S4E16: Coding Bootcamp or College Degree? With David Yang

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David Yang is the co-founder and lead instructor at Fullstack Academy, and has 17 years of programming experience.

The summer after graduating high school, David became the youngest software engineering intern to ever be accepted at Ernst and Young, and went on to earn bachelor’s degrees in computer science and electrical engineering.

Before founding Fullstack, he worked as a software engineer at Microsoft and Yahoo, among other companies, and taught at Columbia University as an adjunct professor.

In our conversation, we talk about whether a coding bootcamp or college degree is the best choice for aspiring techies. He tells his own story, including what led him to create Fullstack, and gives advice on how to prepare for coding bootcamps, succeed, and impress employers after graduation.

This episode was transcribed with the help of an AI transcription tool. Please forgive any typos.

Laurence Bradford 0:06
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Laurence Bradford 1:17
In today's episode I talk with David Yang, the cofounder of Fulstack Academy. We talked about going to college, who should and shouldn't do a coding boot camp, how to prepare for a boot camp and more. David Yang is the co-founder and lead instructor at Fullstack Academy with 17 years of programming experience. The summer after graduating high school, David became the youngest software engineering intern to ever be accepted at Ernst and Young and went on to earn bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Before founding full stack he worked as a software engineer at Microsoft and Yahoo among other companies and taught at Columbia University as an adjunct professor.

Laurence Bradford 2:03
Hey, David, thank you so much for coming on the show.

David Yang 2:06
Hey, how's it going?

Laurence Bradford 2:06
It's going well, thank you again for coming on.

David Yang 2:09
Yes, thank you for having me.

Laurence Bradford 2:10
So I am really excited to talk about Fullstack Academy and the coding boot camp experience and how you started that and where it is today. But first, I really want to dive into your background. So I know this is going you know, maybe significantly far back but it sounds like right after high school, you got this engineering internship at Ernst and Young. So how did that end up happening? Did you have programming experience in high school? Like how did you end up getting internship at such a young age there?

David Yang 2:42
So I consider myself to be very lucky in my journey of learning programming because my I had parents who were both related to the computer science field. My mom was an MS professor. And my dad used a lot of technology in his own research. So I was exposing peers that A very young age. And I recall, I been writing software, probably from seventh grade on. And then in high school I, I ran into just I ran into someone who was working on a startup, making a web browser. And so I really got into web technologies. We were working on an open source web browser for math programming of all things. And then that folded with my senior year, but we're kind of my sophomore through senior year of high school. And then I was just meeting people through my mom's context. You know, my mom was taking a bunch of students up to Chicago to visit with companies.

David Yang 3:36
One of the nominees was Ernst and Young. And they were saying, Hey, we're looking for people with the skill and that was exactly something I had been working on. So they said, Hey, why don't you come to summer, this was in the height of the.com. Boom. And it was a great time, you know, working in there. They had launched this new thing called the advanced Development Center, working a lot of web technologies. And we had a good time that summer live in Chicago, his 18 year old at just probably had no idea what I was doing. in the corporate world, but I enjoyed a lot learned a lot and still have very fond memories of, of doing programming for. I think we were building a car rental service back in 2000, or cars, a site for car rental company back in 2000. So it was a great time. But like I said, I think non representative of how most people probably get into programming and and I consider myself very fortunate to have to have had that journey.

Laurence Bradford 4:22
Yeah, I feel like I have, well, a range of guests on the show. But there are definitely guests I have on that began tinkering with computers at a really young age, some even I think they like six or seven years old. And then of course, I've had people on the show who haven't begun learning until their 30s, maybe even 40s and trying to think back at all the guests add on, but then, of course, people who hadn't learned until later in life, so you were interning this summer after high school and you're 18 side note, I can't even imagine being at like a corporate company company when I was 18 years old. So that's really impressive in itself. And after that summer, did you go straight to college or did you In the working world a bit more.

