The DevMountain BLOG

Announcing Software QA Testing Course

posted by DevMtn Team on June 15th, 2017

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We’re excited to announce the newest addition to our course lineup: Software Quality Assurance Testing! This new program supports DevMountain students as they seek to open more doors to a successful career in tech.

Ever wonder why some products succeed and others fail? It doesn’t matter how innovative or creative the concept is, if the actual software is full of bugs or simply doesn’t work the way users expect it to, it’s going to fail. This is why tech companies are investing in Software Quality Assurance Testing positions. Wondering what a day in the life of a Software QA is like? Check out this blog post to read all about it.

Since our inception, DevMountain has remained relentless in our pursuit of tackling 21st century education, and job creation by providing our students with an affordable alternative to time consuming traditional degrees. We believe Software QA Testing is the next step in that pursuit.

Our first immersive cohort kicks off in Salt Lake City, UT on August 21st, 2017. As always, free housing is available for students. You can learn more about the new course by clicking here.

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A Day in the Life of a QA Engineer

posted by DevMtn Team on June 15th, 2017

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By AJ Larson

A day in the life of a Quality Assurance Engineer isn’t really all too different from that of the software developers. Every company you might work for has its own style. Some might have an independent quality assurance team, almost acting as external consultants to the development teams. Some might have only one or two people doing quality assurance in the whole company. The best have quality assurance personnel embedded with each and every development team.

Scrum Meetings

In my company, we are getting more agile. Like most iterative firms, we get together every morning for scrum meeting, aka stand-up, aka anything you want to call the morning meeting. This is the forum for everyone to report on what they have been doing, what the plan is for the day, and if we have run into any problems. Likewise, if anyone else has questions about any of the work, this is a great place to bring them up! If any discussions looks to take more than a minute or two, we’ll save them for later so everyone can finish their status report and move on to get back to building stuff.

Teamwork

The rest of the day could can depending on where we are in the sprint. Working with the Business Analyst, I can clarify the requirements and acceptance criteria for each story or task the developers have to work on. Developers are excellent resources to make sure that I understand how we’re hitting the mark. These discussions can clear up any missed requirements or misunderstandings early on, saving lots of effort.

Testing Stuff

With my new understanding I’ll create or update test cases. We’re building out an automation framework, so odds are good the test will be manual first, and join the backlog waiting for transition into automation. Then, as you might guess, I spend my time running manual tests, or best of all, continuing to flesh out our automation and transition our manual tests (in priority order) into automated tests. Sometimes the tests will fail, and I’ll need to talk to the task’s developer about where the problem is, or if the failure is around something different, I’ll open a new issue to bring into our workload.

I’ll see where I am in regards to the goals I’ve set for quality improvement, whether they be increasing the percentage of tests I’ve automated, or reducing the number of bugs that escape my hands and reach the customer.

Other Stuff

Sprinkled throughout, I might have one-on-one meetings with my director, or with the other engineers who report to me. Sometimes, I’ll be more directly involved with a software pilot, and will have status calls with our customers to make sure that we’re on the same page and making them the best product we can.

Rewarding Work

I went to school to be a software developer before I found QA. I love QA and it’s nice to scratch the coding itch by writing test scripts.

I work with a bunch of like minded geeks, from a number of departments across the company. Come lunch time, we usually get together and relax our brains over food and a board game. There’s a surprising number of games you can get in under an hour, especially when you’re all at least somewhat technically minded.

Conclusion

There is nothing more fulfilling in my work than releasing a product into the wild and seeing it flourish. It’s a great field to be in. No matter what product you’re working on, you are making people’s lives better by reducing the problems they have to deal with in their day. Depending on the product, you could very well be saving lives by finding problems and preventing them from ever reaching production. It’s a great industry to be working in, and a challenging and enjoyable role to fill.

If this sounds like a career you’d enjoy, I would encourage you to check out DevMountain’s Software QA Testing course. It’s a great way to launch a career in this field!

