Community college is an institution that, like traditional four-year college, has been around for some time. Community colleges are part of the norm for many students looking to continue their higher education and can prove to be cheaper and more accessible options for many. Community colleges have even earned a place in American culture as a sort of staple steppingstone for society. However, when it comes to coding, are community colleges really the best option? In this new era of coding bootcamps and fast-tracked education, where do community colleges fit in. More importantly, which avenue of learning is right for you? Luckily, you’ve come to the right place! Career Karma is here to breakdown the logistics of both community college and coding bootcamps as we help you weigh the pros and cons of both options.
The Era of Coding Bootcamps
Welcome to the era of coding bootcamps! We’re happy to have you! In all seriousness, the world of coding bootcamps has exploded over the past few years. What were once small technical programs have since transformed into hundreds of different educational institutions available online and across the globe. It’s no secret that coding bootcamps are innovative and essentially changing the way those in the tech industry are trained. Coding bootcamps are helping to erase the stigma of those who bypass the traditional college experience. It’s easy to see why these revolutionary programs are gaining such traction.Coding bootcamps provide accessible education to people of all backgrounds using a variety of methods. Coding bootcamps maintain their accessibility and technological edge in a few ways, we’ll break those down below.
The sad truth about education in our society is that not everyone can afford it. The number one reason why coding bootcamps are changing the world is that they are accessible to almost anyone. They’re cheap when compared to traditional education paths. Many coding bootcamps even offer a financing option called an ISA or Income Share Agreement. Contrary to traditional loans, ISAs don’t change interest rates or force you to continue your payments until you’re in your fifties. Upon signing your ISA, you agree that in exchange for your coding bootcamp paying for your education plus any additional agreed upon expenses (sometimes room and board or living stipends), you will owe a portion of your future salary to your institution upon graduation. So for example, if you were to agree to an ISA with a 17% rate with a repayment term of three years, then you would agree to pay your institution 17% of your future salary for three years. Many bootcamp ISA’s also have a minimum income threshold to trigger payment. For example, you may have to make over $50,000 per year before you qualify for repayment. ISAs ensure that everyone who wants to go to a coding bootcamp has an opportunity to do so, even if they don’t have the funds upfront to pay for it.
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It’s no secret that college can be a hectic and strenuous time for many. Working hours on end and pulling all nighters doesn’t leave much time for working another job or raising a family. Unfortunately, the lack of flexible schedule in the traditional college scene is what deters many people from attending. While coding bootcamps are highly involved, they are way shorter than the traditional four-year college program. The average coding bootcamp lasts anywhere from 3 to 24 months. In addition to in person courses, many coding bootcamps also offer online courses. Coding bootcamps can also be taken full time, part time, or even self-paced! Now, regardless of your prior commitments or current situation, anyone, anywhere, can learn to code!
3. Career-Forward Thinking
Coding bootcamps are fast paced, which makes you wonder how easy it is to learn in such an environment. Fortunately, many coding bootcamps are structured to skip the theoretical and only teach hands on mechanics that you’ll actually use in the labor force. Coding bootcamps offer great educational value, but they’re also highly career forward programs. I mean the point of attending a coding bootcamp is to get a job, right? Many coding bootcamps offer exclusive career services which include mock interviews, resume workshops, and even meetings with top tech companies. Many coding bootcamps even partner with specific tech companies to offer special programs and interviews for their graduates! It’s important to look for these programs while searching for your dream coding bootcamp (something we’ll reference later!) From the day you set foot in your coding bootcamp, you’ll be immersed in a career forward environment that is determined to help you succeed in the workforce.
Weigh Your Options
Before you settle on a coding bootcamp, it’s always important to weigh your options. Depending on your desired field in the tech industry, a coding bootcamp may not be the best route for you. Likewise, if you’re a learner who needs extra time to really absorb concepts or you’d like to focus on the theoretical side of programming, you may want to take special consideration when deciding if an accelerated program such as a coding bootcamp is right for you.
Is Community College Still Relevant?
