Coding bootcamp or at-home DIY?
October 2, 2019 9:14 AM   Subscribe

I've been working in games for almost a decade now. With the birth of my first son and a recent lay-off/generous severance I've been looking ahead to try and figure out if that's really where I want to stay. It's been hard to find work after a recent move, the hours are horrific and the pay gets less good every year (Long gone are the bonuses after crunch!). Recently I've been thinking about moving to full stack front end work- There are way more gigs out there for it. I have a now very rusty background in web dev, but my technical chops are intact. Since I'd be "starting over", my question is this: Is it worth it to do a coding bootcamp or should I just stay home, DIY it and get a great portfolio together? I ask because games is very portfolio & relationship driven. A degree can be nice but was never a requirement. If you could do the work you'd be hired. Is there a similar ethos in mainline development work? or do I need some credentials to stand out?
posted by GilloD to Technology (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Either way would work, but as you are already a developer I think you'll benefit from a bootcamp. If I saw a dev who was in games and then did a bootcamp, I'd definitely consider them over someone who did a bootcamp coming from non-dev background, or even recent CS grad. Having that experience matters.

As far as which framework (which you did not ask) React and Angular are the 2 big dogs, but I personally love Vue. And the learning curve is much more gradual. Take a look in your area at the amount if jobs for each one and decide.

Feel free to MeFi mail me for followups.
posted by pyro979 at 9:35 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]

Speaking from personal experience as someone who hires front end developers -- just apply for jobs. People are desperate for even junior front end developers. Find an agency that juggles multiple projects a year and has senior folks you can learn from. You'll level up much, much faster. You have a proven track record in software which is more than many folks apply for these jobs have.
posted by johnnybeggs at 10:58 AM on October 2 [6 favorites]

Favorited the previous two answers, couldn't agree more, but I'll add that you'll be learning more than a new framework. The non-coding demands are very different from what you're used to in game development, and you can turn this into an asset as you tell your story: that you have less opportunity to learn and grow in gaming development even as folks in that segment of the industry are being asked to do more work for less money, so you are looking to move into a new coding segment where you can apply your core competencies to new projects with new types of demands and learn a ton while working your way back up the ladder. I'd find that to be a compelling story.
posted by davejay at 3:18 PM on October 2

Are you writing code on a regular basis at work right now? If so, what are you writing in? Are you engaging in any other "technical activities"? (Like, I dunno, data storage and analysis, operations, graphic design)
posted by inkyz at 5:02 PM on October 2

If you were to go the boot camp path, you might want to check to see if your local community college offers any opportunities.

My situation was different, but I had a good experience with a non credit professional development course taught at my local cc. The price was reasonable, there were opportunities for networking, and class’ structure forced me to do the thing instead of just talking about doing the thing.
posted by oceano at 7:38 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]

Bootcamps do 2 things:
(1) get ~4 "projects" on your resume, each with a different assortment of technologies
(2) take 10% of your first year salary

The idea is that you can become a super junior front-end dev and any company that wants to hire you can find at least a couple of their specific buzzwords on your resume. Companies are rightly becoming suspicious of the quality of boot-camp grads and therefore boot camp 'credentials'. If you are already a competent developer there is very little reason IMO for you to boot-camp it.

For front-end work, based on the jobs market where I am (NYC), I would say to only learn React and forget everything else. If you want to do project work that makes you 'full stack' then you have a lot of other tech choices you can make. With the caveat that development communities can be highly segregated:
Things I have seem many jobs for: python (django or flask), nodejs, postgres
Things I have not seen many jobs for: ruby, mysql, mongo

My advice:
(1) Learn how to use docker. This is a useful skill on its own, but for your purposes it will allow you to trivially stand up a full postgres DB.
(2) Write a super-simple API for something. I'd use flask or django for this, but there are certainly other choices. This should be RESTy and return JSON.
(3) Write a React app that uses your API.
(4) Put it on the web somewhere so you can demo it if required.
(5) Put it on your resume, apply for jobs.
posted by beerbajay at 8:20 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]

« Older Help Me Improve My Low Budget Pescatarian Diet   |   Seeking a labor and employment attorney in Texas Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments