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Hacker Me: a Review of HackerYou

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Hacker Me: a Review of HackerYou

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For those of you just tuning in, I just finished a 9-week intensive programming boot-camp with HackerYou.

Thinking about it now, it still feels a little weird to be back in Toronto. So much has happened in the past nine weeks that it feels like nothing more than a dream. I am definitely not the same person I was two months ago when I started.

TL;DR There aren't enough reviews of codingnboot-camps outnthere. Please write some and tweet it @ronaldvictorino. Also read mine below.

In typicaln"Ron-thinks-too-much" fashion, I got to thinking, how does thisncompare to other boot-camps out there; what makes HackerYou stand out? With the plethoranof coding bootcamps out there, how do you pick the right one?

Being someone whonresearches heavily before getting into anything, I wasn't reallynhappy with what I found online. Some are good, like this Reddit forum ornsome of the Quora threads, butnnothing comprehensive enough to give me something to compare the differentnbootcamps. That kinda sucks considering how popular these types of schoolsnare becoming.

So that's where this blognposts comes in.

The following is an accountnof my experience at HackerYou in a more detailed manner. To those of younlooking to join a coding bootcamp in the future, I hope this helps. For thosenof you who have been in one, I challenge you to write your own blog posts,ntweet it @ronaldvictorino and we can have anfriendly "whose bootcamp was better" argument. =)

Anyways... without further adieu.

My Review of HackerYou (Hey that rhymes!)

**Office Space: **

HackerYou decided to hostntheir coding bootcamp at Shopify's office in Ottawa, ON, Canada. Atnfirst, I thought why would an organization from Toronto host their bootcamp innOttawa? Once I got to Shopify's office I completely understood why: theirnoffice space is nothing short of amazing. We ended up working out of their massive loungen/ cafeteria. To give you a sense of the space, it used to be the main floor ofna nightclub.

Surrounding us, were heaps of artwork made by Shopify employees. If you got frustrated with yourncode, the lounge was also equipped with a foosball table, an arcade machinenwith every video game ever, an xbox station and a nap room. Yes, you read thatnright: a nap room. When Inwalked into Shopify's office everyday, I could not help but feel inspired andnenergized to work harder. HackerYou made the right choice to go with Shopify's space.

Instructors:

HackerYou hired two Shopifyndevelopers to teach us: Nick Small and EdwardnOcampo-Gooding. These two are amazing people that justnknew the answers to the questions we asked, we didn't ask and that we should ask (which was VERY handy). I can't rave about these two enough. They exposed us to anmultitude of concepts including (but not limited to): Ruby, MVC, REST,nGit/Github, Javascript, APIs, tons of gems and the list goes on. They also taught in both anfun and unconventional way. Often times, they would stop speaking on the stagenand just come help us (something most teachers don't do). They kept it fresh bynincorporating different teaching techniques for the different styles. They didneverything from writing on a whiteboard to making interactive Google docs fornall of us to edit.

Not only did they help usnget started, they taught us in a way that pushed us to learn on our own. AsnShopify's motto goes, "Draw the Rest of the F***** Owl". Edward andnNick taught us more than just content, they taught us how to be resourceful. Inremember vividly when our class was struggling to figure things out, they tooknthat day's lecture and walked us through how to begin figuring it out.

Life Talks and Personal Branding:

What I thought was unique to HackerYou from what I gathered from other bootcamps was the emphasis of discovering yourself and personal branding.Nicole Belanger (Ladies Learning Code) and Heather Payne (HackerYou Founder) worked really hard to make sure that we were happy with the course and that we were moving in the direction we wanted. Often times we sat in a circle and discussed what we wanted to do in life in an open, yet efficient manner. Nicole even spent time delivering a personal branding seminar. They both helped a lot in preparing us for launching our first website, updating LinkedIn profiles, fixing up resumes and pushing our online brand. These two were not only committed to making the coding experience the best it could be, but also helped us prepare for life outside of HackerYou. Their dedication and hard work definitely gave me a push in the right direction.