David Yang 5:01
So I went back to college I think back then I was I did the first summer and then I started school that September. I wasn't, I was pretty, I was pretty traditional, I would say, like, as a young kid in the sense that, like, college just seemed like the next obvious step for me. And so I didn't consider taking a year off. So I'm the kind of person I never took a year off and never, never did a study abroad. I just kind of want to go to school and and get it done. So yeah, once you're back to school. I think one thing I would say though, is that I, I feel like, you know, the people who, at least for me, the people who have started very early, it's not so much that we were programming proficiently and just getting constantly better from the age of, you know, six or seventh grade or something. It's a lot of meandering pathways and, and learning programming back then was a very different experience. I think it was not a lot of online resources. So it was very much kind of a random walk in the forest, I would say compared to now where there's so many more targeted type of opportunities for learning.

Laurence Bradford 5:59
Oh, yeah. 100% even from when I first began learning, and this was in 2013, so five years ago, I feel like the landscape has changed significantly as far as the learn to code resources available. And I think there's a lot more. I mean, there was a ton of resources online when I was learning, but now five years in the future, there's even more things and it's really fun to see like the landscape grow and change. So yeah, I am kind of jumping ahead. But I really want to ask this question, as I heard you speaking about your traditional college experience. Now, especially as a boot camp founder, what are your feelings on college? Like? Do you think it's a necessity to succeed in the world in 2018?

David Yang 6:43
I really struggle with this question because I, I feel like it's very fundamental advice to give to somebody to get to make a broad generalization on I think my take on it is that when I went to school, I thought it was a great deal, right. I paid a couple thousand dollars a year for tuition. And another couple thousand for housing. And I was able to, you know, I was probably, I would say the last group of people that were able to pay for tuition by working in the summertime and you know, saving up some money. So now when I hear advice to students like, hey, just work while you go to school, I'm like, you can't work in college and make $50,000 a year to pay for tuition, right? just not possible. So I think that now it's the ROI of college is a much more nuanced calculation than it used to be. Right. It used to be a great ROI. Now it's, you know, you have to think about it.

David Yang 7:32
The other thing I think, is that you don't you shouldn't go to school if what you want is just the credential itself, right, the credential itself. I think that people kind of lose a thread on it. They say I'm gonna go to school so I can get this piece of paper. I think there are other ways now that take more initiative, but can also prove that you have the skill set that you need to do, you know, do the job you want. And I think now in 2018 employers are starting to get there In terms of understanding that people get to these skills a lot differently than just going to school. So I think, you know, it's hard for me to give a blanket sweeping answer. I think that even answers like stem still make sense, I think are also kind of a broad generalization. I think some STEM majors make sense. Some schools make sense. And some financial situations make sense. But I think that we're starting to see the the wall the what I say the illusion chip, that every 18 year old who wants to work in the corporate workforce needs to go to school needs to go to college.

Laurence Bradford 8:33
Yes. And there was this really, there's a study published I think it was just last week. I will link to it in the show notes, but it was by hacker rank, and they surveyed like 40,000 developers, but also companies and what your this this ties into what you mentioned about companies and what they're looking for, and I'm looking at now just so I make sure I get it correctly, but as far as like the most important things when they're hiring developers experience comes first. And then like portfolio or GitHub, so like showing you how to experience then there's education like below that. And they also showed similar for they surveyed, like executives at companies like CEO CTO is what they value most in candidates. And for them education and education is like formal education, college education is even further down the list. It's like the fourth thing, and the, you know, experiences is higher up. So I definitely think, um, yeah, I definitely agree. And studies are showing it that experience matters more in how you get the skills to that is less important, just that you have them.

David Yang 9:37
Yeah, I have a moving target with this kind of later. We'll talk more about full stack if you want to, but I have this theory of why boot camps work. And I think it's, you know, many of the same things happen on college campus. I just think that college has, it's grown to encompass a lot of things. So a lot of people right. I think the thing is very hard to run a university, you know, I mean, do my parents I mean, a lot of universities administrators and you know, you're managing academics, you're managing a very complex, you know, you might be managing a hospital, you might be managing a sports team, right? All these things kind of encompass University. And so, but the core things that make academics work, I think the, you know, my model is that there's these four C's that really make an educational experience very worthwhile. And those four C's, you know, if you can still get them on college campuses, you also get a lot of other stuff. And that kind of dilutes the intensity of experience as well. And as I think young people, you know, four years is a long time. And they look at their life, they're like, do I want to spend four years doing this? If I change my mind in the middle of that four years, you know, I might have to tack on another two years to get my degree. It's a um, you know, I would say like in the Instagram and Snapchat, era of life, for years just seems like a long time to invest before you kind of know what's on the other side.

