How to Get Into a Coding Bootcamp
With their above-average salaries and impressive job growth statistics, careers in the tech field have become increasingly appealing to people of all backgrounds. Traditional educational paths, such as degree programs, can be inaccessible and time-consuming, leading many people to wonder how to get into a coding bootcamp.
With such a range of schools available, finding the right school and beginning your bootcamp application might seem overwhelming. This article will walk you through how to identify and successfully apply to your chosen program. We also discuss common coding bootcamp requirements and interview questions. If you want to learn how to start a coding bootcamp program, you’ve come to the right place.
How Do I Choose a Coding Bootcamp?
If you want to be successful in your coding bootcamp journey, the first thing you need to do is identify what kind of program is the best fit for you. In this section, we discuss the most important factors to consider before you choose a coding bootcamp.
The best coding bootcamp programs are often designed to prepare students for a specific career, such as web developer, UX/UI designer, data analyst, or software engineer. That means that before you choose a school, it is important to consider what job titles you are aiming to land.
For example, if your ultimate goal is to work in cyber security, you may want to focus on schools that offer a specialized program in that field. If you are unsure what career is a good fit for you, a program with a broad software development or web development curricula might be a better option.
Preferred Learning Format
Coding bootcamps come in all shapes and sizes, so you will need to carefully decide what format will best suit your learning style. If you enjoy the freedom of remote learning, you can choose an online program instead of an in-person option. If you need structure and deadlines to get your work done, you may thrive in a bootcamp with live classes instead of pre-recorded lectures.
Even though coding bootcamps are generally more affordable than college degrees, they can still be a significant financial investment. Luckily, bootcamps range in price from completely free to over $20,000, which means there are options for all students.
Just because a bootcamp is more expensive doesn’t mean it is always the best option. Throughout your research, pay attention to what payment methods each school accepts and take advantage of scholarships when you can. Ultimately, make sure you find a program that fits your budget.
How to Get Into a Coding Bootcamp: Step-by-Step Guide
Once you have a better idea of what kind of bootcamp will be a good fit for your career goals, financial situation, and learning preferences, it will be time to turn your attention to choosing your top schools and beginning the coding bootcamp application process.
Step 1: Research Coding Bootcamps
Using the criteria we discussed above, identify a short list of coding bootcamps that you want to investigate more comprehensively. Read through their websites to get an idea of what kind of students they are looking for and make note of any admission requirements. Do they accept beginners? Are the skills you need for your chosen career included in their curricula?
Some coding bootcamps are more competitive than others. Even if it does not publish an acceptance rate, reading through a school’s admissions processes or FAQ page can often give you a good idea of how rigorous the application process will be.
Step 2: Visit Campus or Attend Online Open Houses
It is generally a good idea to tour a campus before you apply for an in-person bootcamp. Remote informational open houses can serve this purpose for online schools. If your chosen school hosts free workshops or informational sessions, make sure you attend.
In these environments, you will gain more detailed and comprehensive information about your program, including the application process and requirements. You might also be able to connect with your future instructors. If your school provides free prep programs or short courses, you may want to enroll to test whether the format and learning methods used by the school are effective for you.
Step 3: Fill in Your Skill Gaps
If you are concerned about technical interviews or skill tests, you can enroll in online courses or use free tutorials to boost your confidence or build introductory skills. If you have no tech experience, it might be a good idea to try out a few online courses before enrolling in a coding bootcamp to ensure you are on the right track.
Step 4: Begin Your Application
Most coding bootcamp applications begin with filling out a short form on the school’s website. Afterwards, a representative from the school will reach out to provide more information about the next steps. While most coding bootcamps only ask for basic information at this stage, you may need to provide a resume or portfolio for more competitive schools.
Step 5: Complete Skills Tests or Assessments
It is very common for coding bootcamps to have students complete aptitude tests or coding assessments as part of the application process. If your program is meant for beginners, you may still need to pass a logic or analytical thinking quiz. The purpose of these tests is to ensure that you can think like a coder and succeed in the program.
Step 6: Prepare for Your Interview
Some coding bootcamps require only a short phone interview that primarily serves as an opportunity to provide you with more information about your program. Others may require students to sit for more formal behavioral interviews. Make sure you are ready to discuss your career goals and explain why you feel you are a good candidate for the program.
If you are applying for a more advanced bootcamp, you may need to sit for a technical interview. Make sure you prepare adequately and review what kind of questions and skills you are likely to be asked about. Talk through your answers so your interviewer can follow your problem-solving process and don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions.
Coding Bootcamp Interview Process
For many students, the admissions interview is the most intimidating part of the coding bootcamp application process. In this section, we will break down what you can expect from a behavioral or technical interview for a coding bootcamp, as well as provide some commonly asked questions to help you prepare.
If you are applying to a more competitive school, your behavioral interview may closely resemble a traditional job interview. It may last around 30 to 45 minutes, and you can expect to be asked about your educational and professional background, career goals, and what you hope to gain from your experience at the bootcamp.
During a behavioral coding interview, bootcamp admissions counselors attempt to assess whether applicants have the drive and passion to complete the program successfully. They will want to see that you will be able to keep up with the coursework and contribute positively to the school environment.
Sample Coding Bootcamp Behavioral Interview Questions:
- Do you prefer to work in a team or independently?
- What inspired you to get into coding?
- What are your long-term career goals?
- Do you have any strategies in place to help you manage your time effectively?
As most bootcamps are designed for beginners, interviews that test for coding competency are uncommon, though you may have to pass a logic or aptitude test. These tests generally take place online, and in some cases, you will have multiple opportunities to pass.
Technical coding bootcamp interview questions vary depending on the type of program you are applying for, so make sure to use any information provided by the school to help you prepare. You may find free study materials or a breakdown of what skills will be tested. For example, Fullstack Academy offers three prep programs to help students pass its coding challenge.
