Is A Coding Bootcamp Right For You?

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The idea of a coding bootcamp first launched about five years ago. However, this intense, immersive training approach quickly gained traction with both developers and employers. A recent Course Report study revealed that approximately 22,000 students will graduate from some sort of coding course in 2017. The industry is still showing growth potential as employers continue to source and hire grads from almost 100 nationwide coding bootcamps.

Are Coding Bootcamps Losing Popularity With Students And Employers?

While coding bootcamps continue to build momentum with veteran and rookie developers looking to enhance their current skill sets, some industry naysayers still aren’t sure this unique training form has the necessary longevity to sustain the buzz of its initial launch. For example, two well-known programs, Iron Yard and Dev Bootcamp, have recently closed down. Are attending these courses truly worth your time and money?

Yes and no.

While many coding courses provide students with the necessary tools and technologies to enter the job market, not all boot camps are created alike. When looking at potential programs, you should carefully screen each one and look at certain factors such as curriculum quality, reputation within the developer community, job placement rate, and salary demands to truly assess the overall return on investment you will receive. Finding the industry leaders that consistently and successfully deliver well-trained programmers into the field can help you decide if you’re making the right financial (and logistical) choices.

What To Know About Choosing A Coding Bootcamp

If you’re considering a coding bootcamp to develop or improve your existing skill set, it’s important to ask a few fundamental questions. When deciding what program is right for you, ask yourself:

What Are My Career Goals?

Before browsing potential programs, it’s essential to first determine what you’re looking to get out of the course. Are you seeking training that will catapult you into a full-time programming position? Are you merely looking to improve your technical understanding to advance your current non-technical role? Will you focus on one or multiple languages? Writing down your goals in advance can help you narrow down the right bootcamp.

Will The Course Connect Me With The Right Contacts?

When it comes to networking, every bootcamp offers different opportunities. As you make your final decision, ask yourself if the prospective program has established connections with hiring managers at reputable companies. Do they promote and support an extended alumni community? What are their student graduation and job placement rates? Finding the answers to these questions is pivotal.

Am I Ready To Work Hard (And Fast)?

Just in case the word “bootcamp” didn’t hint at the intensity of these courses, we’ll break it down even further. These courses move quickly with an advanced curriculum designed to prepare individuals for real-world scenarios; students will need to be ready to keep up. If a fast-paced (and potentially high-stress) learning experience isn’t your thing, a coding bootcamp may not be for you.

Is My Schedule Flexible?

What is the best way to master any programing language? Completely immerse yourself. You can find most developers working on side projects at night and on weekends in order to become more proficient. Students with very little scheduling flexibility may struggle to complete both their coursework and freelancing opportunities in the allotted time frame.

Do I Thrive Learning In A Group?

Yes, these classes are intense. However, you’ll have an entire group of classmates experiencing the same process as you. Many successful bootcamps provide one-on-one support and guidance so students can master the wide range of concepts and exercises. You should have access to both your instructor and TAs during and following class. Working with other individuals who are pursuing the same career goals as you, should motivate you even further to excel.

Bonus: In a coding bootcamp, you’ll have a built-in study group full of supportive classmates.

Can I Afford The Course?

Many interested students are shocked when they first discover the cost of a coding bootcamp. These courses often require a significant financial investment. While you may qualify for payment plans or certain scholarships, it’s important to go into the process with some savings to ensure you can sustain yourself during the time you’re enrolled in the program. You may also need additional resources to pay for living expenses, as well as any possible relocation costs, associated with attending class or your job hunt following graduation. Scholarships can make a significant impact on your finances, so make sure to look for providers willing to help subsidize the costs based on eligibility.

Am I Ready To Commit?

Don’t take signing up for a coding bootcamp lightly. Go into the process knowing that these classes will demand your time and attention for extended and intensive stretches of time. The high-stress, long-term commitment of these programs often causes students to become frustrated; if you’re not 100% committed to completing the course and pursuing a career in web development, you may not have the capabilities needed to make it to the finish line. Understanding your personal commitment can ensure you’re mentally prepared to stay on course as the intensity begins to increase.

Will Coding Provide Me Professional (And Personal) Fulfillment?

It’s important to understand why you want to enroll in a coding bootcamp. Sure, the process may seem like a great professional choice on paper, but will taking the course give you the professional fulfillment you’re looking for? Research reviews of students who have previously completed the course to find out first-hand the emotional, financial, and professional payoff you will experience.

Before making any decision, take into account that your ultimate success will not happen overnight. Every graduate’s professional growth and development will occur differently. For example, some individuals may achieve their goals long after the course ends, so their testimonials may not be included in a bootcamp’s alumni success stories.

Also, keep in mind some stories may have little to do with coding at all. Some individuals may use their skills to delve into other industries and pursue entirely different ventures. However, they can attribute the time spent in the bootcamp as fueling entrepreneurial endeavors. A reputable bootcamp will include a diverse range of student success stories you can read to determine if the rewards of the course will be worth the commitment.

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