Student Podcast: JavaScript Bootcamp Week 1 Wrap Up

Jimmy Flores: So welcome back everyone that’s listening. We’re back with another Ironhack bootcamp. This time we’re with the JavaScript development Web Dev bootcamp. If you don’t know what Ironhack is it’s basically a school that teaches people how to go from zero to junior level in JavaScript or UX/UI design. What that means is you can seriously change your career in a matter of nine weeks with some pre work and then with our support behind you. So basically when you finish we help everyone find a job as soon as possible that becomes a number one mission after you’re done with the bootcamp.
That’s what we do for people. We’ve been doing it for three or four years now. There’s 600 graduates and overall our placement rate is extremely high. It’s between 92, 94%. In each campus it varies a little bit. Here in Barcelona where we’re at the placement rate is brutally high. It’s around 97, 98%. So we work really hard to develop those relationships locally with companies, with startups, all this kind of good stuff so that when you graduate you’re not just there like, “Okay, now what do I do?” we’re here to help.

So if you’re curious about learning to code or becoming a UXUI designer – the way I explain UX/UI design, because it’s a little harder to understand than coding. It’s kind of like the engineer of a product. They’re the person who is architecting things behind the scenes making sure the design is right, the flow is right and people are having the best experience possible, so ironhack.com go check that out.

Now, today I am joined by Amanda, Jeff and Anton who are the first three students that we’ll be talking to during these next – what nine weeks is it?

Jeff Zinger: That’s right Jimmy.

Jimmy Flores: What a pro. I love it. So let’s see. Anton – well I guess I want each one of you to introduce yourself, where you’re from. And then we’ll jump back into Anton because the next follow up question would be ‘What motivation brought you here?’

Anton Virtanen: Okay. Well my name is Anton Virtanen. I’m originally from Luxemburg. I’m half French, half Finnish. I am in Barcelona now with Jeff.

Jimmy Flores: Go ahead and introduce yourselves and then we’ll

Jeff Zinger: Okay. I’m Jeff. I’m from Glasgow in Scotland. I’m 26 years old. I was a developer in the past but I want to move into more web stuff now and I thought Ironhack could be a great place to do that.

Jimmy Flores: There’s no need to hide by. It’s all right. You’re good. No don’t be scared.

Jeff Zinger: We’re going to edit this, don’t worry.

Jimmy Flores: No we won’t. We’re hardcore. We go unedited.

Amanda Honkanen: All right.

Jimmy Flores: Unless somebody starts crying and things get really bad off the trail.

Jeff Zinger: You’re saying that now but we’ll see.

Amanda Honkanen: Exactly. I’m Amanda. I come from northern Finland. I was just previously a student and now wanted to try something completely different.

Jimmy Flores: Okay, fair enough.

Anton Virtanen: Yes I realized that I forgot to add that. I’m 27 and I studied Graphic Design before that.

Jimmy Flores: All right. I guess what I would like each one of you to eventually answer, the first things is: What was that motivation to begin looking for let’s say coding education in general? What was it that where you’re at and what problem did you have? How did you think this was going to transition?

Anton Virtanen: Well since I already studied graphic design beforehand, I kind of just figured that after a moment of working now professionally like with websites mainly like WordPress or some other web builders that are provided online. But the one thing that I didn’t have complete control of the websites kind of frustrated me and I realized that this would be an added skill to my prior education which is in Graphic Design, so it was more like a bonus.
Also, probably trying to look for a junior developer like job in Barcelona as possible, but otherwise I know that Luxemburg has a lot of different opportunities also in it.

I already studied graphic design … the one thing that I didn’t have complete control of was websites and that kind of frustrated me. -Anton, JavaScript Bootcamp

Jimmy Flores: What about you Jeff?

Jeff Zinger: Well I fell into programming by accident. I got a job in statistics and didn’t realize I’d be working with a lot of databases. And basically I taught myself how to work with their databases and eventually realized I enjoyed the coding side of it much more than the stats and just decided to move towards programming and away from statistics, but that was a while ago. Then I actually like working with databases too much so after a break decided to come back and do web development because it’d be more fun. I could be more creative and I’d just be enjoying that I was programming a lot more.

After a break I decided to come back and do web development because it’d be more fun. I could be more creative and I’d just be enjoying that I was programming a lot more. -Jeff, JavaScript Bootcamp

Jimmy Flores: Amanda

Amanda Honkanen: I can’t think of a single moment where I was like, “All right, this is what I want to do”. But my interest in this actually I think rooted from my family. I have a dad who’s a startup owner and my sister’s also been working with a bunch of different startups and I realized this is really cool and this is the future. I think I’m the youngest in our class.

