F.A.Q.

You Asked. We Answered.

Here's What Most People
Want To Know

Over the course of the last few years, there've been a lot of questions thrown at us.

We enjoy the questions. We're not trying to do what all the other bootcamps are. We have a different idea, and we think that for many people, a better one. So we expect questions.

The best way to get yours answered is as part of the interview process. It gives you opportunities to ask us about Ruby on the Beach. And we've found that's a great way to get to know you.

But for those of you still not ready to jump into starting the conversation (see bottom of the page!), we've assembled these common questions, and some answers.

OK, Is This Just Too Good To Be True?

No! We're really offering a high-intensity technology bootcamp, where you'll learn Ruby and Ruby on Rails to a level where you can become a junior developer, build projects for other people, or create a web app that's the basis for business you want to run. 

And, we're doing it in Bali, a truly beautiful, engaging, exciting but still chill place that is like no other on this beautiful blue marble. 

We don't want you to think this is some kind of gimmick: we chose Bali - and Ubud in particular - because it allows us to build the most focused environment for you to really buckle down to learn developer skills, while still keeping a great life balance, and a fantastic lifestyle.

You'll have more hours a day to focus on learning, experimenting, collaborating and just playing with code, while still being able to get to the beach, hike, do yoga, bike, explore or indulge in the cultural and gastronomic pleasures of a fantastic location.

 

What is Your Course Schedule?

Our next cohort is in September 2015. We're opening a second campus this year, tentatively to be in Nicaragua or Costa Rica. 

Our most recent cohort concluded in March, 2015, in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. It ran for 9 weeks. 

What Can I Expect While At Ruby on the Beach?

Ruby on the Beach is a bootcamp - an intensive experience that will challenge you to excel. You'll work full days of doing challenging exercises, applying what you've learned, and building projects that will get you up to speed as a developer. 

But we emphasize what's different at RotB from other bootcamps: a work/life balance they just can't offer. Yoga classes, excursions, cultural events, time out for dinners and lunches, biking and trips to the amazing beaches of Bali are easy to incorporate while still getting a great bootcamp experience. And that's important, because learning isn't about just about class time, or typing at the keyboard: it's about assimilation, recharging and staying relaxed.

 

Isn't it Inefficient To Travel So Far To Learn To Program?

In the big picture, no, quite the opposite. Imagine a bootcamp where commuting is a matter of ten minutes walk: that's how we've set things up. And that matters, because you attend bootcamp to focus, to learn and to get the benefit of an experience dedicated to the progress you want to make. 

We can even provide support for laundry, food shopping, meals, and excursion booking as part of the package at Ruby on the Beach. 

So while the long flight to a place like Bali takes time, it's a lot less than the time you'll spend commuting in a city like San Francisco, NYC or Boston. And once you're here, you'll find it easier than you would anywhere else to do what you're here to do: learn.

 

Other Bootcamps Are in Big Development Centers. Isn't That An Advantage?

Some bootcamp grads find work where they attend bootcamp. But bootcamps exist in just about every development center. You could say that means that bootcamps tend over-focus you on the place you attend.

But opportunties exist in dozens of cities in the US and around the world.  As a recruiter we work with has said to us, "If someone has the skills I'm looking for, and shows committment to continue learning, then I don't need a hiring day to be interested in them". So, unless you plan on only accepting jobs in one place, no particular location is best.

The locations where our bootcamps take place - Bali, and Latin America - are hardly out-of-the-way when it comes to the developer community. We know dev teams in all our locations, who have taken the digital nomad route. Those who take full advantage of how the internet lets us work from anywhere - think these are the best places to get work done while enjoying a great lifestyle. So you'll be meeting people all the time at our co-working headquarters for the Bali course - who are developing, sharing and creating code-based projects. Building connections that way can be key to launching your next career as a developer.

 

What Will I Learn?

Our courses are modular: that means that what is usually a single, long curriculum in other bootcamps is a a set of pieces that you can combine. Our two most active courses are Ruby Newbie and Casually Impressive. Ruby Newbie is about the basics, introducing those without a background in programming to the key skills that allow you to be comfortable with the tools, apps, techniques and conventions of development. It acts as a general intro that can be applied in many kinds of development, but with an emphasis on Ruby and Ruby on Rails.

Casually Impressive is a project-oriented where Ruby Newbie is exercise-driven. You work with your Ruby Newbie skills to build projects, with an emphasis on discovery, experimentation and exploration. You'll have instructors at your side to help you and guide you to the places where you can master resources that will enrich your developer skillset.

 

What If I Already Know How To Program?

That's why the courses are modular: if you really know what we teach in Ruby Newbie, you can enter at the half-way mark, and join us for the second 4-week course. 

But not all of what we care about is technical skills. Ruby Newbie is also about teaching you the culture of development as it's practiced in the startup/Ruby on Rails/Rapid Application Development milieu. So if we don't think that your skills in these areas, and in working in pairs, working with repositories and the other things we focus on are up to scratch, we'll recommend you take Ruby Newbie as well.

 

Your Courses Are Modular: Do I Have To Do Both Halves Together?

No! That's part of the idea. People don't always have 9 or more weeks at a time to take out and learn. So our modular courses are set up to deal with that. 

You can sign on for the first 4-week course, and then leave, to return in a later cohort for the second half - whether that's Casually Impressive (our advanced Ruby and Rails course), or Client Master (our JS and front-end course). That means you don't necessarily have to quit your job or sublet your apartment. 

If you do break things up, you can take advantage of our mentorship program: you'll know enough after the first course to work on projects, and by connecting to mentors during the time between courses, you can stay on track. That way, when you return for the second (or third) course, you'll still be on top of the material.