Laurence Bradford 10:58
Yes, it's also essential big decision to make when you're 18 years old choosing what to study and what to pursue when you're still really finding yourself. For you. It seems like what you're doing today is still aligned, maybe not so much the electrical engineering, but the computer science. I mean, it's definitely, you know, you're still in that world today. For me, I studied I studied history, and economics, which is completely unrelated to what I'm doing now. But at the same time, I still really value my college experience, mostly because of the the independence and other like life skills that I got during that time. I'm sure I could have gotten them in other ways. But for me moving away from home, living on my own things like that was really it was nice to have it in kind of a controlled setting.

David Yang 11:48
That's why that's why I don't like I don't like to tell people not to go to college because I had a great time in college too. Right. I think it was a great experience in so many ways. So I hate to say like, don't do it. I think I think people who kind of Don't go to college. It's a little bit, it's a very privileged thing to say because as soon as you have so many other options, that college just one of them. So I don't like giving that advice, but I think that it's, you know, I see when people are banging the gong of saying, you know, colleges, dead colleges that I see their points. I just don't like giving bad advice myself, because I like like you I enjoyed College in many ways.

Laurence Bradford 12:23
Yeah, yeah. And of course, you later ended up teaching at a college or at Columbia. So how did you end up? I guess, I guess, getting there because it looks like you were a software engineer in the industry. Were you? Well, yeah. What led you to end up teaching?

David Yang 12:39
I think that was, it was just I had a friend who she works at MongoDB. And she says, you know, Columbia is always looking to add very attractive kind of industry practitioners to their, you know, to their slate of options for students. And so I just contacted Columbia and said, Hey, you know, where would you see this web curriculum? We think it's really interesting and innovative. I'd love to see, you know, if your sons are interested, and they said, yeah, it's gone by, let's talk to you about it. And that's how that process got started. And it was great to, it was great to teach the college students again to kind of see, see the challenge that they have and the things that they're interested in. And the things that they I mean, I think, you know, you look at you take a look at Congress, students, and they are, they're learning incredible, not in class, and also out of class just through on campus opportunities, like hackathons. Columbia has a great, you know, kind of research to research to start up pipelines. So there's a lot, a lot of cool things happening on campus as well. So it's great for me to be part of that as well.

Laurence Bradford 13:40
Well, while you were teaching there, where was this already in full stack had been founded? Or is this before when you were still working as a software engineer?

David Yang 13:49
So this is this is post Fullstack, so I would teach all day at Fullstack, and then go home, grab a bite and then teach all night at Columbia. So it was it was intense period, so I'm not currently doing it because I I have two children and my wife would kill me if I spent the whole night teaching. But this is right, right before I had kids. I was doing this just more for myself and then for anything, but I really, I really enjoyed meeting the Columbia students and providing this, I just kind of seeing, seeing that the things that they were interested in.

Laurence Bradford 14:19
Got it. So then kind of this going back a little bit in time, what led you to create a coding boot camp after working as a software engineer?

David Yang 14:29
I think it was a confluence of several things happening all at one time. And so, you know, am I about 2007, I moved to New York and I was working at a green tech startup called recyclebank. And my job there was, you know, I was kind of the application architect, but I was also really bring on a lot of engineers to our team. I think I grew that team from me and the CTO in the broom closet all the way to about 3040 engineers at our peak and in the process of hiring Engineers, I realized just there's not. I mean, there's a few gold standards, right? If you're, you know, worked at certain companies are have certain degrees, we can have a pretty good sense of what this person knows. But But below that, you know, you get it's all over the place, right people who have, you know, degrees or people who've worked at, you know, people who've been working for a while who couldn't do basic things. I think that was the first thing that tipped me off that there is not a very good bar for what it means to be a software engineer. So and then, around 2012, my friend and my co founder was graduating from Wharton, and I was visiting him on the weekends just because I was in New York, I'd go down to Pennsylvania, to Philadelphia and see what he was doing.

