Are you thinking about learning to code? Coding bootcamps can be a great way to get started quickly. But with so many options, picking the right one is important. This article will discuss the important things to consider when choosing a coding bootcamp. From what they teach to how they help you find a job afterward, we’ll break down the essential factors.
But if you don’t have much experience with the world of coding and boot camps, finding the one that’s right for you can be tricky. Like educational institutions like colleges and universities, each coding bootcamp will have a unique curriculum, time frame, instructors, and fees.
Let’s ensure you’re on the right track for a successful coding journey!
What To Look For In A Coding Bootcamp
Before investing in your future, let’s look at 7 vital things to look for in a coding bootcamp so you can make the best decision.
1. Are Coding Bootcamps Even Worth It?
If you’re still on the fence about coding bootcamps, let’s look at some of the significant benefits you can gain from attending one.
Practical Skills & Time
Bootcamps are often intensive programs lasting no more than 3-5 months. One way they can teach so much in such a short time is by removing all the fluff. Whereas college curriculums take their time, boot camps know that time is money. They know that time spent learning is time you’re not earning. You may not gain the same depth of knowledge in computer science as someone with a 4-year degree. But you will gain everything you need to know to land a job as a coder or data scientist.
Tuition Fees & Job Hunting
Studying at college isn’t cheap – especially if you live in the United States. It gets even more expensive once you factor in all the extra costs, like book fees, room and board, etc. According to a 2018 report from HSBC, students say they spent $99,417 to get a degree. Even worse, you don’t get any help finding a job after receiving your degree.
Bootcamps are cheaper as compared to university programs, with a face value of $13,500 on average. After finishing a Bootcamp, many people find jobs in tech companies starting from $50,000+. The salaries can even reach as high as 6 digits.
Also, most coding bootcamps prepare you for the job search and interview process. They also have contacts in the industry to help you find a job.
Study a Specific Field
Admitting everything in the contemplation, these boot camps are surely profitable. They take much less time to complete than a 4-year degree and cost a fraction of the price. That being said, you still learn the skills you need to find good-paying jobs after.
Some people might enjoy the experience of college. Or they might want to learn computer science in depth. A 4-year degree might be practical for people in this situation.
However, if time, age, and money are critical factors for you, then coding bootcamps make all the sense. With coding bootcamps, you can learn all the skills you need to land a high-paying job at a great company. All of this in a few months for much less than a degree would cost you. It’s no wonder that several universities are opening their coding bootcamps to compete with this new reality.
Now that we’ve given you all the reasons coding boot camps are worth it let’s examine what to look for when choosing a coding boot camp.
2. How will a bootcamp fit into my schedule?
Joining a coding bootcamp involves considering how it fits into your daily routine. The choice between full-time and part-time programs depends on your availability. Some bootcamps offer flexibility with self-paced learning, while others follow a more structured schedule. Consider the time commitment required each day or week and how it aligns with your other obligations. The duration of the bootcamp varies, so choose one that suits your timeframe.
Whether onsite or online, the boot camp’s location impacts your accessibility. Discuss your plans with family and friends for support. Additionally, factor in the post-bootcamp period, including job search efforts. Before committing, explore trial periods to ensure the bootcamp aligns with your routine and learning preferences.
3. How Long Are Coding Bootcamps?
Full-time coding bootcamps are often intensive. You need to invest 40-50 hours a week and the courses take 3-5 months from start to finish. But part-time programs also operate at a slower pace and over a longer time.
Part-time tracks may be a better fit if you have other commitments, like a full-time job or family to care for. They usually take place 2-3 times per week, require about 10-20 hours a week, and take anywhere from 6 months to a year to complete.
If you want even more flexibility than a part-time boot camp, some boot camps are completely self-paced.
Before committing to a coding bootcamp, first check if the track you want to join is available, how many hours per week you’ll need to dedicate, and how long the course is expected to last.
4. Don’t do Choose it just for the money
Don’t choose a coding bootcamp just because of the money. Knowing how much money people usually make after finishing a bootcamp is important. Maybe you heard about someone making a lot, but that might not be the case for everyone.
Course Report’s website shared details about the salaries of coding bootcamp graduates. For example, people from Hack Reactor in San Francisco earned around $115,000, while those from Tech Elevator in Cincinnati earned about $55,000. To compare, the average salary in Cincinnati is $64,000, according to PayScale.
Remember, other jobs pay well and don’t require coding. You can explore careers like Project Manager, Designer, Marketer, or Entrepreneur without needing a degree if you’re a self-starter.
