March 24, 2022

Fullstack Academy Review (Should You Go There in 2022?)


I just hosted a recent review of Fullstack Academy and invited on 3 REAL graduates to share their REAL experiences. As usual, this is free of BS and marketing fluff. I hope this helps in deciding if this program is right for you. Enjoy!

Guests:
Mihir Bommakanti - https://www.linkedin.com/in/mihir-bommakanti
Anna Vaigast - https://www.linkedin.com/in/anna-vaigast
Gabriel Ytterberg - https://www.linkedin.com/in/gytterberg

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Transcript
Don Hansen:

Welcome back to another podcast episode where we help aspiring developers get jobs and junior developers grow. So with this episode, we're going to be diving into full stack academy. I invited on three graduates and they're going to share their real experiences. I think it's. Up to a year since the last time I did the review. So I kind of just want to find out, you know, what's going on. I think a lot of you probably already know. Um, I went to Fullstack academy. I graduated from full stack academy and so kind of like just seeing what's going on each year. Um, but I also heard some kind of rumors and a couple of things that made me want to review it again. Um, just to be clear, none of you did this program through any campuses, right? Okay. So yeah, they're trying to extend their education into, from what it sounds like more traditional education. So if you've heard of experiences from that, it's probably going to be really different. Um, so with that context in mind, we're going to dive into the real authentic experiences. So, okay. Uh, Mihir, is that how you pronounce her name? Okay. When did you graduate? Where you at your job search and what industry did you come from?

Mihir Bommakanti:

Sure. So I graduated last April 21 and I'm currently working. I just started my job November of 2021. I'm working with cap Gemini. Um, that's a junior developer there and I was previously coming from pharmaceutical side. I was a pharmacy technician for a couple of years, and then I decided to just make sure.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Cool. Thank you. How about you, Anna?

Anna Vaigast:

Um, but yeah, so I graduated in July of 2021 and have them working as a full stack engineer since January 20, 22. So about three months now. Um, and prior to that, I was actually in medical school for two years. Um, so halfway done through. School decided to take a leave of absence and make that career switch so totally different, but glad to be here.

Don Hansen:

Okay. I'm guessing you're not going to be going back.

Anna Vaigast:

Nope. The best decision I've ever

Don Hansen:

made. So you smiling while you were saying that. All right. Cool. How about you, Gabriel? Is it Gabrielle or Gabe?

Gabriel Ytterberg:

Gabrielle. Um, yeah, I graduated in, I think July or August, probably July of 21. Um, I had been working, I've had all kinds of jobs, but I've most recently been working as an operations manager for a startup that did, um, bike sharing. Um, Yeah. Decided that company, um, went under the beginning of a pandemic, decided to kind of return to, I have a computer science degree from way back that I never ended up using. So decided to kind of get a refresher and switch gears and went to full stack. Okay. And then I've been working for a company called education first as a software developer since this, this January. So a couple of months, three months. Well, sorry. Well, I'm very needy. I apologize in

Don Hansen:

advance. It's all good. Um, okay. Sounds good. Let's dive into the meat of things, but, um, I usually give people a heads up before as a podcast, but we'll probably talk over each other. Like I said, I don't like it to be an interview. Um, I'm going to ask you questions like an interview, but feel free to respond to each other. We're going to talk over each other. Usually it starts normalizing out about like 10, 15 minutes into it, but first quick, What was your experience like the good and the bad?

Anna Vaigast:

Um, I can start, I, I really loved full stack for a number of reasons. Um, especially towards the beginning. Um, I was somebody that always needed some structure. So, you know, when I was in college or med school, um, I always kind of needed. I'm a very organized schedule of what kind of learning materials to take in and when to do certain things. So I liked that full-stack was super organized in that way. Um, so I had really good time, um, learning from the instructors. I thought they were wonderful. Um, and pair programming was a great experience as well. And I think those are aspects of learning to code that you wouldn't really get outside of a bootcamp environment. Um, the thing that I did not like, however, was the whole job search aspect of it, uh, post bootcamp. And I think I went into the bootcamp kind of expecting a lot more than. Uh, what, uh, actually happened. And I think maybe what I've read online and what people promise was not exactly how things turned out, at least from my experience. Um, I thought they would be a lot more helpful in, you know, providing contacts or, um, making introductions to different companies and. Maybe getting your foot in the door a little bit more. Um, and I feel like you really had to be proactive yourself in order to make your job search successful. And, you know, I, I knew that, you know, anyway, I think in order for anything to be successful, you have to be really proactive, but I didn't really know. I thought they would be more involved in that whole process. So that was kind of lacking for me.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Um, yeah, that's a really common misconception people have. I don't think full-stack advertises, like they're going to get you partnerships or get you a foot in the door. Maybe they do. But I remember when I went to full academy again, long time ago, they had a career day where they invite a hiring day where they invited a bunch of people. And then what I had heard was they turned that career day and trying to get you in the door with employers, into interview practice. So then they could bring in any. Right. A company that might not even be hiring a lot of engineers or might just be looking for fellows. Cause I had some complaints about that where they weren't really able to deliver on career day. So even thinking back to career day, did they bring in a lot of legitimate companies to like really get you in the door with some of them

Mihir Bommakanti:

for doin? I was a part of. Bloomberg. That was like the biggest company and like a couple like mid tier ones. Hum. But the majority of them were like small startup companies. Um, and I don't think there were, like I had heard in the past that they had Facebook and all these other bigger companies, but for ours, Bloomberg was like by far the biggest. And then they had, um, I think it was Puma. I want to say it was Puma, but they were, they weren't really hiring for software engineering roles. They were hiring. Technical roles, but it wasn't to do with coding directly. So I don't know. I thought that was kind of interesting.

