anywhere between 12 weeks (seems to be average) to 6 months. Coding bootcamps seem to have mixed reviews that weigh heavily on both good and bad reviews which is why this review is a little lengthy. I wanted to give a very thorough review on the coding bootcamp that I chose to join and to take you all on a trip through memory lane. Whether you are curious about this particular coding bootcamp, coding bootcamps in general, or skeptical like I was. For what it is worth please consider my opinion as a Marine.

The Coding Bootcamp that I chose is called WeCan{Code}IT. The reason why I chose this was because they accept the Post 9/11 GI Bill and seemed to be at the time the only Coding Bootcamp that was accredited in the Columbus, OH area. There is also a Cleveland, OH campus that is C#/.Net focus instead of Java.

About WeCan{Code}IT

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Location: WCCI, is a 14 week Coding Bootcamp that teaches Full Stack web development with the emphasis on Java, or Full Stack Java. Located off of N. High Street and W. Dodridge Street. The friendly staff and knowledgeable instructors are there to take anyone that comes through their course and molds them into a certified software developer. Greatest thing of all is that you do not have to know any coding period or you can be well versed in code with nothing to back your knowledge of code.
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Location of WeCan{Code}IT

2645 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43202
Coordinates: 40° 0’58.46”N, 83° 0’44.37”W

The Building: The brick building is a shared building with the entrance to WeCan{Code}IT behind the building facing the parking lot. Upon entering WCCI, you will climb a flight of stairs where you will see a small monitor and a door. There are 3 bathrooms, one for men, one for women, and one that can be used by either men or women. There is a decent size cafetaria that is used by current and alumni students at times. Alumni of WCCI are always willing to listen and give advice. There is a presentation room used for meetings, threads, tech meetups, ceremonies, studying, etc and there there are two small offices held for meetings, mock interviews, actual interviews, and studying as well. There is a huge office space that is shared by the staff members and then there is a single large classroom that could possibly hold up to 30 students that is connected to another office where you will be able to find the Instructors.
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3D Rendering of WCCI Building through the eyes of Google Earth.

WeCan{Code}IT Shopping Center

The Parking: The parking is stress free as there was no need to worry about off street parking nor the need to pay for parking as the shared parking lot in the back is available to WCCI students. The spaces are marked as reserved but you are able to park there. There is also a parking lot beside the building that is sometimes used as well if patrons from other places are filling up the spaces but during class room hours, parking is plentiful. However, there is only two ways with three entrances to enter the lot. Two of the entries and exits are off the main road, W. Dodridge Street which is a one way street going into High Street. The other entrance and exit is off of another one way named W. Ramlow Alley.
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The Parking Lot

Shared Parking Lot of WeCan{Code}IT

Disability Friendly-ish: There are handicap spaces with ramps to access the building but when it comes to WCCI being disabled friendly, well there is no elevator or ramp leading up to Campus so if you are in a wheelchair or motorized chair then you will find yourself at a disadvantage. However, if you are in need of assistance then the staff at WCCI are always ready and willing to assist you if needed.
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Pet Friendly: Everyone loves their pets. Whether you have a service animal, emotional support animal, or a very well behaved pet the staff at WCCI welcome it as they’re all animal lovers and are pet owners themselves. I know a couple people will even bring their small dogs in to say “Hi” every once in awhile and being a veteran I have an emotional support animal named Tara that is apart of the feline clan who goes with me to visit and support newer students from each cohort. (To date, there is now a Hybrid cohort that I will touch on later).
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Nearby Fuel & Restaurants: Probably one of the most important parts that I know readers would like me to review about is or at least it was important to me and some others was Fuel & Food. When it comes to driving, one of the worries is fuel for our cars. Fret not, there is a Turkey Hill directly across the parking lot.
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Turkey Hill Gas and Mini Mart

Fueling Station Across Dodrige Street.

Plenty of food options. Whether a vegan or a hard charging all American BBQ lover there is options for everyone. For me personally, I will talk about only the places I went to for lunch and my favorite place to eat on Friday’s since those days are more relaxed when it comes to lunch. Before I go into these places, if you are worried about not being able to afford food at all. A guy in my class ate a peanut butter & jelly sandwich everyday for the entire 14 weeks. He just loved them that much. As for me, before my GI Bill benefits started kicking in I happily ate me a lunchable like an elementary student would at school.

