Learn to code in the right environment

Bitmaker has well over 4 years of experience running successful Web Development courses, constantly iterating and updating our approaches. In this post, we share an interview with the two team members who have led the latest improvements to the course, lengthening the bootcamp from 9 to 12 weeks. Mina, our CTO, has been with us for all four years of the program and Natalie, a lead instructor, has been with us for over two years.

With a track record of success for students learning how to code and starting careers, we sat down with Mina and Natalie to ask about the benefits of these big changes coming to our immersive programming course.

Mina Mikhail (left) and Natalie Black

Q: What has motivated your team to make these changes?

Mina: Well actually, over the last year and a half we really reorganized the 9-week program around a more cohesive narrative to bring students from 'beginner' to junior web developer without focusing on esoteric topics or things that are too language or framework specific.

Natalie: The course used to be structured to get students to the point where you're making a complete app as fast as possible. We slowed that down a bit and stretched our focus on fundamentals to make sure that by the time you do make a complete web app, you fully understand it.

Mina: We felt like we just needed more time to add anything in addition to the fundamental topics we were focused on. We want to give students an understanding of key 'concepts' over specific 'technology'. We added a new block on testing, which is a fundamental skill, and further improved our narrative adding React after students learn JavaScript and AJAX.

Q: In comparison to the 'traditional' bootcamp format, what's unique about the 12-week version of Web Development?

Mina: Beyond being able to really focus on the fundamentals, a big impact to format is that we're increasing the focus on our student's final project. We really want the final project to be student-driven, rather than providing the boundaries for students.

Currently, we teach all the way through the 'project week' during the 9-week course. These lessons are more advanced and specific topics – and they may not be applicable to the final project students have chosen to work on. In the 12-week format, we won't be teaching these lessons. Instead we're providing a library of lessons online for advanced topics or additional material like computer science fundamentals. Students can pick and choose what they need during the course and what they want to come back to later, at their own pace.

Natalie: This will make the end of the course even more student driven and customizable. You only will need to absorb what you need, not anything you won't use.

Q: As we know, many of the students joining a bootcamp are looking to launch into a new career. How will the new course help achieve that goal?

Natalie: The new ending for the course will help students start to direct their own learning: to decide upon and learn whatever it is they need to learn next. That's something that's going to happen again and again in the workplace or wherever they want to go with these skills.

Mina: Our goal with giving students a deeper understanding of the fundamentals is so that they understand what they've done up to that point and can apply it to new areas – wherever they're getting that new knowledge from.

We're excited to launch the new Web Development on May 8th. You can still apply during our special early bird for this inaugural 12-week cohort.

If you're interesting in learning more about Mina or Natalie, we've interviewed both recently for this blog.