Don Hansen:

Yeah, it is good to know,

Gabriel Ytterberg:

but like the, the companies that they brought in, I mean, it's like any, getting your first offer job anywhere. There's almost no job postings. I'd say like we welcome brand new graduates, you know? So like, I feel like a lot of the connections that full-stack has is with companies that like want experienced people. But I did tell you the career. Day stuff was kind of underwhelming, but I did really love all the, like I think they call it career services, like meeting with those coaches and like getting resume and like LinkedIn advice. I found that super helpful. Um, and also just like it was the career coaches I thought were super interesting talking to you and kind of fun.

Don Hansen:

Okay. We'll dive more into the career coaching. So the thing is, you know, what I see on my end, um, a lot of roles are hiring entry-level, but the entry-level debars has gone up. A lot of people are moving into software engineering, like, oh, a lot of people. Right. And so the bar has gone up. And so what what's happening is a lot of coding, boot camps. I haven't really moved up that bar themselves because usually there's a lot of things that you have to do to really bump up that curriculum. And even like, you know, some coding, boot camps are trying to provide internship ex uh, support or like access to being able to edit a really large code base. Maybe it's like their marketing website, or maybe it's an internal tool, or even an open source project they recommend you contribute to. And like, you know, a lot of coding boot camps try to be ambitious, but then. You know, a lot of people's money is tight nowadays and they can't really up that price. And so I think coding boot camps are trying to meet companies at that level. And I think they're struggling and I don't necessarily think full stack again, I'm sure that's a challenge for full stack academy, but it's not only Fullstack academy. Um, so bringing in companies that aren't really hiring for the experience that foot Fullstack academy puts out. Maybe the big advantage of that really is interview practice for most companies, maybe even startups that will offer paid positions or be very welcoming to junior developers. But maybe you do, you know, like Puma, uh, what was the other one? Oh, Bloomberg Bloomberg. So maybe like those larger companies, people are going to at least look forward to those interviews to try to get their foot in the tour. Um, that still sounds bad. Than what they were doing. Cause the last time I talked to full stack academy grads, they really dropped the ball, brought in startups with like non-paying positions and like promised things during that career day. And it felt like they were going through a transitionary period. And it seems like they're stabling out a bit with that.

Anna Vaigast:

Yeah, I know there was one company they brought in where, or maybe a few, actually that we had some people get a job like right after career day, like that kind of got their foot in the door. Um, I do know that the companies that I was interested in, that I reached out to, they didn't even get back to me with, um, an interview. So maybe they weren't hiring. Um, we all said code academy com, which was exciting, but that was another company that. You know, they didn't have an apprenticeship program open. Um, they kind of plugged that, you know, to keep an eye out, but you know, it was good to talk to them, but I was kind of hoping that there would be more available roles for, for us.

Don Hansen:

Yeah. Makes sense. At least with people that have that expectation that they're going to just like hand you off to companies. That's probably not a realistic expectation. Um, I do, I do have one question. So last time also when we bring it up, like last videos and sucks. I'm very curious, but I heard that people were unsatisfied with a Grace Hopper program because of how the administration was run and when they would talk to people in like the regular. They had felt that they weren't getting as quality of an experience because of the administration. Have you experienced anything like that?

Anna Vaigast:

Um, I will say I don't know about the administration. Um, and I really loved our instructors. I really can't say a bad word about them, but I will say there was maybe once or twice where we had some lecture that was combined with full stack and. Maybe it was just, you know, have their cohort was structured throughout their program, but I felt like people seemed more knowledgeable and how they were answering questions and how they were participating. And then a lot of us, grace hoppers ended up, you know, conversing afterwards and being like, oh, you know, they seem like they've have like a different sort of education or maybe they're, you know, prompted to. Participate more, something like that. So it was maybe noticeable during that time, but it's really hard to compare, you know? Cause I, I don't know how full stack really rad, you know?

Don Hansen:

Yeah. That makes sense. I think so. I heard that pretty consistently too. And so I do feel like that's a good feedback for them and, uh, a problem they probably should try to solve. Okay. What about you two? Would he get sick of your experiences?

