March 14, 2022

App Academy Coding Bootcamp Review (Should You Go There in 2022?)


I invited on 3 recent graduates of App Academy to share their experiences. These types of review episodes are aimed at getting past the marketing fluff of each coding bootcamp, and diving into real, authentic experiences from 3 real graduates. I was completely wrong about App Academy. This ended up being one hell of a conversation. Enjoy!

John Sims - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jwsims
Veronika Pilipenko - https://www.linkedin.com/in/veronikapilipenko
Simon Puno - https://www.linkedin.com/in/simonpuno

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Transcript
Don Hansen:

Welcome back to another podcast episode where we help aspiring developers get jobs and junior developers grow in this podcast. We are going to be doing a recent review of app academy. I brought on three graduates to share their real experiences, to get past all of the marketing fluff. Some of them actually saw the episode before. Um, so this is definitely a followup for them, but, um, it's going to be cool. I actually was pretty excited when you shared that with me. And, um, I definitely want to hear how app academy is at least in the recent months. So let's go ahead and start with our intros, a few things, John, where you and your job search now, when did you graduate in what industry did you come from?

John Sims:

So I, I work at a company called retool, so I graduated at academy, like pretty much August the end of July of 2021. And, uh, before that I was, uh, I was, I wasn't still am a musician, so I play jazz bass and, uh, I was living in New York. In 2020 and then pandemic happened. And like a lot of people, I was like, I want to make as much money as I can, as fast as I can. Mostly out of necessity. You saw, I looked up coding, boot camps. That's kind of how I got to this point.

Don Hansen:

Cool. What's a, your position at that new

John Sims:

company. I am, what's called a, an associate support engineer. Um, retool is a SAS product that, uh, is basically a platform to build software. So people, uh, for internal tools. So like my job is to basically help people use our platform to build software for their company. And we have, you know, Amazon's our customer, Coinbase is our customer. We have a lot of like big enterprise customers. My, I spend a lot of time kind of chatting, debugging, troubleshooting, uh, different database connections, different, uh, database types and queries. So that's, uh, yeah, I mean, that's kind of how I spend my time. Oh, I was going to say that retool is like a partnering. This is maybe a flash-forward, but it's a partnering company with app academy and more than half of the team, I think I would say actually 65 or 70% of the team now it's app academy, alumni.

Don Hansen:

Um, okay. Maybe we'll dive into this a bit. That actually, um, I don't think I brought up a concern this early, so they're making placements. So I have academy, um, highlights their placement rates, right. And their marketing materials. Okay. So would placing people in this company, they have a partnership with, for non software engineering roles increase that placement, right?

John Sims:

Yes. I mean, I do agree with you. It's not a software engineering role in like the typical sense. Like, I, I definitely don't. I spend my time, like staring at vs code, but I am debugging JavaScript. I am like, I am writing JavaScript, but it is, I mean, it's a low code platform, so there's low code, but I also, I mean, I have to, I have to learn the basics of like graft you up. And they were basics of Mongo DB. I have to like writing Sikh, like a lot of rap ROS equal and sort of like advanced SQL queries and a lot of stuff that really honestly, wasn't taught in my bootcamp like that we, you know, a lot of technologies we didn't cover. So somebody has a question about snowflake. I have to go Google snowflake and look at the docs and figure it out and like, you know, be the person that, that figures that issue out for them. So I, I mean, I get what you're saying. That would it count, but I it's also like, it is a tech job. Like we do, right. React. Like I can help. I hope help customers, right. React to help customers. Right. Like vanilla JavaScript. Cause we have like very customizable, like a very customizable. But I feel pretty. And when, you know, when I tell you my story, you can understand that I don't have like a rose colored. Do you have efficacy at all? But I would say this is a very honest placement. Like it is a tech job. Like you'd have to have the coding knowledge or else you wouldn't be able to do the job

Don Hansen:

and John, and the way you describe it, it sounds like you enjoy your job. And that's important. And I want to be very clear. I'm not trying to like challenge. Oh, you're not like a real, like, if you enjoy your job, like that's awesome. And I I've talked about like low code solutions and I think more people should consider them. But, you know, you could probably understand like 99% of people, most likely are going to Cody bootcamp for a software engineering role. And I think it's important to recognize that that really important part in our ship that can conflate. That, that rate. So if they're being very upfront and just saying, it's like, I don't know, 80, 90% into a tech job. Sure. That's accurate. But if nine, like most people are going for a software engineering role. They might not enjoy that low code role as much. And I think at least this conversation can help them realize, you know, maybe they should challenge app academy on that if they truly want a software engineering, traditional role.

John Sims:

Yeah. I mean, I, I know people that graduated up academy that are like technical writers or something, you know, that, that are even further detached from the code Bates. They know that I am. So, yeah, that, that is interesting. I don't know. I imagine like their pushback would be something like, this is an entry job. This is a way to get into the tech industry. It's a way to like, you know, land that software engineering role eventually, if that's what you want to do. If I have imagined I can hear like the voices in my head, and I mentioned that something with it.

Don Hansen:

Yeah. Well, I'm glad we started out with this, so I might have some future questions, but seriously, I'm happy you like your job.

John Sims:

That's I don't know. I mean, it's hard. It's hard customer facing tech roles are like, no, thanks. Sometimes I

Don Hansen:

don't blame you with that. Yeah. All right. Cool. Well, thanks for sharing. How about you, Veronica?

Veronika Pilipenko:

Yeah. Hi, my name is Veronica. Um, I am in the final stages of my job search. I graduated around October, 2021, but I didn't start my job search until like mid November. Cause I had to finish up projects and so forth and yeah, I'm pretty much in the final stages of all my interviews. I have three companies that I just finished kind of a bunch of rounds of interviews. So now I'm waiting for the final interviews and then whoever gives me the, you know, the better deal is the one that I'll probably take. And me like Don, I believe you were teaching swimming before. Yeah. Yeah. So I was teaching, flipping. I was like in the aquatics industry, so I was doing private lessons and then the pandemic head and, um, my partner at the time was in the tech field and he was a technical recruiter. So he kind of got me, like pushed me to go into tech. And I found out we had to me and I actually watched one of these podcasts about avocado dummy. So it's kind of like full circle for me because that kind of pushed me to, you know, apply and do the program. Yeah. So that's a little bit about

Don Hansen:

me. That's pretty cool. Um, I'm just going to be honest. Um, there are two reasons I invited you on one. You seemed excited about it. I want to bring you on. I always want to bring on people that are excited to have this conversation and to like, I just got to give shout outs to a fellow swim instructor. I loved it. I always like me to Edison instructors. I miss it. It just didn't pay the bills. Like if I could do that. Yeah. So I do miss it. I probably, at some point we'll do. Um, just like on a volunteer basis, but yeah, that's pretty cool. All right. Well, Simon, how about you? All right. Hi everybody.

Simon Puno:

So I'm Simon. I graduated from app academy, excuse me, in October of last year. And I was in the 16 week bootcamp. Before that I worked as a technical recruiter, so I was recruiting software engineers, project managers, and I decided that I wanted to actually be one. So that led me to enroll and I was fortunate enough to get a job about a month after I graduated. So now I'm working as a software engineer.

John Sims:

Very

Don Hansen:

cool. I love it. Um, what made you want to switch from a recruiter to suffer engineering?