Now that we’ve covered coding bootcamps, let’s move on to this blast from the past: community college. I know what you’re thinking, it’s the 21stcentury, are community colleges even relevant anymore? The short answer is yes. The long answer…well, we’ll get to that. Community colleges are beneficial to certain students in certain fields. In fact, community colleges play a major role in many trade industries or technical programs. One of the largest workforces in the world is driven from the education garnered from community courses; this is of course the nursing field. However, you’re reading this article because you want to work in tech. So, is community college relevant if you want to work in tech? This answer really depends on your specific program. Like most jobs in the tech industry, it all comes down to your portfolio and personal skills. If you can pass the technical evaluations and you have a stellar portfolio, you’ll most likely land a tech job regardless of your educational background.
Is Community College Better than a Coding Bootcamp?
Again, this answer really depends on your own personal preferences. While many community colleges cost the same as a coding bootcamp, most don’t offer ISAs. While ISAs are becoming more prominent, the full integration of ISAs in the educational system is still a long way off. Thus, you’d either have to pay out of pocket or take out traditional loans to attend a community college. Additionally, community colleges usually aren’t career forward and are more focused on helping you continue your education at a four-year university. If you’re looking to minimize your education time and get out into the workforce, community college may not be the best fit for you.
Coding Bootcamp vs. Community College: Which Is Right for You?
Now that you’ve evaluated both coding bootcamps and community colleges, how do you decide which one is right for you? Which all of the different educational options out there, it may even seem overwhelming to weigh all of the factors of your future education. It’s important to ask yourself these questions before taking the leap into your tech journey!
What Do You Want to Achieve?
Do you have a dream company that you’d like to work for? Do you have an idea for a world changing app and want to learn the skills needed to build it? Whatever your motivation for learning how to code, it’s important to consider your goals before deciding where to further your education. Some programs may fit better with your vision than others.
What Can You Afford?
Like many decisions in life, it all comes down to what you can afford. It’s important to remember that many coding bootcamps offer both ISAs and traditional loans, many even give discounts to those who pay the total amount up front. Regardless of your financial situation, know that there are always options for paying for your education. If it’s your dream to learn to code, don’t let anything stop you!
Which Program is Right for You?
If you take nothing else away from this article, remember this one point: always do your research. I can’t stress this enough! Whether you’ve already made your decision to attend a coding bootcamp or a community college, make sure to research several different programs. Don’t make the mistake of settling on the first program you find, there might just be another program that fits even better! Doing your research before committing can save you a lot of time, money, and heartache down the road.
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Taking the Leap
Congratulations, you’ve successfully weighed the pros and cons of coding bootcamps vs. community college! Even if you haven’t come to a conclusion yet, you’re one step closer to beginning your coding journey. By this point, you may be ready to take the leap and begin your education. If you’ve decided on attending a coding bootcamp, you may have already seen the hundreds of options to choose from. With so many educational options, you may feel a bit overwhelmed when it comes to deciding which coding bootcamp is right for you. Career Karma can help!
How Can Career Karma Help You?
Career Karma is a platform where coding bootcamp hopefuls can learn about and interact with coding bootcamps. Through the Career Karma platform, you’ll have access to live webinars and talks with prominent coding bootcamp executives and even coding bootcamp graduates. You’ll be able to connect with students who have been exactly where you are. Career Karma also has a unique 21 day program that can take you from coding newbie to bootcamp ready. Throughout the #21DayCKChallenge, you’ll connect with other coding novices as you make connections and join squads. Through the squad dynamic of the app, you’ll be able to meet like minded coders who are interested in the same things that you are. Whether it’s a squad from your hometown or one dedicated to coding on a budget, joining a squad can drastically increase your chances of coding success.
Throughout the Career Karma platform, you’ll also be able to connect with mentors who can help guide you throughout your coding journey. The best part about the Career Karma app? After 21 days of coding, learning, and growing, you’ll be matched with the best coding bootcamp to suit your needs. The education and mentorship don’t stop after you’ve been accepted into a coding bootcamp. In fact, you’ll be able to use the platform to continue to mentor other coding newbies and help educate those who used to be in your shoes! The Career Karma platform is a revolutionary place where real connections and even friendships can blossom through a love of all things code and tech related! If you’re ready to take control of your career and grow within a group of likeminded and motivated individuals, then download the Career Karma app and get started today!
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.