Jimmy Flores: How old are you?

Amanda Honkanen: I’m 18.

Jimmy Flores: Okay.

Jeff Zinger: Wow

Amanda Honkanen: Turning 19 in a week.

Jeff Zinger: That is young.

Amanda Honkanen: I was thinking about what universities I want to go to and I realized why not try something other than this traditional academia so I’m here.

I was thinking about what universities I want to go to and I realized why not try something other than this traditional academia so I’m here. -Amanda, JavaScript Bootcamp

Jimmy Flores: So then this is your –

Amanda Honkanen: I’m trying this for a higher education. I think my case differs a lot from everybody else’s because almost everyone at least I think tried the university thing and now they realized, “All right. I’m not sure if this is the direction I want to go to” and I’m starting from this.

Jimmy Flores: Did you guys go to university, start, finish?

Anton Virtanen: Yes for me – I mean I didn’t finish but I did four years in San Francisco. I have one more year that I could have done. Anyways, prices of rent, etc. just forced me out for a moment. But I anyways got enough of the skills as well as the portfolio and contacts etc.

Jimmy Flores: Hey by the way, were your parents the ones that came…

Anton Virtanen: Yes. I only realized afterwards like a few days ago I was like “Wait a minute, they talked about Jimmy” and then I just went like…

Jeff Zinger: What happened here?

Jimmy Flores: What was it? It might have been a month ago.

Anton Virtanen: something like that

Jimmy Flores: A month and a half ago something like that

Anton Virtanen: November or something

Jimmy Flores: An older couple walks in and basically they were here checking out the facilities.

Anton Virtanen: They wanted to change their career as well.

Jimmy Flores: That would have been awesome.

Jeff Zinger: Turn up as a family

Jimmy Flores: Yes exactly, take a bootcamp as a family.

Amanda Honkanen: That would have been awesome.

Jimmy Flores: I’m going to see if … you can really add for that.

Anton Virtanen: Family pass!

Amanda Honkanen: Family discount!

Jeff Zinger: But would they be called senior developer or just junior senior developer?

But would they be called “senior developer” or just “junior senior developer”? -Jeff with the jokes!

Anton Virtanen: Junior senior, yes.

Jimmy Flores: Junior senior dev. Yes. So they walked in and I was lucky enough to be the one to speak with them. They were just here for information for Anton to check it out, see the space. I tried to give them as much information as I could. I think obviously it turned out all right.

Anton Virtanen: Yes I’m here.

Jimmy Flores: Now it clicks because when you said San Francisco I was like, “Was it you?” Did you go to university?

Jeff Zinger: Yes. I went to university in Glasgow where I lived for four years and studied Math, not because I knew what I wanted to do just because that was the path that everyone was going down and I just thought that would be the best thing to do at the time. I can’t say it was a really bad decision because obviously I did enjoy it and I learned a lot. But Amanda you’re just starting doing something 18, it takes you 9 weeks and then you’re set. As far as the route you go down it would be such a really great use of your time basically instead of four years.

Jimmy Flores: This is a whole rabbit whole here but I’ve heard a lot of pros and cons for the four-year university. Most people tend to say, “I didn’t really learn much in four years that I’m using now”.

Jeff Zinger: Yes that you’re using now. You do learn stuff. But a lot of the time when you go on in the future it’s not the exact same things that you were learning for four years.

Jimmy Flores: Yes. It’s quite unfortunate because with all the resources and everything that an established university around, any establishing university around the world. I mean you would think that they could offer maybe a much more intensive program but it’s not happening. For whatever reasons you’re like, “Okay something’s not working. I want to change. I want to do something more. I want to level up”.
What is it that – because there’s a million languages. What was it that attracted you to this JavaScript boot camp? What attracted you to learning JavaScript or did you not even have an idea and just like “I just signed up for it”?

Jeff Zinger: Well I don’t know. I guess I probably put a lot of research into the newest technologies or what a lot of people were using. I don’t know. JavaScript just kept popping up. I was really attracted to the fact that I could learn one language to do most of the things that web developer does just as a beginner. I just feel like if you can concentrate all your knowledge in one area, then you become an expert faster. And it’s only when you really become an expert do you when you obviously get paid more and you can contribute more to the community and everything because you’ve got that real level of knowledge, whereas if you’re spreading your knowledge around it takes longer. That’s all.