Simon Puno:

To be honest, the money. Cause as a recruiter, you see, you see, um, the engineers, what they're making, and I thought it was cool just to see the technologies. Everyone was working with seem really exciting to get it.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Cool. All right. Let's dive into it. So, like I said, we'll talk over each other just a little bit, but what do you think of the program? The good and the bad

John Sims:

Veronica. Were you in the in-person or the online that was in the online? The online?

Veronika Pilipenko:

What about you Simon online as well?

Simon Puno:

Yeah, I think all of them were

John Sims:

online last year. 16 week though, right? Yeah. Yeah. So I was in a six month program, I guess. That's what I'm getting, because these are very new diagrams. So like, did you learn Ruby or did you learn Python? That's basically, yeah, it was Ruby for 16 week. Yeah. Same with me. I'm on the, on this, this is something that's really important when it comes to Africa enemy and when reading reviews. Is it the online or is it the in-person because the in-person has this like history and you know, this like legacy and people are kind of more attractive that online. It's like two years at all. I think it's a couple of years old. It's not, I mean, like, I, it, we're still ironing out some details. Let's just say, say that one out when I was going through it. So like, I mean, like what I'm going to, my perspective app, Academy's going to be very, I think very different than cause you you're going through this program that is like tried and tested over and over and over again. And mine was kind of like, we took a bunch of the in-person program. We use their videos up until a point where we kind of like started piecing together some other stuff that was all very good, but I just like, that's something that, uh, that I wish when I was looking at the academy, like you really got to be aware of what review you're reading.

Don Hansen:

Yeah. It almost sounds like you can get a very, very different curriculum and experience of the.

John Sims:

Because I read a lot of, you know, these Reddit threads where people are like app academy screwed me over and then someone will be like, I had the greatest experience of my life and it was, then I found this dream job. And it's like, these are different programs. Like this is a different time of life. Like this is, you know, 20, 20 COVID versus like whatever 2015 app academy, like everything's happening right from my face. And, you know, they're just, it, it is very different. I believe

Veronika Pilipenko:

they're back in. Oh, sorry. I was just going to say, I believe they're actually back in person now because I'm in New York city and, um, they were like getting the office already. So I think everybody is like back in person from that one.

John Sims:

Yeah. I think they did in person very recently. Like just a couple of weeks ago, like just, just came back. Yeah, I actually, so I, I really liked the, the online program. The reason I chose it was because of, is it was six months long and I were looking at these boot camps and seeing some of them. Be like two months or three months. I was just kinda like, are you kidding? Like, is this a joke? Like, I don't think that which are also, I found out later that those are unrealistic numbers. It's like three months at bootcamp, three months of individual prep work before you go to bootcamp for a lot of these programs. Um, but I liked the length of the program. I thought six months was a good amount of time. And uh, I mean, I would spend in six months coding like 13 hours a day, which is like, there's now that I'm out of it, I realized there's really not another time in your life or that's going to happen. Like that's very unsustainable, I think, unless you're on like some kind of sprint for your job, like that's about the only time I, I think that I'm going to have that much intensity. Yeah.

Don Hansen:

Yeah. I think

Simon Puno:

it actually might be a trade off for the longer one because when I was looking at them, I was thinking. I want to get a job as soon as possible. It's a full-time commitment. I don't want to be unemployed for however many weeks. The longer program is, so that was a big reason I wanted to do the shorter one. But to your point, John, about Python versus Ruby, that was also a concern which might be a con for people. When they're looking at app academy, Ruby is obviously not as used widely in the industry, at least in my area. And I know Python is really hot right now. So

Veronika Pilipenko:

yeah, I mean, I came from like absolutely no coding background. So I feel like Ruby for me was actually kind of flying to learn. And I feel like it's like very transferrable to Python. Like languages are very similar. Um, I did the shorter program just because I was like, I can not code for 13 hours a day for more than X amount of time. Like that is just not happening. And it's like, I don't want to be unemployed, but. I enjoy the program. It was definitely like, it is what you make of it. I kind of wish I did the six month one now, like looking back at it, because back then I thought, you know, COVID would be done within a year. Like, we'll figure it out. And then it wasn't. So now I kind of wish I did the whole, you know, six month program, but it was with.

Don Hansen:

Ruby's fairly easy to pick up. And I think it's, I think it's a good, solid start. It's a good first language to learn. And I, you know, like a lot of my audience are they're learning no JS, they're learning JavaScript. Um, a lot, a lot of times because I talk about it because that was my background as well. But I in JavaScript is a very, very quirky first language to learn. It's a harder language. Um, so I definitely get the reasoning behind teaching Ruby, but like you said, Simon, it isn't as marketable. And that is something that, um, you will potentially get rejected from, you know, job placements, but a lot of, a lot of jobs will also potentially consider teaching you the next language as well. It just depends on the company and their ramp up time and that type of mentorship. Um, I get this feeling that a lot of you are worried about the intensity of it. How much time did you truly put into it each.

Veronika Pilipenko:

I did like probably nine to 10 hours, if not more like, it was really, really long days. I am located in New York city, but I did the San Francisco cohort just because then I could start at noon and be done at nine. But realistically I would start looking at code at like 10:00 AM

and probably be done at like 10:

00 PM or 11:00 PM, sometimes midnight. And then like every Monday for like the first six weeks you have an exam. And if you fail two exams, you get kicked out, which was kind of like a huge concern for me. Um, so every weekend I would just like have a panic attack and just, you know, be looking at code and looking at code and looking at code. And it was just more than 10 hours up. Some points.

John Sims:

Yeah. I, the conversation that I have with people as they ask me, should I do a coding bootcamp? It started with. Hey, you should, you know, take one, take a free course. Tell me if you like coding and it went, it ended up being, how do you handle stress? Because like, I mean, she, I don't know if you're joking about the pain tech. I actually, I actually did have a panic attack during, uh, during my cohort. And I like met with a mental health counselor because I was like, so stressed out in this. It was like two days before my app needed to be due. And something happened in a broke, nothing was working. And like, I literally, like it started spinning. I was like really freaking out. And then I was like, I think something's wrong. I need to talk to somebody. And then I did. And honestly, like, it helped a lot. Like the guy was great, like, it was like for you mental health service part. And he was like, I should just meet with the guy once a week. But, you know, I mean, it was very stressful. And I think also that time, like the, just the time in human history like that we were all experiencing, like my stress level was already very high. So to then jump into a coding bootcamp was I think maybe not the, you know, it, wasn't the best thing for my mental health at the time, but yeah, I, I think I don't, I can't speak for other bootcamps that I haven't been in obviously, but I do think advocating advocating is especially rigorous. I, I don't, I might be wrong, but I, this is not like, it's not a program where you can like have assets. Like you really, it takes all your time. And I, you know, one of my coworkers was like a, he's a teacher or was a teacher at, uh, at the academy, the in-person and he, you know, if you fail to the exam twice, you do get kicked out. And he's like, I have to sit there and watch these people like break down as they know they're going to fail the test. And they just like, they're crying. I mean, It's more. So that's what I mean, like I start asking people like, how do you handle stress? Can you like, can you remain calm under pressure that I don't know. That just became more of an important feature to like bring up when, when someone was like, should I do a coding boot camp?

