With all the excitement around best tech jobs like data science, web development, and machine learning it comes as no surprise that many people are interested in the coding bootcamps that teach these fields. But while bootcamps are hardly brand new, they’re not nearly as old as the university system which flowered across Europe some time in the 12th century. There’s still a lot of confusion around what bootcamps are, how they work, who they’re for, and what you need to do to prepare for one. In this piece we’re going to cut through the fog and discuss coding bootcamp requirements
Are There Educational Requirements for Bootcamps?
To the question ‘how hard are coding bootcamps’ I can only answer: ‘very’. There’s simply no way to pack years worth of programming, troubleshooting, math, computer science, and teamwork into a small amount of time without ratcheting up the difficulty a fair bit.
As such, the more time you can spend preparing yourself for these rigors the better off you’ll be. There were people in my cohort at the Galvanize Data Science Immersive with decades of coding experience and advanced degrees. It’s probably not a surprise that they struggled less with the material than I did.
But that doesn’t tell you whether you have to have qualifications to attend a bootcamp. In doing research for this article I haven’t turned up any bootcamps with explicit, stated educational requirements.
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You don’t have to have studied computer science or web development, you don’t have to have taken classes in computer programming, and you don’t have to have worked in a technical field before.
This is a remarkable fact and means educational opportunities are open to many people who would previously have not had them. But it also means that you must be prepared to make up the lost ground. I don’t think there was anyone in my cohort less experienced than me, and I correspondingly had to work as much or more than anyone just to not fall behind.
Are There Skill Requirements for Bootcamps?
Succeeding at a bootcamp requires you to have or develop a certain skill set. In the case of data science, I needed to know how to work through the command line, use Github, write code, do statistical analysis, troubleshoot machine learning algorithms, and lots of other things.
The more of this you can learn beforehand, the better off you’ll be.
I went after the Galvanize program so aggressively because personal factors made it such that I needed to make a change quickly. If this isn’t the case for you, take as much time to prepare as makes sense.
Bootcamps generally don’t require you to already know how to code or whatever, but you’re going to have a vastly easier time if you do.
Are There Personal Requirements for Attending a Coding Bootcamp?
One of the things a bootcamp will want to know before they accept you is whether you’re going to be able to handle the intensity of their program.
More important than technical know how is a range of hard-to-define personal qualities which make you well-suited to overcoming adversity. These include the ability to manage your emotions, being able to develop strategies for solving problems and updating them when required, and a certain measure of stubborness.
It’s usually during the interview process that you’re assessed for these character traits, but they’re also things you can and should develop in yourself. They’ll serve you well not only as you complete your coding bootcamp, but as you transition into a new career and a new life.
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