Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Personal Experience at Coding Dojo : MIXED

Below is a real email to someone who was referred to me. He's seeking info on Coding Dojo . I offered my time for a phone conversation which quickly turned sour, as he accused me of trying to charge for my consultation and I was very offended when I deliberately spent valuable time in the afternoon to answer lengthy questions that originally filled a page in my email. 
He brought up a great point, why can't I just answer his questions straight up? I can't and I won't (many in the meetups do). It's too easy for me or any one from one of these camps to say: oh I like it, or oh I hate it, and never give an objective analysis along with the subjective experience.
So I put my two cents down here for all to see. My experience at the Coding Dojo was obviously MIXED, yet there are some very good segments of the curriculum and relevant parts of the package that many may benefit from. Yes, I have some weird philosophy here.
But that is why the information is valuable to others, because I actually take time to think it through and remove my personal emotions from this.

Exciting news: 1. I commissioned a collaborative post professionally written on Twitter Bootstrap that I paid for and vested time for but will share freely here in a couple of days
2. I am also going to research Hack Reactor in great details in the next couple of days and compile objective data on the bootcamp, and demystify the price tag and what makes its curriculum special. Super excited!

"I was just writing actually. To be honest I was offended. But I was writing you with info about Coding Dojo anyway, because I believe all are entitled to important information. 

Here's the thing the bootcamp choice really depends on your interest, background and many factors. Everyone will either tell you their experience sucked or is great. There's a lot of social psychology driven people to give such answers.
My answer is very complex:
1. Coding Dojo wasn't ready curriculum wise for its first class, though in many areas it was. The support for recruiting isn't ideal, nor is it for alumni. In general Coding Dojo still lacks glamour. That been said, its speaker series has been beyond expectation, and continues to do so.
2. Coding Dojo is a good place to learn PHP, mySQL and other more traditional skills. Last time I heard / experienced, Rails wasn't a strong point. The mySQL course here is by far the easiest and most relevant of all.
3. The price tag of course remains to be favorable as does the timeline, hence many students chose it for price, availability and proximity to the South Bay.
4. Staff is one key factor to consider. I would say the Coding Dojo staff is helpful but lack of total professionalism. It can exacerbate the first point I just made.  There's a bit of turnover concern in terms of staff change and experience.
5. Overall experience really depended on the segment of curriculum: the front-end was very effective, though lack in design thinking, the database was great as I mentioned, PHP scripting was excellent with great exercises, Rails was bit lacking, project support bit lacking, and alumni support is missing.
As all experience goes, it's hard to say good or bad. It's important for all of us to consider factors that are native to the bootcamp and also important to ourselves.
hope you find this helpful.
I am also posting this to my blog so more can see. Btw, I have lots of info on my blog for Coding Dojo already. You just haven't searched :)"



  1. I haven't experienced their system first hand as a student yet, but based on my take of the projects their students produced, your review seems fair. And to be fair to Coding Dojo, their challenges are considerable...get newbies up to speed within 9 weeks and they are the first to admit they're still new themselves and shaking out the bugs too. I still believe the South Bay coding scene is much better off with Coding Dojo than without it.

  2. Oh Aaron, so glad that you are commenting on this! Your insights are supremely valuable. I couldn't have said it better "South Bay coding scene is much better off with Coding Dojo than without it"

    When you say "they are the first to admit they're still new themselves and shaking out the bugs too", do you mean the students or Coding Dojo?

    Thanks so much for coming to our first demo day you are awesome. Have you been to any new ones? I kept going out of the country :(


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