Don Hansen:

Yeah. I

John Sims:

think

Simon Puno:

it is scary with, um, so much information that they throw at you. And then you have these tests where you could be kicked out if you fail two of them, but they design it in a way, I think, where there's too much work for you to finish in a day. So I think it leads to people, myself included, like spending a lot of time, going over all the material, doing the projects with no hope and finishing all of them. Like they give you too much to be able to do, but for each test, they tell you exactly what's going to be on it, which I think helps sort of manage what you should be studying and kind of helps with the stress. But I would say back to your question on that, we'll probably spend. 10 hours a day doing work, including class time.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Um, a couple of things. So they, they have a mental health counselor on staff.

Veronika Pilipenko:

They also sent, oh, go, go ahead. Sorry.

John Sims:

I was going to say for the online, I'm assuming in the person they do too, or

Veronika Pilipenko:

I did the online, but I was going to say at the end of each week, they actually send you like a mental health questionnaire and you have to rate your stress levels and everything, which I thought was kind of interesting given I'm like, this is the source of my stress, but, um, I thought it was interesting that they did that, but yeah, for the online, they definitely have like mental health counseling. Cause I've seen a lot of people break down throughout the program and it's tough to see.

Don Hansen:

Um, can you roll back if you fail to Tess, redo a second.

Veronika Pilipenko:

Um, so it doesn't work like that in app academy and bootcamps like flat iron. I believe you can do robotics, but app academy is like, I believe you fail two tests. And then the third one, you get a retake. And if you fail that you get kicked out of the entire program. Like, I personally know people that have gotten kicked out like the week before they were going to graduate and just, I mean, there's just no remorse. Like you either pass it or you don't, you know?

Don Hansen:

Okay. Um, let's let me, let me share what I think about this. I have very rarely heard about a mental health counselor. I think the last one was, um, Chrysalis. I think that's what it's called in Japan. I thought it was a really unique approach, um, to caring about the mental needs of the students. But in this situation, this feels more like it's a neat. With how the coding boot camp is structured. I talked to a lot of people I've. I mean, I went through full sec academy. I saw other people panic. I panicked a little bit, no one wanted to get rolled back. No one want to fail those tests. And I hear about a lot of these different stories with coding bootcamps, but usually like, man, especially during a pandemic, I think empathy, empathy is incredibly important. And I'm, I'm very curious how others felt about this non remorseful kicking out. And I think that. There, I would be really curious to talk to the CEO and ask why that was a choice over the rollbacks because that alone can create so much unneeded stress, like tons of anxiety. And I highly doubt that, you know, you guys were the only ones to experience this, like just hearing the structure of the program. I promise you, you weren't, there is no way. And so the fact that they hired a mental health counselor to be able to address the anxiety that they're building up in a lot of students, um, and they're doing that through their structure. Um, I mean, at least they have one on staff, but damn, this is a unique, it's actually a really unique problem to have in a coding bootcamp. Um, how do you feel, how do you, how do you feel about the support from your instructors?

John Sims:

I think

Veronika Pilipenko:

it really good. I was just going to say, I think it also depends like who your TA's are. Most of the TA's are students per from previous cohorts, so it's not like they have separate TAs. They're just kind of like students for previous cohorts. So it really depends on like how good your TA's are and how empathetic and understanding they are. I was really lucky. I had really great TAs that were really empathetic and like, understood that we needed mental health time or, you know, in the span of these 16 weeks, if something tragic happens in your personal life and you can't focus on the coding bootcamp, that's like another thing. Right? So it just really kind of depends on if the TA's were good. And if, you know, you just have to have all your ducks lined up in a row, you have to, you know, if you're living with somebody, you have to, they have to be supportive and you have to have no outside distractions in order to do the bootcamp. I think that's really important to understand when do.

Simon Puno:

I think to follow up on that since a lot of the TA's and instructors, like you said, Veronica are former students. Some of them are also in the job search themselves and some of them might leave like in the middle of your cohort or some of your TAs might leave. So I can imagine that could be difficult for people when they're getting good support, but then suddenly you're changing TAs or you're changing instructors. I don't know if that's specific to Advocamp dummy. I can imagine it's also a problem in other coding boot camps, but it's definitely something to keep in mind.

John Sims:

Does the 16 week program, do they have like check-ins and strikes? Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So that's like another layer of like stresses you have, you know, for the 24 week, at least. Three check-ins that you need to do a check-in is literally clicking a button within a four or five minute time window, just to say that, Hey, I'm here. If you don't check in, you get a strike. And if you get 10 strikes, you are kicked out of the program and you owe whatever amount of tuition, which after, I think 12 weeks is the full tuition. You owe that money. So I know people who, oh, app academy, a bunch of money because they absentmindedly forgot to click a button. And I get like 10 times seems like a lot, but there's three a day. It's 24 weeks long. So like, that's what I mean, like, it is, you are, you are fully in like fully engaged. Can't slip up and they're, they're very like ruthless seems harsh, but like they, they're very ruthless and, and, you know, I know. That was three days out from graduating. And they, they made a V you know, when we were turning in our projects and about to start with our career coaches, they were like, it's very important that you share this Google doc with the edit link available and not just the share. So anyone who can edit or anyone who can view, can edit, like we've all seen that. And they were like, if you, if you don't do that properly and you share an improper link, you get a strike. I know someone who shared her four project links forgetting to press edit and got four strikes three days before and got kicked out of the program and she paid tuition upfront. And so her money was gone. And that was it. The end of that story though, is she got a job as a software engineer, which is like still kind of crazy, but she didn't experience any of the job search. Didn't have a career coach three days before. Which, so that's what I mean, like they're not messing around. So when people ask me about an academy, it's like, I just try to really communicate to them that like you, can't not like chill time to drink lattes and code. Like, it's really intense. And I have a friend that just started in January and I, and I told him, and he just finished week seven and he likes it. And, but, you know, he was like, thank you for telling me that. Because for example, two weeks into his cohort, more than 50% dropped out, because they were like, this is too, it was too intense. I don't want to do it. Like they dropped out. So like, I don't know. I just want people to know that watching this, like this, isn't going to be like a, like a cakewalk. It's very difficult. Yeah.

Veronika Pilipenko:

In addition to that, I was going to say, so the first two weeks, if you fail a test, if you fail like week one or week two, you get deferred to the next cohort. So you get deferred. And then if you fail a test after getting deferred, you just get. So that happened to me. I started in the New York cohort. I failed the first test. They deferred me to the San Francisco cohort and what I got in there, um, we had, we made introductions and everything. I was like, guys, they are not playing around. Like you better study for every single test. Like you better look over all your algebra algorithms. Like you, this is not a joke. Right? Like nobody's getting deferred. And I was lucky enough, like my cohort, we had like, probably like 30 people and we only lost one person cause he failed like two tests in a row and then they kicked him out. But there were people that almost got kicked out for getting 10 strikes. Like almost they didn't get the career coaches and everything. So it's just like a stressful experience altogether.

John Sims:

Yeah. My cohort started with about 120 and ended with 37.

Don Hansen:

Holy shit.

John Sims:

That's crazy. That's

Veronika Pilipenko:

normal. Like my first cohort was like 57 and I believe they ended up with like 23. So it was.

Don Hansen:

Uh, okay. Um, okay, so this is square freaking people.

John Sims:

They provide a lot of support. They really do. Like, you can put the work in and make it happen, but I just, I really try to just impress on people like this is not, it's not like, oh, I hang out with my friends on the weekends. Like, no, you don't, you won't hang out with your friends. You can't.

