Should I send my team to coding boot camp?
A few members on our team don't understand technology very well. I've read that coding boot camps promise they can turn almost anyone into a capable web developer. I've done my research but prices really vary... $1,000 - $10,000, or even higher. Have any of you attended a coding boot camp? Was it helpful? If so, how much would you justify spending on it per team member?
Sometimes you get what you pay for.
Is the ROI significant enough for you to pursue this option? What is the deterrent from contracting a capable programmer (...they don't all cost through the roof)?
If you want to test the waters, this site (https://www.codecademy.com/learn) offers some freebie courses and they are fairly well put together.
At one of my companies (linkpoint.ca) we have in-house staff who are capable programmers, but there are times where we decide to contract out due to cost feasibility.
Hope this helps!
A way to get your people involved with coding (and then with new job skills) is let them offer solutions developed with very simple coding in everyday activities. We use IFTTT (IF app and Button app) for our job activities. It is easy, don't need courses but lets people develop reasoning skills APPLIED to their specific job needs. It works pretty well when our co-workers ask me for new and different tools.
Hi Daniel, ideally coding boot camps are good for teams of established businesses where you want them to expand their expertise or knowledge. But if you are seriously thinking of turning them into developers whom you can utilize for your tech needs then it is not a very good idea. Boot camps pump in info and knowledge, but only practice and multiple projects bring in the experience, expertise & the skills. You'd be better off investing the money in outsourcing your tech needs or in hiring an expert. Hope this helps.
The implicit assumption behind this question is that anyone, given sufficient training, can be a programmer. The truth is that programmers are born and not made. The only exception is yeshiva students who have spent years studying the Talmud. It's helpful for non-technical people to have a passing understanding of technology. They just have to be aware of the limits of their knowledge. I once worked in an office in which all of the Vice Presidents told the incoming President that they were computer experts, even though I literally once had to turn on a printer to end a panic among some of them about it not working. The Office Manager was the true computer expert because she knew what she didn't know.
The short answer is: No, hire a developer.
The long answer is no "coding boot camp" will get a non-technology team member to point where they are as proficient as an experienced developer. A seasoned developer, whether it be software or web, will have a much deeper understanding of the array of technologies involved in deploying web-based applications, such as databases, servers, cross-browser compatibility etc.
My recommendation would be to hire a developer. A web developer will be stronger for web-based applications. If you are looking at breaching the mobile market, I'd recommend a software developer as they will most likely have the experience in both arenas. Lastly, you could partner up with a software development firm that specializes in web and/or mobile development.
You haven't stated the purpose for training your team in web development. Depending upon your goals, partnering with a firm will most likely have a lower overhead per annum.
Best of luck in your venture!
Richard Stern- If you feel the cost will generate a better and efficient flow of information, then yes.
Learning new technologies is great. That being said, in my opinion, you are better off having dedicated developers, that have put the time into learning the technologies because that is what they wanted to do.
If they were passionate about writing software, they would be learning it on their own at every opportunity.
Coding boot camp about a specific technology could be helpful, if the person attending the class has a very strong desire and years of software development experience to satisfy any prerequisites there may be.
A couple of questions to ask yourself would be:
1. How can whatever they learn in a few months compare to what developers that have been programming for decades know?
2. What is to prevent your current team members from demanding more money or taking what they have learned somewhere else?
I have a hard time believing that everyone on your team needs to be a web developer. Without knowing the products and services that your team provides, I would expect that you need a few members to understand how clients will use and perceive your products. Depending who your target market or clients are (if they don't need to be very knowledgeable about web developing), you may want some of your team to be focused on client perspectives and be client advocates. You may want some of your members to better analyze client use, market trends, client retention, client satisfaction and handle client survey results. Review the strengths, talents, and passion on your team and align those with the different roles that need to be filled. Not everyone has to (or should) be an expert in the same thing.
Once again - I don't know what your current product and services are - so this may not be relevant.