Two places were my go to, well three. Raising Cane’s, Ray Ray’s Food Truck and Hound Dog’s. There is a Cane’s just a small drive a way. Monday through Thursday was Cane’s for me. Sure, that is a lot of fast food but you do not get happiness from a salad. Cane’s however??? Yes please! My Friday’s however, those were days for Ray Ray’s BBQ food truck that is sitting in a parking lot right beside WCCI at Ace of Cups. The smell of BBQ fills the class room all morning long and then once released to start working on the weekend project I would wait till 1145 hours to go wait in the usual 10 to 15 person line that opened at Noon. On one occasion, or two I went to Hound Dog’s directly next door since it is in the same building as WCCI. I only went there a few times only for the fact that I did not want to be a pig and try and eat their heavenly cheese pizza all my self.
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Only 0.8 Miles from WCCI Parking Lot

Raising Cane's
2823 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, OH 43202
Coordinates: 40° 1’6.58”N, 83° 1’30.04”W

**Different Picture coming at a Later Date(?)**

Tuition: At the time of my class, tuition was simple. It was roughly $12,900 for Me and like $10,000 for Women (To encourage and get more Women into the tech field). I cannot speak too much into this one as I am a Marine veteran and used my VA Benefits but I am pretty sure you can either make payments, or even take out a school loan. That would be a question for Admissions.
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Military & Veterans: If you have your Post 9/11 GI Bill, or some other type of VA Assistance or something. Please discuss this with WCCI staff as they are accredited through the VA to accept the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Speaking from experience as I used the remaining amount of my Post 9/11 to take this course and it was the best use of my Post 9/11 ever compared to trying to figure out what degree I should try to earn.
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The Curriculum: To the average person including myself, 14 weeks may not seem like a long enough time to become a certified Software Developer but I can attest and assure you that it is. Unlike traditional College & University courses it is a full time commitment and very much similar to a cram school. To be honest, my class was WCCI’s transition into a 14 week program from a 12 week program so again I can only give my review based off my class and my class alone.

Classroom hours were unlike any other that I had seen before and was only from 0930 hours to 1530 hours with a one hour lunch from Noon to 1300 hours Monday through Friday. Tuesdays & Thursdays were scheduled tutoring days from 1530 hours to 1700 hours for those who wanted to stay behind for the extra help or just stay behind for self study or review. Now, the Instructors were kind and they would stay till 1700 hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to. During my cohort at the time, the classroom would sometimes be opened on Saturdays for study sessions or to provide a workplace to get away and focus on the weekend project which almost everyone would end up start to do by Finals project.

The best way the 14 weeks is broken down is very simple. Since this is a Full Stack Java course, weeks 1 through 4 are focused purely on the backend of development (ie. Java, Spring, etc...) while weeks 5 through 8 were focused on the frontend (ie. HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript(ES6), etc...) with weeks 9 & 10 tying all the past 8 weeks together. If I were to summarize week by week with my emotions then this review could go on for pages and since this is just a review and I don’t want to give out too many spoilers I will just say this, you learn so much that you will know what you like to do more as a developer when it comes to loving, or enjoying the backend compared to the frontend. For me it was the backend as playing around and experimenting with Java was fun. Sure, it rattled my brains more than the frontend but that is why I prefer the backend. As for what specific languages, frameworks and tools are taught and utilized within the program? All that can be found listed within my Technical Inventory.
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TDD: A vital importance to WCCI success is that they start teaching Test Driven Development, or TDD sometime during week 2 of the program. Of course, TDD is a pain to learn but as my class continued each project practicing TDD we learned that yes, we can develop a program in less time compared to TDD but then we get errors and who knows why they truly exist but our code works! TDD however, slowly develops your build. In the Marines we have a saying, smooth is fast and fast is smooth. TDD is the smoothness that quickly eliminates any future bugs that may arise and if they do arise easily pinpoint the bug(s) location due to TDD because yes you can get a false positive that will pass your test but can be easily corrected.
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Family: This is a long grueling 14 weeks of life and I spent it with 18 other people. This family environment was made possible because of how the staff and instructors at WCCI treated us. For example, every morning before the beginning of class we stand up in a giant circle and we state our name, how we are feeling, what we did the night prior and what we are looking forward to or like to accomplish today. An example of that would be “Morning, I am Willie and am excited to start this morning off. Last night I studied some through an online course and learned an interesting thing about Java that I would like to share with you all and it was this and my goal for today is to take thorough notes and to answer at least one question on the big screen today.” The entire class would do this and sometimes we got to hear from the Alumni that stopped in that Morning, as well as from some of the other staff with the Instructors going last. Then, we did the same thing at the closing of class. We stated our name, how we are feeling, if we learned anything and or plans for the Evening.
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Career Services: When it comes to making a career transition and looking for a new field just earning a certificate seems like a waste since there is more to career transitioning than just acquiring a new skill set. At WCCI, they take those worries away by providing on hand and available at anytime Career Success Coach. It is this person job to help groom you and make you hiring ready. The way this is done is one half day a week is spent towards grooming not just you as a person but your resume and how to handle a tech interview as well.