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5 Ways to Get Ready for Your Summer Coding Bootcamp

posted by DevMtn Team on May 31st, 2017

5 Ways to Get Ready for Your Summer Coding Bootcamp

You wouldn't go to a military bootcamp without getting into decent shape first, right? Why should a Summer programming or coding bootcamp be any different? Military bootcamps test your physical and mental limits and so does development. Although you won't be forced to do push-ups, you should still show up to a bootcamp "in shape."

I attended DevMountain’s web development coding bootcamp in early 2017. I remember the first week was a rush. After a week of Mountain Dew and coffee-powered evenings, I wished I would have been a little more prepared.

Becoming a great developer is a combination of knowledge, mindset, and drive. Here are some prepping tips I wish I had known before attending a coding bootcamp.

1. Getting into the Right Mindset

Coding is mentally exhausting; seriously, the programming can tax parts of your brain you didn't know you even had. One way to alleviate some stress before attending a bootcamp is to get in the right frame of mind: start thinking more like a computer.

Above all, this means that you'll need to start thinking logically.

Try finding a simple coding app for your phone or tablet. Apps like Sololearn will teach you the basics of algorithms, javascript, or other coding best practices. Getting into a logical, algorithm-based mindset is a surefire way to get a leg up on your fellow bootcamp classmates.

2. Complete Assigned Pre-Course Work

Ok, you've completed some basic coding principles through a site or an app. What's next?

DevMountain assigns pre-course work once you apply to one of their bootcamps. Make sure you complete all the pre-course work and review it as many times as you need to.

It depends on which DevMountain course you would like to enroll in, but each pre-course packet will go over basic principles more in depth. If you are applying for the same course as me, DevMountain’s web development course, you'll cover the following in the pre-course work:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • Bootstrap

There are lots of great apps and websites that can supplement your pre-course materials, including Coedcademy, W3 Schools, and even Free Code Camp. Everybody learns differently, but there's no way around it: the only way to learn how to code is to code.

Pre-course materials will force you to get hands on. Apps, books, and sites are useful, but you need to apply it!

3. Getting Some of Your Energy Out

Summer's right around the corner. For many people, that means BBQs, breaks, or trips to the pool. But for you, this Summer is about one thing: programming.

Sure, you'll want to go outside and enjoy the Summer with your friends. If you want to have a productive bootcamp, though, you'll need to get this restlessness out of your system. Make the weeks before your bootcamp as fun as possible.

It might seem like a silly tip to "prepare" for bootcamp by not preparing. I get that. But the fact is, once your bootcamp has begun, you'll be spending most of your waking hours in front of your computer.

If you're easily distracted, you might need to remove time-wasting apps from your computer and phone. Only by removing distractions can you fully invest in a Summer coding bootcamp.

4. This Ain't School (It's Better)!

Most schools have a pretty standard format: lectures, book-reading, homework, or tests. If you have attention issues like I do, it can get boring very quickly. Thankfully, bootcamps are completely different.

While higher education focuses on creating a deep understanding and a philosophical grounding to concepts, bootcamps aim to provide hands-on training and practical knowledge.

Experienced developers have a level of confidence that only comes from years of experience. Bootcamps attempt to accelerate that confidence level by allowing students to be immersed in code. Bootcamps are not fluffy college courses that you can float through. Embrace the "sink or swim" mentality and jump into the deep end. A coding bootcamp is going to push your limits--that's precisely what it's supposed to do.

5. Surrounding Yourself with Tech Information

The face of technology changes constantly. Wouldn't it be great if you could stay on top of current events without putting in a ton of work? For me, the solution is listening to developer podcasts, ready tech blogs, following developers on Twitter.

Here's a huge list of programming podcasts for you to listen to.

Hearing experienced developers talk and even joke about issues allows you to start grasping some ideas as though "by osmosis".

You should also start meeting local developers. Looking for MeetUps in your area is a good first start; if you can't find one, turn to Reddit or another message board to start talking to experts in the field.

Moving Forward

Hopefully, these tips make your bootcamp experience even better. I wish you the best of luck with your summer coding bootcamp! Feel free to comment below with any feedback or questions and I’ll get back to you!