Mihir Bommakanti:

Um, overall, I thought it was good because I was coming from like very little experience with coding. I tried to teach myself and it was just going horribly. So I decided to enroll. Um, and I thought the instructors especially were super patient and were, were willing to take extra time to explain, because at the beginning I was having a really hard time. Putting things together and they were willing to, to take some time with me and walk me through it a little more. And I thought that the projects were pretty good when we were learning in the junior phase. That's what they called it. Um, just constantly working on projects, a short lecture to project. So it was a lot of hands-on experience. And I enjoyed that part a lot. And working with others, the part that I was kind of those kinds of a negative as well, was the career part, like after graduating. I think part of it was me. I had like a bit of an imposter syndrome going to it. I was super nervous going into it. And I think that held me back a lot and I probably should have asked her how that time, but yeah, it was just kind of overwhelming it, jumping in a foot kind of on a hundred prepared. I liked the career coaching, but even with that, I just felt like, okay, what do I even do here? There's so much going on. There's like I have to do this resume. I have to do like a special resume for every single time. And it's like, it was just a lot of practicing for interviews. I didn't really feel that prepared for technical interviews. I know we had like a section on that, but I was still super lost after. Um, it just took a lot of time on my own to get ready for those. But yeah, overall I think it was a good

Don Hansen:

experience. Okay. Did you do a mock interview, mock technical one?

Mihir Bommakanti:

Yeah, we would do my tech interviews pretty frequent. Um, I think it's just understanding it for me, at least

Don Hansen:

in cool. Uh, just to be clear, you're not talking about like the early morning exercises that you're doing, but an actual mock technical interview.

Mihir Bommakanti:

Oh, okay. Yeah, we, we would do the morning. What that did. We did like a full-on technical phone interview.

Don Hansen:

Okay. That's something that I did that I found really helpful. I am so. That, um, even if I'm enjoying a problem, sometimes I won't show it. I'll be like, and also I'm frustrated. And like, even that alone, that instructor, I remember my instructor saying like, I don't know, I'm not supposed to grade you on this stuff, but you kind of sound depressed there. Even here. It's like, oh, I'm not. And I did, I had no idea. And like that experience was really, really helpful. Um, I wonder why they took that. Okay.

Mihir Bommakanti:

When I was doing a gig, combined it with, uh, like career or job search prep. So we would do the morning problems. And then during the period before we had like a week to just do practice problems in the morning, but it was like a half an hour. I think you get like a half an hour to try it to try one problem. And then just.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Yeah. So yeah, it sounds like overall, like usually I hear good things about the curriculum. You're really good things about the curriculum before I heard the instructors very transitioning or transition. Well, it was a transitioning period for a lot of instructors and a lot were quitting and then they would do instructors would come up and then they would have to like learn the curriculum and they would be behind. And that was the experience I heard with my last review. But. Sounds like the instructors for both of you were pretty good. You enjoyed your experience with them.

Anna Vaigast:

Yeah. I personally thought our instructors are amazing. Yeah.

Gabriel Ytterberg:

Yeah. I liked them a lot. We did have that happen actually. One that I really enjoyed working with left in the middle of the cohort and they brought in someone new who was great and super smart. Um, but like didn't have necessarily, like hadn't done it, you know, much. It was a little uncomfortable sometimes. Um, but overall I think they were great and the curriculum. Great.

Don Hansen:

Okay. What about, Hmm. You know what, I'm gonna pause there. Uh, Gabriel, how was your expense?

Gabriel Ytterberg:

Um, it was good. I really enjoyed the time. Um, I had also been trying to learn myself before that because I decided like I have a background in programming. Like I have Google, like I can, you know, the resources are out there. I can figure stuff out and work on my own. But, um, the truth is like the structure that's missing is. Like I can learn stuff on my own and read tutorials and like make stupid projects, but I'm not going to do that 40 hours a week, unless something, unless I have to. And that was what kind of motivated me to finally sign up. And the networking side of it. And, um, it was really interesting and enjoyable. I think working with other people, because you're always so much initially I didn't really didn't like pair programming cause I would like, I don't know, rather figure something out on my own. It was really interesting to work both with people who were like, sort of behind you and struggling, and you can kind of like share what you, there's no better way to learn something than to teach it to someone else. Um, and then, you know, the inverse of when you're working with someone who just seems to get everything instantly, like it's, it's really interesting to kind of pick up on how their brain works. But I get experience. Yeah. I would echo what everyone said that the, the job placement stuff was like maybe a little weak, but, um, I really liked the curriculum. I really liked the instructors. Yeah.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Besides what they mentioned. Um, cause I remember you sharing a message. You had, you also had some constructive feedback. Is there anything else that they can prove?

Gabriel Ytterberg:

