Today we’re chatting With Colt Steele, Co-Instructor for the August 2023 Rithm School Bootcamp about all things bootcamp, hiring, and AI.
In today’s blog, we’re chatting with Colt Steele, Co-Instructor for our August 2023 cohort and YouTube star, about all things Rithm School, getting hired after bootcamp, the future of AI in web development, and more.
Here are a few quick links before we start:
Introducing Colt Steele
Where do we start?
If you’re one of the very few who don’t already know who Colt Steele is, let’s start with an introduction.
Colt Steele is a rockstar developer with a serious love for teaching. And he’s gained a pretty big following for doing so.
With a measly ~240,000 followers on YouTube and one of the best-selling and top-rated web developer courses on Udemy, he’s helped thousands of programmers learn how to code and go onto work for companies like Google, Salesforce, and Square.
He was also voted Udemy’s Best New Instructor in 2016.
This August, he’ll be joining Rithm School as a co-instructor alongside Elie Schoppik to lead the August 2023 cohort of Rithm School to reach similar heights and success.
Now for a few questions.
What’s the Best Advice for Getting Hired as a Web Developer?
Colt Steele: If you’re looking for real suggestions as far as getting a job, the number one thing I recommend is to have your own project to show for.
I’m sure everyone at Rithm School will agree with me, that as far as what it’s like to get a job, how you stand out, how you prove yourself as somebody with no previous developer experience, you have to have something to show.
And that usually takes the form of a project.
So that’s the number one piece of advice.
Nobody wants to hear it because it’s hard to make a project. It takes a lot of time.
But the good news is you don’t have to do anything amazingly creative. It doesn’t have to be a world-changing startup.
It can be the most boring project on Earth as long as it’s good and it shows your skills.
You’re not being hired as an entrepreneur who’s coming up with incredible ideas!
Rithm School: This is one topic that Rithm School bootcamp grads rave about on Course Report and other review websites – the professional projects included in our curriculum! Working with tech companies like Groupmuse, Course Report, and EveryTeam on really cool real-world projects is one of the things that sets Rithm School apart from other bootcamps. You have a tangible project to show for at the end of your cohort.
How do you balance the need for rapid development with the need for code quality and maintainability?
Colt Steele: I think that’s a very good question to be asking, and I also think it depends on who is asking – are you a beginner at the start of your journey or an entry-level developer trying to get a job?
In my opinion, what matters the most is getting anything to work.
And I’ve seen a lot of students let perfection get in the way of real learning, of making progress, because it’s very intimidating if you’re at the beginning and you’re trying to build whatever one feature.
And there are 20 different ways of doing it.
And everyone’s going to give you feedback online. You’re going to see that you’re doing it the wrong way, the slow way, the inefficient way, the amateur way, whatever.
And if you get too bogged down with that and too worried about it, I’ve seen a lot of people stagnate and let that perfection get in the way of progress.
So my advice is to get whatever you can to work first. It’s always best to have something working.
If a hiring manager is going to pull up one of your projects, most of the time they’re probably just going to look at the front end or look at the application. They’re not even going to dive into the code.
So it’s great to get nice code. It’s obviously a very important aspect of being a developer. I’m not trying to minimize that in any way, but I think beginners focus just too much on it and they get too worried about it and it gets in the way of progress a lot of the time.
Rithm School: We agree! This is definitely something that we talk about a lot during our program too. Get something working, make sure that you understand it, and then we can look back and refactor, and make it better the next time.
What Do You Think About The Future of Web Development & AI?
Colt Steele: I think about this and see a lot of students talking about this as well. In our Discord server that I have for my courses, it’s a constant point of conversation.
I mean, the truth is, I have no idea what will happen, what I can say about how things are right now.
I think there’s some unnecessary panic and anxiety with how things currently are.
I see posts and people talking about, like, should I even learn any of this stuff?
Should I learn to code? Am I going to be obsolete next year?
I could be completely wrong, but I’m pretty confident I’m not, that we are very far away from that.
As somebody who has just released a course on OpenAI and working with GPT four APIs, I can tell you that they’re amazing.
It’s very impressive, but they’re still terrible at writing code, and there’s a long way to go as far as replacing developers.
And so much of what a developer does is everything except writing the code.
So in a lot of ways, I think what will continue to happen is that we’ll just be developers augmenting our workflow with AI and with tools like Chat GBT or with GitHub’s Copilot X, these tools that help you write code.
The way things currently stand, you can’t ask to get an application created. You can’t even ask to get an individual component of an application made for you.
Most of what is useful is speeding up your workflow. Basically, I use Chat GBT in GitHub Copilot a lot when there’s a function that I need to write that I’m sure I could find online, and I just don’t want to go research it, and I just want to get a quick solution and it will be like 110 lines of code that it will write for me at a time.