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7 Highly Recommended Programming Books for 2017

posted by DevMtn Team on May 9th, 2017

7 Highly Recommended Programming Books for 2017

What are programmers reading right now? These seven books are selected from a variety of DevMountain instructors and mentors, Amazon’s bestseller in its programming category, and based on recommendations from popular coding blogs. Some of these books are new for 2017, and others are tried and true favorites among newbie and experienced programmers.

7. Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

by Charles Petzold

Petzold is one of Microsoft’s Seven Windows Pioneers and has been writing about programming since 1984. First published in 2000, his book about code itself is a perennial favorite in the coding world thanks to its readable explanation of how programming and code are built into the fabric of everyday life. Petzold explains coding and assembly language for a general audience using familiar concepts such as Braille and Morse code. Better still, the book is illustrated, helping even those who don’t consider themselves code-savvy to follow along through the whole thing.

6. Hacking: The Art of Exploitation, 2nd Edition

by Jon Erickson

At its most basic, hacking is simply the art of problem-solving. Sometimes a problem calls for an unconventional solution, and sometimes that solution involves exploiting holes in someone else’s programming. Readers can gain an overview of the world of programming from the hacker’s perspective, including such techniques as hijacking network communications and exploiting weaknesses in cryptography. Using the included diagrams and easy-to-follow text, readers can try their hands at a variety of existing hacking techniques.

5. The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data

by Kevin Mitnick and Robert Vamosi

Mitnick, the author of the bestseller Ghost in the Wires, calls himself “the world’s most famous hacker.” His hacking career began at age 13 when he hacked a punch card system to ride the bus around Los Angeles for free. A former black hatter wanted by the FBI, he spent five years in prison for wire fraud and other crimes from 1995-2000. Mitnick now teaches the general public about invisibility in the age of Big Data. Those who are new to programming can follow along with the simple, step-by-step advice presented in this book. For more advanced readers, Mitnick and Vamosi present “elite” privacy hacks.

4. Javascript Design Patterns

by Addy Osmani

Design patterns are useful in all languages and all code bases. If you don’t have a fundamental understanding of design patterns this book is a great primer to help you start writing better code. At any given moment, someone struggles with the same software design problems you have. And, chances are, someone else has already solved your problem. Javascript Design Patterns shows you the tried-and-true, road-tested patterns used by developers.

3. Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager

by Michael Lopp

Before he ran the Rands in Repose blog, Lopp worked for Symantec, Netscape, and Apple. His collected management experience with all of them informs this blend of memoir and guide. He gives readers a tour through what it’s like to work in Silicon Valley, managing what he calls “dysfunctional bright people.” Whether you’re on the management side or you’re one of the dysfunctional bright people, you’ll appreciate the wisdom of Lopp’s experience.

2. Make Your Own Neural Network

by Tariq Rashid

AI programming and neural networks are all the buzz right now. Although the more hands-on portions of this book focus on Python programming, at its heart this book is about the mathematics that underlies neural networks in general. Neural networks are the foundation of artificial intelligence and deep learning. This book introduces readers to the concept of neural networks with clear, easy to follow examples. After reading this book, even those without much exposure to programming will come away with a working knowledge of neural network implementation.

1. The Self-Taught Programmer: The Definitive Guide to Programming Professionally

by Cory Althoff

Althoff is a self-taught programmer who took a job at eBay, only to find there was still a tremendous amount to learn to be a professional programmer. This book is for beginners learning to program, but even more than that, it’s for all self-taught programmers to expand and polish their skills to a professional level. Topics include object-oriented programming, using coding to build a web scraper, the fundamentals of computer architecture and algorithms, and coding practices for software development.

These seven books provide a broad tour of the subject of programming from several different points of view. From Beginners to experienced coders looking to expand their circle of knowledge, managers, and even aspiring managers will all learn something from this to-be-read list. Looking to take a deeper dive than self-teaching through books, we invite you to come join us on a DevMountain campus and learning to code in 12 weeks.