Don Hansen:

Um, so I'm, I'm glad you brought this up. Um, And a positive thing to say about app academy and then a lot of this just completely replaced it. So let's, let's start, let's start with this idea of the environment that they're creating during the pandemic. When people's anxiety is already high, this, this strike system it's disgusting. It's truly discussing this. Doesn't motivate people. Um, there, so app academy has a reputation for being strict. Um, and I I'm realizing that this, this idea of Dem, you know, having a rigorous curriculum and program, there's tons of complexity to that and what that actually means, but this strike system that's, um, it seems. Very very patronizing it. See. So a lot of coding, boot camps, what they do, they do a good job of screening candidates out. So I've heard app academy has like a 3%, um, acceptance rate. And so if they already have a 3% accept, okay, there's a lot, I want to say about this. I'm just trying to figure out like what to start with. So with the 3%, they're already strict with their standards. They go in, like, you need to start providing some trust for a lot of your students, um, providing this strike system and this like tiny little window, you have to do three times a day. Like I would probably forget it, right. It doesn't mean I'm not putting in all the hours, but if you are going to put that much anxiety and stress on your students, To the point where you need to hire a mental counselor, which, you know, the coding boot camp has really had to do that. The stress has never been this high. Um, and then you put a strike system in and treat them like children and like, kinda just like slap them on the hand 10 times until finally it's like, screw you get out of the program. Like, it feels extremely un-empathetic it feels like they're very patronizing to students. And it, at this point it doesn't even matter how good their curriculum is. This is absolutely disgusting. Like you should never ever treat anyone like this. It's absolutely disgusting. This is one of the most disgusting coding bootcamps I have ever heard and how they run things. And so I'm not going to sugar coat that like everything that you described it's, it's just like, that does not create. This positive, constructive, empowering student culture, that a lot of other coding boot camps have been able to create that anxiety. That the fact like John Sims, I, I was kinda trying to sense, like, maybe you were just someone that maybe you do have more anxiety than normal, and maybe you are an anxious person, but like the more you would describe it, it's like, I can see a lot of my friends, me, a lot of other people literally having panic attacks over this because you get kicked out, you get, you literally get, you've never

John Sims:

had a panic attack in my life. Like that was the only one I was like, oh man.

Don Hansen:

Well, and, and so like, holy shit, that's not something that, um, that means a lot more than you realize it does. Like, I, I've never heard of anything like to set any other coding bootcamp. Um, What was I going to say? It was actually pretty important. Um, oh yeah. So the fact that like I'm flat out telling like no one should trust app Academy's placement rates like that, that kind of gave me a red flag with what they were doing and that partnership. And you said majority of people were getting pushed into non well technical positions like that. We can kind of argue as long as they're being upfront about that. That's fine. But your curriculum is completely, um, it, it sounds like they're probably trying to they're boosting their placement rates because they're kicking out almost anyone that would ever make them look bad that would ever hurt that placement rate, that amount of churn of like people just not graduating and still like, that's an a, that's actually a really a smart business decision. It's very strategic and it feels very disgusting, but to be able to kick out anyone that's going to negatively affect your placement rates and. Um, yeah. Anyone that's going to negatively affect your placement rates. I'm just spacing at this point. Um, I feel like I'm so, like, I'm kind of like obnoxiously upset by what you described to me. Um, let me, let me gather my thoughts a bit. So here's what I think. Um, app academy, I feel like, okay. Here's what I was going to say is like, yeah, if they're going to be taking the sat or the, um, the full tuition rates and kick people out, like that's man, they are making, I feel like they're going to make a ton of money off of this. A lot of people will roll students back, but if the. Can exclude that student data from the hiring rates, you have no idea how strong of a marketing campaign that is it for all coding boot camps. And this is kind of the weird thing about coding boot camps. A lot of coding boot camps are trying to be honest and transparent, and then they realize they have to compete with these placement rates. Like that's all students care about when they go to a coding bootcamp. If they are excluding student data, like, you know, 70 people got kicked out of your cohort and all 70 people are excluded from that placement rate, that is one of the most corrupt things I have ever heard a coding bootcamp ever do. Like that is truly, truly disgusting because if you, part of going to a coding boot camp is a lot of people. When they see that placement rate, they think, okay, if I sign up, you know, there's a 90% chance that I'm going to complete the program and go on to get a position. But if most people are just getting kicked out of the program, Potentially hurt that placement rate like that doesn't give an accurate representation of the chance you stand at signing up to that coding boot camp and getting a job like this. So I want to be very clear, a lot of what I'm saying. It, it feels very disgusting and corrupt. Now the execution of it, maybe they're not, maybe they are honest and transparent all the way, but like this just has this like really weird feeling to it. I can't describe

John Sims:

it. I would say like, I, I hear what you're saying, because I do think they use stress as a motivator to like, uh, like too high of a degree. I think they do. I mean, when I finished the program, I was like, there's no need to do this to people. Like you don't need to stress them out so much, but I also get that, you know, from them, they're like we have a curriculum. If you complete the curriculum, this is your job placement statistics. And you know, like the path along that way, they can kind of. Yeah. Like I, I do first off, like when I graduated or yeah. When I finished, I had two strikes. Like I didn't, I had barely any strikes. Like I was able to do it. I was almost at zero until the second to last week, because you're just wrapped up in doing all these, like, you know, interview question things, and you just kinda forget to click the button. So I forgot like you it's it's possible. Like it's possible to not have strikes. I will say though, like I had a good friend who had, who has add like diagnosed add and had to have a conversation with them where they were like, look, I have this many strikes because like, I literally, it's very hard for me. And they, they were receptive to that and they were like, oh, we got it. Like, we're going to knock back this many strikes, like had they continue to, you know, strike out a, it probably would have just kicked them out. Like, I think that's what would have actually happened, but, you know, I don't, I don't like that. They use stress as a motivator to the point that they do, but I will say. Every I, almost everyone that I, uh, graduated with, and this was again in August, uh, they all have jobs. Like I know it's crazy. I know it's I don't want to be like this iron Rand, like whatever, like the ends justify the means, but I am, I like I was shot. I thought it was all going to be a lie. I was like, we're going to be in this job search forever. I'm never going to find a job. Like I got a job for two months, almost everybody that was like my good friends and to app academy, they all have jobs now. And, you know, an actual SoccerParenting or your jobs, if you want to make that distinction. Like I also, you know, I mean, I make, I make over six figures and that was very important to me. And I was like, this is cool. I'll do a non software engineering job with the road to become a software engineer at this really great company with my starting salary for like the first W2 job I've ever had to be over a hundred thousand dollars. I feel like that was a good job. Like I was in, I also was interviewing with three other software engineering companies, like for actual legit roles, but they didn't pay as much. And I was like, I want to do this one. So I never thought I'd be in a position where I'm like going to defend the CA app academy. But I, I, you know, I do agree with you that it, they, they do use stress too much. I've seen it break. I can there's this person that just came to mind, like she was so stressed out because she in the 24 week program, it's a little different, you get three deferrals and then on your fourth, one year kicked out. Um, and she was at three from like month or from like week five of a 24 week program. So from like week five to 24, she knows if I don't pass this test, I haven't been kicked out and I paid up front and I lose all my money. So she knows. And what that now. Okay. So what that does though, is cheating is a big problem on the 24 week program, because all you need to do is know somebody that, you know, if I start in February and I differ, then I've taking the same tests that the people that I spent time with are taking, all they have to do is send me the test. And I know, like I know people cheat and I actually went to the administration and I was like, Hey, people are cheating and it's pissing me off because I'm working so hard. And they're just like, they're just like, I mean, I needed somebodies phone number. Hey, what'd you get on three, you know, like, what'd you do for that one? That's all you have to do. Like, it's very easy to cheat and they try to enforce it. But like, you know, when you see people's projects and you're like, okay, I don't think you know how to do this, like this, like, doesn't look good. So, you know, Something that's like a by-product I think of how stressful it is. Like, people don't want to lose their money. They don't want to lose their investment and they want to like, get to that job search. So like, it does incentivize that kind of like dishonest behavior. I don't know how it was in the 16 week. Like obviously in the in-person you can't cheat, like someone's watching you.

