DevMountain brings coding boot camp downtown

Kylie Stewart, 23, works on a web-development project during DevMountain's coding boot camp in Phoenix, Ariz. on September 1, 2017. (Nicholas Serpa/DD)

DevMountain, a boot camp coding school offering online and in-person workshops around the country, is now offering an advanced web development program in downtown Phoenix.

The twelve-week program is currently in the middle of its first session, which is being run out of leased space on floor 17 of the U.S. Bank Center in downtown Phoenix. It focuses on teaching enrolled adults a variety of vocational web development skills including HTML5, JavaScript, jQuery and newer technologies like React.

According to Cahlan Sharp, DevMountain Founder and CEO, the goal of the program is to prepare students interested in breaking into the web development industry with the skills they need to get hired.

“We want them to leave the program with a portfolio,” Sharp said.

By the end of the boot camp, students leave with “at least two full-spec web applications” and an individual project and a group project to show off to potential employers.

DevMountain only accepts 24 to 25 students per session and interested applicants must undergo an interview process and complete pre-coursework. The program doesn’t require students to have coding experience to apply.

If accepted, Sharp said, students spend anywhere from 40 to 70 hours per week engaged in rigorous coursework and a variety of projects.

“Part of the reason we can teach them so much in such a short space of time is because we expect so much out of them, and because we have this vetting process where we bring in students that are passionate,” Sharp said.

One such student is 23-year-old Kylie Stewart. She graduated early from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in Forensic Chemistry and then worked Tesla for a year-and-a-half after graduation.

She’s now shifting her focus to a career in User Interface design, and expects DevMountain’s boot camp to help her learn the skills she needs. She said the program has been challenging so far.

“It’s like going to school on steroids,” Stewart said.

The Phoenix program is taught by lead instructor Tyler Collier, who has a web development background and has worked with clients like Arizona State University and University of California Berkeley.

There are also mentors in each boot camp Sharp said provide “a lot of the one-on-one interaction that’s really, really crucial in these environments.” Mentors are recently graduated DevMountain students who come back and are paid to help the other students navigate the program.

Despite still being in the middle of the program, Stewart said she’s learning a lot of practical skills already, including advanced technologies are relatively new in the web development industry like React.

“I’ve seen a lot of professional web developers who have never seen React before, but it’s one of the first things I learned,” she said.

Stewart also said she appreciated getting to learn alongside others in the type of open learning environment she’s experiencing through DevMountain.

“I like being able to turn to somebody and seeing the same confused look on their face, and we’re both like, okay, let’s try and dissect this now,” she said. “That’s not something I’ve ever experienced.”

Phil Bradstock, program manager of Phoenix’s Community and Economic Development Department, said downtown Phoenix has proven itself a desirable location for growing technology startups like DevMountain.

“We’ve seen a lot of interest from these companies that are not located within Phoenix about expanding their offices into the Phoenix market,” he said. “A lot of these companies are looking for a downtown, urban feel.”

Bradstock also mentioned the comparatively lower cost of doing business in Phoenix as something that attracts technology startups like DevMountain to the city.

“Your dollar carries you much further in Phoenix than it does in other major cities,” he said.

Cahlan Sharp said he thinks Phoenix is an ideal location for DevMountain’s program.

“We like coming into communities that are up-and-coming, that have strong and exciting things happening–and we love being a part of that,” Sharp said.

The next session of DevMountain’s Phoenix boot camp begins on November 27.

Correction: September 5, 2017

An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to a coding school student as “Kaylie” Stewart. The story has been updated with the correct spelling of her name, “Kylie.”

Contact the reporter at Nicholas.Serpa@asu.edu.