If you are required to sit for a technical interview, make sure you have a thorough understanding of what skills and concepts the school expects incoming students to be familiar with because they are the technologies you are most likely to be tested on.
Sample Coding Bootcamp Technical Interview Questions:
- Define object oriented programming.
- How do you reverse a string in Java?
- What are the key features of Python?
Coding Bootcamp Payment Methods
One of the most important factors to consider before you get started on your coding bootcamp application is how you will cover tuition. Coding bootcamps offer a wider variety of payment methods than traditional degree programs, so it is important to fully understand all your options.
Making an upfront payment to cover tuition before class begins is often the cheapest way to attend your course. It also means that you can put your full attention on your studies without worrying about keeping up with installment payments or paying off loans. However, coding bootcamps can be a significant investment, and this is not a realistic option for all students.
Coding Bootcamp Loan
Loan providers such as Climb Credit and Ascent Funding have partnered with hundreds of coding bootcamps to help students cover the cost of their education. You may have between one and three years to pay back the cost of tuition, as well as your accrued interest. Private loan providers are a popular option because coding bootcamp students are not eligible for national student loans or grants.
Income Share Agreement
An income share agreement is a relatively new form of student loan. It allows students to attend their course free of charge. After they graduate and land a job, they repay the school a certain percentage of their salary for a set period of time. Many students who do not qualify for private student loans choose an income share agreement as an alternative.
Deferred Payment Plan
A deferred payment plan allows you to cover the cost of tuition in regular installments after graduation. Unlike with an income share agreement, the amount you pay will not be affected by your career or income status.
Many top coding bootcamps offer a range of scholarships to help lower the cost of tuition and keep education accessible to all students. Many of these opportunities are designed to support veterans and their families, lower-income students, and members of communities that are traditionally underrepresented in the tech field. You may want to ask about available discounts and scholarships at some point during your coding bootcamp application process.
Coding Bootcamp Admissions Process: Tips for Success
The coding bootcamp admissions process varies greatly from school to school. In some cases, all you need to do is create an account and provide a payment method to enroll in a course. In other cases, it may be a competitive process that requires you to pass multiple interviews and coding skills tests. Here are some tips to help you land a spot at your first choice bootcamp.
Do Your Research
If you want to get into a coding bootcamp with a low acceptance rate, it is important that you learn as much about that school as you can. Read reviews online, research the job titles held by the school’s alumni, and make sure you have a good idea of what sort of student the school is looking for.
For example, some schools prioritize community building and frequently assign group projects, while others expect you to complete your work more independently. This sort of cultural information is important to know because it can help you make the case of why you are a good fit for this specific program.
Be Clear About Your Own Goals
Coding bootcamps are looking for students who will have the drive and diligence it takes to keep up with coursework demands and go on to begin successful careers. If you want to show an admissions team that you are that student, you first need clarity about your long-term goals.
Show that you have given your career path careful consideration and that you are prepared to put in the hard work it takes to achieve your goals. Succeeding in a rigorous and comprehensive coding bootcamp takes commitment and dedication, and you will want to portray yourself as someone who will follow through.
Pay Attention to the Details
One of the simplest things you can do to maximize your chances of success during your coding bootcamp application process is to pay attention to details. Stick to application deadlines, make sure you are on time for your interviews, and if you have been asked to provide a portfolio or resume, make sure that you do so.
Carefully review your coding bootcamp’s requirements. Does it ask that you have experience with specific coding languages or technologies? Does it expect students to have any professional work experience? Before you begin your bootcamp application, it is important to make sure you meet its acceptance criteria.
Take Advantage of the Resources Available to You
Many coding bootcamps offer free training courses, workshops, or informational sessions. These opportunities provide prospective applicants with more information about the school or help them develop the skills necessary to be successful in the program. Even if you are confident in your technical abilities, it is always a good idea to take advantage of these offerings.
Informational sessions and workshops provide valuable insight into what your experience in the main program will be like and might even help you make connections with your future instructors. Short courses and prep programs might seem unnecessary if you already have some coding experience, but they are likely to cover the exact skills you will be tested on in your interview.
Is Attending a Coding Bootcamp Worth it?
Yes, attending a coding bootcamp is worth it, especially if you have carefully considered the relevant criteria and have chosen the right school for your needs. A coding bootcamp can help you kickstart a successful and reliable tech career in under a year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software development jobs are expected to grow by an impressive 25 percent over the next decade.
It can be intimidating to start down a career path in a new field, but the process of how to get into a coding bootcamp is not complicated. If you are passionate about learning hands-on skills and techniques that will help you thrive as a tech professional, you can start filling out your bootcamp application today.
How to Get Into a Coding Bootcamp FAQ
Taking a few days to study basic concepts before going to a coding bootcamp is a good idea, even if your program is for beginners. This can get you in the mindset of learning and can increase your confidence. If your bootcamp requires more significant preparation, you may be asked to complete assigned pre-work or a prep course. This can take up to four weeks.
It can be hard to get accepted into a top coding bootcamp, especially if you are attending a well-regarded school with limited cohort sizes. However, the coding bootcamp application process is not always challenging. In fact, there are several well-known schools with an open admissions policy.
The best way to stand out in the coding bootcamp application process is to show the admissions team that you have done your research and are prepared to succeed in the program. Make sure you fully understand your chosen coding bootcamp’s requirements and be prepared to explain why you are a good fit for that specific program during the interview.
Yes, you can start a coding bootcamp without experience. In fact, most coding bootcamps are designed for complete beginners. It is also very common to provide prep programs and short courses that go over the basics to ensure that all students begin with some familiarity with the fundamentals.