Don Hansen:

Real quick. So the problem is the representation of how many people are successful. Like any coding bootcamp, you take that top 10% of the class, top 20%. They're probably going to get jobs, right. That's true for any coding boot camps. So this idea that app academy is this like a leap program that does really, really good placement rate is complete bullshit. When you toss out majority of your class, that would have heard that statistic. So I love that your cohort, you all got jobs and you even mentioned, like, it sounds like you were part of the top part of your class. Right. And you even had other software engineering opportunities. Um, but it, that, that idea that just because your entire cohort got jobs, like any coding bootcamp can produce. Remaining students. So the fact that so many students were kicked out, I don't think potential students have a clear and accurate representation of will they get that job when they do sign up to app academy? Like I can rant about like how discussing it is that they're still charging the rest of the curriculum. If you get like 10 strikes, you're still charged the rest of the curriculum. That's bullshit. That's disgusting. But like that I, that that's a whole other conversation. So I would also agree it can be motivating. I'm not like this is actually, I see why they might do this. I see the effectiveness in it. And if you, and they probably have measured, like how, like the, you give these stress surveys, they probably measured. How far can we push these people before they break? And I would be very curious to see that data on the backend, but, um, I'm, I'm not saying it's not effective for like some of the top students. I want to, it's a really interesting strategy. And of course I've been vocal about my opinions about it, but, um, yeah, I'll let other people talk. I

John Sims:

think it's important to remember for

Simon Puno:

better, whereas Advocamp is a business and they're trying to make money and they do have an ISA where you don't need to pay anything to join the program. In which case they're sort of on the hook to make sure you get a job so that they can finally get paid. Once you find that. And I think that might lead them to be pretty strict on a lot of students where they think you don't know the material, like you're failing tests, then you're probably not going to get a job, meaning they won't get paid. Or if you're showing up late every day, getting 10 strikes, they might think you won't be motivated during the job search. At least that's how I look at it. They're trying to get paid. It's a business. So they have to make sure that only the best students are making it through that can get the job.

Don Hansen:

So, I mean, from, I mean, from a pure profit standpoint, again, I agree that's a completely great strategy. Um, I, I'm not disagreeing with that. I would argue people should definitely look at every single line of that ISA contract if they are this strict. Even without that ISA contract, read that line to line, you don't understand it. You talk to an attorney.

John Sims:

I a hundred percent agree with that. And, um, I don't want to make you even more upset at that academy, but well, first off, I do want to say if you, as far as I know, if you differ and you are, and you didn't pay up front and you defer out of the 24 week because of just failing tests, they don't charge you. They don't, I don't think they charge you for like, not getting it. They do charge you if you behavior or strike out. Because I had a friend who made it to the very last, you know, that very last react project and he didn't pass and they didn't charge him anything. And, and that, which like totally surprised me. I did not see them making that decision, but the person who made it to the last, you know, three days and then striked out for not pursuing the wrong Google link, like dead pay. So that's, I think they do make a little bit of a, of a distinction.

Don Hansen:

Th so I can, I agree with participation. And so I wanna, I guess I wanna, uh, be charitable towards app academy, coding boot camps in general. Like a lot of it is really just because Cody boot camps bring too many people in, but app academy solves that with their really strict standards. Um, so I don't, I don't know why they're so strict at this point, but it feels like, um, it feels like app academy. Is dealing potentially, I don't know how many students they had that weren't trying. I feel like they probably went through some trials during the pandemic switching to purely remote. They probably had a lot of people that weren't participating and you have to combat that like a coding bootcamp can only go so far and it feels like they had some issues with that. And then just like really took a broad stroke and just like put every restriction to the books. So that wouldn't happen. And I think they need to peel that back a bit and be a little bit more discriminatory based on like specific situations and whether that should entitle them to like even a partial refund. I take like, so a coding bootcamp has a responsibility. Like if all those students are dropping out, that's part of app Academy's problem. Right. That's a big chunk of students and it sounds like they're not holding themselves accountable to that, but also, um, I mean, I guess they've technically solve for the problem with people not participating in a lot of coding, boot camps do struggle with that. And then that hurts their placement rates. It does. And some coding, boot camps aren't strict enough in their contract and what you're supposed to be able to do. Um, I don't think the strike system is it, but it feels like they probably went through some issues and try to solve for that. I'd be very curious if they had the strike system before the remote work, where everything was in person, um, that might make a difference, but, um, okay. What are your thoughts, Veronica?

Veronika Pilipenko:

Honestly, just listening to this, I'm like trying to gather together my thoughts at the point when I did app academy, when I did the men mental health questionnaire, I always complained about how we had like six tests in a row. And basically, you know, you failed the test, you get kicked out. So that was a huge issue for me. I failed the third test, which happened to actually be the easiest test, but I don't remember. I think I might've like went to a friend's birthday or something, but I didn't study. And because I knew I had like one more chance to fail. I was freaking out every single task. Like I ended up taking up meditating and everything because I was just like, so stressed out to the point where I was like, felt like I was like levitating in my seat while taking these tasks. I like was just like, so, so anxious. Um, the S the strikes, I don't know, like the check-ins I think they were kind of silly, like to sit there and like click a button each time and like, have to set an alarm. Like we're all adults. I don't think that's really necessary. Um, but I dunno. I just, I feel like they should consider mental health and it was mid pandemic. I feel like they should have like, loosened up a little bit on the way that they did things. But overall, I don't know. I think it did motivate me. I don't know if it was like good motivation, but it did motivate me not to fail because I knew that, like I had no, like I had no option. Like I just like, had to do this bootcamp and that was it. Yeah. And I, I don't know how it is with paying. I think they only start like making you pay if you fail after like six weeks or something, but I'm not, I'm not entirely sure. I have to like, look back at that and check that

John Sims:

out.

Simon Puno:

It's prorated, I think,

John Sims:

but yeah. Yeah. After the first for the 24 week after the first week, you're you are now paying, I think it's like 2 75 a day. Yeah. Something like that up until like 12 weeks. And then it's the full amount. Still not a good deal,

Simon Puno:

but yeah. Yeah.

