Why Startups Are Turning To Dev Bootcamp For Fresh Developer Talent

By Megan O'Neill 

Dev Bootcamp, an intense training program that teaches students programming skills and prepares them for the workplace as Ruby On Rails developers in just nine weeks, has become one of the hottest breeding grounds for fresh developer talent, with social media startups like Twitter, TopHatter, Chefs Feed, Social Chorus, Kaily Kos, Exec and others snatching up graduates or, as the program calls them, “Boots.”  Just what is it that makes these “Boots” so desirable?  We spoke to a couple of startups, and a couple of Dev Bootcamp grads, to find out.

But wait – before we get to why the program’s graduates are in such high demand, check out the video below to find out more about how the program works and what wanna-be developers can expect from the nine intense weeks.  Program founder Shereef Bishay explains, “Our goal with Dev Bootcamp is to get the student to a place where they become what we call  a ‘world class beginner’—where they enter the world of professional software development with the right attitude and the right tools to be on a path of lifelong learning.”

I spoke with Natasha Murashev, a Boot who attended Dev Bootcamp last summer after six months of learning to code online on her own.  She told me, “I felt like I needed help filling in my gaps in knowledge and especially learning best practices.  I also wanted to make a career switch into software development, so Dev Bootcamp seemed like a perfect solution.”

I asked Natasha why she thinks Dev Bootcamp is so effective at producing hardworking, top-notch developers.  She told me she thinks a big part of it is self-selection.  “People who are willing to quit everything they know and spend a decent amount of money and three months on Dev Bootcamp are already very hard-working and motivated and committed.  Many have already been learning to code for months, like I did, and Dev Bootcamp is just that final step to switching careers…People who graduate Dev Bootcamp are hungry to learn and hungry to work, and they will work very hard and do whatever it takes to succeed.”

Natasha did point out that not everyone who attends Dev Bootcamp gets a job right after the program ends.  “Nothing is guaranteed.  You have to work really hard to stand out and get a job in the field.”  But if you do put in the time and effort and give Dev Bootcamp your all, it’s proven to be a pretty great way to break into the industry.

Justin Kan, CEO of Exec, a company that has recruited programming talent through Dev Bootcamp says, “Dev Bootcamp’s process (long hours, intense courses) selects for people who are extremely hard working, willing to take risks, and who really want to be programmers.  To me, those attributes are more important than programming domain knowledge — I think that is something that can be learned on the job.”

Online live auction service Tophatter has also had a positive experience hiring a Boot.  Rikk Carey, Tophatter’s VP of Engineering, says, “Our fast-moving social e-commerce startup is a 100% Rails shop, and while we were looking for a junior engineer, we also wanted someone that could hit the ground running.”  Dev Bootcamp graduate Ami Kehaty joined Tophatter in December.  Carey says, “Not only is Ami competent and hard-working, but he’s mature and wonderful to work with.  I believe that Dev Bootcamp deserves a lot of credit for vetting their candidates EQ as well as IQ.”

Ami told us that he decided to attend Dev Bootcamp for similar reasons to Natasha’s.  He had been trying to learn web development on his own and says, “I just couldn’t get enough traction.  That’s why Dev Bootcamp was exactly what I needed.  It’s not about the wonderful curriculum and the amazing team that runs the place.  It’s all about the other boots who are hungry and extremely motivated to succeed.”

Ami says that Dev Bootcamp “definitely wasn’t easy.  It requires that one would put his life on hold for the duration of the program.  The hours are long and the mental toll is very intense.  But, like with everything difficult and challenging in life, the reward is worth it.  The fact that I can now build a product from start to finish is extremely liberating.  I feel that I accomplished a major goal in my life.”

Dev Bootcamp is currently excepting applications for its year round programs in San Francisco as well as in Chicago, where they will be opening a new location this Spring.  You can find out more on the Dev Bootcamp website.

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video expert here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.