How to Choose Between University Coding Bootcamps
You’ve got a technical inclination and always have, and you’re ready to attend a coding bootcamp and start your new career. There’s never been a better time to start studying web development or application design, with new schools popping up all over the place and even online. Even universities are getting in on the act—you’ll find university coding bootcamps at many of the country’s most prestigious colleges. But how do you select the one that works best for you out of the pack of competitors? There are lots of schools out there, and you want to make sure you choose the best option for your needs.
Stop worrying and start reading, because we’re here to help you learn how to pick a university-sponsored bootcamp and get your training. In this article, we provide you with four key criteria that guide your selection process and allow you to weed out the less-appealing prospect. You get details on how to spot schools that have top curricula, instructors, facilities, and career support services. Our guide gives you the tools to find your ideal bootcamp.
A student is only as good as the material they learn. One of the keys to a quality coding bootcamp is its curriculum, and it’s essential to understand what to look for when you check out the course. What was accepted as best practice a few years ago has changed rapidly over the years, and some approaches haven’t aged as well as others. A coding bootcamp with a great price might seem like an amazing deal, but an entry-level coder with out-of-date knowledge will have a hard time landing a job.
Every school you inspect should provide you with a full curriculum for the course you’re interested in taking. Review the topics for each day’s lessons, the textbooks the school uses, and the lab work and supplemental material. Not only should a coding bootcamp cover the most popular software languages and business practices, but they need to ensure that they teach the latest version of those approaches.
Having a top-notch curriculum is a big part of finding the right bootcamp, but the best and most current material in the world doesn’t do you any good if the person who teaches it to you can’t give you sufficient help and make the lessons sink in. Instructor quality is always an essential element to education, be it kindergarten or coding bootcamp. Before you sign a contract, get to know the teaching staff at the school.
A good way to establish whether a school has good instructors is to look at their work experience. Unlike college professors, practical experience in the business world is a must for coding bootcamp teachers. Check to see whether the school’s teachers worked or still work in their fields, and make sure they have recent experience. The same advancements that result in new versions of programming languages inform your instructors and impact their ability to prepare you for the real world.
Campus and Amenities
Your learning environment is a key component of your education. The last thing you want is to find yourself in an old, dingy room with poor ventilation and a broken soda machine around the corner. Classes taught in modern and comfortable settings that offer lots of amenities are more enjoyable and put the student in a receptive state of mind. Pick a school that doesn’t force you to deal with unpleasant surroundings while you try to learn programming basics.
If possible, go visit the campus before you start your application. Most schools will be happy to have you check out their facilities. And if they don’t want you to stop by and give their classrooms and amenities a once-over, you now know something about that school. In addition to classrooms and goodies for students, get information on some of the intangibles—what sort of parking is available? What about shopping, restaurants, or even lodging?
Walking out of your bootcamp with a certificate of completion is a big part of a successful time in coding class, but the experience doesn’t end there. You still have to find a job; that’s why you went through school, after all. And, it’s why so many schools offer career support. Your prospective bootcamp’s career services are almost as crucial to your future employment as their instruction.
Most bootcamps that have effective career support are more than happy to show that off, so don’t be afraid to talk about that subject with your admissions counselor. One of the best ways to get the lay of the land when it comes to career services at a school is to look at reviews from former students. Those reviewers who had positive career counseling support and got to work on portfolios, mock interviews, and other job-hunting help will mention it and help you find a school that sticks with you until your first job and beyond.
So, there you go, folks. Universities across the country have begun offering coding bootcamp courses for tech hopefuls, and it’s important to know how to identify the quality schools. Our guide gives you some pointers and helps you in your search for a dynamite programming education.
Do you have any questions or thoughts about coding bootcamps at universities? Let us know in the comments section below.