Don Hansen:

What happens if you get 10 strikes before that? 12 weeks,

John Sims:

I guess it'd be the prorated, like whatever it would be. Yeah. Um, the thing I hear is here's another layer of the insanity is like the $50,000 ISA is any job. So for example, I know somebody who. Graduated at academy, didn't get a job. Ran at a time, went back to their old job, still has to pay their ISA because their old job paid more than $50,000. So like, it's not like a coding job, any job that you're making more than $50,000, once you signed that, I said, which was a surprise to me. And this is, you know, and I, and I, I should say, I, I, you know, this could definitely would need to be verified. This person could not be telling me that you could be, you know, it could be like, I don't know anybody else in that situation. Everyone else. I know either still in the job search or did get a job, but like, it's, it is something like they will get their money, you know, as soon as you make $50,000.

Don Hansen:

So even if you have to, even if you can't find a job, it's spend six months, you have to go back to your old job that pays more than 50,000. You have that full tuition with the IRS.

John Sims:

As far as I know, I mean, I I'll double check that contract, but I mean, there's nothing in there that says tech job or software engineering job. It's like, Hey, you went through our program, we gave you an education. It was this con this contract said, once you make 50 K you'll have to start paying us back. And he's like, and I get the emails too. They're like, Hey, just a periodic income verification. Like they call your job. And they're like, Hey, just checking in. If he's still making this much, like, I mean, they're, they're going, they want the money, you know? And I understand that. Like if they, they, I, you know, just to say some really good things about the program, I did feel like I have a lot of support. I mean, I haven't even gotten honestly into the worst part of it. And that's, I don't want to take up, I don't want to talk all the time, but I mean, there was a point where I started up academy. I loved it about halfway through. They made a decision that made me hate it, and I almost dropped out and I was like, I'll just pay $8,000 I'm out of here. I don't wanna do this.

Veronika Pilipenko:

Can you shorten it because I can't leave on a

John Sims:

cliffhanger. Yeah. Okay. They, um, they had a, uh, when, when I started the structure was they have a PTM, a principal technical mentor, and then they have a circle leader and, uh, our PTM, we just, we loved that person. And there was such a great teacher, tons of experience, actual experience, not teaching at a bootcamp, like 12 years of software engineering experience. Um, and then about week nine, they were like, we're getting rid of PTMS and they just fired all the PTMS on a Friday. And, uh, That's w moved on. Like they, you know, the CEO came and actually, you know, he told us to our, to our face and was very much like, I think you're still going to have a great experience. I did not believe him. I was very angry. I like, I seriously, I was ready to, I mean, a lot of people, we just went to Reddit and trashed and we were like, you know, screw up academy. Don't go there. But I got to say, I mean, as much as they, I hate to admit it by the end of the job search and the end of the entire program, I was like, man, he was right. I, you do have so many resources to you that I understand why they made the business decision to say the PTMS we're spending too much money on them. Let's, you know, cut that out. Like a check, get rid of that six figure salary for somebody who, you know, is there and is very beneficial. But like you have these other people that they can kind of pick up the slack. Like I get why they made it. Do I know that my education suffered absolutely. Like not being able to work every day with somebody that had 12 years of software engineering experience, like totally hurt. Like my experience there, my education, I would have had a much better education, but at the end of the day, like I did get a job and I, and I do have like this alumni network and I have all this. So it's like, I actually switched and was like, Hey, I think they did make the right business choice. Should they have waited till we graduated? Absolutely. Yeah. They shouldn't have like halfway through the program completely pulled the rug out from underneath all of us, but it's not my, you know, I'm not the CEO. Yeah. We did

Veronika Pilipenko:

not even have

John Sims:

PTM. So yeah. And that's what they said. That's what they said. They're like a 16 week. There's no such thing as PTs. We never, you know, that was never.

Veronika Pilipenko:

My cohort, even though we had really great TAs, we were like, really short-staffed. Cause like, as you know, they are looking for their own software engineering jobs. So we had like two or three TA's leave. And then, then we had TA's come from like the New York team and switching around with the San Francisco team. But it was still a good experience. Like I would say we still had resources, but I think the main resource that I really enjoy, like the career coaching, I don't know how it is with other bootcamps, but. I was really lucky. Actually, my first I had to switch career coaches. Cause when my first career coach, I really did not like him. He was like, so arrogant and just not helpful and just, he was just like, not, so I ended up switching and the one that I have right now is, has been like so amazing and so helpful. And we have like a technical coach that does like mock interviews with you. So I feel like that is pretty much like the most beneficial part of app academy, because the most important part is getting a job. So it's like, you go through this curriculum and then it's like, what do you do with all this knowledge? You need to make sure and interviewing is a game, right? It's not like you have to like, know how to interview. You have to know how to talk to people, how to do technical interviews. So I feel like that is probably like the most important part of app academy itself.

Don Hansen:

I agree.

Simon Puno:

Um, just to follow up on Veronica's point.

Don Hansen:

They give you a

Simon Puno:

career coach. And I think that's one of the best parts of Advocamp. There's also a partnerships team where they'll have different like hiring managers or CEOs, CTOs from companies come in and like present a job that they have. And then ADV academy students can apply to it through sort of, I guess, a backdoor or something where you can fill out a Google sheet and say are from app academy and the lower requirements for some jobs for students. So I think the partnerships team is great and the career coaching is great. And just like post-graduation support. I feel like has been pretty good minus not really teaching us DSNA, but other than that, I think getting a job, they made it pretty

John Sims:

straightforward. Yeah. When it comes to people asking me about bootcamps and which one they should do, I'm kind of at the point where I, I say like the job search is the most important part. I've heard of some bootcamps. I think I want to say this was full-stack like my friend who graduated full maybe a year ago. She said when they graduated, they're basically just like, go look out there, you know, see on the other side. And she had, I maybe she paid up front, honestly don't know, but some other bootcamps, I think, I know I read hacker rank. They gave you three months and then they're just like, goodbye, like app academy, as far as I know, they give you job search coaching for a whole full year. Yeah. And like, if you didn't get a job after a year, like that's, you know, it's very difficult to blame app academy. I think at that point, like if you're, if you're really putting the work in continuing to learn and putting in, you know, and doing the job application, it's like, you know, it sucks. We all hate that. It's such a grind, but like doing that is, is a big part of it. And I got to say, like, that was part of my like app academy redemption story was when I got to the job search. I was like, man, this is actually great. They, uh, there's this great career coach. His name is Mike chef. He, I con I follow it. You know, I just started his repos on that, or I follow him on get hub and like, he's constantly, you know, this is Django. We're going to teach, I'm going to teach her job searches, Django. It says, AWS, we're going to do, uh, you know, one or two classes a week on just strictly AWS stuff. Like they are a TypeScript. Like when I got my job, I was going through like their additional TypeScript course, because they don't, you know, when they didn't teach it when I was there, which I think they're going to have to change because every job it says, like JavaScript type gift order, the same thing now, like nobody it's, they just were like, it's every job application. So, you know, the job, I really got to give it to them. I was very pleasantly surprised with the job search.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Sounds like overall, everyone had a good experience with it. It sounds like they also didn't really touch on data structures and algorithms in the program itself.

Simon Puno:

I

Veronika Pilipenko:

think at the end of it, I, I think at the end of the day, it's like one of those programs where you kind of have to like, hold your own hand through it. Like you have to be like, self-sufficient because I felt like the entire time, like, even though you have TA's and resources, like you're kind of learning the curriculum on your own. That's how I felt at least. Cause I was just like reading docs and like putting out myself and it's like, you're really relying on your peers to really kind of help you get through the program. And then it also kind of like depends who your TA's and your coaches are. Like, you can look out and get like the best career coach that is going to just like throw jobs at you and throw resources at you. Or you can get somebody that's just like, not passionate about it and just like doesn't want to help or is like, like make themselves unavailable. So I think it also just like depends on it's like a hit or miss each time. I don't know.