I put in a lot of research into the newest technologies, or what a lot of people were using. JavaScript just kept popping up. -Jeff, JavaScript Bootcamp

Anton Virtanen: For me it was also the intensity of the whole bootcamp idea that just worked better for me as an idea that having everything constructed in the space of nine weeks and just being in it all the time. How can I say this? We had this guy who was like – what is it a lieutenant, an old lieutenant, a Navy Seals guy?

Jimmy Flores: So basically the person this year who gave the keynote which is basically the introductory ‘fire you up’ speech – I mean we’re lucky enough that he’s in Barcelona now and it’s Alden Mills and Alden Mills is.

Jeff Zinger: A giant off a man

Jimmy Flores: A giant off a man, ex-Navy SEAL. What else? He’s the cold founder of – I forget the company name but it’s a fitness company that developed the Perfect Push Up. And he has got this whole story. His book is entitled ‘Be Unstoppable’. This is now an ad for Alden Mills. Alden Mills is so powerful. He runs ads even when he don’t even try. But yes, we’re fortunate enough and he’s extremely generous enough to come in.
I think one of the things that he really understood about the program and what you’re up against is that the name bootcamp isn’t a joke. It’s very intense. It’s very intense.

Jeff Zinger: We know that now.

Jimmy Flores: Yes. And we’re trying to sit in so much in such a short amount of time that the only thing that we’re missing is 40 kilo backpacks that you have to wear every day and running 20 kilometers.

Jeff Zinger: And the push-ups.

Jimmy Flores: That will come. I think that will come. We’re planning on putting in a CrossFit area here.

Anton Virtanen: The reason why I referred to him was of course the bootcamp. But also the idea of being pushed out of plane as like you don’t have any other option than to pull up your own parachute after a moment. That pretty much in my opinion summed it up very well. There is no other choice than try to, it’s this or in a way like you hit the ground. This time it would be losing 6 or like a few, an amount of money. I mean I guess it depends on wherever you are and how much it costs.

Jimmy Flores: The money thing is always the biggest red flag for a lot of people because they’re not free programs. They’re not online programs. They’re not 50 or $100 Udemy downloads. But it is true that the placement rate is where – I mean it’s a whole lot of things. It’s the teachers. It’s the facility. Everyone’s pulling here for you, but it’s…

Jeff Zinger: The way I see it is to pay for this course you’re basically paying for this course out of your future earnings because you’re going to be earning more in the future as a result of this. So for me whatever I was paying for the course was going to come back in the next probably few months of what you’re early anyway. And then from 6 months onwards you’re running a business. You’re investing in yourself.

The way I see it is to pay for this course you’re basically paying for this course out of your future earnings because you’re going to be earning more in the future as a result of this. -Jeff, JavaScript Bootcamp

Jimmy Flores: What about you Amanda going back to the original question which was ‘Why JavaScript?’? Did you look into it before or did someone counsel you on it? Did they give you some advice?

Amanda Honkanen: Actually I was searching for a couple different bootcamps similar to Ironhack. I was supposed to come to Ironhack in October when Ironhack was still doing Ruby on rails. But for some reason I had to differ the course. And in early December I got an email from Ironhack saying, “We switched to JavaScript” which I thought was actually great news. What they’ve been telling us all week this week is you have to keep changing what you’re learning and you have to keep learning new stuff in this industry. Lately JavaScript is what’s in highest demand I think. Yes, it was supposed to be doing Ruby but now I’m here doing JavaScript and I’m really happy about that.

Jimmy Flores: Yes. I mean it’s one of those things if we weren’t willing to iterate and it to move with where the job market is going, then we’d be almost building another University just sticking to the same thing that’s always been done.

Amanda Honkanen: That’s so true.

Jeff Zinger: That’s the problem with universities. They just can’t keep up with things that are changing all the time.

That’s the problem with universities. They just can’t keep up with things that are changing all the time. -Jeff, JavaScript Bootcamp

Jimmy Flores: Yes. I mean, there are a lot of pros and cons to having such a small team trying to do something as large as putting together this alternative type of Education school. But at the same time, it makes it to where decisions can happen from – in three months you could have a whole new curriculum. You could make these decisions. I mean the reality is that if you look on indeed I think there is about 40,000-50,000 JavaScript jobs just in the states and when you look at Ruby, Ruby on Rails, it’s half that.