Um, I've been thinking about this and I don't know. It's a really tough. Thing to do at all. You know, like programming, it's hard, otherwise engineers wouldn't, you know, they wouldn't call them engineers. They wouldn't be paid as much as they are like, and it's really tough to have one program targeted at people who have potentially zero background. Not just, there were some people, I was surprised by both people who struggled and also people who did really well, who just had like very little computer experience, like would struggle with. You know, like down, installing some software or things like that. Um, and I think it's a really tough thing to try to tailor one curriculum to all those people. Um, And I, don't the thing that I always kept coming back to is time. Like, if there's a reason, a bachelor's degree takes four years, cause there's just so much to learn and it's tough in kind of like you mentioned, with the cost of the program, you can make it twice as long and cost twice as much. And it'd probably be more than twice as good, but you have to target this like certain amount to certain price tag and certain amount of time commitment that people can, you know, Commit to not working for that long. And, um, it's a, it's a hard bargain, I think, I think like maybe I think a lot of people would have done better with more foundational stuff rather than kind of the really detail oriented, like. Here's how these particular tools work and here's how, you know, the ins and outs of like express server or something. Cause like, especially coming, having worked now as a software developer, There's very little expectation that, you know, for a junior anyway, that you know, the ins and outs of everything out of the box, like you come in now and there, the expectation is that like, we have this whole code base that you've never seen before. It's going to be, there's going to be wacky stuff in it. There's going to be stuff you can Google. There's going to be all this, you know, like stuff you have to learn. And I think. Sometimes the full set curriculum kind of errors. Maybe it maybe is a little bit too detailed oriented and the middle part of it when more time might be better spent on like foundational stuff about programming and like system design system design in particular, I think is something that is a little under sort of like under-taught, which like, I don't know how you teach that, but coming into the job and marketing now and like, Being thrown into this code base, which had, you know, I thought I knew react, but there's like patterns that we're using now that I had never seen before. And like, it's been really interesting to kind of think critically about why decisions were made the way they were. And that's something that I remember thinking like, man, I wish we had talked more about this kind of stuff at full stack. Like, and you're less just like, here's how you set up a basic, you know, whatever. Yeah.

Don Hansen:

Yeah. That's, that's really good insight. And so system design is really tricky. I'm not a huge fan of teaching system design. And I think it's okay to build messy projects. It's okay. Not to care about architecture initially. And I think people need that feedback initially to reinforce even that they're enjoying coding, that they're liking what they're building and, you know, sometimes you can reinforce the concepts you're learning without worrying about all this heavy stuff, like system design and architecture, and a lot of conventions that you're going to learn down the road. So, yeah. I wonder if Fullstack academy did implement that. I could see it being very beneficial later. I guess like, and like you said, really getting the foundation down, but one thing I want to mention, so usually coding, bootcamps solve for this by being very strict and who they bring in. And so it's, it's really having a rigorous interview process to make sure you're even ready. And that's how you get everyone on the same page, that person that could, they were just struggling to install like a random. Software like that person shouldn't have made it in quite frankly. Like they should have spent some time before they made it in, because I've heard way too many horror stories of people that just below close to $20,000 and full sec academy is expensive. It's up there. And, you know, they struggle with stuff like that. It's like, how did you even make it in? How are you going to, like you said, a lot of curriculums, we'll jump a little bit too deep, too quickly. How is that person really going to like, keep up with the material they're going to fall behind. And I hear this with so many different coding bootcamps. So the one concern I have, I've heard stories Fullstack academy has continued to lighten their interview process, and it's not as strict as it used to be. Now. I don't expect you to know how strict that was. Right. But I feel like that could solve that problem, but yeah. What do you think about like the application and interview process to even get into the.

Anna Vaigast:

Um, I thought it was probably like, again, I don't really have anything to compare it to, but of medium difficulty. I kind of did expect it to be a little bit more difficult. Um, that could be a result of me just over-preparing as well. Um, I will say I, my boyfriend who actually is also. Um, was thinking about applying a full stack. He went through this process. This was just a few weeks ago. And he actually, um, I think he mentioned that I had finished a cohort and they like accepted him without giving him a coding interview. So he had just finished, um, the application process. I think there was one, um, like multiple choice, um, mini assessment. Uh, for coding, which he took while he was sitting next to me, and then they literally accepted him. Either the next day, or maybe even the same day. I can't remember without giving him like alive, like coding pair, coding interview. And I thought that was kind of crazy. And he also was kind of actually turned off by that because. You know, he's thinking like, wow, they didn't even interview me. It's like kind of a red flag. Like who are they really letting in? And again, that was not my experience. I did have a live interview and that's kind of, I, I thought was a standardized process. Um, so I thought that was a little bit weird, but, you know, I thought my interview really did test. No concept of recursion, which, you know, isn't a super basic concept. Um, so, you know, I thought it was pretty good for myself, but I did find it a little weird that he had that experience just a few weeks ago. So

Don Hansen:

with the recursion, did you say you were tested with multiple choice?

Anna Vaigast:

No. So it was, uh, like an algorithm question. It was pretty basic. Um, from what I remember, it wasn't the most complicated one, but it wasn't algebra.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Yeah. I mean, recursion is hard, really hard when you're starting out. Um, took me a long time to wrap my head around that. So I'm glad they still kind of test for that. I'm guessing that's like a stretch goal during the interview, I would assume so. Um, I have that, that actually scares me that they just let them in without the technical

Anna Vaigast:

interview. Me too. Me too. I was very shocked by that. We were we're sitting there like what? So yeah. Uh, I don't, I don't know why I really don't. Maybe it's cause he said that I. Finish. And maybe they thought, oh, because I would be there to help them. But you know, I'm just, I'm just speculating. I don't know.