John Sims:

And there's a lot of churn. There's a lot of churn. My career coach doesn't work there anymore. So had I gotten a different career coach, we might be having a different conversation. I might've been like, it was garbage. I hated it. I can't believe like, but mine, my career coach was like amazing. And when I got a job, if he, it perfectly lined up with when he left app academy. So it was like, I left being like, this is great, but it might not be everybody's experience. I do know people that did not like they're, like you just said, Brian, I kinda like, I know people who did not like their coach and they requested a change and they, they got it. So

Veronika Pilipenko:

yeah, you just kind of have to be vocal about what you need in the program. Cause it's like, you don't want to be paired up. You'd want to pay all this money to not get the help and the resources that you deserve.

Don Hansen:

Yeah, I think that's really good advice for students coming into the program and even just looking at, um, the private message this person sent me it's you said it well, Veronica, he also mentioned you just basically rely on your peers. Um, and he, over all seems like he had a decent experience, but that's one thing that, um, he did mention that he also didn't like the career coach. And so it sounds like it can be a hit or miss and you need to be vocal about maybe that career coach gets feedback, but like yeah. Career coaches are hard, I think most care. And I think most are overworked. I've seen this with coding boot camps. So often career coaches. There's a lot of churn with career coaches just in general. Um, I probably should like invite a few career coaches on to ask about that because I've always been curious why there's so much churn, but, um, okay. It feels like. It feels like this is a very strong program for the top 10 or top 20% of students that eventually make it in. Um, I'm, I'm not gonna go into another rant about it. I feel like if, if those placement numbers don't account for all the people they're kicking out that could negatively affect it. Like any coding bootcamp could have high placement. If they did that, they just kicked out the bottom half of their students. They could, it's very easy. So I would argue placement rate should not be something people should pay attention to with this program. Um, and you know, all of you gave really good advice. Like all of you have encountered kind of just different challenges and situations. And it sounds like speaking up and, um, yeah, especially like, if you are stressed, if you are anxious, like speaking up, talking to that counselor, but also, um, you know, if, if something isn't sitting right with you, like you're not having a good expanse experience with your TA your instructor, your career coach, speaking of. Transitioning. I could see a lot of students just saying, ah, I don't want to, you know, create any waves or, you know, I don't want to offend anyone. Maybe they're trying, but I highly encouraged, like if your feedback is to speak up, I highly encourage any student to speak up. You were paying a lot of money for this. You deserve to get your values worth out of this. And I mean, if you don't, you very easily can probably become a, that, that bottom statistic that just gets kicked out. And so, um, yeah, I think all of you have given a lot of good advice on if you do encounter these problems, what potentially to do. Um, but go ahead, Jen. That's

John Sims:

so are you saying that, you know, I don't, I, you know, I don't know a lot about other bootcamps, honestly, like would, would they just roll on, like, if you maybe get deferred, I don't know what other links. Would you, as you just keep kind of going, is that typically what happens?

Don Hansen:

Yeah. Typically they're going to roll back. They'll go to a previous cohort, something like that. Maybe there'll be charged extra. And I would argue like, depending on the reason, most people probably should be charged extra if they're going through the material and extra time, unless like, it depends on the reason, right? If the curriculum is just bad, the structure's bad and the fault is up the coding bootcamp, that student, it shouldn't be that student's fault. But that problem is like, whose fault is it? And trying to figure that out. And D does a coding bootcamp take any ownership of that? The reason why someone rolls back, but usually yes, coding boot camps will roll students back into previous cohorts.

John Sims:

That's so foreign to me. You know what I mean? Like for me, I'm like, oh yeah, you just get kicked out and that's, it. That's like the end of it. Then you don't, you know, you have to join another one. Like I know some, this is like, this is one of the craziest bootcamp experiences. The person that I, I know she started with us was living in Texas. They had. Blackout major blackouts or, uh, you know, the power problems back in 2021. And she deferred and then like got kicked out and then joined a different bootcamp. And then like got kicked out of that one. And it's like, we started the same month. She still hasn't finished the bootcamp. I like have a job, you know, it's just so it's crazy. Like the experience that people have with, with like different bootcamps and, and not be like, she can't apply to an academy again. Like, they're not gonna let you do that. They're gonna be like, you already did this. It didn't work out like, you know? No, thank you. So, yeah, it's definitely, it's very foreign to me to, to like, hear like compassion from a bootcamp.

Veronika Pilipenko:

Sorry. I was just going to really quickly say, I feel like to add to that. It's like your personal life has to be at like a standstill while you do your bootcamp. Like your partner has to be supportive. You have to have no outside obligations in order to do this bootcamp because you're literally just sitting there staring at the screen for 10 plus hours a day. So it's like, God forbid something happens. That's like, you know, tragic in your life. It will screw up the entire experience.

Don Hansen:

Yeah, it sounds like maybe there are some rare situations that they will try to work with you. It feels like a lot of the structure, a lot of this, uh, comes from the execution of how the CEO has chosen are like, it could have been more than just a CEO. Like they have a board, but like how the executive team has chosen to structure this coding bootcamp. It feels very, and you know, I, I know I went off on a rant and if I yelled, I'm sorry. I think this is like the first time I've gotten pissed off at a coding bootcamp, like actually on the podcast, but that comes from a place of like, I've, I've mentored so many aspiring developers during the pandemic. And like, I know, I mean, people that have experienced way less to like go that much into debt, be kicked out of a program. Like there are people that are even in a good financial spot that have not been kicked out that continue pushing forward that still had this imposter syndrome. That's just overwhelming and crushing and people have been through, uh, they felt so anxious and they feel. Are there other people don't understand them. And like a lot of people feel isolated and alone when they're trying to become a developer, they don't have that support system. And to be kicked out of your coding bootcamp from a 10 strikes system, it feels extremely un-empathetic and no compassion whatsoever. And so it feels very elitist. It feels very elitist. Um, so that's where my frustrations definitely come from. Um, but it also, I bet you, you're probably going to have more compassion from the instructors, the stories that you told me that like, even just when you found that good career coach, you found that good instructor TA it sounds like you probably had a lot of compassionate, empathetic and helpful conversations with the actual staff on the floor, right? The staff that are teaching you and helping you through the program. I think my grapes are more with the executive team at app academy. Um, and so I, I think that's kind of where I'm coming from. This is me comparing this coding bootcamp, uh, reviewed, like, I don't know, 30, 40 programs at this point. It's a very app academy is a very unique experience. I'd never heard of anything like this before.

