Boomer Graduates DEV Bootcamp with New Coding Skills

Posted by on Thu, Jan 8, 2015

Boomer graduates DEV Bootcamp

Searching for passion.

Are you ready to begin your passion career? What would make you take that leap? For 53-year-old investment banker Sean O’Toole, it was both financial security and a little smack talk from his wife. “The trading world had really changed quite dramatically from when I started in the 1980s. I just wanted to do something new and something I found interesting,” O’Toole says of his venture into the software development world. “It also didn’t hurt that my wife owns a manufacturing company and razzes me a lot that she makes things and adds to the net output of the world,” he adds, “while I was just being a middleman in the trading world.”

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O’Toole’s love of problem-solving led him to explore computer coding bootcamps—intensive, two to four month programs which immerse newcomers in software development skills. O’Toole wanted the training to jump-start the development of some trading software that had been on his mind for a number of years. “I started looking quite seriously at software development 10 years ago and the resources out there, unless you were willing to go back to college, were entirely books and just figuring things out on your own” he explains, “When I came to realize that there were programs like DEV Bootcamp that were appearing, I thought, ‘Well, if I don’t do it now, I’m probably not going to do it in 10 or 20 years.’ So it’s time.”

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Making the change

O”Toole applied to DEV bootcamp and was accepted into the 19-week program which promises “a transformative education” on their website which reads: “At Dev Bootcamp, we teach more than code. We teach you how to learn faster than you ever thought possible and have fun while doing it.” O’Toole can now attest to truth of that bold statement, “It is very fast paced,” he says, “There’s a tremendous amount of work. Very few people, at least when I was there, finish all of the work, but it was a fun environment, there’s absolutely no doubt.” The fun part, says O”Toole, was collaborating with people of all ages and backgrounds. “It’s like going back to college,” he explains, “You bond over sharing an intense experience.”

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The experience O’Toole shared at DEV Bootcamp wit the rest of the students in his colhort, first began with 9 weeks of online prep courses from home which he was  competed while continuing to work the trade floor. He then left his trading job to begin DEV Bootcamp’s 9-week immersive program in Chicago, one of DEV’s three on-campus locations (San Francisco and New York are the other two.) O’Toole, a Kansas man, happened to own an apartment in Chicago for business purposes, but for others who need housing, the popularity of bootcamps has caused a cottage industry of camp rentals, often called hacker homes, to spring up around bootcamp locations.

Once at DEV Bootcamp, the students work through three intensive, 3-week phases of computer coding basics learning skills in such computer languages as Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, and HTML 5. The students then complete final group projects to bolster their portfolios, and finish with a career week which tech companies attend to interview the graduates. DEV Bootcamp boasts that it has an 85 percent hiring rate and a large network of alumni willing to help graduates get started in their new field.

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Up and running.

Because of the fast pace at the bootcamp, DEV allows its students to repeat up to two phases of the on-campus program if they choose, so O’Toole actually finished the 9-week immersive section of his program over 15 weeks back in 2013. In preparation for starting his own business, which many of the graduates have in mind, DEV Bootcamp also helped him secure an apprenticeship. He is now working with others to develop computer software programs that utilize his knowledge of the trading world, and he expects his new company website,, to be up and running in early 2015. “It was a great experience. I would do it again in an instant,” O’Toole says without hesitation, “Making the decision to career-change at this point in life—I couldn’t have done it without a program like DEV.”

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