Don Hansen:

Yeah. That's a big, bold expectation. Yeah. Yeah. So, well, and that, that creates a really huge problem. It doesn't matter how good the curriculum is. It doesn't matter how good the instructors are caring. They are. It just does not matter if you are not prepared for that curriculum. I know that. Uh, I'm sure they've edited since I been in it, but probably not that much. I know what they teach and I know how they teach those things. And there are so many people, even when they were tested rigorously to get in, and they had like a really rigorous application process and they were tested on recursion and a few other really advanced concepts. They, they struggled through the program. They struggled to keep up. We all did, like, it was really difficult. And for your boyfriend to just get in, like, who knows, he might be that person, maybe he's not that struggles to install the software, to even run the code. Right. Um, how do they know that? So, man, that's a, that's a huge red flag. I'm wondering, I'm wondering why that. Um, okay, well, that's how you solve that problem. That's how everyone becomes on the same page. And you know, a lot of people talk about ag, say this over and over. A lot of people talk about, well, we want the program to be accessible. It's like, well, accessibility doesn't mean letting anyone in having them pay you $17,000 and then failing out of it. That's not accessibility. You're not giving someone a fair shot at the industry, but like if they had like made a more rigorous. Pre coursework or practice. I know like they used to say like first four chapters of eloquent JavaScript go to those, understand them fully. And that was at least can give like a, they were. Certain that that was a good benchmark that they would at least do pretty well. And to get every process. I don't know if they still do that, but pre-course work to even just, um, just make sure they're up to speed for the interview that every coding bootcamp should have that. So. Okay. Let me think about that more. That's that's an interesting. What'd you guys think about the application process?

Mihir Bommakanti:

I thought it was fair for me. It was also a pretty medium. They did take a lot of prepping on my side, Dave Wolford. Uh, it was discounted because it was a couple of times, but like a prep course or prep class. I forgot the. Um, that that went over like objects, arrays, recursion, and all that. It was fairly thorough. I think another big aspect that might hurt people was the size of the class because my class had like 65 people in it, uh, and two instructors. And so it. Yeah. So there was portions where we were kind of rushing, um, just because people were asking so many questions and we're like, are we have to get to the project? You know, ask the questions when you're, when you're in there. And you're still stuck. You can ask questions there. And it kind of, I mean, it was. Having that many people in the class because of COVID and more people just joining. Um, so I think maybe they were just like, prepared for that. But I do think that, that I just noticed that that helped or held a lot of people back because eventually people stopped asking questions because they were just getting overwhelmed with, you got people asking really technical, like very complicated questions and you kind of look at it like, oh my God, what is he even saying? I don't even understand the question. So it can. Kind of, you know, be a lot for some people. And so I think that her as well, from what I noticed,

Anna Vaigast:

that's really interesting because we had, I think 30 people in my cohort and we also struggled fitting everything in. So I can't imagine how much you guys struggled having like more than twice as many people. It's crazy

Don Hansen:

how many.

Gabriel Ytterberg:

Yeah, we had to, I think for 50 or 50 for five students. Um, but also the fellows, I think they have, like, I think they try to have like one fellow, like teaching the system. Per like six or seven or eight students probably per seven students. And I found them really interesting to work with. Um, but I always, you know, wished I had more direct time with the instructors

Don Hansen:

for sure. Interesting.

Gabriel Ytterberg:

Um, it was interesting to work, to talk with people who. Themselves just on the program. And they have like very specific knowledge and they also like everyone in the cohort had like really different backgrounds and different levels of familiarity with programming before the program. Um, and they all just had a very different style and like, Different sort of levels of, um, I don't know, just different ways of communicating. Some of them would, would like instantly have the answer, but not necessarily be able to communicate the ins and outs of it, but, and others would be like, well, I don't know. Let's figure it out together. And that was always, I think really interesting sort of like pair programming with someone who is actually gonna be able to figure it out on like your actual partner. Um, but yeah. It was it's. Yeah, it was, it would be tough to like, I think for the really excelling students and they're really struggling students only having two instructors per cohort was tops. Cause there is so little time directly with them. Um, but yeah.

Don Hansen:

How many, so for all three of you, how many people were in your starting cohort and how many graduated with.

Gabriel Ytterberg:

I'm not sure. They definitely don't publicize that. I remember trying to think like, oh, there's this thing that you, people in zoom after, like, you know, there's different dates that you pass through and people potentially drop off at each one. And I remember thinking when those paths like, or their fear of people in zoom today, but I could never really, I, my sense is probably like three or four out of our cohort that I think started at 55. But I wouldn't want you to quote me on that because they don't, obviously they don't announce like, oh, four people cut today.

Anna Vaigast:

Yeah, I think through each phase, like from foundations to junior and then from junior to senior phase, I think we probably lost around five people to four or five. And we started out with less. So it was kind of a lot. Um, and I remember even talking in the beginning of junior phase with people being worried about it, because maybe they had heard that happening before and people were, you know, were thinking, oh my God, I don't want to be left behind. Like, do I have to study like a crazy amount? Um, but Don, like you said, I think. If there was a more rigorous like entry process or application process, maybe that wouldn't happen as much. And maybe that's a better way to tackle it rather than having people worried about whether or not they're going to even graduate.

Don Hansen:

Yeah. What about you, Mihir?

