Arc de Triomf

A guide to attending Ironhack: Part 1, applying

I had such an amazing time at the Ironhack Web Development Bootcamp in Barcelona in 2014; it was an invaluable experience for me and for my career. I’ve had loads of enquiries from prospective students regarding my thoughts on the application process, the interviews and of course the course itself.

This post will focus on the process of applying to Ironhack and getting through the interview process. I’ll follow this up shortly posts about attending and completing the course itself and also returning to the real world. You can read all posts tagged Ironhack here.

Who are you and how are you connected to Ironhack?

I attended the Ironhack course in Barcelona during the summer of 2014 and since then have been working as a software engineer for a small company in France. My affiliation with them is solely as a past-student and friend.

How much coding experience did you have before the course?

Before the course I had some knowledge of CSS, HTML and a little bit of javascript. I never had any formal training in web development, and my skills were pretty rusty. I applied to the course because I was looking to improve these skills and really become more of an all-round developer by also learning the back-end stuff properly.

What is the ‘pre-work’ for the course and is it really hard?

The course administrators will set the attendees a series of pre-work exercises to complete before attending the course. The work should take about 30 – 40 hours of your time and you will have several weeks to complete it before the course begins.

The work covers all the major topics of the web development bootcamp so that you are ready to dive in at a greater depth during the actual course. It’s mostly to make sure that everyone has the same basic understanding of each topic before the course begins.

You will use free resources on the web including codeacademy, udacity and codeschool to learn some of the elemental concepts in your own time. In addition, in the weeks leading up to the course, Ironhack teachers for each major topic will host several hangouts for you and your fellow students so that you can pose any questions to them that might have come up while you complete the pre-work.

You’ll probably find one or two sections of the pre-work difficult depending on your background – perhaps, like me, you are already familiar with the front-end but the back-end topics are new to you. However I would urge you to remember that the pre-work is to familiarise you with certain terms and make the topic seem less intimidating. Use the hangouts to clear up anything that you’re not totally clear on.

Can you tell me more about the interviews in the application process?

There are two interviews in the Ironhack application process. The first is to assess your interest level and whether you would be a good fit for the course process. This was a pretty casual interview to make sure that I was as enthusiastic about the topics and to find out what my career goals were.

I believe that the interview process has changes slightly since I went through it, particularly the second, technical interview. In my case, this interview was to asses my technical background, to assess how the skills that I already had would fit into the course curriculum and that my technical ambitions matched the content of the course.

As I recall, they were more interested to know about my motivations for joining the course than about my skill-levels. They wanted to be sure that I was actually interested in web development and would be able to put in the work to participate and complete the course.

I believe that the current process includes a small coding challenge in the technical interview. If you want to know more about what that might entail, I advise you to contact the Ironhack team directly or a more recent alumnus.

If you could give your pre-Ironhack self some advice what would it be and why?

The most important advice I would give myself is that it’s really ok to ask questions or for help – from the teachers, the staff and the other students. I’m quite introverted and it takes me a while to feel really comfortable in a large group of people, but if I had known from the start how much I would respect and appreciate the friendship of that group afterwards I think I might have been less shy about asking questions or admitting that I don’t understand something, particularly in the first few weeks.

Still have questions?

Fantastic! If you still have questions about applying to or attending Ironhack, keep an eye out here for the next posts in this series or contact me directly.

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