David Yang 15:43
And we're talking about different ideas. And it was funny, we're sitting there talking with his with his classmates. And they were like, Oh, you know, just, like just, you know, stop talking about this idea for a second. I would love if you came down one weekend, I just did a seminar on, you know, how to how to program because I'm interested in Working as a program manager are, you know, in technical sales in a startup, etc. So we kept hearing this and like no, no, you know, we're working on other stuff. And then finally, we're like, you know what, let's just do the seminar series. And so we, so me and my co founder nimit, we set up a series of lectures at at Wharton. And it's like one of those things where you post it online, you send it out to an email list, and then it sells out like within three hours. And so we did this at Wharton, Harvard, Columbia, you know, all the kind of the northeast corridor of business schools. And it was just a very popular program and me and Emma got to spend a few months going up and down on the Estella train, teaching coding to business school students, and then we really fell in love with it. We really fell in love with it kind of giving people the sense of power that we've had, and in that process, reinvigorating our own sense of how awesome programming itself is, and so, we do that for summer. And we're thinking like, you know, how do we Do this more. How do we take people more than just kind of in a few hours of seminar and a few kind of, to just where they know programming to where they are the programmers that I imagined back in 2007 I wanted to hire. And so that out of that grew, grew Fullstack Academy.

Laurence Bradford 17:20
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Laurence Bradford 17:28
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Laurence Bradford 19:43
Okay, so that's a really interesting story. So you were working full time and you were doing these like seminars on the weekends and you were traveling around and teaching business students specifically and from there is what led to then the creation of Fullstack.

David Yang 19:58
So that's Yeah, it was earlier called NBA Code School. So we call NBA Code School first before it was called Fullstack. So it's interesting historically.

Laurence Bradford 20:09
So what year then was this in when or when you created NBA Code School?

David Yang 20:14
I think it must have been we started in late 2011. And then through 2012.

Laurence Bradford 20:18
Okay, so that was, I'm trying to like Think, think back. But I feel like that that was the earlier side for coding boot camps. I'm not sure when the first one was ever created. But I know that the last few years a ton have sprung up. But that was a bit earlier on if it was 2011.

David Yang 20:33
Yeah, I think the coding idea of coding boot camps was just starting to enter the air. And so it was it was an interesting idea, right? Like, it was kind of this fantasy of programming world of if we could take a CS degree and distill it down. How long would it take? I mean, no answer. No one knew the answers back then how long it would take what do you would teach? How would it be structured? Is it a very interesting time but looking back on it is first time I felt like I was kind of there in the end. The early days of industry being created. But I think yeah, I think it was around that time that kind of this generation of coding boot camps are just springing up.

Laurence Bradford 21:08
So you initially focused on MBA students, when did that transition occur when you kind of opened it up to be more more broad?

David Yang 21:18
Well, I think what was, I think what we, we thought was that, you know, MBA students what they wanted, what was so compelling about our product, was that it was what now I would classify as a programming for non programmers and of course, so people who didn't know programming, but want to understand enough, so they could go work at a Dropbox or Facebook or Google, in product or in marketing, and, and work with engineers and not sound like they were, you know, and be part of the loop. And so we're teaching them enough programming that they could kind of understand what programmers were talking about, you know, in meetings, but not ever be programmers. And I think at some point, we thought, you know, we love this course and we can teach But we can go so much further. And so about when we're starting to do the second year programming, you know, sitting at the second year of, of classes and seminars at business schools, we set it up and then eventually, we did the first semester. And then we're like, you know what, we want to go all the way with these people. So we kind of cancelled the second semester and then started that summer, we thought about how do we make this for? How do we design a program for people who want to be software engineers and not, you know, adjacent to software engineers.

Laurence Bradford 22:32
Gotcha. So and now in 2018, you guys offer a variety of programs who also have, I believe, two campuses and then online learning. Could you talk a bit about like the different programs that you have today?

