Starting a tech career isn’t easy, especially if you’re learning a completely new programming language. And if you’re learning in a bootcamp setting, you’ll have to move pretty quickly. The right instructor can help you keep up with the rigor and pace of a coding bootcamp and even prevent you from procrastinating. Think of them as pacemakers in a marathon, supporting you as you go through the program and making sure you achieve your goals.
Practicum’s programs last longer than many other bootcamps, so keeping up with the pace is key. That’s why Practicum’s tutors invest much of their time in their students, making sure their skills remain sharp and they stay on track of their training, which typically lasts between seven and 10 months.
Whether you’re in Practicum’s web development, data analytics, or data science programs, this bootcamp believes that you’ll have a strong learning experience from someone who cares deeply about your future.
We’ve spoken to tutors at Practicum so you can hear about their years of experience and philosophy as educators. And to confirm that these tutors really do provide a great experience, we’ve also heard from some of their most successful students to get their takes on the program.
Practicum’s programs start with hours of free support and instruction, so you can try before you buy.Sign up for Practicum today.
Meet Practicum’s Tutors
All Practicum tutors must have at least three years of professional experience in their field so that they can give their students industry insight to go with their new coding skills. Tutors also use their industry experience to guide all of the duties that they perform for the program.
Beyond instruction, their duties include Q&As, AMAs, and live coding sessions for each project, communication in several Slack channels, and even answering direct messages in certain urgent cases.
All of Practicum’s tutors are based in the United States, so there should always be one available in your time zone. If you need help with an urgent question when your instructor isn’t available, you can always lean on the Practicum’s support team as well. The support team is there to answer questions around the clock, in addition to their other roles.
81% of participants stated they felt more confident about their tech job prospects after attending a bootcamp. Get matched to a bootcamp today.
The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
There are several tutors at Practicum that have been with the company for a while. During their time in the field, they’ve seen several cohorts go from struggling beginners to pros who are ready to pursue the next step in their careers. Let’s see what they have to say about why they continue to love the field after all this time, and how students feel about the tutors that they’ve seen in the program.
AJ Webb – Web Development Tutor
With a last name like Webb, AJ’s probably heard every web development joke possible. But his dedication to the craft is no laughing matter. He’s been developing for 11 and a half years at this point, ever since he got his BS in Digital Media from Utah Valley University with a focus on Web Design and Development.
He works full time as the Principal Engineer at Figure Tech and has experience in the past working as a teacher, mentor, and software engineer at several other companies. He was drawn to Practicum because of the opportunity to continue mentoring without having to give up his current position.
“I love teaching and was excited to find Practicum,” AJ said. “It’s an opportunity for me to teach remotely and still enjoy the mentor/mentee relationships without needing to be in a physical location. I’ve been with Practicum for six months now.”
With his deep well of knowledge and experience, AJ has seen a lot during his time as a software engineer. He’s seen students struggle with big concepts, and he encourages them to look at things from a different angle when they run into trouble.
“When they’re struggling, it’s typically because they’re overwhelmed by the big picture they’re seeing, and they’re having a hard time breaking the task into smaller pieces,” AJ said. “Once they see the smaller pieces and start chunking through it, they typically get past it and gain a lot of confidence.”
That confidence is what students need to start their journey into a new career. And many students place a high value on the experience that their tutors provide, along with their accessibility.
The Student: Jake McCambley
Jake McCambley had to pivot careers when the pandemic hit. Like many others, he decided to learn what coding bootcamps had to offer. He had three big concerns when it came to finding the right bootcamp: cost, flexibility, and engaging material. He did a lot of research trying to find the bootcamp that combined all three.
He initially applied to another renowned bootcamp, but he found the cost kind of discouraging after a while.
“The cost, $23,000, was a pretty big ask, especially without me knowing if this is something that I really wanted to do,” Jake said. “I wasn’t sure initially if this was just something that was just going to be fun in the middle of a pandemic. I didn’t know if I was going to enjoy this 12 months down the road, and if I didn’t, I’d be out of $23,000. That’s a big difference. So I was looking into something that was a little bit less expensive.”
The structure of the course was very important for his success. Jake was committed to whichever program he was set to join, but he wasn’t sure if a program would be as forgiving as he’d like.
“One of the reasons I didn’t want to pay for a more expensive school is that I’m in Jackson, New Hampshire,” Jake said. “It’s wonderful out here, but it’s pretty remote. My town has one telephone pole and we lose power pretty often when it storms. I didn’t want to be in a five-month bootcamp that if I miss one night of power, I’m out of the course.”
