How to Choose the Right Coding Bootcamp: A Complete Guide
A coding bootcamp is a great alternative if you’re hoping to break into tech or level up your coding skills. The best coding bootcamps offer intensive, short-term training with a practical, hands-on approach to help you launch a successful career. If you’re considering this educational path and are wondering how to choose a coding bootcamp that matches your goals, read on.
In this article, we walk you through the steps prospective students need to take to choose the right coding bootcamp, and the different factors you should consider when making your decision. We will also discuss the common characteristics of top coding bootcamps, and the types of jobs you can land after graduating from this type of program. Let’s dive in.
How to Pick a Coding Bootcamp: Step by Step
To pick a coding bootcamp, you should consider your overarching goals, your financial situation, the time you want to spend studying, and the quality of education you will receive. Follow these steps so you can get clear on your goals and find the right bootcamp for you.
1. Get Clear on Your Personal and Professional Goals
Before you choose a coding bootcamp, it’s important that gain clarity on your career goals. A coding bootcamp is an investment of time and money, so you need to know what you want to get out of your education. Are you trying to break into the tech industry with no experience? Are you trying to upskill or learn a specific programming language to gain access to better job opportunities? Take time to reflect on this, as it will help orient your selection process.
It can also help to think about goals beyond your career. Are you trying to gain more flexibility in your life? Do you want to work fewer hours so you can spend time with loved ones or practice your hobbies? Are you looking for a new intellectual challenge? Whatever your reasons, get clear on your why. This will help you stay consistent and push through any resistance.
2. Assess Your Current Level of Experience
Are you completely new to the tech industry? Then you need to find bootcamps for absolute beginners. Do you have some experience under your belt? Then perhaps you need a program with a bit more depth. Are you hoping to switch fields or learn a specific skill? Then opt for an advanced bootcamp that focuses on your chosen topic.
In addition to your technical skills and experience, take stock of your soft skills. Suppose you’re good at communicating with others and love teamwork. In that case, you can consider careers such as digital marketer or UX/UI designer where you will often interact with clients and team members. If you prefer working alone and diving into your tasks, options such as data science might be a better fit.
3. Decide Which Field You Want to Break Into
Once you are clear on your goals and where you are in your learning journey, start looking into career options that interest you. Coding bootcamps cover a wide variety of topics, from back end and frontend development to cyber security and mobile app development. Learning about the different tasks professionals do every day can also help you get clear on which career in tech is right for you.
4. Research Different Bootcamp Options
Once you’ve gained clarity about your career path, you can start looking at bootcamp options. Coding bootcamps come in all shapes and sizes, and a quick Google search will yield plenty of options. Start taking note of the ones that you find interesting and select programs that sound right for you.
5. Compare Curricula and Instructors
Once you have a list of potential bootcamps, take a deeper look at the curriculum for each one. Most bootcamps do their best to stay up to date with current tech market trends, but you might find some key differences that can sway you one way or the other.
Your bootcamp experience will be greatly affected by the quality of your instructors, so make sure you look into them and get a sense of their experience both as professionals in their field and as teachers. Make sure to also check whether you’ll be able to reach out to them with questions and get their support outside the classroom.
6. Decide Your Preferred Bootcamp Format
Another important factor to consider is the format of your bootcamp program. Depending on how much time you have available, you can consider full-time bootcamps or part-time bootcamps. Full-time bootcamps will allow you to quickly become job ready, while part-time options are great if you have other responsibilities and can’t make a significant time commitment.
To fulfill your career goals, you can also select between online bootcamps, in-person bootcamps, or hybrid options depending on your location, needs, and preferred learning style.
- Online bootcamps. Online bootcamps are the most popular option and allow you to enroll in programs regardless of your location and without having to commute.
- In-person bootcamps. Some bootcamps offer in-person options for students who prefer to interact with teachers and peers directly. It’s a great option if you have a bit more flexibility and prefer to be immersed in your learning environment.
- Hybrid bootcamps. Some hybrid bootcamp options exist that combine the benefits of an in-person experience with the flexibility of online options.
7. Check Tuition and Financing Options
Bootcamp tuition costs can vary depending on the school and program you choose. Each bootcamp will also offer a set of financing options to help you cover your tuition, such as payment plans and deferred tuition options. See below for a list of common financing options so you can select the one that best matches your current financial needs.
- Payment plans. Bootcamps typically offer payment plans to help students divide tuition costs into various installments.
- Deferred tuition. Some bootcamps offer a deferred tuition option where students aren’t required to pay full tuition until after they graduate and secure a job. Make sure to read the fine print so you understand the terms and conditions of your deferred tuition agreement.
- Loans. Both public and private loans are common financing options for bootcamp students. Securing a loan can help you cover tuition costs and focus on achieving your career goals.
- Scholarships and grants. Many bootcamp programs, as well as public and private organizations, offer scholarships and grants for students from diverse backgrounds and with diverse financial needs.
- Income Share Agreements (ISAs). Some schools offer ISAs, which allow students to complete their bootcamp education without any upfront payments. You must commit to paying a percentage of your future income after you land a job to cover tuition costs.