David Yang 22:46
So our corporate our core like flagship continues to be the, I would say that three month in person immersive coding boot camp, and we offer that in New York and Chicago. We also offer a, you know, a second program that we started in 2016 called the Grace Hopper program, which is an all woman's coding boot camp, that's also offers a deferred tuition option, which, which just means that, you know, you only pay after you get a job. And then we started our remote campus, you know, which is the online learning, I believe, also in 2016. And that's where, you know, it's a, it's a, we try to simulate the on campus experience as high fidelity as possible. So you're in, you know, virtual rooms, you're in a kind of conference like chat room, you're using the same tools that you're using on campus, and it's also full time. So we think it's full time in person, but just done in the comfort of your home. So those are our core programs. We have a lot of prep programs and just also programs for people who are interested in programming but not necessarily sure if they're ready to make the jump. And yeah, I would say those are Core, but it's, I would say the flagship is still the same idea that launched in 2013, which is three months towards a programming career.

Laurence Bradford 24:07
And you have 2 in person location Chicago and New York.

David Yang 24:12
Yes. Yes.

Laurence Bradford 24:14
All right. Cool. Cool. So, since you've been in like the coding boot camp space for such a long Well, I say such a long time. And in comparison to like other coding boot camps that are around obviously, it's a newer, it's a newer concept industry. But do you have any advice you could share to listeners about maybe they're considering a coding boot camp? Maybe they're on the line thinking if it's right for them or not? Do you have any tips on like, for someone to know if it's a good choice for them?

David Yang 24:41
Yeah, I would say that people who, so here's, I guess, maybe answer this question a different way. And think like, if I was going to, so, okay, let me let me tell a few ways. One is, here's a mindset of someone who I think might be, might be a good candidate. Right? They've been Doing things online, like, maybe they do some, you know, online, kind of typing your browser type coding. They'll do, though, read a few books, but they're not really seeing a hug together. And they're having a how it all fits together and be they're having a hard time, kind of making progress because you're getting stuck. They're not getting help in the right ways. And so they're kind of saying, like, I think I like this when I'm doing, I want to be a programmer. I, the the work and the type of thinking it involves is exciting to me, but I can't see how to get from A to being employed in a software engineering, you know, job or career. So that's, that's the kind of that's one kind of person.

David Yang 25:36
The second thing I would say is that if I was going to reverse engineer what I could, what a coding bootcamp does for me, I'll go back to this kind of idea of the four C's, right? So the four C's for us are out find a really good set of curriculum or content. I would find a good coach, I would find a good connection. Unity of people community of learners to learn with. And I would find a way to make myself committed to this, right. And so, commitment is, you know, in many ways I would either you can socially commit, you can financially commit. But those are the four things that I think a coding bootcamp gives you kind of in a box, right? So we set you up with people who are exactly at the same level you are, and want to get the same place you want to get to. And we provide great coaches, great instructors, we have a curriculum that's been honed for, you know, for years. And you're committed because you know, we help you stay committed with constant career success, product and constant making sure that you're keeping up to date on your work. Kind of like a personal trainer. So I think if, if those things are appealing to you, and you can assemble it on your own, then more power to you. But if you want something that's all wrapped up in a box, then I think a coding boot camp is is a great next step for that person.

Laurence Bradford 26:49
Nice. So this sees our curriculum or content, coach, community and then commitment. So you say it could be social financial, or something like that.

David Yang 26:59
Yeah. I have a I have a friend who's a co-founder of a company called BeMinder. And BeMinder, what you do is you just bet against yourself. So like, for me right now, I am always, you know, bet against beeminder that if I don't lose extra pounds in 10 weeks, I will pay beeminder some amount of money. And so, so of course, I'm incentivized to lose weight, so I don't have to lose that money. So, you know, something, as I would say, you know, it sounds silly, but it's actually quite brilliant. It's something like that even works for people, but some way just, you know, make put real estates on it. Because, you know, it's so easy to be there in your home. And you're starting to saying like, Okay, I'm gonna tonight, I'm going to put an hour of study, and an hour later, you know, you all you've done is browse Facebook, read some stuff on Reddit, and, you know, call it a night. So, staying committed is one of the things that that's really important. And I think, I think the other thing is community, right? Like, this is African proverb that I really like and said, if you want to go fast, go alone, but you want to go far go together. I think that's that's, I see that every day, right? Like if you, if you have a community, you can go much farther than go by yourself.