So the way that I use it is basically as a tool and I don’t know what it will look like years and years from now.
Honestly though, if we get to that point, if developer jobs are the ones disappearing, the world is going to be a very different place anyway because many other jobs will have disappeared as well, which is the grim answer.
But if developers are replaced, then pretty much any other “easier” job will certainly be replaced or at risk by that point as well.
But the truth is, the way that things currently are, it’s so far away.
How Does Rithm School Compare to Other Coding Bootcamps?
Colt Steele: Honestly? So, for those of you who don’t know, I’m not a founder of Rithm School. But I have worked with all three co-founders! All three founders were my co-instructors at an unnamed boot camp years ago and we ran a bunch of cohorts together.
Rithm School founder, Elie had been talking for a long time about starting his own boot camp the way he wanted to do it, where it was small.
So basically there was a proliferation of boot camps years ago where everyone saw money in just taking thousands of students, charging them thousands of dollars, and who cares if they get a job?
And scale, scale, scale. Let’s get investors and venture capital. That was sort of the model for years.
And I worked at some of those boot camps where the quality is just terrible, and as an instructor, you feel helpless, honestly.
And while every other boot camp was growing and trying to run five, six, seven cohorts expand across the country, Rithm School founder Elie decided: “We’re just going to do this the right way, keep it small and sustainable.”
He wasn’t trying to make it a multimillion-dollar empire. He just wanted to do a coding bootcamp the right way.
As far as what Rithm School is today?
Obviously, I’m teaching with Rithm for the August 2023 cohort, but I’m not involved in any other way.
I have no stake in the company or anything like that.
But I believe Rithm School is the best bootcamp in terms of the student experience and outcomes.
And it’s still small. It’s a boutique sort of program.
I don’t know if that’s the right term to use, but Rithm School isn’t trying to scale, they’re not trying to take over the world, they’re just trying to do their own thing.
And that means small classes, only a couple of programs a year, and essentially, a small number of students.
Most other programs today focus on placing a million online ads, maxing out the number of students, and churning out students without ensuring outcomes.
But if you really research and you look at boot camps on review sites like Course Report, you’ll see a lot of horror stories about some programs.
I don’t think you can find a single bad thing written about Rithm School.
Do you think that it’s important to be pretty well versed on both the front end and back end or should you focus on one over the other?
Colt Steele: This is another area I get asked about a lot. It’s hard. My Udemy course, The Web Developer Boot Camp teaches front end and back end, and it’s one of those areas where I’m kind of caving to what students want when trying to make a course.
It’s this horrible tension between what’s effective to teach people versus what’s going to make someone buy the course.
And as I said, if I really wanted to make everyone buy the course, I would fill it with React, Python TypeScript, and every database.
There are courses out there that do that, and they don’t teach any of it effectively, but they get your money.
I am way more on the side of trying to teach what I think is important, even if that means getting a bunch of angry reviews that I don’t teach React or I don’t teach angular, or whatever.
A lot of students have this concern that they’re not learning enough, and there’s a list of so many topics you have to learn, and that doesn’t go away.
In a boot camp, when I’m teaching in person, I get the same concerns.
What matters the most is picking something and sticking with it.
But you don’t need all of it.
You might need all of it if you want to be a one-person startup and make your own application from scratch.
But there are many developer jobs where all you do is write Python or all you do is write React.
So I think it’s most important to not set yourself up to fail by giving yourself this checklist of every topic in the world.
Some courses out there include a lot more topics and cover them way faster.
But it’s so much information crammed into 60 hours or 40 hours, which, for the record, is like six months of real-time. That’s the lecture time!
So, then you finish the course in two weeks.
And I understand why people do it. That’s how you consume a lot of media. You just kind of binge it.
But that’s not going to help you at all.
You need to sit on a topic.
Any Last Words Before We Go?
Colt Steele: Build projects and don’t get distracted. Those are my two pieces of advice.
Stick to a path, and don’t let yourself get tempted by some other language or some blog post or some YouTuber who tells you you have to learn X and Y to be competitive in today’s market.
There’s truth to learning more skills, but you’ve got to get good at something first.
You’ve got to be efficient and effective.
And build a project. Make things that you can be proud of.
Make even one thing that you can be proud of to show people, and stick with a topic, maybe two topics.
Don’t fracture yourself. Those are my two pieces of advice.
Want to Learn With Colt Steele at Rithm School?
Want to learn more from Colt Steele?
You can join any of our upcoming free events with Colt Steele over on Eventbrite, or apply to learn from Colt Steele himself in the Rithm School August 2023 cohort.
Applying takes only a few minutes to complete, and will end with a free Zoom call with our awesome admissions team.
Until next time!