How to transform a Windows developer into a full stack .NET web developer in 9 weeks

The third FireBootCamp started this week on January 19th. Gerard Beckerleg, SSW Solution Architect, is the mentor this time around. As the head mentor of the program, his job is to transform a group of Windows developers and junior developers into full stack web developers in just 9 weeks.

Sounds like a huge undertaking? Well, it is – especially when you consider the students will also build a real world app by delivering 7 sprints during the boot camp.

The boot camp is high pressure for a few reasons:

  1. Many concepts to learn – The students will be taught a huge amount of information with topics ranging from ASP.NET MVC, AngularJS, Web API, HTML5, Bootstrap, continuous deployment, Microsoft Azure, Unit Testing, Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, Entity Framework, dependency injection and much more
  2. Instantly apply what they learn – They need to take that information and then apply what they have learned to create the real world app. Typically they are taught the concepts in the morning and then apply those concepts to their project in the afternoon
  3. Deliver features weekly – The students deliver their software in 7 weekly sprints using Scrum [keep consistent with SSW website – “Scrum” should be capitalised] with a real Product Owner and Scrum Master. The learning curve is steep and they are held accountable for their estimates and the features that are delivered and not delivered

We feel the best way to train a developer in the art of software development is by mentoring them as they build a real world app. Attending a 5 day instructor led course does not give you enough time to absorb and use the information taught in the real world. So you may leave with lots of new concepts, but you usually hit many roadblocks when you try to apply these concepts without the instructor. An alternative to instructor led training is mentoring. SSW has a Mentoring Program where SSW Solution Architects work alongside development teams for 3-12 months. During this time the team delivers a project with the mentor  working alongside them coding, training, mentoring the team members and performing code reviews. To hire a full time mentor costs between $8K – $10K per week.

One of the reasons we created FireBootCamp was to make this mentoring approach more affordable. The 9 week program of FireBootCamp costs just under $10K per student.

We now have many companies, including Flongle and Janison, send their junior or mid-level developers to FireBootCamp to learn how to build scalable and secure enterprise web applications.

Each students gets to experience the highs and lows of delivering fully tested, deployable features on a weekly basis at the boot camp. Some of the students have reported returning to their companies with more real world experience at using Scrum on a successful project than many of their more experienced peers.

After running a few of these boot camps over the last few years we feel we understand the process of transforming a windows developer into a full stack .NET web developer. Those steps include:

  1. Train the developers to use the technology
  2. Allow the developers to apply what they learn to a real world application so they discover the use cases that the training did not cover
  3. Provide an experienced mentor who can show them the tips, tricks and best practices you cannot find in books and online
  4. Help them develop a project with a real product owner in an environment where the Scrum best practices are followed

The formula is pretty simple, but the execution is the challenge. How does a company create this environment for their employees on a consistent basis? Most companies can be successful at delivering one or two of these steps for a period of time, but most will find it hard to be consistent or provide all simultaneously.

That is why FireBootCamp is becoming the first choice for many development managers to get their teams trained up in full stack web development. In 9 weeks they will be ready to contribute to your next project and they will arrive with a full set of skills including programming, communication and delivering deployable software on a weekly basis.

To find out more about how FireBootCamp can help you train your team go to