Dev Bootcamp is closing.

That’s a hard truth to swallow, but it is a reality. But let me be clear: It didn’t fail. It didn’t collapse under some ideological failing, which is the most damaging failure to me.

It didn’t fail because right now there are graduates and current students of said program who are talking about next steps. What to do, who to talk to. Some of those discussions on the alumni channels are about how to keep Dev Bootcamp alive. While a few have talked about keeping the institution itself alive, most are talking about how to pay it forward. How to make open source curriculums that pass on our values.

There are going to be plenty of success stories that have come out of Dev Bootcamp. People who saw this organization as their Last Chance to do Something Great. They have done and do great things every day.

My feelings on the closure are mixed.

I don’t regret going to Dev Bootcamp. Never did I find a more committed, caring, and empowered tribe. I’ve made many friends and connections that I am so grateful to have in my life every day. Never have I found a place where I belonged more, with people who were interested in making everyone feel welcome.

Dev Bootcamp taught a lot of things. Ruby, JavaScript, basic programming principles. Those are all important if you plan on being in this industry. If I may quote someone from our alumni network “When a[n] interviewer asks you ‘what did you like about [D]ev [B]ootcamp?’ …my answer has never been ‘the part where we were taught coding’”.

Coding was important, but just as important if not more important was the holistic concept that to be a good employee and a good programmer, you need to be a good person. You need to understand how to put ego aside, how to interact with people in an actionable, specific, and kind manner. You need to be empathetic and honest.

It’s in the spirit of that honesty that I say this: I am not a success story. Through personal failings, mental health difficulties, and a stroke of bad luck, I took a lot of opportunity and privilege and didn’t manage it well. I can’t talk about jobs landed or the ways that my life has changed professionally. A lot has changed for me, and I am hustling more than I ever have been, but it is worth saying that I do not fit the usual narrative. (I’m currently supervising a project I brought to my current employer, which would have never happened without my training at Dev Bootcamp, or the knowledge that I gained from it.)

Nowhere else did I find a tribe more willing to help, more willing to pay it forward. I latched on to that. It’s why I teach kids how to code in my spare time. It’s why I mentored and was a teaching assistant on site. In the past I’ve been ashamed to ask for help, but I’ve never been turned away by this community. The teachers deserve special praise for the care and time they put into making sure that material was understood and that people were healthy despite the intensity of the program. They’ve changed lives.

It’s been said that we are “limited edition” now. We are the the few and proud “boots”.

If you ever see Dev Bootcamp on an application, take notice. They might be an instructor who has been in the thick of it, having to know every intimate detail of code so that they could answer tough questions. They could be graduates who have worked the hardest they ever have in their lives to be able to ask those tough questions.

Other people have talked about Dev Bootcamp’s influence: it’s why so many coding schools are called “boot camps”, it’s been a respected institution no matter its financial difficulties, even other competitors notice the quality of Dev Bootcamp. From improving representation in a mostly white and male dominated field, to contributing to open source projects, this network of people are driven and committed to making the world a better place.

Why wouldn’t we? It’s what we were taught.