26: Fullstack Academy with David Yang (Part 1: The Bootcamp)

"Build your life around systems, not around goals"

This is the first of a two part interview with David Yang, the Co-Founder and Lead Instructor of Fullstack Academy. This interview was recorded on the very last day of my bootcamp cohort when everyone on the panel of 8 graduated and moved on to the next phase of their journey into a tech career. This part focuses on looking back to understand how the sausage got made. We talk about a lot of technical choices made during the history of Fullstack - don't feel overwhelmed if we talk about something you haven't come across, but if you wish to follow up I have included relevant links in the show notes. Finally we end this first part of the interview with some advice for students as they graduate into their post-bootcamp life.

Show Topics:

  • Fullstack's Origins as MBA Codeschool in 2012
  • Entering YCombinator circa 2012 with a "multi-idea application"
  • Writing Fullstack's first syllabus (in Ruby on Rails) during his honeymoon!
  • The struggle of teaching both Ruby and Javascript
  • Iterating towards a Fullstack JS syllabus when everyone else was still teaching Rails
  • Technical Advisory from Michael Nutt of Movable Ink and Bryan Helmkamp of Code Climate
  • Picking the MEAN stack coined by Val Karpov in 2013
  • Switching from Mongo to PostgresQL and from Angular to React
  • Fullstack's curriculum and learning software "LearnDot" has been rewritten three times
  • How does Fullstack make decisions around the curriculum?
  • The MongoDB (NoSQL) vs Postgres (SQL) decision
    • Mongo is good for rapid project iteration but most companies eventually realize they want structure
    • Learning the harder thing (SQL) first and then taking away aspects of it (NoSQL) is better than the other way around
    • The Dominance of Firebase in Senior phase Capstone projects vs the backend curriculum in Junior Phase
  • What's important about the difference between Junior Phase and Senior Phase?
    • Think about learning in terms of switchbacks instead of linear progression
    • Senior Phase is about synthesis: the roles of the three major projects of Ecommerce, Stackathon, and Capstone
  • Why is it important to have CS Saturday Workshops and CTO lectures? Knowing what you don't know
  • Security in the wake of Yahoo and Equifax hacks: Security is like defending a city with no gates.
  • The Future of Fullstack
    • Is there a future where we only learn serverless backends instead of traditional VPS backend? Probably not. Not knowing/owning your infrastructure is a high risk proposition
    • If Junior Phase was one week longer - what would you add? Virtual DOM workshop, Redux Saga. More CSS/Design. 
  • Advice for The Post-Bootcamp Cliff

Extra Links

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