 

Why Do You Have A Week Break In The Middle Of Your 9-week Course?

The week between sections is there to ensure that our students can get the most out of the course. Those who feel they need to work more on what they learn in the first half have time to return to lessons learned. Those who are confident in the material covered can focus on what we call "lateral  exercises". These are units that you can do to increase your depth of knowledge. They don't put you ahead of the other students so much as broaden your knowledge.

It's also a great time to work on projects, catch up with work and family obligations, travel a little, experiment and generally use for what is best for you. During the break week, the instructors remain fully available, and ready to work with you: it's just a time where we take a breather from new material.

 

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Philosophy

What makes you learn best? Does a bootcamp meet that standard? What is most valuable in the bootcamp experience? We started Ruby on the Beach with those questions.

What we knew right away was that a bootcamp's greatest value is in the ability to spend intensive, focused time, working with industry pros with the experience, and understanding to move you forward. Frustration and roadblocks that occur when you learn on your own or online should be the thing we seek to eliminate.

That in turn meant instructor time, and class size are our highest priorities. We don't think that if you spend the money and time to attend a bootcamp, you should be waiting for the chance to get the help you need. And getting lost in a crowd of 25 or more fighting to get face time with the instructor just sounds like a cumbersome process. We knew that we had to do better than other bootcamps were in these areas to meet our own goals of a truly great, accelerated learning program.

The class sizes and instructor ratios we settled on are the best in the business: maximum 12 students, and always 3 senior developers in attendance. The fact that no-one else has these numbers should be part of what you consider when you decide to attend tech bootcamp.

These committments reflect our philosophy: just about anyone can learn to code. But many people who try fail because they hit a wall of frustration, often more than once. If you create the circumstances where real learning happens - where you get the time you need with senior devs, who have the time to really work with you - you can all but eliminate those negatives. Do all bootcamps meet this standard? We suggest you ask them.

For us, the crucial thing you come to bootcamp for is the chance to spend the time you're learning constantly guided by experienced devs. Not the chance to work excessive hours. When the ratios and sizes are right, those hours drop quickly - and our students find they learn as much in 40 hour weeks as other bootcamps push out in 70.

Hours and Stress

Prepare to change you expectations if you expect a really great bootcamp to entail long hours and high stress. We don't believe there's any basis to think that subjecting yourself to those kinds of conditions does anything but reduce your ability to learn. And a bootcamp's worth of it will dump you out the other end exhausted and mentally unprepared for the challenge of moving forward with a code career. Stress is not the magic ingredient for learning as much as possible.

Our challenge when creating Ruby on the Beach was to create the alternative. And we did. To do it, we had to change a lot of the "givens" that other bootcamps work with. That's why we're in Bali: from a purely economic point of view, it makes it easier to run smaller classes with more teachers, with more experience. And that - more than any other factor - is what determines the quality of your bootcamp experience, based purely on learning outcomes, and ignoring the amazing experience that goes along with our way of doing things.

Other bootcamps expect you to spend about 30-60% more time working each week, but we don't see any evidence that they teach you any more, or leave you better prepared. So you might wonder, what happens in the extra time you'd spend in another bootcamp? Basic math and experience makes us think that probably that's time spent frustrated, unable to get the attention of an instructor, and making no real progress. At Ruby on the Beach, the latency time to get help approaches zero, and the help comes from senior developers - the only kind of instructor we have.

But what about those "extra" 20+ hours at other bootcamps? As far as we can tell, that's time spent trying to manage student questions - time not needed when you've got our student/instructor ratios, and small, manageable classes. What we do know is that our students cover as much or more as other bootcamps in a stress-free, no burnout way.

So what do we use those extra hours for? Surfing. Hiking. Dancing. Yoga. Volcano climbing. Riding our scooters through gorgeous countryside. Finding amazing places to eat and drink. Sleeping. And all that spare time makes us better learners, because we have the time to refresh, recharge, and most of all assimilate the material that we've learned.

Break Time

Bootcamps can be relentless. We've done everything we can to ensure that we can eliminate the long hours, and still provide you with a better learning experience.

Break time is deeply integrated into the Ruby on the Beach experience, as an integral part of that goal. Not only will you have evenings free - 7 or 8, not 10 or 12 hour days are the norm - but weekends, and a generous 7 to 9 day mid-course break will allow you to recharge, explore and generally ensure that you're happy. Because we fundamentally believe that relentless work and no time away is actually destructive of your learning experience.

Break time is just one way of creating a burnout-free environment. Break time isn't time off from learning - it's the crucial time that you assimilate what you've learned. Many studies support the model for learning that requires time away from what's studied to consolidate that new knowledge, and that stress reduces our efficiency as learners and workers - break time ensures that stress is a controlled factor for our students.

Students we've spoken to who attened other bootcamps with very demanding hours report consistently the sense of declining efficiency over the course of a bootcamp. As the initial energy that comes with enthusiasm, a new situation and exciting prospects ahead fades, the strong sense pervades that their ability to learn declines. And our experience with other bootcamps we've been associated with bears this out.

No Burnout

Worse, finishing a bootcamp in a state of burnout - or worse still, dropping out because of burnout - is not the preparation you need for the potential that opens up to you with your new coding skills. Our students maintain incredible energy to the end, group dynamics don't suffer from fatigue, and as the class ends, it's inspiring to to see the charged up, excitement of our graduates as they head into the world.

As much as all that, the unique location and experiences of Ruby on the Beach acts as a break from your life. The focus it gives, the chance to really examine your goals - and the presence of great instructors that know your new field - make our program something that can profoundly affect your life, your goals and your sense of your abilities. We hope you'll join us.

Email us - we're always happy to hear from you!

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