Netwo****rking / Talks:

You would imagine that at antech company like Shopify, everyone's always super busy. Yet somehow, Heathernand Nicole convinced a lot of different Shopify employees and executives to speak to us. We met employees like Nick Small (Batman.JS creator), Edward Ocampo-Gooding (Web Dev Teacher/Talent Acquisition), Serena Ngai (Front-End Developer and Designer), Taylor Sicard (Partner Manager), Doug Tetzner (Head of Talent Acquisition) and Andrew Paliga (Product Manager). We even met Daniel Weinand (Chief Culture Officer), Harley Finkelstein (Chief Platform Officer) and Tobi Lu00FCtke (CEO). Not only did they give us insight into what each of their roles were like, but their stories gave us a huge amount of insight about life that you just don'tnget when you're learning in school.

The ActualnContent:

Content is king, that's the truth. Our instructors and TAs taught us out a ton. In fact, many of us came to HackerYou as complete beginners to coding and we were able to build some awesome final projects. But as I mentioned previously, we spent a lot of time toying with Rails on our own. This meant that everyone came out of HackerYou with differentnskills.

Nonetheless, click the link below to see what we covered:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lXRkVc4Bb0-wg4YR5XZqqF5RuowESyU7FRhTci2KcBk/edit

HackerYou'snPassion to do better:

While everyone in ourncohort was working as hard as they could, no onenworked as hard as HackerYou's very own Heather and Nicole. If the class had anproblem, they did everything they could to fix it. I'll never forget the timenwe sat down and had a town hall to discuss what HackerYou could be doingnbetter. Both Heather and Nicole took it to heart and made the course betternthan it already was. We also saw the changes in class that same night!

If you wanted to sit downnand talk about your progress, career goals or anything in general, they madentime for you no matter what. The craziest thing to think about was that theynwere also managing a million other things on the side. I have never met peoplenmore set on helping you succeed than these two. For that reason alone, younshould be convinced to participate in one of HackerYou's programs.

Conclusion

Everything about it wasnamazing. The Shopify instructors, the HackerYou organizers, and the dedicated TAs have been absolutely phenomenal. There was never a shortage of things tonlearn and everyday was exciting because we kept moving forward.nOh, and let's not forget the amazing crop of students who go to class becausenthey ACTUALLY want to be there.

Throughout my entire academic career, I've had some great teachers, professors and mentors, but this experience takes the cake. HackerYou managed to put together "the"**** best learning experience I've ever had in my life.

","wysiwyg":{"source":""}}" data-block-type="2"> This is a guest post written by HackerYou Summer Academy Ruby on Rails graduate, Ron Victorino. Check out the responsive website he created during the course here, and find him on Twitter -he’s @RonaldVictorino. For those of you just tuning in, I just finished a 9-week intensive programming boot-camp with HackerYou. Thinking about it now, it still feels a little weird to be back in Toronto. So much has happened in the past nine weeks that it feels like nothing more than a dream. I am definitely not the same person I was two months ago when I started. TL;DR There aren't enough reviews of coding boot-camps out there. Please write some and tweet it @ronaldvictorino. Also read mine below. In typical "Ron-thinks-too-much" fashion, I got to thinking, how does this compare to other boot-camps out there; what makes HackerYou stand out? With the plethora of coding bootcamps out there, how do you pick the right one? Being someone who researches heavily before getting into anything, I wasn't really happy with what I found online. Some are good, like this Reddit forum or some of the Quora threads, but nothing comprehensive enough to give me something to compare the different bootcamps. That kinda sucks considering how popular these types of schools are becoming. So that's where this blog posts comes in. The following is an account of my experience at HackerYou in a more detailed manner. To those of you looking to join a coding bootcamp in the future, I hope this helps. For those of you who have been in one, I challenge you to write your own blog posts, tweet it @ronaldvictorino and we can have a friendly "whose bootcamp was better" argument. =) Anyways... without further adieu.

My Review of HackerYou (Hey that rhymes!)

Office Space:

HackerYou decided to host their coding bootcamp at Shopify's office in Ottawa, ON, Canada. At first, I thought why would an organization from Toronto host their bootcamp in Ottawa? Once I got to Shopify's office I completely understood why: their office space is nothing short of amazing. We ended up working out of their massive lounge / cafeteria. To give you a sense of the space, it used to be the main floor of a nightclub. Surrounding us, were heaps of artwork made by Shopify employees. If you got frustrated with your code, the lounge was also equipped with a foosball table, an arcade machine with every video game ever, an xbox station and a nap room. Yes, you read that right: a nap room. When I walked into Shopify's office everyday, I could not help but feel inspired and energized to work harder. HackerYou made the right choice to go with Shopify's space.

