Coding bootcamps have grown in popularity over the last few years as a viable alternative to college. Bootcamps are short, intensive code schools designed to help people break into a career in tech. With so many coding bootcamps on the market today, it can be difficult to know how to choose a coding bootcamp. This article will go over the most important factors to consider.
There are a lot of different types of coding bootcamps. There are full-time bootcamps, in-person coding bootcamps, and bootcamps for everything from cyber security to digital marketing. Regardless of what type of coding bootcamp you choose, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge you need to meet your tech career goals.
You’ll build a portfolio of projects throughout the bootcamp. This will allow you to refine your skills and gives you something to show employers when you start looking for a job. You’ll also receive the career support you need to get a job in the tech industry. Keep reading to find out more about how to choose a coding bootcamp.
Coding Bootcamps vs College
The best coding bootcamps are viable alternatives to college, but the two education options differ in many ways. A college education is a more traditional path, so it can be difficult to choose a coding bootcamp education because it’s outside the norm. We’ve compared some factors of the two education options below.
- Curriculum. Coding bootcamps teach the practical skills you need to break into a career in tech. Computer science degrees are better if you want to go deep into computer systems and theory.
- Costs. Bootcamps cost an average of $11,000, which is around the same cost as one semester in a top computer science degree program.
- Time. A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science takes four years to complete, which gives you time to explore many different topics. A coding bootcamp, on the other hand, takes less than one year. Bootcamps are shorter because they focus on teaching the practical skills you need, rather than theory.
- Career Outlook. Computer science degrees are almost always required if you want to become an executive in tech. But that’s not to say bootcamps aren’t a good option. If you want to build a startup or get a job in tech, a bootcamp education will usually be enough.
What Skills Do I Need to Succeed in a Coding Bootcamp?
Bootcamps are more intensive and compact than other training programs. In a bootcamp, you’ll be pushed to your limits, and you’ll have to work hard to graduate on time. It’s important that you spend some time upfront to consider if you have the right soft skills to succeed in a bootcamp.
- Persistence. You’ll have to spend months in a bootcamp to graduate, so you should be able to dedicate yourself to the program. You must be able to persist in tough situations and be able to thrive in fast-paced environments. You should also be able to work hard for extended periods of time.
- Problem-Solving. Computer science is all about solving problems. Coding is just a way of solving problems with computers. You should know how to solve problems both as part of a team and by yourself. You’ll have to solve problems every day in a bootcamp, from fixing bugs to coming up with ideas on how to install a feature into a project.
- Teamwork. Depending on the bootcamp, you’ll often have to work in a team. Although bootcamps have a lot of independent work, you’ll also have to do some work on a team.
- Technical Skills. Most bootcamps ask that students complete a coding challenge or bootcamp prep course before enrolling in a full-time program. Make sure you have the basic technical skills to complete these tasks, otherwise you may want to consider revising before going to a bootcamp.
Types of Coding Bootcamps
It’s important to consider all the different types of coding bootcamps. The most common types of coding bootcamps are in-person coding bootcamps, university coding bootcamps, coding bootcamp chains, and online coding bootcamps.
In-Person Coding Bootcamps
In-person coding bootcamps are bootcamps that serve a particular local area. Most bootcamps start as a local campus, then expand if there’s a growing demand for their services. The advantage of going to in-person bootcamps is that they should know the ins and outs of the local labor market. This is a great type of bootcamp if you plan on working for a local tech company.
University Coding Bootcamps
University coding bootcamps are bootcamps run by a university. These bootcamps are usually independent of the school’s computer science degree program. They are also developed in partnership with for-profit education providers.
81% of participants stated they felt more confident about their tech job prospects after attending a bootcamp. Get matched to a bootcamp today.
The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
Universities will partner with a coding bootcamp to help operate the program and give the bootcamp the classroom space they need to teach students. The advantage of going to a university bootcamp is that they often have a standardized syllabus. This ensures that you’re going to get a high-quality education.
