My interest in coding started when I experienced some limitations at work; I really wanted to create something and I knew how it should work and look but I didn’t know how to tell the computer to do exactly that. I researched coding and web development and used many free online tutorials, and I felt like I had made some progress, I could write some lines of code and manipulate things on a website (felt pretty cool), but I didn’t know where to go from there, I could write some lines, knew some syntax, but there was no way I could create a full product, where would I start? After drowning myself in all the resources out there, I felt more and more confused and decided it was time to get some guidance.
Before choosing Le Wagon…
After researching coding boot camps, it was clear that Le wagon was going to be a great choice. Although, I was a little skeptical at first because they seemed to just have endlessly positive reviews and I thought that can’t be right? Are these reviews real? (I can, of course, confirm that they are, now that I’m here writing one myself). Le Wagon appeared to offer many interesting technical skills, but also seemed focused on teaching students to create a product as a whole as opposed to exclusively learning the syntax and pure code, and they also focused on supporting entrepreneurship too. I watched a bunch of their demo day videos* from many cities and I was beyond impressed. I remember thinking “Wow, some of these ideas seem absolutely genius, and the presentation of the final products are really inspiring”. I wanted to be able to create something like that!
*anyone who is considering Le Wagon as their boot camp choice, I would really recommend watching the demo day videos. They’re inspiring!
Which city should I choose?
Le wagon offers their course in heaps of cities, and although I was choosing between several cities, Barcelona was a clear winner for me. I wanted to stay in Europe, and after some digging, I found out that Barcelona had one of the lower costs of living (I used this really cool website). Not only is it home to many start-ups and makes a regular appearance on lists about tech hubs in Europe, but it is also located on the lovely Mediterranean, and who would turn down a city with sunny beaches and beautiful mountains all in one.
After I filled out the form on the Le Wagon website to apply for the boot camp in Barcelona, I got an e-mail from Gus, the driver, (update: New driver is Ellyn and shes awesoooome too) who offered to book a chat on skype. We had a great chat that resulted in getting the offer to do the technical tests. I was given some material to learn in a few days along with some tasks and then I was given a test which should be completed more or less in an evening. I was very glad to know that I passed the tests and had been offered a place at the boot camp 🥳. The time between my admission and the first day of the boot camp I was given some prep work to complete.
Before the Bootcamp…
** All aspiring students should really take the prep work seriously.
Before the boot camp started I also received a few really helpful email from the campus manager, Avalon, who gave me loads of information about the city and also helpful tips about finding places to stay during the boot camp. She was really helpful and answered all the questions I had.
During the boot camp...
From Day one I was so happy to meet so many interesting new people with so much of their own culture to share and stories to tell and I knew that I was going to really enjoy the 9 weeks to come.
First third of the boot camp (weeks 1–3)
The first week we learned about the Ruby basics which were really helpful because they’re the fundamentals to learn any programming language, the important part was understanding the concepts as opposed to just learning the syntax of by heart. It was intense, just as I had expected! On the Friday, we all went out for some beers to reflect on the first week and despite being tired and our brains overflowing with not only new information but also a new way of thinking and learning, everyone was in a great mood and we had a lovely time getting to know each other.
Something that really impressed me was the learning platform that the creators of Le Wagon have developed. You can’t even imagine how well structured, engaging and useful this platform is, it really was the key to being able to learn so much in just 9 short weeks.
They have video lectures, slideshows, daily challenges, flashcards, and a super impressive “search” function where you can just look up any keyword you remember from a lecture and it will give you all of the content related to that word — I really relied on that!
The second week we learned about more advanced programming concepts and we actually created some pretty cool mini-programs which was the first time I started to feel like a developer. The third week we focused on Databases which was really interesting and it was really useful to learn how to communicate with Databases. So the first three weeks really focused on understanding the back-end.
Second third of the boot camp(weeks 4–6)
***This link is a fantastic taster of how well structured the lessons in Le Wagon are and how much they teach you
During this middle part of the boot camp when we were focusing on front-end and design, we were also taught about how to pitch a product, and we had a practice night pitching all the ideas we had to our fellow wagoners. This is a really valuable skill to learn, as they really taught us the ins and outs of a good product pitch.
