I became a full-stack developer* – an honest review of Cinta Roja from devf.la

*kind of, more like full-stackish heading in the right direction 🦄

I have always wanted to polish my coding skills and the Coronavirus quarantine has finally made is possible. My plan was to use these few months to participate in a coding camp, but one that will allow me to continue working for my agency. It has been a challenge, but we in the end I have completed the course, deployed my final project and made a few friends along the way. Since I haven’t found anything about my bootcamp online online I would like to share my thoughts.

Since I am in Mexico I was looking around for a local bootcamp that could work for my timezone. I was considering Le Wagon, Ironhack and DevF.

  • Le Wagon – I have a few friends that completed this course but what I didn’t like is that it focused on Ruby on Rails. I didn’t have any experience with Ruby so I didn’t want to start completely from scratch.
  • Ironhack – the program looked great, but at the moment I couldn’t decide if I will be able to dedicate 24 weeks to finish the part time developer course. The 9am-5pm wasn’t an option with a full-time job.
  • DevF – is a local coding camp focused on Latin America. It is smaller than the two previous ones and has a different structure that you can take in parts.
    • Intro to HTML – White belt (cinta blanca),
    • Javascript, Node and React – Red Belt (cinta roja)
    • Backend with Node – Black belt – (Cinta Negtra)

I selected DevF, because they have a course divided in parts, each one needing aprox. 60h. You need at least 3 hours per day and the additional work you will put into understanding everything. I knew HTML,CSS and Javascript and wanted to advance my skills, so I selected Cinta Roja – Red Belt.

Course Overview

A screenshot of one of our classes

To start of, please note that the course was Remote and in Spanish. Which is great, because the participants were everywhere – Spain, Colombia, Mexico and probably more.

The course consists of 4 weeks of classes from 7pm to 10pm where the teacher – a sensei – covers our curriculum. The topics for my course include:

  • 1. Introduction to JS
    • Objects, Inheritance, Scope, Async, ES6
  • 2. Node functional programming
    • Node Intro, Callbacks, Promises, Petitions
  • 3.React.js
    • Intro, useState, Hooks, Props, Axios

The structure of the course was fine, in particular if we had 3 weeks of course and 1 week to prepare the final project. What I didn’t like was the pace. We were focused a lot of Basic JS for the whole first week and a part of the second week, then we focused on callback functions and the react.js was done in 3 days. This is something the DevF definitely needs to improve. In my opinion there are two reasons for this:

  • Students of varying levels – a few people were slowing the group down
  • Live coding homework – sometimes even half of the course was dedicated to resolving homework. I feel that this could be done in 30 minutes every day, and it didn’t need 1,5h each time.

Teacher – Sensei

Our teacher which is called a sensei at DeF was Hiromi. I really enjoyed her classes and explanations, so I can only say positive things 👌. I often asked her some tough questions after business-hours and she always replied. Apart of being our teacher, she was also working full time, so once or twice when I had a question she replied after I have resolved the issue but that was not such a big problem and I still appreciate her help. 👏

We also had consultation hours which were held before our classes. Where you ask the sensei about your problems. which is a plus.

Final Project

During the last week of the four-week course you are supposed to work on your project. The groups are decided by the participants or the teacher helped. For me, this was the most anticipated part. I felt that we rushed through react.js, but I still felt capable of delivery a ready project with some help from me.

I have a long list of ideas which I want to create, so the first step was to gather the team and convince them, that my idea is feasible and interesting.

The big idea was to create a new standard for Job Boards. There is a growing trend to create niche job boards that are visually appealing and focused on a particular market. The initial though was to create a Job Board aimed on Latin America for Developers and/or Remote developers. During further discussion and search for the correct API we decided that we would not focus on Latin America but on the whole world, as we had easy access to github jobs API. This was our starting point.

I used my Project Management experience to divide the project into kanban-style sections on Asana. This way everybody could work on their part without conflicts due to time-zone differences.

Our Project Divided with a Kanban style board

Since I also do UX I offered to prepare an initial figma hi-fi wireframe.

Our Figma Wireframe

We divided our project and my part was:

  • Managing Asana
  • Wireframing in Figma
  • Styling Navigation
  • Styling Hero Section
  • Connecting with Firebase
  • Creating a form to submit to FireBase
  • Getting results from Firebase and displaying them on the main page

Below you can also see our tech-stack:

Our project went really well, we didn’t deliver every feature we wanted but still can be used as an MVP.

The most important part for me was to practice my skills and enjoy my work, which was a complete success ! 😎

Our final project is called RemoteUnicorns and is focused on devs finding remote jobs.

The project is also online and you can view it here https://remoteunicorns.dev/

Overal DevF experinece and structure

Here I would like to write a bit about the additional features, structure and experience I had with the bootcamp in general, not my group.

First of all, when you join the course you are invited to the Slack workspace with all the students from the previous batches. To be fair, the slack community is mostly silent on the general channels. I don’t know how other groups communicate but our group channel was also mostly dead. At the beginning we tried to share links etc. but it was use mostly to do PSA. This is something to be improved, especially if we are in the new Remote era. the community experience would be a lot better if the channels were a bit more alive.

As I said, my course was remote, which for me is fantastic. We had the slack, our classes were held on Zoom, and we had access to view the classes the next day if you weren’t present. This affected the numbers of people attending the evening sessions, as some part of them were only viewing the recordings. This is still not a problem, I often did the same, because I had urgent project for work.

During our course there was also hosted an event called “hacketoncito” which is a remote express hackaton-type event that lasts 3h, where we try to develop an idea and put some structure to it. We were randomly divided into groups, that tackled a problem given to the whole community. Our topic was “mental health”. In the end we had 1.5h for project development and then we had presentations. Our group prepared a very feasible SaaS solution and the presentation also went well. Overall, this was an amazing experience, one that I will definitely repeat. It would be also great there are any scoring here, as in the end projects varied a lot.

Should you attend a remote coding bootcamp?

As a self-thought programmer, the experience helped me a lot. There were parts missing from my knowledge and finally having a structure approach to learning helped to even it out. Also the opportunity to talk to other coders was necessary for me to advance my skills. I met great people, structured my knowledge and improved my understanding of code. The final project was also my first build from scratch.So, in the end lot of positives!

The course and additional content probably took me 60-80h in total but I now feel confident in JS and also have a basic knowledge or react.js. Now my plan is to deepen my knowledge and start building project.s

Are there things to improve in the course structure and the coding school in general? Yes. Would I still recommend it? Also yes. I profited greatly from the knowledge, community and program. If you ever have a possibility to do a coding bootcamp I definitely recommend it.

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