Factors To Consider When Choosing Your Coding Bootcamp
December 29, 2019
An important part of choosing the right code Bootcamp is knowing the factors your care most about. You should have a checklist of things you feel are important and look specifically for these points when researching your options.
Here are some factors that we think are most important to consider.
Coding Bootcamps can be expensive, so it’s important to consider how much you can afford to spend. Rather than just compare prices, looks specifically at what you get in return for the varying prices. For example, you’ll notice that some Bootcamps are more expensive, but longer (Flatiron School) whereas some are cheaper, but shorter (Le Wagon). Some, like Founders & Coders are actually free, as they are supported by organisations for community development.
It’s important to also understand the time cost. A longer course means more opportunity to learn, but it also means longer without a job. If you’re going through a career change, you may want to get back into work ASAP. Which is why it’s also important to consider…
How long do you want to be studying for? Do you want to learn the minimal amount to get the job you desire? Or would you feel more comfortable taking the time to go a bit deeper?
Different Bootcamps place themselves along this spectrum. For example, General Assembly’s 3-month course teaches you the fundamentals of software engineering and prepared you for a role as a junior developer. This is different to Lambda School’s 40-week course that is a deeper dive into all aspects of software engineering and computer science.
Payment Plans & Alternative Financing
A final thought related to cost - payment plans. Many coding Bootcamps offer a variety of ways and time-periods to pay for a course. This is actually really important, as it makes Bootcamps accessible to a broader range of students. Some of the options available include payment outright, payment over 6 months, payment over 12 months or even an Income Share Agreement (where you pay a % of your future earnings). Many courses will also offer some sort of guarantee that allows you to claim money back if you don’t get a job.
Finally, for some students there may be Scholarship options available if you meet certain criteria (often based on supporting diverse students in tech).
Once you’ve considered the hard costs, you’ll also want to consider some softer points.
Do you learn best in big classes or small classes? Do you prefer seminar or project-based learning? Have you ever worked in a remote capacity?
When you look into Bootcamps you should press to find details about their style of teaching. You’ll want to pick the one that best fits the way you learn.
Is there a specific technology you want to learn? For example, perhaps you specifically want to learn Ruby on Rails because you know the company you admire uses Ruby. All Bootcamps are continually evolving and adapting their curriculum, but some do so more frequently than others. It’s important to consider exactly what technologies you’ll be learning and how that marries with the job market.
You’ll want to consider the level of career support you will receive after the course. Many coding Bootcamps offer a dedicated support team for this, who will help with tasks such as CV preparation, interview preparation and even help you negotiate job offers. They can also warn you of “bad” employers, as reported by previous Bootcamp alumni.
This will likely be a bigger consideration for people who are making a significant career change. The hiring process for a software developer (with code tests, whiteboard exercise, etc) can a little different to your standard interview. If this make you nervous, you may want to push deeper on exactly the career support you’ll get.
Hiring Reputation & Brand
If you’re wanting to get a job as a software developer, its useful to know how the course provider is seen in the market. If many of their alumni are hired and working at good companies, you can safely assume they have a decent reputation. But you can also dig in and ask people.
It’s useful to speak to hiring managers if possible. Do they have a specific bias?
Importantly, if you are taking a course outside the target market of where you’ll get a job, you may want to pick a Bootcamp that has a more established or global brand. For example, if you’re doing a Bootcamp in London, but want to work in Paris, General Assembly or Le Wagon have campuses in both, so the brand will be well known.
Finally, you may want to consider what community the Bootcamp offers. This can help the course to be more enjoyable (more people!) but also be useful for meeting a diverse network.
Some Bootcamps offer a range of courses alongside coding courses such as UX Design or Data Science. This means you can meet students from other disciplines and perhaps even wrk on projects together.
Some Bootcamps also make extensive effort to maintain an alumni community. They will invite previous graduates to events, parties and so on, providing vast networking opportunities. Often alumni can be the best source of introductions to a potential hiring company!
As you can see, there is a lot to consider! It’s important to choose the most important factors to you and investigate them thoroughly. Once you know the points you most care about, try this 6-step Guide to Choosing The Right Bootcamp. You’ll want to make sure you’re investing your time and money optimally.
Written by Stevan Popovic, creator of Code With Bootcamps, software developer and coding bootcamp alum.
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