Mihir Bommakanti:

Yeah, I think it was roughly the same amount. Um, when I, when we started senior phase, I noticed like a few. Uh, a little bit less than the zoom. So I don't know the exact number, but I do remember after the first there was like the final project to JPL. And then there was, uh, like a midterm type of project right after. And after that, I remember a lot of people in the chair were like, I'm going to have to replay because I feel lost and things like that. I mean, not everyone. Most people figure it out. We're able to figure it out. Move on. So maybe it just like fear or just being nervous about it. But I, I noticed that as well, like early on when people were pretty, pretty.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Well, okay. So listening to all of you, it's like night and day, cause I just reviewed a program. I might be butchering the numbers, but I was like 120 people started in a, and this is a different coding bootcamp and then like 30 for leftover. And it was one of the top coding, boot camps or top coding, boot camps, that claim to be that. Um, so. I mean, yeah, it's always unfortunate when people get held back, but you know, out of 30 people, like a five people. Fall back that can be solved with a rigorous application process, not letting her boyfriend end, just because he signed up, you know? Um, but the screening that you guys went through, it doesn't sound bad. It sounds pretty. And, um, I'm not really, yeah. What foundations? Um, there were, there were definitely a few people that got held back. I th well, at least I think with foundations with mine. So I'm more concerned about like, okay, are they getting held back at midterms after that junior phase going into senior phase? That's what I'm most concerned with and it, they could improve it, but it's not as bad as definitely some other programs that I've reviewed. Um, okay. I think that gives me some good insight. I think I touched on a lot of things I was concerned with previously. Um, let's jump into the career services. I know we touched on that a little bit, but uh, what'd you guys think of it?

Mihir Bommakanti:

Um, I thought overall it was helpful in the sense of. It was one-on-one and they were reviewing my resume and helping me with like behavioral interviews and I was able to, but my career coach, I was able to, he allowed me to use his LinkedIn networks to find anyone and he would put me in touch with them. So in that aspect, it was pretty helpful to make connections in all.

Gabriel Ytterberg:

Yeah, I really enjoyed working with the career coaches. Um, I thought it was super interesting and like, like I'm not someone who's good at like, bragging about themselves and like putting themselves out there and being, you know, kind of a go getter in an awkward interview context. So it was interesting. It was, it was, it was, I think it was really good to be able to kind of refine. Your narrative and figure out what parts of your story like you want to sell and the behaviors of like mock behavioral interviews. I think we're, we're super interesting to help. With that. And being able to have someone jump in and say like that thing you just said, don't say that, you know, or like that thing you said was great, like let's, you know, expand on that. Like, you know, here's some other details that you told him before that he left out. And I think that was super interesting. Um, like others have said, I think like the actual. Career day stuff and like making connections with actual companies that have actual openings was like pretty weak or sort of non-existent sometimes. But, um, I know some people from my cohort got jobs related to career day events. Um, but a lot of this.

Anna Vaigast:

Yeah, I would kind of echo what everybody said. I really enjoyed the behavioral mock interviews as well. I feel like they almost placed more of an emphasis on that rather than the technical aspect of the interview, which the end of the day is, is I think more important because you know, you can't really get a job if you don't know how to solve an algorithm work, or however else they're going to test your technical knowledge. Um, the refining, the way you talk about your career transition is also super important. So I did find that to be really helpful. I do wish we had more like technical mock interviews though.

Gabriel Ytterberg:

Yeah. I felt pretty unprepared for technical interviews and the couple that I did, the one that, that my company now was. It was like kind of soft in some ways it wasn't like crazy algorithms or like goofy word problems that you have to, you know, figure out the math behind. It was much more like sort of design oriented and like, how would you set up a not even necessarily, there was very little actual code to it. Was there like, um, you know, how would you approach this problem problem? And. Yeah. Most of the technical interview prep, um, at full-stack was like react. Those, they call them like algorithm problems. And, um, and I found that super interesting, but yeah, it, it wasn't representative of what I ended up seeing in my actual interview.

Anna Vaigast:

That's really interesting. Cause I don't think I had a single interview that didn't include at least one algorithm. So that's, that's interesting that you had,

Gabriel Ytterberg:

I think it's maybe a not common experience, but, um, but even the others for jobs that I didn't get or wasn't there didn't turn out to be interested in. There were a lot more conversational, which I thought was, you know, probably for the better, I didn't, I didn't interview with like Google or Facebook that have like notoriously, you know, like heavy technical interviews. But, um, yeah, I wasn't really sure what to expect. And then when I had them, I was always fine when I was leaving them, being like, wow, that was not what I was expecting. I had no idea how I did

Mihir Bommakanti:

most of my interviews. Not data structures and algorithms. So I was pretty shocked. Well, so I only had one or two and actually it was only one that was really like hardcore lead code type. The rest were like asking me about project or stuff like that. So I was pretty, pretty shocked, but yeah.

Don Hansen:

Well, and it sounds like you're alone on that. I'm sorry.

Anna Vaigast:

Yeah. I thought this was everyone's experience, I guess not.

