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CarrerFoundry Full Stack Web Development Review

By Mark's Tech Blogs

9th January 2023

Taking a break from our regular stream of smart tech review I thought I’d share something more of a personal journey today as this site is very much a hobby for me…by day I am a web developer however, this was a career I changed to about 2.5 years ago, largely thanks to the CareerFoundry Full Stack Web Development bootcamp.

In this blog I’ll share my experience and perspective of the part-time fully remote web development bootcamp from CareerFoundry.

What is a web development bootcamp?

A bootcamp, by nature is something intense and fast paced and web development bootcamps are no different. Over the last 5-10 years loads of these have come onto the market. Some are full time and in person and others are part-time and fully remote. This gives you a huge amount of flexibility however, they’re not cheap with some costing around £12,000.

The CareerFoundry programme is one of the more affordable ones and, when I did the course it cost £3500. The price has gone up slightly now but you can save 10% if you sign up to any of the CareerFoundry courses with this link.

Why did I choose CareerFoundry?

Prior to choosing the CareerFoundry course I did a lot of research into bootcamps exploring full and part-time options alongside in-person and online options. In researching this I found that the cost of a lot of these courses was a deciding factor and so wrote off courses such as Flatiron’s and the Maker Academy.

Alongside that, I wanted three key things from a course:

  • I wanted to be able to do it part-time so I could still have a full-time job at the same time (paying the bills is important)
    • I wanted a course that offered career support. Learning something was great but I wanted the support to make a transition from my existing career (in youth work) into coding.
      • I wanted a course where I would have support alongside the course content (CareerFoundry provide you with a mentor and tutor who both work in programming)

In researching I also found that CareerFoundry had a job guarantee scheme which meant if you didn’t find a job in the 6 months after completion you could get a full course refund. There are other courses with these guarantees but CareerFoundry’s one seemed to have the last hoops to jump through which, to me, suggested confidence in their courses and the ability for the course to enable you to change career.

What was my experience in coding prior to the course?

In the interest of being fully transparent I want to share that prior to the CareerFoundry course I wasn’t completely new to coding. Whilst my 15 year career prior to the course had been in Youth Work, a lot of my sixth form courses had been computer based and I had created a few WordPress sites in my time since then, usually for personal use or whatever charity I worked for at the time.

This meant, that I was by no-means a programmer but wasn’t new to code.

Prior to the course I also worked through a good portion of the freeCodeCamp curriculum to help decide if this was a direction I wanted to go in, after all, investing in a bootcamp costs money and so I wanted to be sure about how I was spending my money.

If you’re thinking about getting into coding I’d recommend doing the same. The freeCodeCamp material is excellent as a starting point.

CareerFoundry Full Stack Web Development Course Details

The CareerFoundry web development course is a full-stack course which means it covers both frontend and backend development. (Frontend is the stuff you see when you look at a website and backend is the magic that happens behind the scenes…this is a bit of a simplification but is close enough!).

When it comes to programming different web development courses teach different things. They all teach HTML, CSS and JavaScript for the frontend but the backend language changes with some teaching Python and others teaching Ruby. CareerFoundry teach JavaScript which was another reason for choosing the course as this enabled me to go deep into a programme language rather than learning little bits of several things.

Alongside this you do learn libraries as well such as jQuery, Node, Express, React and React Native (all of which are based on JavaScript). You also learn a tiny bit of Vue.js and Angular but probably not enough to use in a career without learning more.

The course is part-time and can be done over 7 months. It is recommended you do around 20 hours per week. I found this was about right and there was the opportunity to go at your own pace which meant I could do more when I had free time.

CareerFoundry also provide you with three key areas of support:

Your Tutor

This is someone who works in tech and has done for a minimum of 5 years. They are your first port of call when you get stuck and they also look at your code throughout your modules. This means a real human is checking you’re getting things write and is there for support and help when you get stuck. My tutor was fantastic!

