How to Pick a Coding Bootcamp: 2021 Guide
Coding bootcamps are intensive training programs that can help you break into the tech space. The bootcamp industry is more popular today as it teaches different technical skills like web development, cyber security, and data analytics. Coding bootcamps are worth it for anyone who wants to get a job in tech.
If you want to succeed, you need to choose a bootcamp that fits your learning style, schedule, budget, and career goals. Bootcamps can outline a career path for experienced developers and beginners alike. This guide will cover how to pick a coding bootcamp and the benefits of online bootcamp training.
Why Join a Coding Bootcamp
Coding bootcamps help you gain useful hard and soft skills within a short time so you can transition to tech or upskill. In most cases, the bootcamp curriculum is tailored toward finding a job. Instead of enrolling in a four-year bachelor’s degree program, you can be job-ready within weeks. Most bootcamps have a high graduation rate.
An online coding bootcamp offers both convenience and flexibility for working professionals. If you have a full-time job or family obligations, it may be challenging to attend classes on campus daily. However, coding bootcamps allow students to choose the best schedule and learning style for them. They also offer career coaching to prepare you for a career in tech.
Coding Bootcamp vs College
Coding bootcamp courses start with the fundamentals to ensure that you learn everything you need for a career in tech. In most cases, college programs offer comprehensive education on a broad number of topics. With coding bootcamps, there are no electives or general courses, only a curriculum that will teach you everything you need to know.
Also, coding bootcamps are cheaper to attend. In 2020, the average annual tuition and fees for post-secondary institutions were $13,360, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This is around the same cost for a full bootcamp program, which is significantly less in the long run. Most bootcamps also offer many financing options.
Coding bootcamps have their cons as well, such as the schedule. On average, bootcamps last for 12 to 24 weeks. While this is shorter than attending a degree program, it can be too disruptive for some people. Juggling a full-time job during certain bootcamp programs may be nearly impossible. However, you can also find many self-paced options as well.
Can You Learn to Code on Your Own?
Yes, you can learn to code on your own. There are hundreds of resources online that can help you, and many are free. You can take online courses and learn at your own pace on sites like Udemy, Coursera, and FutureLearn. However, it can be tedious, and you may lack the proper direction as there will not be defined class hours or projects.
Like every other skill, learning to code requires dedication, persistence, and time. The difficulty depends on the type of skills you want to learn. In general, self-study lacks the support offered by programs at bootcamps and colleges. You’ll have to work harder to create a network of peers and other professionals.
Are You Ready for a Coding Bootcamp?
You may be ready for a coding bootcamp if you have time to learn and you’re excited to dive into a new experience. You want to have clear goals for your education and future career. You also need to understand your own schedule and learning style and decide whether you’d like to learn online or in person.
You should also know if you’d prefer to learn in a full-time, part-time, or self-paced program. If you choose to attend a full-time program, you may not be able to work. Part-time programs often take place in the evenings or on the weekends, but they take longer to complete. Some popular bootcamps include App Academy, Fullstack Academy, and Tech Elevator.
How to Choose a Bootcamp
Before choosing a bootcamp, you need to know the preferred programming language, technical discipline, and teaching mode you prefer. Do you want to become a video game developer, business analyst, or cyber security expert? Answers to questions like this will help you to narrow down your choices and lead you to a smooth bootcamp experience.
What Is Your Experience with Coding?
Some coding bootcamps have programs for both beginners and intermediate-level bootcamp students, but this is not the case with all bootcamps. Many have coding challenges that applicants must complete before getting admitted. This could affect your chances if you are a complete beginner.
Whatever decision you make, ensure that you investigate the admission requirements of each bootcamp on your list. If the bootcamp requires coding experience, assess your skills to determine if you will meet the requirements. For example, if your dream job is mobile development, try to learn the basics before you enter a bootcamp.
If you want to boost your skills before turning in your application, some bootcamps offer prep courses that teach complete beginners the basics of programming. You can also enroll in free coding bootcamps and learn about the bootcamp space before moving forward. You can save thousands of dollars if you just prepare for your bootcamp.
Are You Interested in a Particular Coding Language?
Ensure that you check if the bootcamp covers the programming language or coding skills you want to learn. Otherwise, it would be a waste of time and effort. If you want to enter the full stack web development space, then ensure that it covers front end and backend development.
Most bootcamps provide overviews of course curriculum and offer access to course syllabi so you can see exactly what you’ll be learning before you enroll. You can also access bootcamp reviews to see what other people are saying about the curriculum. This is also a good way to see your job prospects and the median salary for graduates.
How Do You Learn Best?
Another consideration is the best type of learning method for you. Bootcamps often offer online classes, in-person classes, or sometimes hybrid learning. Some also have self-paced programs where you have to teach yourself. Many bootcamp grads say that this kind of teaching style worked for them.
Not everyone can learn online without motivation from their peers and teachers. Some people thrive better in traditional learning systems. It could help to pick a full-time bootcamp with live interactive sessions. This way, you can get answers to your questions in real-time. You can also access online communities of professional developers.