Don Hansen:

Well, maybe that's telling maybe that's why they excluded it. They found a lot of their students are not experiencing these types of interviews. And quite frankly, like for the interviews that I did experience with that, I mean, the react is a reactor. That's what it's called. Yeah, the, um, those challenges in the morning, I felt like they did help me prepare more. And the technical interview, that's like more focused on like a white boarding challenge. You're kind of already doing that. At least like with the mock interview I received, I just received another person. That was similar to those challenges, but then I got personalized feedback. That's what was helpful. Right. So maybe like even just making sure they have enough TAs enough instructors, to be able to provide that feedback during those, I think you would be surprised at how well maybe that Fullstack academy prepares you for those types of challenges. Um, because there, there are so many different interview types and usually coding boot camps. We'll lean on like preparing you for the whiteboard interview, but they don't really let a coding bootcamp, slack that behavioral. I didn't even get that. I wish I would've got that mock interview and talked through some of that and had someone telling, don't say that. Right. I wanted that feedback. I didn't get it. And I would, I bet you, there's a reason they did focus on that type of mock interview versus the technical.

Mihir Bommakanti:

Yeah. Yeah. That's a good point. I didn't even think about it that way.

Gabriel Ytterberg:

Yeah, that makes sense. It's also tough because people come from such different backgrounds. Like, like in my capstone project group, one guy had been. Like a investment banker or something like that, or he'd worked for the kind of like financial stuff that I don't really know what it is. I just know that he works for a financial company. And one of the other group members was a guy like a pretty young guy who worked in like food trucks and stuff, and he'd never gone to college and he decided he was going to do this and he was great. Um, and I think it's like makes it really hard to figure out. What kind of interview prep. Cause they would've needed very different, you know, sort of help. Um, but yeah, I found the interview prep stuff pretty helpful.

Don Hansen:

Okay. I don't think I, I feel like I have a feel, so I just kind of want to summarize a bit, I think, and you correct me if I'm wrong afterwards? I feel like all of you experienced. I know you all, why I heard medium a lot. So you experienced some sort of gatekeeping into the program. Um, the fact that you were proposed to tackle a recursive solution, that's a pretty good sign in my opinion. Um, I'm a little worried that they might've softened those requirements since you guys graduated, given what you just told me, Hannah, I hope that they're not just letting anyone in and if they are, that should be. That's going to trust me. That's going to, so like when you get a variety of experiences, the instructors can not meet the needs of all those experiences. It's either going to focus on people that are excelling or people that are falling behind and it's 99% of the time. It's focused on people that are falling behind to try to catch them up. Less attention has gone towards the people that are doing. Um, that's what it creates and it makes that a much worse situation. Um, so I hope they're not doing that. Maybe that was an exceptional thing, but if anyone is going through Fullstack academy and you aren't going through a technical interview should be a red flag, I'm going to be blunt about it. You should, uh, don't, don't consider it that that's always a red flag. So, uh, but other than that, if that's an exception and not the rule, the interview process sounds okay. When you have a lot of TA. Versus even if you just have two instructors, I know everyone wants more time with the instructors and preferably it's one instructor for like, you know, 10 students, I would say that's ideal. And then maybe one TA. And like, when I I've reviewed a lot of different coding boot camps, that seems to be like a really ideal thing where people feel like they're given the attention. They need to succeed no matter where their skill level. But when you do it more TA's if they have a hard, a really strict selection process, you know, selecting probably like top students of the previous cohort that can balance things out more, um, as long as you're getting that assistance, I think that can be held. Sounds like he has really enjoyed the curriculum, the instructors, um, I do think they need to solve for that problem with the Grace Hopper program. Anna, your story is not unique. I've heard that story many times. Um, I even mentored, um, people like I, they used to host like a mentorship program, um, and I went back and mentored alumni and that was also feedback that I got from there. And other students had shared with me later, um, career services. I don't know. I know you guys want the technical mock interview, but I think that behavioral one is pretty cool given that you already have the reactor and I mean, Mihir, your career services, coach being willing to like share connections on LinkedIn. That's pretty huge. You don't hear that. And I I'm telling you, I've, I've heard a lot of stories about career coaching with Fullstack academy over the last five years. And there's been a lot of burnout. I do think the career coaches are always pushed very hard. I have a lot of empathy, empathy for them, but I I've also had really, I had a very bad career coach initially and they no one in our cohort liked her. And then they, uh, I was in the Chicago campus. And so. She was our default and then they switched us and then I really liked that one. So I feel like they've always struggled to find and keep a really good career coaches that aren't burned out. So the fact that all of you have had good experiences at sounds pretty promising that they're starting to solve a problem. Um, yeah. I think I asked all the right questions. I think this is going to give people a lot of valuable information, I guess my last question for you, thinking about the people that are considering this program and feel free to share anything extra you want to share that we haven't talked about. Um, who's the right student for this. Who's going to be successful in this and who probably isn't going to be successful. That probably shouldn't waste 17,000 or whatever they charge.

Anna Vaigast:

I think if I had to pick like one characteristic, it would probably be somebody who's very self motivated and a self-starter and just a proactive person in general. Um, Like while full-stack provides you with so many resources and great coaches and great instructors and all the materials, you really won't be successful unless you put in the work. Um, and everybody always does this. You really get as much out of the bootcamp as you're willing to put in. And I fully agree with that. Um, you know, I did struggle a little bit in the job search process, but it ultimately did end up panning out and. It worked out for a lot of my cohort members as well. Like everybody who I've worked with and I'm still friends with a lot of, um, those women, they all got jobs, you know? And so while we may, you know, uh, criticize the career services a little bit, you know, people who are proactive well, like they do have the right tools and the right skills to get a job. So it really. I think just depends on you at the end of the day. So, you know, if you're willing to put in the work, I think that's probably like the most important part.