John Sims:

That is so funny to hear you say that. I thought all boot camps did this. I really did. I thought all bootcamps were like, you're in or you're out. That's all this. That's what I thought

Veronika Pilipenko:

too. But I talked to my friends from like flatter and academy and they're like, uh, yeah, we don't do this. And I was like,

John Sims:

oh, oh my God, my friend helpful stack. I was telling her what my cause. I mean, this is something I, uh, okay. Another thing, uh, this is something I always tell people that academy is, it is set up to reward you. If you pursue being a software engineer and punish you, if you don't like punish you, because even in the job search, the 10 strikes system resets. And if you get 10 strikes throughout your job search job, you know, career coaches are gone. You also, your money. There was no, I was thinking like, you know, I mean, it definitely, this is the way they describe it is during the bootcamp. Your whole life is bootcamp during the job search nine to five, it's the job search. So like you get weekends, you get evenings. And I kind of thought they were joking. Like they're not really joking. Like the job search is an extension of the bootcamp. So I was talking to my friend from Fullstack telling her that like, yeah, I have to apply to 40 jobs at the time. It was only 20 or 25. I had applied to 25 jobs a week, or I got a strike. I had to show up at this meeting on every Monday I got a strike I needed to attend two or three additional lectures, or I get the strike. Like, that's what I'm saying. Like, yes, it's great that the job search has those resources, but it's, it's got that app academy side where they're like, and if you don't use the resources, you will get a strike. Like it's still there.

Don Hansen:

That sounds like something that'll push people into, just do a mass applications with no cover letters, no company research. And just trying to get those applications out. I could see that being the behavior.

Veronika Pilipenko:

Yeah. Ours was 50 job applications a week, which actually, I thought it would be difficult, but my career coach makes a spreadsheet every single week. And it's just like, literally I just get my little coffee and I just like apply to everything. And they actually like help you form a couple of a cover letter and resume. And so we have workshops at the end of the program that helped you get everything kind of ready. And then when you're sending out your cover letters, all you have to do is like change the name of the company or, you know, things like. So I feel like that really helped me get a lot of traction because I was just like mass applying and, um, and, and again, interviews are, you know, their own beasts. So like once I did a bunch of interviews at companies I really didn't care about, or like, I didn't really like want to work out. I kind of got the gist of how do I interview, like, how do I, you know, go through this algorithm? Like, how do I communicate with my interviewers? So I feel like that actually like helped me a lot. And now I'm applying to places that I actually want to apply to and I have all the skills to be successful.

Don Hansen:

So they actually will give you a spreadsheet and tell you which jobs to apply to.

Veronika Pilipenko:

Yeah. So my career coach does that. I don't know how it is for other career coaches, but, um,

John Sims:

yeah,

Veronika Pilipenko:

you, you had that or you didn't, who was coached by chance, Leanne. Leanne. Oh, I don't know Leanne, but yeah. So that was helpful. I mean, some career coaches are like really, really, you know, into it and they really want to like help make those placements. So then you have other career coaches that are just like overworked and tired and just, you know, they're like, do do your own thing.

John Sims:

Yeah. I would say my career coach, uh, very, so much more responsive than I thought he was going to be. Like, I kind of had low expectations going into the job search. I was like, I'm going to write this guy and he's going to get back to me on Friday or whatever it's going to be later. But I mean, he really was on top and he, if he, if you needed to schedule a meeting because you had, I mean, but he was also a very non no-nonsense person. Like when we met, he told me, he's like, I've given people 10 strikes and I sleep like a baby. Like he literally would to me. And, and he's like, if you do the work, I'm going to be there for you. And he was very like east coast. He's like, you jerk me off I'm outta here. And I was like, very, very intense. Uh, and he was right. Like, he was there for me whenever I needed it. And I had these, you know, I'd have job interviews and he would be like, you know, everyone's gonna see us. But he was like, okay. So we actually have a collection of interview questions. We know this company asks like, here you go practice them. And I did, you know, and I, is that cheating? I don't know, like maybe, but I like, it definitely helped me get, uh, into like the next round or it built my technical skills because I, you know, I it's studying at the end of the day, but it's, it's definitely like, Hey, they're going to want to make sure you know how to do this particular thing. So I, I dunno, like, I, I do feel like the job search was the best part. And then after being through the whole program, I feel like the program is like step zero and jobs are just like, step one, not to be like all indexing zero or whatever, but.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Interesting. I feel like we kind of explored a lot. This is not something there's no way I'm going to be able to break this up into chapters. And it was just like a very, a was not a linear conversation. And I love that about it because I, I just did. I enjoyed this conversation. So before we end it though, cause I do want to be conscientious of your time. Is there anything else you'd like to add about the program before we wrap it up?

Veronika Pilipenko:

I would just say just really, really make friends with the people in your cohort because they are people coming from different walks of life. Some people have CS degrees or whatever, and just like really rely on your peers, user resources. And if something's not working out for you within reason, you know, speak out and like have them take.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Yeah. I agree with that.

Simon Puno:

I feel like you're paying them to teach you how to code. So you should make the most out of every single resource available out of all the teachers, the TAs, like mock interviews. I mean, it's great, but it's what you make of it.

John Sims:

Yeah. I feel like telling this is something they told us. And I tell everybody, like, when they asked me about boot camps, I'd say like, this is your education. Like you have to prioritize it and you have to like ask for the help where you need it. You know? I mean, I think it really is up to, we used to make fun of them. Cause they would always say this to be like, oh, learning is up to you. And it's like, come on. Why am I paying? Like, you know, I mean, there's a trade-off here, but they are right. Like the learning is up to you, but they, they do, they do provide a lot of, a lot of resources. I will say. The only way, like I went from wanting to give Africa Africa enemy of five star to like a zero star to more. Now I'm like a 3.5 at a four, but only because like, experience may vary, you know? And they, I don't know, like the fact that they did pull the rug out from under like the cohort that I was a part of just makes me nervous. Like, I wouldn't want somebody to go through all of this, be at the, be in their job, search, not get a job, go back to their old job, be out 15% of their income. And they all wish they never did it. And I, I want, I think people need to be aware of that, but I also think like my time there and the people that I met, like some of them like are probably we're going to be friends, like professor our lives. Like we were still in touch and we, you know, we get to celebrate, we have like a discord with like, uh, you know, rejections and like, we just, you know, we're there for each other. Like we kind of show our, you know, this is my rejection letter. Like I just got this off. And that's, I think one of the better parts about it is that you do get to be with these people that are like trying to make their lives better and trying to really push. And I think that's like a benefit of maybe any boot camp, but I mean, this one, I think very specifically, like I got to experience that.

Don Hansen:

Okay. I think that's good feedback for any coding bootcamp you go to. And I think I trailed off. I wish I would've stayed connected with some of my, I mean, it's been like seven years, five years, something like that. Um, all good advice. I love it. So that's it. Um, if you're watching on YouTube, definitely leave a comment below, let us know what you thought. And I am happy to talk to any staff at app academy. I would love to dig into some more if I'm incorrect in anything that I said, I have a lot of, a lot of concerns, uh, towards the executive team, but, um, it sounds like. Um, yeah, a lot of the instructors TA's coaches, they seem to, they seem to really care that I don't know. One thing you said about the no nonsense, John, I wouldn't want to work with that coach specifically when he said something like that, but like, that's a different personality for like a, for someone else. Right. And that's completely fine. Um, I, it just a lot of, uh, a lot of interesting stories have been shared. So let me know in the comments below what you thought of it. Let's go ahead and wrap it up. Let's do our outros. Um, John, if anyone wanted to reach out to you, where could they reach you?

John Sims:

LinkedIn? That's about all I got going on. Sounds

Don Hansen:

good. How about you, Veronica, LinkedIn as well. Cool. How about you, sir? LinkedIn. Absolutely. All right. Well, I'll go ahead and include your LinkedIn links in the description below, but like I said, stick around for a couple of minutes by John Veronica, Simon. Thanks so much for coming on.