Why Did We Decide to Organize a Ruby Bootcamp Our Own Way?

Wiktoria Krzyż

Why Did We Decide to Organize Ruby Bootcamp Our Own Way? -- featured image

Perhaps, bootcamps that you have experienced before were quite different than what we're doing. They may have cost you a lot of money and left you with a lot of theoretical knowledge but no real sense of what to do next.

At Monterail, we are turning this around and serving you with our experience.

How Did We Come Up with the Idea for Ruby Bootcamp?

The idea of organizing bootcamps was definitely not a lightbulb moment. Rather, it was a topic discussed over and over again for quite some time. The challenge before us was one — we wanted to hire great people, and we wanted to make sure they quickly get into the Monterail Way of doing things.

But there are a couple of kickers. The demand for developers is constant and it’s estimated to grow by 22% but finding experienced developers is getting more and more difficult. There’s increasing competition among IT companies that want to attract the right people, and for us getting caught up in such a race was not appealing. We wanted to find a way to organically draw in the right people and at the same time somehow equalize the experience of people joining from various backgrounds, weeks apart from each other.

That was a hard nut to crack. How to solve these challenges?

The answer was one — let’s create an environment in which the new candidates start at the same time and learn the same things. This would allow us to invite people from new areas, and lend them enough attention so that they all grow to a point where they can start working with us.

This approach meant that we needed to figure out a lot of things, such as a whole agenda of workshops and training for our participants but it did give us the advantage of having a chosen group of people joining us at the same time. It also meant, we can look at recruitment in a different light — why look for already learned skills, where we can seek potential and put effort into training those exact skills but our way? 

The main argument — of course, it takes time and budget. However, it might not be surprising to find out that sometimes the general cost of recruitment per one candidate is just as big as for a whole bootcamp. 

How Did We Prepare for the Bootcamp?

The idea for a bootcamp in this form has been boiling in our heads for quite some time now. We knew we had the skills and the organizational power to do this, a few decisions had to be made. 

Together with our Head of Technology, Operations Team, People Team, and Principal Engineers the first draft of the plan started to come to life. 

We began with setting goals for the whole idea — what the ideal developer after Rubycamp should look like? What kind of abilities should they have?

It sounded easy to do at first because developing is our everyday work, our natural environment. But soon we realized that we cannot imagine a perfect developer as each of us is different. One developer is a natural leader, and another will be a solutions architect. There is no ideal developer.

What we could do, however, is craft a list of skills that we labeled as must-haves and nice-to-haves.

After some days of brainstorming we compared our first list of skills and voila — we found the set abilities and skills that we wanted to develop during the whole bootcamp. Now it was time for the hardest thing — finding a way to teach all those things.

To be honest — there is no universal recipe for bootcamps. It's something that always should be researched on our own and we should align plans for training with tooling and techniques used day-by-day in company. After a few brainstorms and planning sessions, we finally created a prioritized plan and day-by-day schedule for this awesome project.   

How We Did It - Step by Step

The big day was here — the 17th of May 2021 was the starting date of our Monterail Rubycamp. With laptops sent, meetings planned, we were ready to welcome our Rubycampers.

The first day was mostly organizational but also focused on introducing our culture at Monterail. We talked about projects, our way of working in general, discussed our core values, and how we work together as a team. The Rubycampers were also introduced to topics surrounding our diversity and inclusion initiatives. 

The second day focused more on project work but from a different perspective. No line of code was to be written yet. Instead, we talked about the do’s and don’ts of client communication. A crucial part of any commercial project, oftentimes overlooked. 

Following the next weeks, each day was dedicated to a different topic (Rest API, testing, etc.). It started off with a meeting and then everyone had their free time to work on their code and the tasks assigned. All the while, our main slack channel was open for anyone to ask any questions or get help from our mentors.

This set-up allows for a smooth transition between topics whilst still giving time to everyone to go at their own pace. If someone feels they need help, they can always reach out to our mentors. Here’s what our Rubycampers have to say about their experience so far: 

I started the Rubycamp with absolutely no knowledge about creating an API application in Rails. Beginnings always are difficult especially if you have to suit into a program and catch up with other mentees. The pace was challenging for me so I wasn’t up to date with the material, however, recordings of the workshops helped me a lot to quickly pick up the slack.

Anna Kotowicz Rubycamp mentee

The setup with morning meetings and afternoon focus time is great, as it allows for further exploration of the topic but at our own pace. It gives space to use newly learned approaches or tools in code and see how it affects it. At the same time, you are never left alone when stuck.

Agnieszka Rohm Rubycamp mentee

The bootcamp is not over yet, the next step in our participants’ journey is shadowing in our commercial projects. What challenges will this bring? What will our Rubycampers discover? We’ll let you know in our next blogpost about this topic. 

Why Did We Do It?

We did it to seek potential, to look and find where no one else is looking. Sure, it took and will take a lot more time, resources, and money but it opened up a whole new window of opportunity. For participants, to learn and begin their journey with us but also for us; to give back, share our know-how and find amazing talent to work with us. 

We are breaking the cycle of never-ending recruitment campaigns and yet new benefits and putting our own spin on it. 

What’s In It for You?

First of all: an opportunity to join a 2-month Ruby Bootcamp, where you’ll be surrounded by experts, all the while, we compensate you. Interested? Sign up here for the next edition

But there’s more to it than compensation. Our Monterail Rubycamp is a unique experience for anyone who seeks to start their journey in IT. Our arms are open to various levels of experience and knowledge, all we look for is an open mind and a drive to learn.

Our mentors are experts in their field, many working with Ruby on Rails for nearly a decade! 

They bring in know-how, approach, and most importantly — amazing teaching skills which they have gathered from all the years of code reviews and other initiatives such as Rails Girls.

Interested to find out more? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or apply at “work at Monterail” and we will inform you about the next editions of Monterail bootcamps! 

Wiktoria Krzyż avatar
Wiktoria Krzyż