Your Mentor

Your mentor is also someone who has worked in tech for 5 years and is the person who looks through your ‘big project’ at the end of each module (there are 6 of these in total). You have video calls with your mentor throughout your course as well allowing you to look over your work together but also to ask questions about your career change and to gauge tips from them. My first mentor went AWOL and so I ended up with two mentors throughout the course, both were good (until the first one disappeared!) but my second one was excellent, full of helpful advice and someone I could ask questions too.

Your Career Coach

When you finish your bootcamp you are given access to a career coach and the CareerFoundry career course. This person is there to look through your CV, LinkedIn, online portfolio etc and to offer advice, tips and even do things like interview prep and mock interviews with you. My career coach was excellent and really helped prep me for interviews.

What’s the course like?

The vast majority of the course is text/image based and on the CareerFoundry portal. I found it was laid out well and in manageable chunks. There were a few videos but I personally liked the text side as it gave me a place to refer back to easily.

For me, the length and pace was about right and having calls with my mentor interspersed and being able to go to my tutor for feedback and help was invaluable as there were a couple of places I got stuck however, having direct support is really helpful.

Throughout the course you do 6 projects. These consist of a personal portfolio, a Pokemon list, the backend for a movie database, the frontend for a movie database with React and a mobile chat app with React Native. You also do a small Vue and Angular project.

Alongside all of this you also learn about Git version control, writing tests, writing documentation and contributing to OpenSource.

This gives you a wide range of projects which allow you to put your learning into practice and have something you can show to potential employers at the end.

I personally found the project mix really good and, especially enjoyed diving into React Native which makes creating mobile applications a breeze!

My Experience of Changing Career After the Course

When I did the CareerFoundry course I did it with the intention of changing careers and, 2.5 years later I am in my 2nd full time developer job, currently focusing on frontend development.

As you get towards the end of your main course you’re giving access to the career course which talks you through creating a portfolio, CV, LinkedIn profile and helps you in applying for jobs. This course is a bit cheesy in places but does work.

Your Career coach reviews all of this and also offers tailored support, so if you’re not hearing back from jobs they can offer advice on tweaking your applications, if you’re wanting mock interviews they can help with that too. Richard, my career coach was so helpful!

All in all, it took me around 2 months from finishing the course to being offered a full time development job. This was a job paying £24k which was less than my existing salary but I expected to take a pay drop when changing careers and, in less than 2 years, I’m not back up to the salary I was on before but in my new career.

There were a couple of key things I did that (I think helped me find a job after the course)

  • Experience – The course projects are great but employers want experience with clients. I reached out to people I knew and did some volunteer development for charities. This gave me client-based experience I could talk about in my interviews.
    • Further Learning – I started the course just before the pandemic and, during the course, was furloughed from my full-time job which gave me more time on the course. Instead of finishing earlier I did some extra learning, diving deeper into React but also deepend my knowledge of WordPress as lots of development jobs where I live wanted WordPress experience so I purchased a £14 course from Udemy and used that.

2 Years on: Do I think the course is any good and would I recommend it?

After being in a new career for 2+ years I would still recommend the CareerFoundry course. It has gone up a little more in price now and costs just under £6000 (You can save 10% off any CareerFoundry course with this link). They also offer payment plans, however, with so many 0% credit cards out there this may be a better option for you if you want to pay over a longer period of time.

For me, the personal side of the course where you actually have contact with real people in your chosen profession is what makes it really worthwhile especially as these people work in tech and aren’t working for CareerFoundry full time.

I also really liked being able to go into depth with JavaScript as a programming language rather than learning lots of different languages and, learning 1 in depth makes it easier to learn other languages in the future (e.g. PHP).

If you want to sign up to the web development course or even their UX, UI, Data Analytics, Digital Marketing or Product Management you’ll save 10% off your course fees with my link. For questions about the course use the comments, find me on Twitter or watch my video review on Youtube.

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