Coding bootcamps are increasingly being viewed as viable pathways to lucrative careers. They allow students to get hands-on experience, often based on real-world scenarios, that they can use to land their first or a higher-paying position.
However, not all coding bootcamps are created equal. Since attending one often requires a big financial and time commitment, you need to make sure you select one that’s right for you. Plus, you need a reasonable assurance that a particular bootcamp will elevate your career, as some won’t help you land a job.
If you want to make sure you choose the best coding bootcamp based on your needs and preferences, here are five tips that can help.
Review the Curriculum
Before you sign up for a bootcamp, you need to take a look at the curriculum overview. If you are new to coding, then make sure that programming fundamentals are covered in the program. That way, you can get a strong foundation that will help you launch your career, and you can be fairly certain that the bootcamp is within your capabilities.
However, if you are trying to take your coding career to the next level, you might not need a review of the fundamentals. When this happens, choosing a bootcamp that focuses on students with prior experience might be best. Often, you can determine whether one might be right for you by seeing what the curriculum does and doesn’t include.
Choose the Right Schedule
Coding bootcamps usually have one of three scheduling structures. Full-time bootcamps require as much time as a job in many cases, so you might not be able to work and participate. But, these do create an opportunity to focus heavily on programming for three to six months, which may be best for those who want to change or launch a career.
Part-time bootcamps usually take six to 12 months to complete, but you can more easily juggle other demands. You might be able to work full-time successfully and still complete the bootcamp. However, that doesn’t mean your total commitment won’t feel heavy.
For those who need flexibility, self-paced bootcamps might be best. You maintain full control over the schedule, allowing you to go as fast or slow as you need to at a given moment.
Select the Best Environment
Coding bootcamps can be in-person or online. If you prefer the traditional classroom experience, might need in-person support, or want to have face-to-face conversations, than in-person bootcamps may be your best bet. For students who enjoy working alone, need to avoid a commute, don’t live near a bootcamp, and are comfortable researching when they need questions answered, online could be a great fit.
Don’t Overlook Employment Outcomes
Not all bootcamps are high-quality, and some are outright scams. Ideally, you want to find one that has strong, real job placement statistics for graduates, including the percentage of students that complete the program, how many work in the field, how long it took to land a job, and how much they earn.
If possible, also reach out to alumni to learn about their experience, or at least read reviews to get the student perspective, too. That way, you can watch out for red flags that suggest the statistics aren’t telling the whole story.
Plan for the Cost
Coding bootcamp can be costly. Some will cost $8,000, while others may have price tags in excess of $20,000. And, in many cases, you can’t use traditional student loans to pay.
Before you sign up, explore your financing options if you can’t cover the cost in cash. Each school may have its own financial aid program, so you need to see what might work before you commit.
If you’d like to learn more about bootcamps, the team at The Squires Group can help. Contact us to discuss your career goals today and see how our expertise can benefit you.