Interview with Joe Didona of Tech Bootcamps

Joe speaks on the coding bootcamp trend


Q: How long have you been involved in the programming scene?

A: I have been working for 30 years educational startups.

Q: How long do you think that the job market will hold this many programming positions with the currently high pay levels?

A: There are a huge number of tech jobs out there, and the supply of programmers can't catch up with the cycle. This trend will only continue.

When Tech Bootcamps first started our biggest concern was that we couldn't develop enough Drupal developers to fill all of the roles. Unless we, (and other educational groups), can put talent out there technologies fizzle out. We literally had one company offer to hire all of the graduates from one group we graduated.

Q: Why Drupal?

A: We felt that Drupal could get people to competency quicker, and it’s easier from a user standpoint. People know what they can build in a relatively short space of time.

Q: What is the job market like for programmers currently?

A: This was not possible in the past. The old approach was to cram info into people's heads until they graduated college. What has changed is the video technology. There are thousands of videos available for people to learn from. People can study these on their own time in the evenings. Now it's all about project based learning. Huge studies have shown that exams test memory and recall, not ability. The most effective method of learning is the use of knowledge. You build stuff, and you simultaneously build a portfolio to show an employer. Furthermore, the open source movement has revolutionized learning. Drupal is open source, so everyone can access it. If you are trying to learn programming, go to meetups and get involved in the programming community. The only way to get in is to teach yourself. Once you're in, you're in.

Q: How can programming bootcamps compare to a college education?

A: What is being taught in computer science degrees is not what businesses need. Colleges have accreditation needs and various certification processes. Open source outpaces those needs. You don't want to go through college for four-plus years, only to find out that the technology you focused on is going out of style.