Universities also have to share their brand with the bootcamp. This means the bootcamp has a stronger incentive to teach students well because if they don’t, they won’t be able to work with the university. For you, that means that you are almost guaranteed to get a solid education at a university bootcamp.
Coding Bootcamp Chains
Bootcamp chains are groups of coding bootcamps. These chains are often built as a local bootcamp grows and opens new branches. For the school, opening up more branches helps them spread their costs.
As a student, going to this type of coding bootcamp is worth considering because the school knows the local job market well. If you want to work for a local company, going to a bootcamp chain with a local branch can be a good investment.
You should be aware that sometimes chains can have inconsistent quality. This is because each branch will have its own instructors, faculty, and services. So, make sure you talk to students of a specific bootcamp location, not only the chain, before you enroll in a course at a bootcamp chain.
Online Coding Bootcamps
Online coding bootcamps are coding bootcamps that operate online. The advantage of going to an online coding bootcamp is that you can study from anywhere. This type of bootcamp is great because it means you can still attend a bootcamp, even if you don’t have an in-person bootcamp nearby.
You’ll also have more flexibility as an online bootcamp student. While online bootcamps usually require a certain amount of time commitment, you’ll still be able to work on your own schedule and learn at your own pace. Online bootcamps use a wide variety of technologies to connect students with instructors and mentors. They also have online communities for students to connect and learn together.
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Choosing a Type of Coding Bootcamp
There are a couple of factors you should consider when choosing a coding bootcamp. They will help you figure out which bootcamp is best for you. By considering these factors upfront, you’re less likely to end up at a coding bootcamp that doesn’t meet your unique needs.
How to Choose a Coding Bootcamp Location
The first question you should ask yourself is where you want to study. There is a growing number of local bootcamps which means that if you live in a big city, it’s almost certain that there is a location nearby. There are a few things you should consider when you’re deciding where to attend a bootcamp.
- Do you want to study online for the duration of the program? If you want to study online, you can do so from anywhere. You don’t need to worry about moving if you intend on completing an online bootcamp.
- Where do you want to work after graduation? If you want to work in your current city, there’s no need to move. But if you want to work in another city, you may want to consider moving. Bootcamps in that city will know the local job market well, so they’ll be able to provide better training to help you break into the local tech scene.
- Do you need to stay in your current city? Is there a reason that you need to stay in your current city? If you don’t have any commitments or ties to a specific city, then you may want to consider moving somewhere with a great bootcamp if you’re interested in doing so.
- Are you near a good bootcamp? Most big cities across the country have credible bootcamps. But if you live in a rural area, you may want to consider moving to a city with a good bootcamp that meets your needs.
There are dozens of great cities where you can find a variety of types of coding bootcamps. Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Indianapolis are only a few of the many great cities home to many high-quality bootcamps.
How to Choose a Coding Bootcamp That Meets Your Goals
After you’ve decided where you want to study, the next step is to consider which bootcamp meets your personal and professional goals. Here are a few questions you should consider before choosing a coding bootcamp. If you want to learn software development, attend a dev bootcamp for that specific career path.
- What learning environment do you prefer? Do you enjoy self-paced learning, or do you prefer fast-paced and intense programs? Do you like to work alone, or do you prefer to work in a team? Think about whether you prefer online classes and what your personal learning style is, and find a coding bootcamp with a suitable teaching style.
- What technologies do you need to learn? Coding bootcamps teach students coding skills and how to thrive in a certain career in tech. If there’s a specific programming language or technology you want to learn, you should go and look for a bootcamp that teaches that technology.
- How long can you commit to a bootcamp? You should consider how long you’ll be able to go to a bootcamp. If you only have savings for six months, you may want to consider either going to a shorter bootcamp or saving up more money so you can enroll in a longer, more comprehensive course.
How to Choose a Coding Bootcamp That You Can Afford
The average coding bootcamp cost is $11,450. But some bootcamps can charge as much as $20,000 for their courses. Almost every type of coding bootcamp costs thousands of dollars. So, before you choose, you should think about coding bootcamp costs and whether you can afford to pursue this route.