The next week we learned about Rails and oh my god — the magic behind Rails was mind-blowing ✨. Rails is fantastic and seeing everything come together was really rewarding, it was great to finally understand why we were learning everything we had been learning the first few weeks.
Last third of the boot camp (weeks 7–9)
Now that we had acquired all the necessary skills to build our own app it was finally time to build one! We had one week (5 days) to build a clone of AirBnB in teams of 3, 4 or 5. This was really good practice to learn how to efficiently collaborate both in person and on GitHub, we learned how to organize ourselves as a team and also how to deal with problems that we would run into. This practice week was so exciting because we had the opportunity to present what we had created to our classmates which was a great taster for when we would be presenting the actual product we were going to develop.
The final two weeks were intense, exciting, nerve-wracking but amazing. We worked in sprints and we were able to build an MVP in just 10 days.
It was incredible to be working on a project building an actual real-life app just 6 weeks after not knowing how to write a single line of code.
On my Demo day, the day we would present our products to not only our classmates but also a general public audience who had signed up to join the event. We had a great day practicing our presentations and spending time with our fellow campmates, though it was a sad day saying goodbye to all my new friends, it was also a great day as everyone had a genuine sense of achievement and we were all really proud to present what we had been working so hard on.
So that was it, after 9 weeks, I could now call myself a Junior Full-stack developer 🤓💻
About the Teachers
Le wagon Drivers are great at choosing teachers who fit very well into the culture. Oftentimes, the teachers have done the boot camp themselves and so they are really able to relate to the students and understand which sections of the course tend to be more challenging and how students react to the content in the course.
All the teachers in my batch were super friendly, we got along so well which made it a fantastic learning environment. There wasn’t a strong sense of authority and superiority coming from the teachers which made the atmosphere more comfortable knowing that the teachers are really just there to support, help and guide you through the course. They help you learn how to solve problems by yourself so that you’re ready for the real world of developing and so that you don’t become dependent on them. (Though, I do sometimes miss having them around)
After the boot camp
Earlier I spoke about the incredible platform built by the Le Wagon founders, and the best part about the resources is that they’re available to you for the rest of your life. They are not only aimed at students who are currently in the boot camp but there is a massive active community (4000+ students) contributing to the resource part to help you continue to learn after the boot camp.
They have channels to help you find a job, work as a freelance, help you if you get stuck while coding (fixing any errors you can’t seem to fix yourself). Everyone who has been a Le Wagon student is very supportive of other wagoners, and the worldwide community is great. If you attended the boot camp in Tokyo but you are looking for a job in Barcelona, the wagoners from Barcelona will be sure to help you. This is something that I am infinitely grateful to be a part of.
Why should you choose Le Wagon Barcelona?
Looking for a career change? Le Wagon is the answer.
Want to become a Full-stack Developer in no time? Le Wagon is the answer.
Looking to build your own start-up? Le Wagon is the answer.
Want to learn how to communicate efficiently with the devs in your company? Le Wagon is the answer.
Looking to become a Project Manager with Coding knowledge? Le Wagon is the answer.
Want to become a freelance developer? Le Wagon is the answer.
Seriously…the list is endless in the number of ways Le Wagon will benefit you. You can learn so much and in such a beautiful city with so many international people. I highly recommend Barcelona.
What did I personally learn?
Apart from the obvious coding part, Le wagon actually taught me many useful life skills. I got to meet a bunch of awesome people from many different cultures and get insights into their lives, I learned how to think in a new way, I learned how to tackle problems along the way, I learned about teamwork in a technical environment, and I overcame my fear of public speaking with the support of the driver and teachers, which I will always be thankful for.
If you’re still not convinced that Le Wagon is for you, feel free to contact me on Linked In and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have 😄
(again… I’m not being paid to say this, the community has made me want to)
If you’re reading this as a soon-to-be/soon-to-start student, I can almost guarantee you’ll rock it! 🚀