I recently completed an intense 9 weeks coding bootcamp called FireBootCamp at SSW’s office in Sydney and today I wanted to share my experience about how it changed my perspective about software development as well as to hopefully encourage people out there (who are looking for ways to improve their skills) to go ahead and join one.

Why join a bootcamp?

Technology in general changes at a very rapid pace and specially if you are a developer you need to be ahead of the game, some of the things I’ve done to try to achieve this are:

  • Read blog posts and tutorials about -insert language here- and new frameworks -insert framework name here-.
  • Watch hours of Pluralsight videos.
  • Follow influential people on Twitter.
  • Attend different usergroups.
  • Work on personal and open-source projects.
  • Practice, practice and more practice.

While all the above has greatly helped in my short career I felt that something was missing, I knew I could build things that worked but I was mostly copying someone’s code without fully understanding what was going on or why things were the way they were.

This is where the bootcamp fitted perfectly in, it did not only break things down so I could digest them easier but it also showed me the big picture and provided me with enough exposure to problems (and ways to solve them) that everything clicked and started to make more sense.

What is SSW’s FireBootCamp?

SSW’s firebootcamp is the best way to increase your skills in an incredibly short amount of time, it’s 9 weeks where you’ll  learn better ways to build maintainable and scalable software, better ways to improve as individual and enhance your communication and presentation skills and better ways to collaborate with your co-workers, clients, product owners, etc; and all that while using the latest and coolest technologies!

A rough overview of what we saw during those 9 weeks is below:

  • Scrum: This was probably one of the biggest take away for me, we learnt how to inspect and adapt to the ever-changing software requirements, how to deliver software faster and continuously by getting early and regular feedback from the product owner and stakeholders, and by following the Scrum guide and all its events.
  • Enterprise architecture: We developed a real application using the Onion Architecture, but most importantly we looked into why it was important to have an architecture, its pros and cons and how to future-proof your applications.
  • Patterns and best practices: We covered a great deal of patterns  and best practices aimed at building more robust applications, some of them were Inversion of Control and Dependency Injection, the repository pattern and SOLID principles.
  • Full stack development: Not only did we dive into ASP.NET MVC 5 as back-end framework but we also covered Web API and Entity Framework as well as AngularJS and Kendo UI on the front-end, oh and how to forget TypeScript !.
  • Continuous Integration and Continuous delivery: Deployments were one my biggest pains of all time but we learnt the right way to do it by integrating TFS (Visual Studio Online) as a tool to automatically build our code and run unit tests against it with Octopus Deploy to automate our deployments to Azure.
  • Soft skills:  also one of my most improved areas as I realised how important this is for our success. The days were developers sat on a dark corner are long gone so if you want to be successful you need to be able to communicate effectively and clearly (we had a lot of practice on presentation skills and how to market ourselves as developers; that is why I started writing this blog after we watched a video by John Sonmez).
  • Talks by industry leaders: Once a week we would have speakers come and talk to us about different technologies, we had Andrew Coates talking about Azure, John Bristowe from Telerik, Paul Glavich talking about WebAPI and SSW’s Duncan Hunter with TypeScript, Adam Cogan with Scrum and last but not least our awesome mentor Gerard Beckerleg from whom I learnt the most.

I’m sure I am leaving a lot of interesting stuff out but you’ll hopefully get the idea of what this bootcamp is about and how it can help you increase your skills.


Final day and presentation

As if 9 weeks of coding and learning better ways to craft software was not intensive enough we were also asked to give a talk on the last of day of the bootcamp about a topic we really enjoyed and which had been beneficial (and it was in front of potential employers!). I chose Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery with TFS and Octopus Deploy as it really took the pain out my deployments, below is a picture of my presentation !

Continuous Integration - coding bootcamp - SSW Harold Rodriguez

So if you are serious about your career and are looking for a way to increase your skills then SSW’s firebootcamp is the best way to achieve it!.

I’d love to hear your comments or if there is anything you’d like to have included in this blog post let me know.