Changing careers to software engineering- Bootcamp?

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James_0011
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Changing careers to software engineering- Bootcamp?

Post by James_0011 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:22 pm

Hello,

I haven’t posted here in awhile but have been thinking of an issue that I thought members of this forum could help me with.

I’m currently working as a product Manager at a small software company. I would like to change my career to being a software engineer in order to hopefully find remote based work.

My question is has anyone here attended a coding Bootcamp? Did they find it useful in changing careers?

My thinking is that I can simply learn how to be a junior web developer from books and free tutorials. My background is in math and I took some cs classes.

My only concern is that I won’t follow through with completing online tutorials. I know I have the aptitude to do so but I’m think that if I paid for a Bootcamp I would take it more seriously.

My other thought is do I need to become a software engineer after all? I would really like to be able to work from home. I see product Manager jobs that allow working from home posted occasionally. However, there are not very many of these and they seem very competitive.

What do you think?


JamesR
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Re: Changing careers to software engineering- Bootcamp?

Post by JamesR » Thu Sep 27, 2018 12:58 am

Having development experience would be an asset for a product manager too, assuming the product is websites or software products.

I can imagine that a bootcamp would be very effective, but they can be rather expensive. When I last looked back in 2014 maybe, I think I saw prices from $15k-20k for 8 to 11 weeks. But one of the linked threads above mentioned someone getting 3 months for $10k. I guess it depends a lot on your location or if you can relocate to where one of the bootcamps are.

There are "online" bootcamps too, like teamtreehouse and similar I think, significantly cheaper but also more organized than just going through books or free tutorials.

I wonder if you couldn't also learn while working. For example, you could start on upwork.com, and charge $5/hr, limit your contract to 10 hours a week, and then spend closer to 40 hours to learn and solve the tasks. After 12 weeks of that, you'd have made $10,600 (opportunity cost of bootcamp + $600) :P

The trick is to figure out what technical stack/programming language you want to master. React is the hot new javascript framework for webapps & there's also React-Native for mobile phone apps. I don't really like it, but it's got the mindshare right now, so there's a lot of support and tutorials and jobs and such.

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BRUTE
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Re: Changing careers to software engineering- Bootcamp?

Post by BRUTE » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:53 am

brute recently talked with a human who was under the impression that bootcamps work best for those humans who already have a strong aptitude for programming. James_0011 might be among those with a math degree and CS classes under his belt.

a lot of programming is just grind and learning the special cases by running into them repeatedly.

brute could imagine it's harder to be remote for PMs because their job is even more "squishy" and hard to describe than a programmer's. so employers probably judge PMs by factors like attendance, office politics, even more. remote sucks for that. but this is just a subjective impression brute has.

and while there definitely exist programmers working remotely, it is not at all trivial to get such a job. especially at a similar salary as in a HCOL area.

James_0011
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Re: Changing careers to software engineering- Bootcamp?

Post by James_0011 » Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:15 am

@JamesR, yeah I agree that I need to learn more about development to get better at my current role. I’m not even completely sure how I got this job without having development experience. I think I’m going to proceed withthe method you outlined by doing some online tutorials, then finding some simple Upwork jobs and undercharging to do them.

@brute, what you mentioned about a PM job being squishy is another reason why I want to make a change. After a year into being a PM I realize how much politics there are amoung the executives, If I was a developer I imagine I wouldn’t have to worry about that stuff. I don’t really care about having a HCOL area salary because I would relocate to a cheaper area if I was working remotely. I mostly have around that being in an office environment is bad for my mental health. I did an internship when I was in college that allowed me to work remotely and didn’t find the same sort of mental health decline.

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BRUTE
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Re: Changing careers to software engineering- Bootcamp?

Post by BRUTE » Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:22 pm

there is still politics as a developer, but probably less. brute agrees that being in the office takes a huge toll in his mental (and physical!) health. he would also like to work remotely, but it seems like a pretty limited option - almost no employer seems to embrace it, and most of the ones that do expect to drastically underpay the remote employees.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: Changing careers to software engineering- Bootcamp?