The main factor you should consider is the Return on Investment, which is based on how much more you’ll earn in the future by going to a bootcamp. You should think about the cost of tuition, then consider whether a bootcamp will allow you to earn enough to cover that cost. You should also consider the job placements that graduates from the coding bootcamp have achieved.
Finally, think also about the opportunity cost of a bootcamp or simply put, what you’ll lose by studying at a bootcamp. When you go to a bootcamp, you may have to quit your job for a few months, which means you won’t be earning money for a period of time. Thus, it’s important you plan your finances ahead and save what you need before you attend a bootcamp.
How to Pay for Coding Bootcamp
Bootcamps are costly. Thus, you need to spend some time thinking about how you’ll pay for your bootcamp. They do not issue degrees, so you’ll not be able to access federal loans or grants to pay for your education. But don’t worry, there are a lot of options available to those considering going to a bootcamp. Check out the list below.
- Take out a loan. There are many lenders which partner with bootcamps to help students pay for their education. They include Ascent Funding, Sallie Mae, and Affirm. If you’re comfortable taking out a loan, there are many options available to you.
- Pay upfront. If you have the money, you can pay for your bootcamp upfront. This means you’ll have no more payment obligations as you have already paid your tuition.
- Income Share Agreements (ISAs). Many bootcamps offer ISAs to their students. Through an ISA, you’ll pay nothing until you graduate and earn over a certain amount. ISAs are a good option because you’ll only pay when you succeed. If you get nothing out of your bootcamp, you’ll pay nothing.
- Scholarships. Many bootcamps offer scholarships based on merit, gender, service in the military, and income status. Research these options before you enroll to make sure you don’t leave money that you could use to help pay for your education.
- GI Bill. If you’re a veteran, you may be eligible for GI bill benefits which will cover part or all your bootcamp tuition.
- Employer sponsorship. Your boss may be willing to pay for your bootcamp if it will help you become a more productive and efficient employee. Always ask your boss if they’re willing to pay for employee education before you enroll in a bootcamp.
Make sure you research all the payment options a bootcamp provides during your school search. This will help you make an informed decision about which bootcamp is the most affordable and offers the best payment options for you.
How to Choose a Coding Bootcamp Based on Outcomes
After you’ve researched bootcamp’s payment options, you should start thinking about the outcomes. Before you go to a bootcamp, make sure you have read about how students have fared after they have graduated. What are graduates’ average starting salaries? What is the minimum salary you need to earn to ensure a Return on Investment for your bootcamp education?
Research the coding bootcamp’s career coaching services, graduation rate, job placement rate, and the average salaries students have after graduating. Find out how many graduates have gone on to become professional developers. There are a couple of ways you can verify a bootcamp’s outcomes and determine the quality of a program, which are listed below.
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- Talk to graduates. Before you choose a bootcamp, talk to a few graduates of a bootcamp and ask them about the general student experience and how how they did after graduation.
- Student reviews. There are also a few sites that publish student bootcamp reviews. These reviews will allow you to hear first-hand how bootcamp alumni feel about their education.
- Bootcamp outcomes. Some bootcamps publish student success rates on their website. Before you enroll in a bootcamp, look for any outcomes the bootcamp has posted on their website. Take a few minutes to read through them and learn how students do after they graduate.
- Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR) data. If a bootcamp doesn’t report the outcomes on their website, they may publish them with the CIRR. The CIRR posts outcomes from over 50 bootcamps including their graduation rates, job placement rates, and average starting salaries students have after graduation.
Bootcamp Accreditation and Outcomes
It’s important that you do your own research about bootcamp outcomes. The reason for this is that bootcamps, unlike colleges and universities, are not accredited. This means that there is no central body that verifies the quality of every bootcamp.
However, there are ways you can verify the quality of a program. By using the techniques we listed above, like researching student bootcamp reviews and reading outcome reports, you’ll be able to learn more about the quality of programs you consider. The more research you do, the more confident you’ll be with your choice when you finally commit to a bootcamp.
As we discussed, some bootcamps report their outcomes to the CIRR. This is an independent industry body that verifies the outcomes of over 50 coding bootcamps. The CIRR has its own standardized framework for evaluating bootcamps. This means that its reports give a good sign of the quality of a particular program.