Instructors:

HackerYou hired two Shopify developers to teach us: Nick Small and Edward Ocampo-Gooding. These two are amazing people that just knew the answers to the questions we asked, we didn't ask and that we should ask (which was VERY handy). I can't rave about these two enough. They exposed us to a multitude of concepts including (but not limited to): Ruby, MVC, REST, Git/Github, Javascript, APIs, tons of gems and the list goes on. They also taught in both a fun and unconventional way. Often times, they would stop speaking on the stage and just come help us (something most teachers don't do). They kept it fresh by incorporating different teaching techniques for the different styles. They did everything from writing on a whiteboard to making interactive Google docs for all of us to edit. Not only did they help us get started, they taught us in a way that pushed us to learn on our own. As Shopify's motto goes, "Draw the Rest of the F***** Owl". Edward and Nick taught us more than just content, they taught us how to be resourceful. I remember vividly when our class was struggling to figure things out, they took that day's lecture and walked us through how to begin figuring it out.

Life Talks and Personal Branding:

What I thought was unique to HackerYou from what I gathered from other bootcamps was the emphasis of discovering yourself and personal branding. Nicole Belanger (Ladies Learning Code) and Heather Payne (HackerYou Founder) worked really hard to make sure that we were happy with the course and that we were moving in the direction we wanted. Often times we sat in a circle and discussed what we wanted to do in life in an open, yet efficient manner. Nicole even spent time delivering a personal branding seminar. They both helped a lot in preparing us for launching our first website, updating LinkedIn profiles, fixing up resumes and pushing our online brand. These two were not only committed to making the coding experience the best it could be, but also helped us prepare for life outside of HackerYou. Their dedication and hard work definitely gave me a push in the right direction.

Networking / Talks:

You would imagine that at a tech company like Shopify, everyone's always super busy. Yet somehow, Heather and Nicole convinced a lot of different Shopify employees and executives to speak to us. We met employees like Nick Small(Batman.JS creator), Edward Ocampo-Gooding (Web Dev Teacher/Talent Acquisition), Serena Ngai (Front-End Developer and Designer), Taylor Sicard(Partner Manager), Doug Tetzner (Head of Talent Acquisition) and Andrew Paliga (Product Manager). We even met Daniel Weinand (Chief Culture Officer),Harley Finkelstein (Chief Platform Officer) and Tobi Lütke (CEO). Not only did they give us insight into what each of their roles were like, but their stories gave us a huge amount of insight about life that you just don't get when you're learning in school.

The Actual Content:

Content is king, that's the truth. Our instructors and TAs taught us out a ton. In fact, many of us came to HackerYou as complete beginners to coding and we were able to build some awesome final projects. But as I mentioned previously, we spent a lot of time toying with Rails on our own. This meant that everyone came out of HackerYou with different skills.

HackerYou's Passion to do better:

While everyone in our cohort was working as hard as they could, no one worked as hard as HackerYou's very own Heather and Nicole. If the class had a problem, they did everything they could to fix it. I'll never forget the time we sat down and had a town hall to discuss what HackerYou could be doing better. Both Heather and Nicole took it to heart and made the course better than it already was. We also saw the changes in class that same night! If you wanted to sit down and talk about your progress, career goals or anything in general, they made time for you no matter what. The craziest thing to think about was that they were also managing a million other things on the side. I have never met people more set on helping you succeed than these two. For that reason alone, you should be convinced to participate in one of HackerYou's programs.

Conclusion

Everything about it was amazing. The Shopify instructors, the HackerYou organizers, and the dedicated TAs have been absolutely phenomenal. There was never a shortage of things to learn and everyday was exciting because we kept moving forward. Oh, and let's not forget the amazing crop of students who go to class because they ACTUALLY want to be there. Throughout my entire academic career, I've had some great teachers, professors and mentors, but this experience takes the cake. HackerYou managed to put together "the"**** best learning experience I've ever had in my life.