Congratulations! You’ve taken a big step towards finding a new career you love.
But bootcamp graduates aren’t so rare as they once were. In 2019, there were more bootcamp graduates than people living in Sri Lanka.
Okay, I made that up, but there are quite a lot of us. Not only are we competing with each other, we’re also competing with college graduates, talented self-learners, and experienced developers.
One key to standing out from the crowd is building a compelling final project. I wouldn’t say it’s the most important part of the bootcamp experience, but it ranks up there. In my own case, the person who wound up hiring me brought my capstone project up on his own, during my interview, and I think this played a big part in me finally getting a job.
So be sure to think carefully about what your final project says about your goals and skills. Below is our list of impressive final project ideas, to get you noticed as you step into the competitive technology job market.
Of course how feasible any one of these is will depend on the specifics of your program. But any of them should be adaptable to your circumstances.
Web Development Final Project Ideas
Web development was one of the first fields to have bootcamps devoted to it. Here are some ideas for your capstone project:
- Build an application like Quora. This app should have user authorization and authentication and walk through the complete Create, Read, Update, Destroy (CRUD) cycle.
- Demonstrate your handle on the intricacies of web socket development by building a chat application. If you’re feeling extra audacious, combine this with a little natural-language processing in the form of chatbots that answer questions from users.
- Try making a clone of Facebook. It surely won’t be as big or as streamlined, but even modest success allows you to show that you can handle working with databases, server-side scripting, front end frameworks, security protocols, and the rest of the full stack.
- Make an SEO-optimized website from the ground up with a popular framework like Ruby on Rails. There is no shortage of jobs for people who can do this kind of work.
- My research indicates that the creation of a custom content management system is a pretty major showcase of a web developer’s skill set. Do that, if you can.
- Game programming is different than web development, but you can make some really sophisticated games with HTML5 while still working through many of the basic requirements of a web development project.
Data Science Final Project Ideas
There are a couple of different ways you could try to stand out in the data science crowd. Here are some ideas:
- If you’re more interested in going the machine learning route, consider using TensorFlow or PyTorch to create a neural network. I don’t think it matters all that much what your network does, just that it functions correctly and performs at least reasonably well. Since computer vision and natural language processing are two of the biggest domains in machine learning today, it’s hard to go wrong doing a project in one of them.
- A related idea is to pick one of the fancy new architectures that are making headlines and implement it. You could build a Generative Adversarial Network, a Long Short-Term Memory network, or any of a million others.
- Make a twitterbot that automatically classifies tweets based on sentiment. Don’t forget to balance your classes, and for extra credit, make it an application that can do real time classification.
- Create a recommendation engine. I’ve seen movie recommendation engines, beer recommendation engines, and spice recommendation engines used as major projects in the Galvanize program. Think seriously about how you’re going to handle feature engineering, and build both collaborative and content-based filtering systems to get a feel for each approach.
- Create some sort of generative model, able to learn to make music or generate text. I mentioned neural networks in the first point, but you can do the same thing with Hidden Markov Models and various other architectures.
- See if you can make a profitable trading bot. Plenty of financial exchanges have APIs that allow you to plug a bot in directly, and it can be tested by trading with ‘fake’ money for a while. This is a serious undertaking, and requires a lot of knowledge of financial metrics, backtesting, and algorithm design.
- Create an application that can recognize objects in images. This is a lot harder than it sounds, but there are very lucrative niches waiting to employ those who can manage it.
UX/UI Final Project Ideas
Bootcamps focusing on User Experience or User Interface design are relatively new, but it is nevertheless a crucial part of the development process. Show what you’ve got with these projects:
- Create a stock theme for WordPress. WP is unarguably the most popular content management system available today, and there’s a pretty big market for developers able to work on the platform. Building an attractive, intuitive WP theme is a great way to start out.
- Imagine a fictional startup and create a splash page, landing page, and pricing-options page for it.
- Work out an original scheme for classic icons. We’re all familiar with the little ‘file icon’ we click on to find our long-lost mixtape, and the little ‘trash can icon’ into we which we drag it so that no one ever knows how in love we were with bad 90’s pop music. But there’s no law saying that these are the necessary visual representation of basic computer functions. Make new ones.
- The world is filled with high-quality content wrapped in layers of atrocious interfaces and presentation. Find a couple of websites, newsletters, or applications that fit into this category and give them a UX-design overhaul.
- I’m continuously amazed at how intricate the process of font design can be, as it occasionally gives rise to fascinating projects like Sans Forgetica. See if you can build a font that’s ideally suited to a certain kind of reading or thinking.
- We might be wandering into slightly more abstract territory here, but I’ve personally always loved combinations of text + audio + visuals which make something that used to be mysterious and made it crystal clear. A great example is 3blue1brown’s famous explanations of linear algebra. UX/UI is usually aimed more at how people interact with products, but I see no reason why an enterprising student couldn’t extend them to be about how people interact with ideas.
Software Engineering Final Project Ideas
Software engineering is a discipline that undergirds a lot of the modern world. Find your way in it with one of these great project ideas:
- Make a web scraper. There’s so much content on the internet you couldn’t hope to see even a large fraction of it if you did nothing but surf web pages until the day you die. Luckily, we can create tools for grabbing the content we want with web scrapers. Believe it or not these are spectacularly useful, and in places you wouldn’t normally think of finding them. I work at a cryptoasset data company, and we’ve had to custom build our own web scrapers.
- Create a barebones operating system. Operating systems are the brains of computers, responsible for managing resources, queuing instructions, interacting with hardware components, and myriad other tasks. Making one is a seriously impressive software-engineering feat, and is guaranteed to +10 your bragging rights.
- Build a deal-notification system. As I noted in the ‘make a web scraper’ suggestion, there’s a lot of stuff on the internet. Some of that stuff is unbeatable deals on goods, services, and entertainment. Make an application which takes items you want and tracks their prices on major exchanges, sending you text notifications when they’re now within your means.
- See if you can program a decent chess engine. This is arguably more of an algorithm-design project, but software engineers have been tinkering with chess engines for a long time, and if you can build a good one you’re not likely to find many things out of your reach when you get a job.
- Dive into robotics (and horticulture) with a plant-watering robot. We all know people who’ve asked someone else to water their plants while they’re vacationing on the moon (or whatever it is boomers do with their money these days). For extra credit, see if you can make the watering apparatus operable via mobile devices.
So there you have it, multiple final project ideas covering every major type of bootcamp. Pick one and get to work, and best of luck in the weeks ahead!