Post by SavingWithBabies » Sat Sep 29, 2018 11:12 pm

Can you do a lateral move at your current employer? I'd start by learning their stack (if they have a common one to all the projects) and try to get a feel for if there would be any support for you eventually transitioning to a developer role.

In terms of remote, my experience (with ~11 years post-college developer experience) is a huge percentage of potential employers (say 7 or 8 in 10) do indeed want to pay you less than you can get in silicon valley. There also seem to be a number of bootstrapped companies that are only offering pay -- no equity. That can be fine but something to think about (I've gotten pretty close to putting potential equity at $0 in worth however you never know and if you get $120k + equity and just $120k, the + equity seems nice if both jobs are reasonably similar). My experience is California-based startups are more likely to pay good wages. I'm matching my last salary in the SF Bay Area while working remote for a company that is headquartered in the SF Bay Area. I found this job after I relocated back to the midwest. So there are high paying remote jobs out there but they are harder to find. I'm getting ~$155k salary right now and when I was interviewing, it seemed like most offers from non-California companies were about $120k.

Unfortunately, it looks like my current employer isn't doing so well (late stage startup) so I'm expecting to be back to interviewing sometime soon. I'm really not looking forward to trying to filter out the lower paying positions. But if I do end up doing it, I'll try to keep a log of how it goes on my journal.

Augustus
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Re: Changing careers to software engineering- Bootcamp?

Post by Augustus » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:47 pm

depends. do you like programming? i actually enjoy the problem solving part, if my job consisted only of telling computers what to do i'd be pretty stoked. as with most jobs, the standards in place in a particular company + your peers + your bosses = satisfaction/happiness. one little piece of rat poop ruins the whole soup as they say.

with my current gig i spend about 80% of my time dealing with people problems, which i hate. other gigs i only interacted with management/peers an hour a week to give status and ask for more work, which i LOVED. so it's hit or miss.

if you have a ton of cash lying around that you don't need and don't have much time, a boot camp could get you where you need to be. if you have lots of free time and less cash, i'd stick to self teaching and then looking for small gigs on the various freelancing websites. i am self taught, then i got an internship, and after that i was able to find jobs easily. you'll probably want to start with web dev, it's very easy to learn (html/js/css + whatever backend) and there are millions of small mom and pops who need help, so it's easy to snag say a contract or an internship or a jr role. it doesn't pay as well, but it establishes your bona fides, and then you can branch from there.

i will note though that i've noticed a trend that EVERYONE wants to be a programmer and go through a bootcamp lately, this is increasing competition by a lot. i have been seeing wages drop across the board. the high end still makes a lot of money, but i think in the future IT will have similar problems as lawyers, accountants, etc. a glut of labor will drive down rates.

tiny implosion
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Re: Changing careers to software engineering- Bootcamp?

Post by tiny implosion » Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:04 pm

I went to a coding bootcamp which was, fortunately, paid for by my employer (and they let me take the time off work to go to classes), so my experience may vary from the typical. However, I would encourage you to look at the kind of bootcamps you are drawn to, look at what languages they teach and what their structure is, then figure out a project and go work on it. Do your best to commit your code in actual stages to github so you have something to show. I would also recommend studying algorithms and coding challenges either through something like exercism or a book like Cracking the Coding Interview (which I picked up from the library. There are 2 main reasons I suggest this and those are that: 1. Some employers look down on bootcamps and will brush you off without even letting you in the door and 2. Once you're in the interview, it's almost certainly going to come down to general interview skills + how well you can do in technical challenges. Especially if you are looking for remote employment, the barrier to entry is higher than in a tech-centric city.

Caveat: this is another fine example of "take my advice, I'm not using it."

Happy to chat more if you have any other questions or objections.

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