Throughout the course of the program I was taught how to do a whiteboard interview (which by far is not my favorite thing in the world), behavioral interviews, dress and talk during an interview, as well as business card for intro introducing yourself, reworking resumes (Which my changed about ten times before we finally liked how it looked) for the tech industry while creating a thirty second pitch for introducing myself. All while being introduced to employers that would come in to visit and tell us about interview processes. To name a few that came by WCCI to assist during my class we had Nationwide, Apex, and Pillar come in to not only encourage us but to motivate us to apply to their businesses as well and why we should apply.

Another benefit from Career Service is that you’re taught how to network, go to meetups, and help you build a professional LinkedIn profile if you do not already have one. In a nutshell, WCCI has not only your back when it comes to seeking for a new job but they have you covered. So no worries!
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Graduation & Demo Day: Graduation Ceremony & Presentations to future employers is hosted the same day. My call of 19 students had three groups to demo our Final projects. The people invited were recruiters, hiring managers, and consulting agencies. To my surprise, there was quite a lot. One of the bigger recruiters was from JP Morgan Chase. After the three groups demonstrated their projects the people who were invited were then lead next door where drinks, food and students were located so the net working could begin. On this day, some students had job offers. One of my classmates in particular had an offer that week from JP Morgan Chase, while a couple others had offers from other misc companies.

After the Demo’s and the meet & greet and right before graduation was the Final Checkout. This was our very last group checkout with all the students and staff members. It last much longer due to all the emotions and stories that were shared. It was at this point that you realize how close you become to these strangers that you met at the very beginning of the program.

Then there was graduation. The demo room was cleaned out and rearranged to start seating friends and family and lasted about 15 minutes but afterwards it was just celebrating making it through this grueling 14 week experience. A lot of people went down to a local bar to celebrate while others moved on to start packing for trips to move away to start their job hunt in other Cities and States.

Crazy part is, my class of 19 had maybe 2 to 4 people that came into WCCI already knowing how to code while the rest of us had zero experience. We started out at 21 but lost 2 people due to personal circumstances. For example, one of them ended up becoming sick for an entire two weeks and chose to drop out. The other, we only know it was for personal reasons.
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Life After

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It has been 7 months since I graduated and a lot of us all still stay in touch with one another. Several people got hired on at JP Morgan Chase starting out at 68k a year (Not kidding!) while some were hired on by Nationwide making I haven't a clue. Others have moved across State lines and some are working for IT Consulting Agencies while I know at least one guy got hired on in another City within Ohio.

As for me, I am still unemployed for personal reasons and will be storming the beaches of the coming months to seek out a Dev Job but for now I am sitting in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam writing this review beside my fiance in some unknown park that I cannot spell, nor even say. We have been preparing for our traditional Vietnamese Engagement Ceremony that will be held on 25 November 2018 and with the little free time I have this review has been worked on. At night however, to keep things interesting I have been exploring how to code Java the old school way by utilizing only notepad & command line. On a side note, we have also been gathering documents for my Fiance’s visa as her case has finally been approved to the next phase of the process and I am happy to share that with the world.

William & Xuyen - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Greetings from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam & The Studying Continues!.


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After my class ended. WeCan{Code}IT introduced their all new Hybrid Program FlexCode! It is for those who want to work while being able to attend.

Thanks You For Your Time!

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This is my review of WeCan{Code}IT and I hope to see you sitting in class because I highly recommend it. No worries, Alumni are always stopping in to give advice as well. They will change your life for the better and the knowledge they will provide you will be for all eternity. You just have to want it. Good Luck!

***Advice for Future Coding Bootcampers***

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This is just some advice that I like to give to newer students and the first piece of advice is what I gave my class when the pressure started to get tough from a Military perspective. From a Marine to a Civilian: