How To Choose The Right Coding Bootcamp

January 04, 2020

Deciding to do a coding Bootcamp is a big life choice. So its important to try get the decision right.

In this post, I’ll show a detailed six point framework to help you choose the right coding Bootcamp for you. These six steps include:

  1. Know your primary outcome.
  2. Know your criteria and preferences.
  3. Do your research!
  4. Filter for your “must-have” criteria.
  5. Rank the remaining by preferential criteria.
  6. Apply!

I’ll also highlight a bunch of questions you’ll want to consider at each step as you make your decision.

It’s important to realize there is no one best Bootcamp. There are a range of Bootcamps with a variety of options. It’s important to try an find the best match for you and your needs.

list of code Bootcamps with one selected

Let’s jump right into it.

Step 1 - Know Your Primary Outcome

If you’re deciding to do a coding Bootcamp, it’s important to first understand what your primary outcome is. Your desired outcome will impact the criteria to consider in step 2.

Some outcomes you may have in mind:

  • I want to get a job as a software developer
  • I want to learn the language of software development so I can speak to my tech team
  • I want to understand the basics of software development so I can hire a developer
  • I want to learn enough to build my own Minimum Viable Products

Each of the above is a good reason to do a coding Bootcamp (and the list is not exhaustive). But they also impact some of your downstream decisions. For example, if you want to become a career software developer, you might be willing to invest more time and money than if you simply want to learn enough to build an MVP.

Now you have a primary outcome in mind, we can begin to make some further considerations.

Step 2 - Know Your Criteria and Preferences

Now that you know your primary outcome, we can think about some other factors and preferences to consider. As coding Bootcamps have been around for over 7 years, there are plenty of different options.

Some things you’ll want to consider:

  • How much am I willing to spend?
  • How much time can I commit?
  • Do I have the money available right away? Or will I need some sort of payment plan?
  • What technology do I want to learn? Is there a specific toolset I’ll need?
  • What teaching style do I prefer?
  • In what location do I want to study?
  • How much does the brand and reputation of the course provider matter to me?
  • What level of career support do I want?
  • Does the community and alumni network matter to me?

As you can see, there is a lot to consider! But try not to let it overwhelm you.

I would recommend choosing 4-5 criteria that matter most for you. For myself, that was price, duration, technology and reputation. But you may have other criteria that are more important and that is okay. The important thing is to know what the criteria are.

Additionally, it’s important to consider which criteria are “must-haves” vs preferences. On some criteria, you may have hard barriers. For example “I’m not prepared to pay more than £8,000” or “the course needs to teach Python”. Or, you might have preferences. For example, “the closer to Shoreditch the better” or “I’d like to have more career support than less”.

Now you have your primary outcome and criteria in mind, we can begin to assess the options.

Step 3 - Do your research!

Now it’s time to do the research. Use your favourite search engine to find the Bootcamps available to you and understand how they meet each of your criteria.

If you Google “coding Bootcamps [location]” you’ll have a good starting point. Each of the Bootcamps will have a website with all the information you are after (although of course, they’ll be biased). Of course, makes this step easy!

Importantly, you’ll want to have some way to track the important information as you go. You might want to do this with pen and paper or in a spreadsheet (like Google Sheets). A spreadsheet comes with the benefit that you can use the sorting and filtering functionality for the next steps.

list of code Bootcamps with information relating to price, duration, tech stack and location

There are two extra research methods you should definitely consider:

  • Open days - Most of the Bootcamp providers have open days or events where you can find out more. You should make time to go to these events and ask specific questions about the course.
  • Ask your network - Of course, speaking to someone who has done the course is always beneficial. If possible, you may want to use LinkedIn to see if you have any connections who have done the course. If so, reach out and ask them if you can email them or grab a coffee.

Now that you’ve done the research, you should have a bunch of options available. Next, let’s narrow them down.

Step 4 - Filter for your “must-have” criteria.

Remember in step 2 I mentioned considering your “must-have” criteria. Now we’ll want to make sure we filter out any options that don’t meet your “must-have” criteria.

list of code Bootcamps with some now filtered out by duration or technology

Of course, if you didn’t have any must-have criteria, you can skip straight to step 5. Otherwise, take this opportunity to filter out any options which are too long, too expensive, not in the right location, and so on.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll be left with options that meet those criteria. Then we can begin to rank them by preference.

Step 5 - Rank the remaining by preferential criteria.

With your remaining criteria, you can order the remaining options.

If cheaper is better, put the cheaper options at the top. If a shorter course is better, put those options at the top, and so on.

You should begin to see order emerge to your list. It may be that as you did your research, you had a favourite option in mind. Is that order at the top? If we have chosen our criteria correctly, the order should reflect that.

list of code Bootcamps now sorted by price

Now that we have done the research and ordered our options by preference, we can begin to apply!

Step 6 - Apply!

Whilst this may seem nerve-racking, there is nothing to fear. Bootcamps are hungry to take on more students. If you go to the website of your preferred Bootcamp, you’ll find an area to apply to a specific course. Submit the form or send the email. Breathe. Now, wait for them to get back to you.

You’ve done it. Congratulations.

I hope the above framework was a useful tool to help you choose the right coding Bootcamp for you.

If you’d like further help, please ask any questions on Twitter or join our community on Slack. I’m always happy to help.

Stevan Popovic

Written by Stevan Popovic, creator of Code With Bootcamps, software developer and coding Bootcamp alum.

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