He came upon Practicum organically, and after comparing costs with other bootcamps and talking to some of his programming friends, he decided to give it a chance. Practicum’s bootcamps cost from $8,500 to $11,000, depending on the program.
“It’s a newer course, so it’s less expensive. It’s got a great curriculum. It’s remote and you’re still getting tutors. Those are all great things. And I figured why not take this risk for a less expensive course? If I don’t like it, I can shift out and not be in the hole.”
Jake didn’t expect to have the amount of help that the program offers in a remote setting. Every Sunday, there are pair programming sessions hosted by one of the tutors, and students talk about everything from deploying a back-end for the first time to interview questions.
“That camaraderie is something that I’ve really enjoyed,” Jake said. “These are people who are working for Practicum, but they have also become friends and people who I enjoy seeing on Zoom calls, which is fun. And for a remote course that is part-time throughout the entire 10-month span, I didn’t expect to find people I can jump on a call with and feel comfortable with.”
Besides those sessions, Jake also found that Practicum tutors have live sessions every Wednesday in the program’s Slack. And even when he thinks no one is watching, he’s found that there’s always someone to help him.
“The tutors are dedicated, experienced, engaging, and approachable from top to bottom,” Jake said. “From new students to current students to senior students, the tutors are just one [message] on Slack away. I posted a question on a thread that was kind of old and buried down. Within five minutes, I got an answer from somebody who is dedicated to that portion of the project, and had a conversation and got an answer. They’re helpful.”
Other students have found the tutors just as critical to their success.
Arina Sitnikova – Data Analytics Tutor
Arina Sitnikova learned data analytics skills while pursuing her BS and MA degrees, and she improved those skills by completing a data science internship and a machine learning bootcamp. Before she started teaching at Practicum, she was working on her master’s degree at the University of Toronto.
“Just after I graduated, a friend of mine recommended
Practicum to me and suggested that I should start teaching there based on my love for both
teaching and data,” Arina said. “I gave it a shot—as a result, I have been tutoring in Practicum for 15 months.”
During her time at Practicum, she’s loved working with motivated students who are eager to learn about data analytics. She especially appreciates the chance to lead more projects and pass on her appreciation for data visualization and machine learning. When students struggle, she emphasizes using their resources while offering close guidance.
“If a student is struggling with a task or a project, I try to explain the requirements in more detail,” Arina said. “I also share some useful materials and examples while providing a deeper insight into the concepts. Finally, I’m always open to having a one-on-one conversation where we can go over the problem step by step and live code together if necessary.”
She’s used these methods to help students from all over the world enter the data analytics field. One of the perks of her job is learning from the different perspectives that students bring into the program. She knows how hard it can be for anyone to change careers, and because she’s helped so many people do it, she has some advice.
“It might seem scary before you start,” Arina said. “However, once you’ve begun your new journey, you’ll see how you achieve some progress one step at a time. Even if it’s hard, even if you thought you would never be able to handle it. It only takes one decision to start. So, do it! You won’t ever regret that you gave it a try. And you won’t be alone. Your tutors and fellow students will always be happy to support you throughout your path.”
What does a data analytics student think about this program’s support?
The Student: Sergio Sanchez
Sergio Sanchez has a double degree in business and communications. He used to be in sales development but felt like he could do more for his company. The one problem was that he didn’t know how to get ahead.
“I was a B2B sales developer at a small startup in Madrid,” Sergio said. “Our team sold big data solutions to airlines. I felt stuck and burnt out as a sales developer. I knew I could be doing more, but that I lacked the skills to move to a different position.”
Sergio decided to attend Practicum to learn those skills that he needed to advance. Though he struggled at times, especially with the statistics aspect, he found his tutors and colleagues to be very helpful in his learning journey. He even found he enjoyed the more advanced topics.
“I loved learning about machine learning,” Sergio said. “Even though it’s a complex topic, I enjoyed learning about the cutting-edge technologies that are available to us.”
Sergio’s hard work at Practicum paid off, and he advanced without leaving the startup that he believed in.
“I got a promotion and now I’m a product owner,” Sergio said. “I’m in charge of developing data analytics dashboards, as well as APIs and internal tools for the company.”