5. How Much Do Coding Bootcamps Cost?
While coding boot camps are cheaper than college degrees, they’re not free. They can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $20,000, and even slightly higher. To help students pay tuition fees, most boot camps offer a range of financing options. It’s a good idea to compare the tuition fee and the payment plans.
With some research, you may find an option that allows you to participate in a more expensive boot camp than you originally planned.
The most common payment options are:
Deferred tuition & income share agreements:
Deferred tuition means that as a student, you only need to begin paying tuition once you graduate from the course.
Income share agreements (ISA) allow students to start paying a percentage of their earnings after landing their first job. There may be further requirements on when you start paying back tuition, such as a minimum salary and a minimum contract of one year. Once the requirements are fulfilled, you’ll start to make monthly payments to your bootcamp for a fixed time frame.
Many boot camps partner with financing companies like Climb Credit and Skills Fund, which students can use to fund their boot camps. Skills Fund only partners with schools they’ve vetted for quality and student outcomes. Even though these companies provide loans with competitive interest rates, always read the terms and conditions before signing any agreements.
There are all kinds of scholarships available for students who want to pursue a tech career. There are scholarships for veterans, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and even businesses in your area who contribute towards the Bootcamp.
If you’re an old stager suitable for the GI Bill, it’s worth clinching to the boot camp to accept GI Bill benefits. As a bonus, many bootcamps now accept a new VET TEC initiative, which provides funds for veterans to learn new tech skills and won’t use up the GI Benefits either.
6. Going To A Coding Bootcamp vs. Getting Technical Certificates
Coding bootcamps and technical certificates offered by colleges are similar because they both teach the fundamentals of the topic. This includes theory and practical skills. But that’s where the similarities end.
Technical certificates usually last longer than boot camps, especially up to one year. While they’re non-degree programs, they’re still often more expensive than bootcamps. They don’t have a wide range of funding options available either. Certificate programs also focus less on teaching employable skills and aren’t as flexible as boot camps. Bootcamps can change their curriculum to keep it as relevant as possible.
One significant advantage a certificate has over a bootcamp is the accreditation from the college or university. Many bootcamps don’t have any kind of universal accreditation unless they’re affiliated with a learning institution of some kind.
Most boot camps focus on helping you secure entry-level loci. This is why they emphasize giving you the skills needed in the industry and focus more on real-world applications than theory.
Bootcamps focus much more on the practical elements and less on the theory. Many employers won’t care about the theory or about not having a degree, however some do. For that reason, when job searching, it’s a good idea to ask their recruiters if the Bootcamp fulfills their requirements.
7. Coding Bootcamps Job Placements
Coding bootcamps take the best delight in helping graduates to look out for their first jobs. After all, it’s one of their biggest and most unique selling points. A percentage represents the successful employment rate, and you can compare the rate between boot camps.
Choosing a bootcamp that provides resume preparation, interview training, access to recruiters, and a network of companies looking for entry-level employees is vital. Watch for bootcamps that partner with local businesses or other partnerships. This is often a good indicator that potential employers are often impressed by the graduates and would like the first pick from each cohort.
Some bootcamps will go even further and guarantee a job. This means they won’t stop helping you until you’ve signed a contract with a company. If the bootcamp you’re looking at doesn’t have a dedicated careers team, it could mean they’re not as dedicated to your success once you’ve graduated.
Reading real reviews is a great way to understand the bootcamp from a student’s perspective, especially if they talk about the level of instruction and level of career support they received.
The best way to uncover all the details, such as hiring rates, is to check out the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR) website. A collection of bootcamps formed this organization to ensure that all published data like job placement percentages and average starting salary are correct and legitimate. The organization has members from both bootcamps and outside stakeholder organizations who report, document, and audit each reported outcome.
When looking to join a coding bootcamp, consider these seven factors. Starting a coding bootcamp is a big commitment on your time and finances, but it could have a big payoff if you land your dream job or salary.
Also, check out the boot camp’s reputation among graduates via reviews and forums. Always check the boot camp’s job placement percentage and if you have access to career counseling.
Only pay for a Bootcamp if you’re comfortable spending the money on it and will commit 100% of your energy to it. Despite the wide range of funding and deferred payment options, it’s a substantial investment.
Remember that many boot camps require online preparation work beforehand. Make sure you’re comfortable doing that work and have a computer and internet access before classes start.
Good luck with your coding bootcamp adventure!