There’s a new blog post that went up on the Ironhack blog talking about the transition of why we went from Ruby to JavaScript. A lot deal with just these browser forces that started to change and you really people just started adopting JavaScript.

I spoke to Nizar which is the head instructor in Miami about JavaScript and all this kind of stuff. I mean it’s just powerful what people are building with it. You look at most sites with interactivity if not all of them and it’s Amazon a ABNB, Netflix, JavaScript, JavaScript, JavaScript. What they do in the backend that’s kind of a little different sometimes.

Jeff Zinger: It seems like it’s not the perfect language but what you can do with it – Its up to you to use it responsibly. It seems like you can do anything you want with it more or less. It just seems like a really flexible language that way.

Jimmy Flores: What have you been touching on this first week?

Anton Virtanen: Well HTML of course, CSS, but those are easy ones and we go very quickly over the world, but a mainly focusing on JavaScript. I mean, we’ve gone through functions, arrays. Those are the very basic that are in the first day even, I think.

Jimmy Flores: Could someone explain what function and arrays are in a way that someone who has no idea of JavaScript is can say, “Oh, that’s what that does”?

Anton Virtanen: Well, I mean function works with its own way. A function functions this way. I don’t know. Our teacher just also summarized it in a way. I guess I’ll just copy him, hopefully he didn’t copyright this. But basically he said a function is also awaits you abstract things that if you’re pushing the gas pedal in a car that you wanted to go forward, you’re making the function. But what’s inside the function it’s just like it’s pushing more gas into the engine. The Pistons are pushing

Jimmy Flores: firing

Anton Virtanen: Firing up at, etc. So a function is just a mathematical way of course, but it’s just basic logic of what’s happening inside. But we just name it for example ‘more gas’ or something like that and so that function will give more gas.

Jeff Zinger: I think it’s a collection of cords that’s all grouped together which just makes it easy to package throughout your cord. It just makes it easy to [inaudible 00:20:19] things that are relevant really. You put them all under the same box and you can just call them all together and run it as many times as you want. It protects everything that’s inside the function. It just seems like it’s a really clean, organized way of rating cord.

Amanda Honkanen: Reusable instructions, I feel like I’ve read that a bunch of times this week.

Jimmy Flores: So HTML, CSS briefly and then arrays, functions

Jeff Zinger: Just all the data structures

Amanda Honkanen: We touched a little bit on object oriented programming.

Anton Virtanen: Algorithms, but they’re just like – how could I explain? Well, I mean probably everybody has heard the word algorithm lately. But it’s just also a bunch of difference functions. For example, we’ve made exercises finding the longest words in a group of text. You can create an algorithm that will try to find – that will go through all the different names that are in that same block of data and will compare each other and then you’ll find a way to classify that like ‘This one is to longest word in it’ or stuff like this.

Jimmy Flores: Is this what you expected from week one?

Amanda Honkanen: You know what? I didn’t expect a 13 hours first day. That’s something I didn’t expect.

You know what? I didn’t expect a 13 hours first day. That’s something I didn’t expect. -Amanda, JavaScript Bootcamp

Jeff Zinger: I second it. It’s good because you come to these things to pack in as much learning as you can within a short period of time. So I guess I’d be disappointed if we were just putting in nine to five and they thought that was okay because at the end of the day, you come here because you want to get to as a high a level as you can as quick as possible and you’re only going to do that if you’re putting in the real time and hard work. It’s good to see that everyone’s on the same page.

Jimmy Flores: What about the rest of the class the cohort, anything interesting, surprising, curious between all of the different people in the class?

Jeff Zinger: I mean they’re all from everywhere. There are people from all around the world. We’re here in Barcelona obviously in Spain

Jimmy Flores: Mexico, Russia

Jeff Zinger: There’s four or five Spaniards and then the rest 17, everywhere else dotted around.

Amanda Honkanen: Yes. I think it’s a completely unique experience having these people with completely different backgrounds. I mean we have people who’ve studied politics, haven’t studied at all, have worked in marketing. But then we all come here with a certain goal and you can actually see it. Everyone seems so determined. Everyone’s staying late nights. Everybody’s working together. It’s pretty amazing actually.

