I graduated from Codeup in June 2019 as part of Ada cohort, the first Data Science cohort. In this article, I will review Codeup, giving pros and cons of the school with some attention to the data science program in particular and also discuss my experience in the program. My opinions will differ from others because of my particular background. I am an artist, a self-taught programmer with less than 1 year of experience with Python (at start of program), and I have a very privileged educational background. I am from San Antonio, TX (where Codeup is located) and was living there before I attended, and I got generous funding to attend the data science bootcamp.
TLDR: Codeup is a great school with many resources and great instructors. I believe the great curriculum, instructors, network and potential for financial aid make the cost worth it.
I first heard about Codeup, a small career accelerator school, because of their web development program. When their data science program was announced, I was very excited. The staff and instructors at Codeup were my first selling point as I was really impressed by their Senior Data Scientist, Maggie Guist, and their Director of Strategic Partnerships, Stephen Salas. Before I applied to the program, I visited the campus and met with Maggie. Like when previously choosing what graduate school to attend, I followed my instincts by seeking out cool instructors and people that I get along with.
The application process was straight forward with small technical tests, short answer questions and longer essay questions for scholarship applications and finally a phone call interview with someone at Codeup. In my case, I spoke with Stephen Salas. I got accepted and during my decision-making process, I had to determine my financial aid situation because I had no money. Codeup recommended a number of financial aid options including government grants, scholarships, and personal loans, which was the worst-case scenario. I wrote about the financial package I got in the previously mentioned blog post.
In addition, I spoke with alumni from the web dev program and learned about the pace of the program and the experience of attending a bootcamp. I was terrified of choosing the wrong thing to study. Would I really like it? Was I giving into corporate, capitalist America? I found that most people I spoke with really liked Codeup and found the whole experience transformative in a positive way.
I accepted and secured my spot in the program and we were given a number of online courses for preparation. I had 2 months to complete them and I went through all the courses carefully. Ultimately, when we started the program it was very slow at first. I was expecting this because of what others told me. The first week of the program were exciting as we focused on understanding the full data science pipeline but then it quickly got boring as we learned the basics of Python. However, I was appreciative of this ‘slow’ time because I really struggled with the 9-5 routine. As the program progressed and we did our first projects with real data, I became somewhat depressed as we were tackling business concepts that I didn’t understand. Everyone else in the class seemed to understand business principles like churn, attrition and customer acquisition and even excel at giving insightful business recommendations based on these and other factors. But having no experience in ‘business’, I struggled with this the most.
So my first critique about the program would be lack of teaching business concepts and I’d recommend more business oriented instruction.
While the program progressed from Excel, Python, basic statistics, and SQL, we moved into the fundamental data science methodologies. This was the meat of the program and what I enjoyed most since we got a good taste of different methods in data science practice. We had regular group projects on each of the methodologies we learned, which was useful and instructive. Each project was followed by a class presentation which was very nerve-wracking. But by the end of the program, it got easier and we all started to excel at this.
The second critique of the program was time since we didn’t have enough to cover some topics and the last few weeks of instruction were very rushed. However, they changed the program length to address this already.
The last two weeks of the program were wholly committed to completing a group capstone project which we were able to design ourselves. But since these were group projects not everyone got to work on a project that they designed. Finally, we presented our findings to a group of employer partners at the very end of the program. Because I am interested in design research and I got to design a project idea that I was passionate about, I found the capstone project proposal process challenging, fun and exciting. At times the process was confusing to some people and maybe even unfair if someone’s project was not chosen. However, the overall experience of working in groups was undeniably valuable and the instructors did a fantastic job creating groups and guiding our capstone projects.
My experience of Codeup was positive overall. The best parts of Codeup were the instructors and staff, the very smart students that I met while attending and the large network of partnerships that they have established over the years. In particular, their relationship with local organizations helped me find enough financial aid to attend, which was incredible. They also offer scholarships that were very useful.
If you have any questions about Codeup or bootcamps in general, I’d love to help if I can and you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.