If a bootcamp does not report its outcomes to the CIRR, it may publish them on its own website. If you want to learn more about how a school collects outcomes information, reach out and ask. After all, it’s best to ask upfront before enrolling in a program that doesn’t meet your needs.
What Can I Expect in a Coding Bootcamp Interview?
Now that you know how to choose a coding bootcamp, you’re ready to apply for your dream bootcamp. The bootcamp application and interview process help schools screen for the students who have the right skills to take part in their programs. Let’s break down the core parts of a bootcamp screening process.
- Written application. Most bootcamps ask prospective students to complete a written application. These applications usually take one hour to complete and ask questions about your skills, your background, and why you’re interested in going to a bootcamp.
- Interview. If your application is successful, you’ll be moved on to the next stage of the application process. During this stage, you’ll take part in an interview with the bootcamp. Expect to be asked about why you want to go to the bootcamp, and whether you have worked on anything that has prepared you for the bootcamp.
- Technical challenge. Many bootcamps also have a technical take-home challenge students must complete. This challenge usually takes around an hour to complete. The challenge will help the bootcamp ensure you have the skills you need to succeed in a bootcamp.
If you pass through these three stages, you may be accepted into a coding bootcamp. However, don’t worry too much about your interview skills. If you’re serious about transitioning into a career in tech and willing to put the effort in, you’ll do fine. The idea is to help a bootcamp understand whether you’re right for the program, not to evaluate whether you already have a vast range of technical skills.
Will a Coding Bootcamp Get Me a Job?
Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you get a job. The purpose of a bootcamp is to help you learn the skills you need to break into a career in tech. And the bootcamp will be there to help you find a job, even once you’ve learned the skills you need.
Before and after you graduate, you should be able to access some career services from your bootcamp. This support infrastructure will help you hit the ground running on your new job search. Some bootcamps can make introductions to employers who are hiring, while others provide career workshops to help you write a resume and prepare for a technical interview.
There are plenty of places you can go after you graduate. Graduates from coding bootcamps like Fullstack Academy, Flatiron School, and Tech Elevator have gone on to work for tech giants like Facebook, Microsoft, and Google. Listed below are a few of your potential paths of progression.
- Join a large company like Facebook as an engineer.
- Start a company as a technical co-founder.
- Become a freelancer or consultant.
- Join a small startup as an experienced developer.
- Ask your manager if you can move to a more technical job within the company, where your new skills can be put to use.
- Teach other people how to code.
How to Choose a Coding Bootcamp: Conclusion
Coding bootcamps are a great way to learn how to code. While the idea of a bootcamp may only be a decade or so old, tens of thousands of people have used bootcamps to transition into careers in tech. The flexibility of choosing between online programs and in-person classes is just one of the benefits bootcamp programs offer.
On top of that, the coding bootcamp industry is only expected to grow. If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in tech, a coding bootcamp may be the best path forward. From full stack web development to data science, there’s a bootcamp out there for you.
How to Choose a Coding Bootcamp FAQ
Yes, you can fail a coding bootcamp. This will depend on the coding bootcamp you choose to attend. Some coding bootcamps allow students to continue learning one topic until they’ve mastered it before moving on to the next module. Other coding bootcamp encourage prospective students to take prep courses to ensure they’re well-prepared for the full bootcamp program.
To pick a coding bootcamp, you should consider many factors. These factors include graduate outcomes as well as the class formats and subjects offered. If you know your own career goals, you should be able to pick a coding bootcamp that teaches you the necessary technical skills.
You can pay for coding bootcamp with income share agreements, deferred tuition payment plans, scholarships, and loans. However, the available options will depend on the coding bootcamp you choose to attend. Very few coding bootcamps require upfront payment from their students, although many do provide discounted tuition to those who pay upon enrollment.
The best coding bootcamp depends on your own learning and career goals. Flatiron School, Fullstack Academy, Coding Temple, and Tech Elevator are all popular coding bootcamp choices.
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.