Laurence Bradford 28:10
Yeah, a lot of themes that show up across guests that we have on the show is this sense of community. So whether I'm talking to someone who has been learning for six months, or someone who has been in the tech space for, you know, 26 years, the concept of community and having people around you to support you and surrounding yourself with others and tech just to be able to absorb, you know, knowledge from them. organically, this comes up time and time again. So 100% agree that community is a really important aspect to it. But aside from a person deciding if a coding bootcamp is right for them. Let's say this person then says yes, a coding bootcamp is right for me. There becomes this whole other step in the process of deciding which coding bootcamp is right for them because there's a variety of ones out there and then Preparing for a coding boot camp. So at Fullstack, what do you guys recommend interested students that they do to prepare for? I'm not sure what your application processes like, but if it is rigorous at all, what can they do to prep for that?

David Yang 29:17
So I think we have, at least from my own personal experience, you know, and don't tell the coding boot camps, this but of course, I applied to other coding boot camps all the time just to figure out what people are, you know, what people are looking for. And I objectively think that we have one of the hardest emission standards in the industry, bar none. And it's, it's not i'm not saying that to be intimidated. I just think that it's just something that I've personally, you know, seen through through applying constantly to coding schools. I think that to me, it's not that hard to prepare for our, our entrance exam though. What I would do is I would, if you come to our site, we we provide a kind of a packet of materials that you So you should study before you apply to a coding boot camp. So here's what you should know, here's the things about, you know, you can choose any for us, you can choose any programming language, but here's the things you should understand in those programming languages. And here's the type of problems they should be able to solve.

David Yang 30:12
And so what I'll do is, you know, we, we are, you know, we do like a classic setup, kind of, I would say puzzle problems in, in programming, so not, you know, I think if we all go back to kind of sixth grade in seventh grade and think about algebra, right, so that's definitely saying like y equals four x plus seven, and versus like, Amy had a bag of apples and john had 10 more apples and Amy, can you apply algebra to solve that word problem? And so we're looking for people who can kind of understand program concepts enough to plug them into, you know, a simple word problem. And this is the kind of things that we're looking for are the students is kind of our, you know, our applicants is this ability to have that first level of understanding of coding concepts. There are many ways to prep I think, too. You know, I think there's there's tons of sites that offer these kind of programming problems, we have a set of programming problems that students can practice on. And it's a you know, whether or not it's the best method of gauging someone, I think, you know, can be debated. But I think for us, it's just a, it shows the kind of early grasp of the core concepts that somebody will need.

Laurence Bradford 31:19
Gotcha. So, one other thing I wanted to talk about before wrapping up our interview here is how graduates can stand out when going for tech jobs after So what kind of advice do you have and this could be for someone who is a coding bootcamp grad, or someone who maybe learn to code on their own but someone who doesn't have like the traditional academic experience, what kind of job or career tips do you do you give your students?

David Yang 31:49
You know, the, I think the it's funny like you mentioned, you're a history major and economics major. I think that people who can tell stories that best stories well, are the ones who do very well in both their job search and their career. Because we're a, you know, in a highly evolving field, especially, you know, so if we look at the kind of the recursive world of jobs right now, there's the world of software engineering, which is rapidly changing. And it's a world of like web application, web application development, which is like changing even faster and the contents of software engineering. So those who can tell stories of where this industry has been, where it is right now and where they think it's going, oftentimes not very much to employers, because employers want people who can, you know, have the hard skills, but also, of course, they value the soft skills, if not, if not even more than the hard skills. So I think that one thing I think that students so how does this translate to like tactical things that people can do? I think students who, who take time to write, we take time to give talks, we take time to engage with members of the community.

David Yang 32:57
They always seem to me like they get They get gobbled up by employers. So for example, we had a student who did this Illustrated Guide to different data structures, and, you know, Drew kind of history of like data structures, why their use how they're currently using input, like how they're currently used in different applications. And it was not, you know, it didn't require a PhD to understand it, or to create. It was just a very approachable sense of, of top, approachable a method to the topic. And every employer that she met with, wanted to engage with her in some way she was she was that compelling. Another student gave a talk about the Spotify API. And of course, who would reach out to her but Spotify and say, Hey, we're looking for people, you know, like developer evangelists or people who are, you know, can speak between software engineers and, you know, integration that we want to do industry. Are you interested? So it's this kind of stuff. I think, really is is a way to stand out from the crowd. I think for our students, if you had the technical skills, there are still, you know, plenty of jobs out there. But if you really want to go, you know, above and beyond, those are the things that I think really, really kind of move the needle very quickly.