I think it’s a completely unique experience having these people with completely different backgrounds. I mean we have people who’ve studied politics, haven’t studied at all, have worked in marketing. But then we all come here with a certain goal and you can actually see it. Everyone seems so determined. Everyone’s staying late nights. Everybody’s working together. It’s pretty amazing actually. -Amanda, JavaScript Bootcamp

Jimmy Flores: But that is kind of the point. I think it’s really hard to get it through everyone’s head but –

Amanda Honkanen: I don’t think you realize it until you come here.

Jimmy Flores: Yes you don’t, no one does. We could write it on a website a thousand times and it doesn’t sink in until you don’t experience it. This is one of my purposes behind recording this with the students is that I would like people that eventually end up considering a bootcamp whether it’s with Ironhack or not, to have this first person this is what they felt in week one, in week three, week four because it’s definitely one of these things that – I think people don’t really understand what they’re getting themselves into. But on the other hand, once you get to the end of the program on the Hack show you’ll see that what you’re going to build is, man it’s pretty cool.

Jeff Zinger: Yes. I’m really looking forward to just seeing what everyone’s like at the end. I just think it’s going to be completely transformational in nine weeks as well because we’re saying there’s people from all around the world here. There’s also a lot of people with very little coding experience. I mean Ironhack gave you the pre-work to do which I think you need because it gives you an expectation of a little bit about codes. I mean in the grand scheme of things people are starting from very – the beginning more or less and to see people try and tackle this material just steps up every day. It’s really interesting to see what it’s going to be like next week.

Jimmy Flores: So to wrap up what’s one bit of advice that you would give any person that’s listening now that is considering a bootcamp. What’s one piece of advice that you would give them given everything that you’ve experienced and you know after week one?

Anton Virtanen: For me the real difference is you actually learn that this whole development thing is also teamwork that you work together with a lot of people. Everybody struggles of course with their own different paces. But one thing that I realized of course I could learn code by myself after I’m home but ultimately I don’t think that’s really what code is. You realize that there’s a huge community behind it and that’s definitely one thing that I didn’t really see it before coming here but for me it would be team work.

For me the real difference is you actually learn that this whole development thing is also teamwork that you work together with a lot of people. I realized of course I could learn code by myself but ultimately I don’t think that’s really what code is. I didn’t really see it before coming here but for me it would be team work. -Anton, JavaScript Bootcamp

Jimmy Flores: Jeff

Jeff Zinger: I would just say that you really need to think about how bad do you want it. How bad do you want to be a developer? How bad do you want to be a good coder? If you ask yourself the question and it comes out that yes you want this basically more than anything else that you’re doing at this point in your life, then these are the guys to help you get to the place that you want to be. Don’t come like think it would just be something to add as a hobby or a side project because to do the 13 hour a days you need to really be committed and the whole group is like that. Everyone will push you. If you want it bad then this is probably one of the best ways to get there.

How bad do you want to be a good coder? If you ask yourself the question and it comes out that yes you want this basically more than anything else that you’re doing at this point in your life, then these are the guys to help you get to the place that you want to be. -Jeff, JavaScript Bootcamp

Amanda Honkanen: All right. I think – I’m speaking from personal experience. I would say, don’t fear what you don’t understand yet because if your fear of not understanding what coding is or what web developers do on a daily basis , just call somebody from Ironhack, email them and come here if this is what you want. There are people with a bunch of different backgrounds. It’s not like your background is any worse.

I would say, don’t fear what you don’t understand yet because if your fear of not understanding what coding is or what web developers do on a daily basis , just call somebody from Ironhack, email them and come here if this is what you want. There are people with a bunch of different backgrounds. It’s not like your background is any worse. -Amanda, JavaScript Bootcamp

Jimmy Flores: Well thank you all.

Amanda Honkanen: Thank you

Jimmy Flores: I hope that week two to nine is not demoralizing in any way.

Jeff Zinger: Come back to us afterwards

Jimmy Flores: It’ going to get harder. It’s only going to get harder but we’re here to help. Everyone’s here to help. Good luck. I can’t wait to see the final project because that’s always awesome to see what each person decides to code and to put together. What else? Yes. If you stay to the end go check out ironhack.com. If you’re curious about a bootcamp do some research and know that you’re in for a hell of a time and 99% sure you’re going to make a bunch of good friends too, so that’s another bonus there.
This is the end of week one. They’ve survived. They’re still alive. They have smiles on their faces. I’ll talk to everyone later. Thanks everyone for being on the show.

Amanda Honkanen: Thank you.

Jeff Zinger: Cheers Jimmy.

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