Tag Archives: programming

Many prospective students have been emailing me and asking about how various programming boot camps compare. How does Dev Bootcamp compare to Hack Reactor? Where can I find an App Academy review? Should I consider doing Hack Reactor instead of a four year degree at Stanford or Berkeley? Most of all I’ve been asked, “What happened after you finished the program? Could you find a job?”

I’m happy to say that Hack Reactor exceeded my expectations in pretty much every way possible. I learned far more than I ever expected and it was the most intense twelve weeks of my life (Except maybe that time I started a business with no capital in a foreign country).


I think the best introductory book to programming that I’ve ever seen is Learn to Program, by Chris Pine.  My buddy I was staying with last summer went through it while I was there and made absolutely fantastic progress.  Despite never having programmed before, really, he tore through it in a week or two and got enough out of it to start programming simple scripts to help with his research job.

The entire book is taught in Ruby, but I don’t think the language used matters that much.  The thing is it teaches concepts basic to almost any kind of programming — functions, classes, recursion, blocks, etc…   And more importantly, it makes them fun!  Even the very simple exercises, such as “deaf Grandma” and “angry boss” were amusing.  My friend has ended up working almost entirely with Python, but everything in the book was still useful and there was little pain in switching to a new language compared to the difficulty of getting started.

When I first got curious about Ruby myself three years ago, I tried the Pick-axe book and gave up out of boredom.  It really could have used regular programming challenges or problems at throughout the book.  Unfortunately almost all the other resources that were around at the time were focused on Rails.  I really wish I’d found this book back then.

Some free online lessons that later became part of the book can be found here: http://pine.fm/LearnToProgram/