Sergio’s story shows that you don’t have to always attend Practicum to leave a company you like and find a new job. The program welcomes upskillers at all stages of their career. Now that Sergio works with data and APIs for his company, he may end up working as a data scientist in the future, much like the next tutor.
Juan Martinez – Data Science Tutor
Juan Martinez is a data scientist, entrepreneur, and tutor with about three years of experience in the field. He learned his craft with a mixture of courses in his bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, along with some personal research. Before he came to Practicum, he was working on his master’s while conducting research with his school in tandem with NASA.
He decided to come to Practicum to test his understanding and give back to beginners in the field.
“I wanted to put what I had learned to the test and in the process, help out any prospective students wanting to get into the data science and/or machine learning fields,” Juan said. “I have been at Practicum for almost a year, about 11 months.”
During his time at Practicum, he’s been impressed with the level of motivation that students have. Even when they struggle during the course, he’s happy to give them some proven strategies to help them conquer their problems. His advice is similar to AJ’s, start simple and then expand.
“Students struggle the most with the math in the course. This ranges from statistics to derivatives, and linear algebra,” Juan said. “Whenever a student is having a hard time, I highly emphasize breaking down the problem into micro problems. Although this may seem simplistic and obvious, the vast majority of problems I’ve helped students with have emerged from trying to do too much without fully understanding the effect of each step.”
Juan works to transform students into independent thinkers with a passion for their newfound field.
“I most enjoy teaching students how to learn on their own and gain independence as well as ownership of their education,” Juan said. “Programs, degrees, and, by extension, tutors and professors will not always be there to answer students’ questions. This requires students to learn the art of learning.”
But what do data science students think about their instructors?
The Student: Kevin Olivier
Kevin Olivier had just finished his PhD after working as a private investigator for seven years. He wanted to learn more about Python because he was thinking of getting into tech. That’s when he discovered Practicum.
“I wanted a more applied job where the results of my work provide a practical, tangible benefit,” Kevin said. “I couldn’t think of how to start learning on my own. Practicum’s introduction was well structured, and I learned a lot. The reviews were fantastic, and it was affordable. Others were around $15,000 or above, which I couldn’t cover as a student.”
During his time in the course, Kevin treated it like a full-time job. He worked from 8 am to 5 pm, studying and making in-depth notes. He worked on his problems as thoroughly as possible, and though he didn’t struggle much during his learning experience, he still found the tutors to be helpful.
“I’d say the closest I got to struggling was when I was learning stats and numerical methods,” Kevin said. “My problem was that I just couldn’t grasp the material initially. The tutors explained everything to me via Slack. They also provided in-depth explanations during their tutorials.”
Kevin learned quite a bit during the course, and the way the tutors presented the material really helped him. There was a lot that he enjoyed about the course.
“I’ve got two favorite moments from the course,” Kevin said. “My first was when I built my first machine learning (ML) model. I was so surprised at how easy it was and how you can train a computer to make predictions using massive amounts of data.”
“The second was when I realized I was capable of doing this on my own. I started entering Kaggle competitions and working on private projects. Since graduating, I’ve learned how to use so many new libraries and train so many models on GPUs, including stacked models.”
Kevin loves the learning process in his new field, so he’s looking for a job with a larger company offering in-house learning opportunities. But he feels he has his tutor to thank for his foundation in the field.
“They not only helped me understand some of the material but also encouraged me to explore on my own and try to solve machine learning challenges by myself,” Kevin said. “Their feedback has given me the confidence I needed to try branching out on my own, and it’s been a great experience.”
If Kevin had to describe Practicum’s tutors, he’d have a lot of praise to offer.
“They’re diligent and truly invested in making sure that you understand the material and feel comfortable implementing what you’ve learned,” Kevin said. “I’ve never waited long for answers to my questions and never felt uncomfortable or insecure coming to them. They’re genuinely nice, patient, and very helpful.”
Learn from Experts with Years of Experience
Every one of the tutors that we’ve highlighted is experienced and passionate about helping students. These are people who love teaching and appreciate the opportunity that Practicum gives them to pass on their knowledge to the next generation of their profession.
Each student that we’ve highlighted has tried to give you a picture of what to expect from your Practicum tutors. They appreciated the availability that their tutors offer and the numerous opportunities that they give them to grow professionally and personally.
If you’d like to see what Practicum has to offer personally, you can sign up for the free demo sprint that the course offers on its site. You can also browse Practicum’s full offerings here.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.