Gabriel Ytterberg:

Okay. Yeah. I think, I think also you have to be really honest with yourself about whether you are that person and like really figure out. Like figure out your ability, not to necessarily like pick things up instantly, but your ability to like, really like keep pushing when you don't get something and like, how do you, how do you respond when you are faced with a problem that you just don't even know how to start with? Like, are you going to get frustrated and like lose focus? Or are you someone who's gonna just like go that much harder? Cause you just can't do it. It's like. I think what, something that makes people good at this kind of thing is when you have that, like almost obsessive, like, you know, somebody out there knows somebody out there figured out how to do it and I can do it. I just gotta like. You know, try something different or whatever, and like being that kind of person who cause like everyone says that about things like bootcamps and everyone knows that the camps that you get out, what you put in, but like really figuring out what that means to you, I think is important to ask yourself before you spend all that money. Um, cause there's going to be days where, like you also have to be down with working. A lot and like working after hours and like, you know, logging out for the day and going and doing something for a couple hours and then coming back and like figuring out that thing, that day that you couldn't get before, or like putting a lot of like honest effort into the workshops or the checkpoints, the little tests and projects. Um, yeah, it's just it's you have to be either you have to be a self-starter and if you're not, you have to be honest with yourself about what you can do about that.

Don Hansen:

That self analysis is hard. It's really hard. Okay. God, sorry.

Mihir Bommakanti:

Oh, sorry. Yeah, I would, I would agree. You don't have to be honest about where you stand, if you even really like coding that much. I think because I, I dunno, I feel like duh salad. He kind of, you could look at salary and then just kind of like want to jump in. But if you, if you don't actually like it and you don't have somewhat of an interest in that, I think he could be kind of hard to just stick with it, even when it gets like super challenging and a little bit overwhelming. So if you're interested in it and you're willing to put in that extra work and reach out when you need help, I think it's definitely possible. But without that, I don't see how you can get very far, even with.

Don Hansen:

How do you feel like you're going to like it enough for you to be successful?

Mihir Bommakanti:

I think there's enough online resources where you can build like basic webpages or even code wars. That's something I did prior. And if you can, for like, for me, code wars is like super, almost like borderline addicted. So like once you start in few, even the problems that I just could not crack, even if the fact that you're constantly coming back to it and then trying side projects I know on it, on your own and wanting to learn more kind of the reasoning behind why things work the way they do. I think that's a pretty decent indicator that you're interested in the topic.

Don Hansen:

Okay. That's good advice. It's really good advice for prospect students. Yeah, I love it. I really appreciate hearing this. Like I said, a full-stack. I'm pretty critical of all coding bootcamps, but I still want to see full stack academy succeed. I can't give them any favoritism, so I'm always going to be critical, but I'll probably check back in maybe like a year later. I actually, I want to do a review on the campuses cause where I hear a lot of bad reviews are frankly them quite, just trying to make more money. They're expanding their education to different campuses. And I hear a lot of bad stuff about that. So I'm not sure I haven't confirmed. Specifically, besides people sharing stuff with me. So if I do another full stack academy review, it'll probably be focused on that in this year. But, um, yeah, that's it. This is helpful. So let's go ahead and do our outros. Mihir, if you want to share anything, if people want to reach out to you, where could they reach you?

Mihir Bommakanti:

Uh, best places to find me on LinkedIn. You can just, if you want to ask me more questions about my experience or my job search, you could just search my name, probably the only one with that name. So yeah, just reached out to me. Just send me a message out and just mentioned that he found me from the podcast and I'll be happy to have.

Don Hansen:

Okay, sounds good yet. So, uh, just a little tip guys. You've got to start putting connection notes cause you guys will receive connections, but they won't say why you have no idea who they are. I'm telling you, if you watch this episode, these guests will usually connect with you and help you, but you have to put a connection hooked you don't just randomly Sunday. Yeah,

Mihir Bommakanti:

definitely. Especially if you don't have any mutual connections are probably not going to

Don Hansen:

accept it exactly. How about you, Anna?

Anna Vaigast:

Um, same thing. I think LinkedIn is probably the best place. Um, and if you search my name, I think I'm also probably the only one with my name, uh, with my last name, at least. Um, yeah, that's probably the best place and yeah, ditto to what me.

Don Hansen:

Sounds good. How about you, Gabriel?

Gabriel Ytterberg:

Also LinkedIn. I would love to have some like really sick, personal projects page. I had big dreams when I was in the job search of like, oh, I'm going to work. I'm going to have this awesome website that I built from scratch and employers are going to see it and their mind's going to be gone. But yet LinkedIn is all like that. I'm also have a unique name. So, uh, I'll, I'll be there.

Don Hansen:

Yeah, all three of you have pretty unique last name. So it should be easy to find you. What I'll probably do is food. Dear LinkedIn's in the description. So people can just click on it, add you, but yeah, uh, seriously, I appreciate you coming on and sharing your experiences. Stick around for a couple minutes, but thank you, Mihir. Ana Gabriel. Thank you so much for coming on.