Code School Will Leave You Woefully Unprepared

07/16/20162 Min Read — In Hiring, Office

Let's face it. Code school barely taught you how to CSS. They handwaved it in your general direction. They only gave you rudimentary HTML skills and alluded to semantic tags and muttered something about accessibility. And they focused on their little MERN or C# or "full stack javascript". Or gave you the same Ruby on Rails course that they've been giving for too many years in a row.

What they left out was most of what it takes to get the work done. To be a productive knowledge worker. To function in an office setting. How to be a professional. Navigating real business realities. You might be able to pass a lightweight white-boarding interview for a front end gig but that's pretty generous. I mean no ill to you. Truly.

It's the churn and burn, pump and dump, predatory code barns out there. They see the need and they see you full of hope. You've been told that there is some big salary waiting for you if you can just reverse a linked list. It's not true. Wages are going down. The blue collarization of tech is happening now. It's still fun and useful but that big carrot, it's getting smaller every day. They are looking to get you to pay \$20K to reach it before you figure out it's not real and it doesn't work like that. Their curriculum is focused on outcomes as hires and nothing more. If you're lucky. They made you learn JavaScript before they even let you in. Think about that. It's not a code school. It's not a learn to code camp. They are teaching you how to meet the bare minimum to get past an interview and not much else. This is obviously bad and wrong.

You should, code school grad, be laser-focused on providing business value by cranking out features and mitigating risk. Do everything you can to be in a position to learn while also being a net positive. Never let yourself become a net negative.

Focus on building these items up as quickly as you are able.

  • remote/distributed communication
  • agile/kanban/lean/xp etc
  • tools tools tools
  • PMI style project management
  • quality assurance lexicon
  • testing frameworks
  • your team's code style
  • the company design system
  • stakeholder engagement
  • sales skills
  • people management
  • the orgchart and the real company hierarchy
  • the unique vocabulary of your team
  • risk analysis and mitigation
  • basic IT skills
  • leadership
  • office skills
  • product fluency
  • git branching and release strategies
  • professionalism
  • mentorship: giving and receiving
  • CI/CD tools and concepts
  • self-education/continuous learning practices
  • the team's values/vision
  • shipping
  • your team's core values
  • debugging
  • research
  • every morsel of modern devops tooling and practices you can