Recently, I was interviewing a prospective student for our bootcamp, Ruby on the Beach. He wanted to know if we could accommodate his spouse during the 2 months of the course.
We talked about how that can happen, and I asked him if he’d talked to his wife about his plan to go off to Bali and learn programming.
“Sure, she’s already seen your website. She thought it was too good to be true.”
I was taken aback, at least a bit. I get why you might think that, if I step back: we’re offering accommodation and support for travel, and a better teacher/student ratio, and a real mentoring program post-course. All this for the same price as most of the competition.
And, you get to learn in paradise. Bali is one of the world’s seriously amazing places.
I wasn’t sure how to respond, but the interviewee said words to the effect of, “I looked at all your material, because I kind of thought the same things. And I came to the conclusion that you’d really thought things through, that you’d actually considered all the things that I wondered about.”
It’s always tougher to do something that’s different. If people find us because they’re looking for a bootcamp to learn Rails, they probably have a pretty clear picture, from their own research and the material on others’ sites of what to expect.
So when we start drifting from the script, doubt might set in. We get that.
But the reasons we’re trying to do things differently are important. When an industry has far greater demand than supply, as is the case with bootcamps, something happens.
First, new competitors come in to fill in the gap in supply. That’s happening. We’re part of it.
Second, as long as no real competition exists - supply of spaces in bootcamps lags behind demand from potential developers - those who rush in to fill the gap will will tend to see their role as imitative, not competitive. They just want to replicate what others have done, not innovate.
We aren’t part of that.
That’s why we take a lot of time talking to prospective students. We’re happy to get on Skype if we think that you’re likely to be a good candidate. Our interviews of students are, and are meant to be, the students’ interview of us. Because we’ve learned that people who listen to what motivates us, and how we’ve tried to address those issues are pretty convinced. Our strength is that we’re trying to build the bootcamp that the world needs, not the one it already got.
Too good to be true? Lots of things are. And that includes the claims that go with the run of the mill bootcamps too. You need to do the work to find out what’s real, and what’s not. So drop us a line…