Laurence Bradford 34:15
Yes, I absolutely love that advice. And in fact, the guests that we had on right before your episode, his name's David venturi, he ended up getting a job at Udacity because he was writing data science tutorials in like articles on medium and they found his content and they reached out to him that way. So I think, yeah, there's a ton of value in putting out content, whether that be a speaking, writing, creating videos, there's a lot of different ways you can you can do that. But it definitely can give an individual the edge when it comes to landing a job and especially one that really aligns with what they want, because I'm sure the woman you mentioned, who built this thing with or talked about the Spotify API really enjoyed the public API now she gets to work at Spotify. So it's um, yeah, that's really great.

David Yang 35:05
Yeah. And I think that the, the thing that people always, you know, you tell and I think that, you know, you tell people contribute to open source, right, I think that's actually a very, very hard bar to contribute to open source, because it's, it's just, you know, you don't understand the problems that the people who are using this thing have. But writing is not the bar is not as high as people think. Right? Because there's so many different ways to do is pick something and say, This is my thoughts on the topic. And that can be, it can click with enough people that it resonates and is important. It doesn't have to be like the only way to think about link lists, right? just my way of thinking about linked lists is enough of a isn't is compelling enough to be worthwhile of writing. So I think for for writing, it's not, you don't have to write the best article on this. You just have to write your best article on this and that can be a great show. So it's not as high as a bar as you know. Don't hate people who give advice like, oh, could you be to open source and like, and they're, like, contribute to Ruby on Rails, I think it's very hard to contribute to Ruby on Rails. It's much easier to write, you know, tutorial on Ruby on Rails that that is compelling.

Laurence Bradford 36:13
Yeah, yeah, definitely. I feel like I'm, in my opinion, like writing an article on something could really be done very early on in someone's learning journey. And they can approach it in like a beginner context. So like, Hey, I'm learning about this. This is what I found about why and it can be done like after a month, I guess some would argue that you could contribute to open source really early on, but I don't think that's the case. I feel like just the process of like, knowing how to even do that is like a whole thing unto itself. Whereas with the writing, it's like, oh, get a medium account, publish an article. It's all free. It's like connect to your Twitter and then it goes to, you know, you could easily share on Twitter from there. It's Yeah, it's really, it's really easy just to get going with that. Anyway, David, thank you so much for coming on. I love chatting with you today. And I think our listeners Ours are going to take away a lot, especially from our conversations with college and coding boot camps and whether or not it's something they should pursue. Where can people find you online?

David Yang 37:10
So I don't post too often online, but if they want to, I'm on Twitter @dyang, y-a-n-g. And of course, I'm always on the Fullstack blog as well.

Laurence Bradford 37:20
Awesome. Thank you so much again for coming on.

David Yang 37:22
Okay. Thanks so much for having me. Great, great talking.

Laurence Bradford 37:29
That's our show. Thanks for tuning in. For recap, order, browse through other episodes and show notes head on over to learntocodewith.me/podcast. If you like tech related content like this podcast, make sure to sign up for my email list. You can do so easily right on the homepage at learntocodewith.me. There's a big signup form at the top. I'll send you new blog posts tell you about time limited course deals and much more. It was great to have you with me today. Join me next week for another episode.

Key takeaways:

  • Debating between a coding bootcamp or college degree? Bootcamps are cheaper, faster, and more focused than traditional computer science degrees.
  • Prepare for a coding bootcamp by getting a grasp on the core concepts of programming; it’ll make it less stressful if you have some background knowledge first.
  • When it comes to job-hunting, credentials are less important than experience and skills. Instead of relying on a degree title, focus on showing the company what you’re capable of.
  • Practice writing and telling stories. People who can tell stories well are the ones who do very well in their job search and their career.
  • Get involved. People who take time to write, give talks, and engage with their communities in creative ways get gobbled up by employers.

Links and mentions from the episode:

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