If you are someone who prefers traditional learning, you should consider what the bootcamp offers in this regard. An in-person coding bootcamp may be a better option for you. However, if you’re busy and want to learn to code on your own time, you can choose a self-paced option. You can control how many hours per week you study.
What Type of Bootcamp is Best for You?
There are different kinds of bootcamps. The main ones are coding bootcamp chains, university bootcamps, and local coding bootcamps. University bootcamps do not award degrees, but students will benefit from the accreditation of the university. Most of these programs are partnered with Trilogy Education Services.
Local bootcamps are bootcamps that serve the local area. Most bootcamps start off as local bootcamps and expand their reach to other regions. This is a good option if you’re in a high-paying city for tech skills. For example, PayScale reports that the average salary for software engineers in San Francisco is $123,071, which is higher than normal.
The last type is the bootcamp chain. A bootcamp chain is a group of bootcamps that has expanded its programs to more than one region or city. Currently, many bootcamps are only being offered virtually. If you’re not set on attending an in-person bootcamp, now is a great time to access programs in cities you might not normally be able to access.
What Are Your Professional Goals?
Another important consideration is your career goals. What do you want to achieve in the coding bootcamp? What programming languages do you want to learn? What skills do you want to develop or improve on? You should about the bigger picture of why you want to attend a coding bootcamp.
You should compare your goals with what is being offered by your bootcamp. You can find the curricula of most coding bootcamps online, so you can always check languages in the curriculum to determine if they fit your long-term goals. Online programs almost always have an in-depth outline for their bootcamp education.
You can also look for bootcamps that offer career guidance or a job guarantee. Many bootcamps pride themselves on the career services and mentorship they provide. For example, Flatiron School offers a job guarantee, and Kenzie Academy has a career placement team and an inside track to tech jobs at Amazon.
How Much Can You Spend on Tuition?
While a bootcamp is cheaper than a university, it can still be costly to prospective students. This is why you need to determine how much you are willing to spend on tuition. The average tuition for an online coding program is between $10,000 and $15,000, and additional costs can push some to $20,000.
Think about your budget and how you intend to pay for bootcamp tuition costs. Whichever the case, you can find online schools that offer what you are looking for. Some allow students to have flexible payment options with loans from lending partners like Ascent Funding and Climb Credit, while others let you pay in installments.
Some bootcamps offer financial aid in the form of scholarships to reduce bootcamp tuition. Eligible students are often underrepresented minorities in the tech community. Be sure to check if the bootcamp offers this option and if you are eligible to apply. Coding Temple, Lambda School, and Rithm School all offer financing options.
Where Is the Bootcamp Located?
Location matters a great deal while choosing a coding bootcamp. You don’t want to have to travel across the country to attend a bootcamp. This could create extra costs, including transportation and rent. You need to make sure you get to the bootcamp on time, just like in a computer science degree.
Many bootcamps focus their curriculum on the needs of the local employers. So, if you want to work in New York City, it is best to choose a bootcamp that meets the needs of local employers in New York City. You should check jobs in tech and job searches in your current city to see what employers are looking for.
Some bootcamps may even require internships as a part of the program. It would be ideal to attend one close to you, especially because many interns get job offers after completing their internships. Within months of graduation, you should be able to find a job. You will gain interview skills and learn more about the job application process.
Where to Find Coding Bootcamp Reviews
The best place to find a coding bootcamp review is a directory. Many websites, including ours, have in-depth pages where users can post their own opinions and experiences. You can find directories for different rankings of coding bootcamps from the best online bootcamps to the best bootcamps that offer income sharing agreements.
You can learn more about the student experience from coding bootcamp reviews. Every bootcamp teaches bootcamp curricula and object oriented programming languages differently, so make sure you’re choosing one that’s right for you. The coding bootcamp industry is large, so check code schools to see which has a solid bootcamp alumni report.
Bootcamp Job Placement Rates
Coding bootcamps have impressive job placement and graduation rates. For example, 100 percent of Launch School’s capstone graduates found jobs within 180 days of graduation. Most bootcamps have a job placement rate of over 80 percent. This is especially important for bootcamps that offer an income share agreement.
The programs prepare graduates to start a career in tech. They gain programming experience and go on to earn a high average starting salary. These outcomes are usually much more positive than average university outcomes. The quality of the digital skills and the annual base salary are both higher for bootcamp graduates.
The Bottom Line
Coding bootcamps can help you to enter the tech scene within a short period of time. Students have tons of options to choose from and can learn the specific skills they’re looking for. However, there is a lot to consider before choosing a program. You need to check the cost, location, and courses.
Before you choose a coding bootcamp, you should also gauge your current situation. If you can only dedicate 10-15 hours per week, you need to find a part-time bootcamp. You should also decide on a minimum salary and avoid any additional cost in the process. Overall, you need to pick a coding bootcamp that suits your goals.