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New DevMountain Campus in Phoenix, Arizona

posted by DevMtn Team on May 2nd, 2017

DevMountain coding bootcamp launches new Phoenix, AZ location.

Today we are announcing the opening of a new DevMountain location in Phoenix, Arizona which will allow us to continue our mission of bringing together a world-class education and affordability to empower the next generation of coders and entrepreneurs. Specifically those in and around “The Grand Canyon State.”

Why Phoenix?

DevMountain thrives where tech, entrepreneurship and community intersect. Phoenix is the largest city in Arizona and as of 2010, Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, is ranked as the sixth most populous city in the United States. Phoenix boasts a thriving tech community with a vibrant entrepreneurial vein. Phoenix is the cultural center of the Valley of the Sun, as well as the entire state. Why wouldn't we want to be a part of that? By opening a location in Arizona, we want to enrich PHX's vibrant developing community and we hope to see many new programmers and entrepreneurs emerge from our coding bootcamp.

Classes Starting This Summer

Our coding bootcamp in Phoenix will open it’s door this summer, with an Immersive Web Development Course starting on August 21, 2017, with other course offerings sure to follow. You can read more about the Phoenix Web Development course here, as DevMountain is accepting applications for the PHX course now.

Just like its western counterparts, the Phoenix cohort will last for 13 weeks and is perfect for those who are just beginning to code as well as those who have already had some exposure to coding. We want passionate, hard-working individuals who want a life-changing experience.

Throughout those 13 weeks, students will learn full-stack development including basic HTML5 and CSS3, advanced programming concepts using JavaScript, source control with Github, Javascript frameworks such as AngularJS and React, and server-side scripting with NodeJS and SQL. Students will build multiple full-stack applications before the end of the course to build a portfolio to advance toward a career.

Our Phoenix students will be immersed in code, spending days living and breathing code, and in the end, gaining valuable skills which will further career opportunities, skills or your entrepreneurial ambitions. Like our bootcamps in Provo, Salt Lake City, and Dallas, the Phoenix bootcamp will include 10-12 hour days of intense instruction, critical 1-on-1 mentoring, and hands-on real-world projects.

Downtown Phoenix

There is a lot of positive energy that reverberates between entrepreneurship and coding schools. That's why DevMountain has partnered with the City of Phoenix to find an ideal location in Downtown Phoenix for our very first cohort in the Phoenix, AZ area. Together we have identified an amazing space that will be held above an energetic and thriving coworking space, The Department. The Department is an awesome, artistic community of makers and creators in art, business, and technology.

Cahlan Sharp, founder and CEO of DevMountain, puts it this way: "DevMountain Phoenix is a no brainer for us. DevMountain has always been committed to cultivating talent and the Phoenix area is a perfect fit. There are so many brilliant and amazing individuals who are ready to take the next step in their careers. We are ready to equip them with the necessary tools to make things happen for them.”

“The one thing we hear most from most developing tech-scenes around the country is about the lack of engineering talent. If any city, state, or area is going to continue to flourish, there needs to be a talent resource. In Phoenix, DevMountain will be that answer. With initiatives like DevMountain, will be that much closer to becoming a self-sufficient startup, tech, and business ecosystem."

With an awesome location in the heart of downtown and a community of passionate builders, there is no better place to locate a DevMountain cohort.

Housing and Financing

Because we believe in a truly immersive and focused experience, we will provide students with fully furnished, free housing during time spent in the program. Learners can then focus on developing coding skills. No other school offers this amenity.

If applying students need help with tuition, DevMountain has solutions for them. Thanks to DevMountain’s third-party financing providers, students can apply for an affordable and convenient financing plan. The DevMountain specific loans range in length from 1-3 years and are designed to provide students with the best option tailored specifically to individual needs.

Our first cohort in Phoenix begins July 17, 2017. Come join us for this learning journey and gain new skills that will further your career and transform you into a highly sought engineer. Applications are now open.

To learn more about DevMountain in Phoenix, visit our Phoenix-specific page or visit our Web Development Immersive page to learn more about the course.

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