8. Consider Career Services and Job Placement Rate
Bootcamps typically offer career services designed to help students break into the tech job market after graduation. They can include support for creating a portfolio, interview preparation, and coaching to aid in your job search. Some bootcamps also offer a job guarantee, meaning you can get your tuition refunded if you fail to find a job after graduation. Make sure to study the career services offered by each program so you can get the support you need.
Student outcomes and coding bootcamp job placement rates are also worth considering when choosing a bootcamp. A high job placement rate reflects well on a program and shows that you’re likely to find success and fulfill your career goals after completing your studies.
9. Look Into Student Reviews and Graduation Rates
Bootcamp graduates will often leave reviews after graduating from a program. This can be a great way to find out about the strengths and weaknesses of a particular bootcamp, which can in turn help you make an informed decision.
Another thing to consider is the bootcamp graduation rate. The number of bootcamp grads can tell you a lot about the quality of the education and the support students receive throughout the program.
10. Apply to Your Chosen Programs
Once you’ve picked the right bootcamp for you, you can start submitting applications. You can always apply to more than one option if there are several that fit your criteria. Make sure to check the requirements for your chosen program, be clear on how you will finance your bootcamp education, and hone your interview skills so you can impress admissions representatives.
What Sets the Best Coding Bootcamps Apart?
The best coding bootcamps offer students quality training, support throughout the program and after graduation, and access to excellent teachers and resources. See below to learn the main qualities that make top coding bootcamps stand out from the competition.
- An up-to-date curriculum. The best coding bootcamps will offer a comprehensive curriculum that matches the needs and expectations of employers in the tech industry.
- High-quality teachers. Top bootcamps hire experienced instructors with a combination of industry experience and a passion for teaching.
- Stellar career support. Career support is a fundamental aspect of your bootcamp experience, and the best coding bootcamps will provide students with support to complete applications, succeed at interviews, and land jobs in their chosen field.
- Quality resources and tools. Top bootcamps provide students with access to high-quality resources and tools, including project management tools and the latest learning platforms.
- Various payment options. Quality bootcamps will provide students with different payment options to ensure that they can get access to an education regardless of their financial situation.
- A strong student community. Top bootcamps also provide students with access to strong student communities where they can get support from peers during and after their program.
- A solid reputation in the coding bootcamp market. The best coding bootcamps, such as App Academy, Fullstack Academy, Tech Elevator, and Springboard have years of experience and a strong reputation in the bootcamp education sphere.
What Jobs Can I Get After a Coding Bootcamp?
|Profession||Average Salary||Job Outlook|
|Information Security Analyst||$102,600||35%|
Completing a coding bootcamp opens up a world of possibilities in the tech industry. You can land some of the best tech jobs with hands-on training and career services you will receive. Keep reading to learn about the most common jobs for coding bootcamp grads you can land, and what they entail.
Software engineers are in charge of designing, developing, testing, and maintaining computer systems and applications that solve specific problems. These professionals rely on their technical skills to do the job, so they need to understand computer science, be fluent in various programming languages, and learn how to implement different software engineering methodologies. You can enter this field by enrolling in a software engineering bootcamp.
Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts use their cyber security skills to help organizations keep their sensitive data safe. They protect computer systems, networks, and databases from cyber attacks. They also set up firewalls and other security measures, conduct penetration testing, and are responsible for updating security software and systems regularly.
Data scientists help organizations achieve their goals by analyzing enormous amounts of data to extract useful information. This information can then be translated into actionable steps and strategies to help businesses move forward, make effective use of their resources, streamline processes, and drive innovation. Data scientists also build predictive models and identify opportunities for improvement.
UX and UI designers are in charge of creating interfaces that are user-friendly, intuitive, and aesthetically pleasing for apps and other software products. These professionals collaborate closely with software engineers and project managers to create products according to the needs and specifications of clients. They need strong research skills to understand user needs and improve their designs accordingly.
Are Coding Bootcamps Worth it?
Yes, coding bootcamps are worth it if you’re trying to break into the tech industry and enter the job market with an up-to-date skillset. The benefits of bootcamp education include flexibility, curricula that match current market trends, and career support to help you land a role after graduating.
To choose a coding bootcamp, make sure you’re clear on your career goals, the time commitment you can make, your learning style, and the specific industry you want to enter. You can also look at bootcamp student outcomes and the different types of financing options to help you make the right choice for your personal and professional life.
How to Choose a Coding Bootcamp FAQ
Yes, coding bootcamps are a great option for complete beginners. Both in-person and online coding bootcamps can help you learn the fundamentals of coding over a short period of time. They provide hands-on learning to help you gain experience, build a portfolio, and become job-ready.
How long it takes to learn coding can vary depending on how much time you dedicate to studying and practicing your skills. Generally speaking, it can take you between a few weeks to a few months to master the fundamentals of coding and become fluent in a specific programming language.
The choice between coding bootcamp vs college ultimately comes down to your career goals and preferences. A coding bootcamp can help you land your dream job by providing you with industry-relevant skills over a short period of time. However, college offers a broader education and the chance to network with peers and professors while you learn.
To prepare for your bootcamp interview, start by studying common coding bootcamp interview questions and practicing your answers with a friend. Make sure you learn about the bootcamp and identify how their program matches your career goals. In addition, be ready to ask questions during the interview.