If I were going to suggest anything to a client to adapt from the coding world it would not be coding boot camp. While I'm sure you can go from ignorant and disinterested to aware and incompetent, do you really think that will benefit the team? What I saw firsthand having run a very large technology operation was a change to Agile development methodology that created a whole new sense of unity, inclusion, time respected, obstacles tackled immediately... and the list goes on. Your team would benefit most by putting them in a situation to have their skills best utilized. Agile principles, like a daily morning scrum, can be adapted to any group with task-oriented accomplishments, goals, customers, almost anything. Do your research on the principles of management there and you can do without making people think they know enough that it might just make them dangerous.
Thanks for posting your question.
You're halfway there to understanding which approach to take, judging by the input from others.
I have attended a few coding boot camps, and help to run a few for fortune 100, 500, and 1000 clients. One of the most important things you can do after the instructional period is to utilize the skills that were learned. I can promise you that your team will lose their knowledge on the subject if this does not take place.
What will be your ROI? Sometimes spending $30k on 2 weeks of class for 15 students makes sense (think of cost-overages, failed deadlines, opportunity costs, etc. when you are trying to place a value on this).
Do you need generic skills?
Do you need company-specific skills?
Once you answer this, you can move on the next step: finding an SME (subject matter expert) who can sit on a call with you to discuss your specific needs, and tailor an outline to meet those needs.
If you know the specifics of what you need, I would be happy to speak with you or help to point you in the right direction. No pressure.
Send only the team members who have an interest in learning technology or designing. The cost is variable depending on how many days and much verbal, hands-on, team building, and take home materials covered at the boot camp. A $1,000 per person for three to four days.
My suggestion has always been to use your internal IT team to train your people on technology or send one of your IT team members to get the training and then train people on that in the company.T rain the trainer way.
The reason is that IT infrastructure within the company has a lot of impact on the company culture and mindsets. The more examples they get from their internal environment the better it is for the company.
The decision is yours. Best Of Luck.
If your team doesn't have the skills you need today, you need a new team/team member. If a sports team needs a new wide receiver, they don't train the kicker to be a wide receiver, they go out and acquire a new wide receiver. That should be the management philosophy you should be going by. It's business, not personal. Education is a valuable tool if it enhances skills one already has. For example, if you had a Java programmer and needed a .NET programmer, send the Java programmer for .NET courses. The basic skill set is the same, they're just learning a new dialect. But you can't take someone who has never programmed/is not good with technology and expects them to all of a sudden be a programmer after taking a few classes. It doesn't work that way. You wouldn't want someone who watched a YouTube video to re-plumb your home. That's basically the equivalent of what you are asking.
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Step-by-step explanations will have kids learning computational thinking right away, while visual and game-oriented examples hold their attention. Friendly introductions to fundamental programming concepts such as variables, loops, and functions will help even the youngest programmers build the skills they need to make their own cool games and applications.
I think your concern about this subject is pretty legit. At the personal level, I believe the digital inclusion and the understanding of technology are very important for everyone. But think about your business and the ROI of this plan, is it really valuable for the daily work of these people to acquire and domain such skills?
Besides that you could find in your team some people who can transfer this knowledge to the others. This approach can stronger the relation of these professionals to the company makes them their skills recognized as really valuable. It can either turn down the gap between your business and the technology by the experience exchange promoted by these people closer contact.
Another way, as an experienced web professional myself, I would recommend you to hire some consultant of that matter to do this job in your company, a mixed group from different knowledge levels can evolve to a better workforce when guided correctly. Also, you could gain some insights from this consultant as an outside viewer from your business and technology aspects.
I'd spend it, but do it internally. Send one person and let them relay the message to everyone. Especially if its a development team. Education is never a waste.
This is how I view it. If you feel, it is going to benefit the organization and the staff it is worth in the long run. What I feel is vital is after the course is over your staff needs to use everything they learned because they only way they are going to retain the knowledge is by applying and practicing it.