By ELIZABETH CHUNN
Amarillo College’s full stack coding bootcamp is in full swing, and officials say it’s intense.
Classes are held 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, for 10 weeks to fast-track the learning process.
“Students are wiped out working extra hard at night and on weekends but seeing their progress after only two weeks is pretty amazing,” Mark Nair, career accelerator consultant, said.
“There are times in class when I’m like, whoa what just happened, but I am grateful we have Mark to teach us,” Netty Ramirez, a student in the program, said. “He’s like Yoda, the master at what he teaches.”
Some students compare the program to a roller coaster with no option get off the ride, but future job opportunities keep them going. “Almost every organization employs someone with a degree of knowledge about full stack coding,” Nair said.
Ramirez said her eyes were opened to the countless possibilities of coding beyond the stereotypical setting of “kid hacker who lives in the basement,” and hopes to apply what she learns to external affairs in the Amarillo community.
Other students are excited to embark on a new journey. “I built kitchen cabinets for a living and was tired of doing physical labor,” Nels Bjork, a student in the program, said. “I have no background in coding but want to be a part of the world Mark keeps telling us crazy stories about.”
Thanks to a $15 million gift AC received this summer, students are turning their coding dreams into a reality. Those accepted into the bootcamp receive $2,500 per month to offset living expenses.
“When I was building kitchen cabinets, I was barely getting by and paying bills going to school,” Bjork said. “This helped make it to where I could participate in the coding bootcamp and not work.”
Overall, student reactions to the bootcamp are positive, and there is already a waitlist for the next session.
For those who feel intimated to take the leap and enroll in the program, Nair had a word of advice. “This is no different than a sheet of paper and a typewriter, it’s simply a computer and technology,” he said. “If you are looking at the world and are interested in this part of technology, this is the perfect place for you.”
Illustrations by ISAAC GALAN | The Ranger