Coding bootcamp is an 8 to 12-week full-time study program. It’s fairly costly and very intensive. It’s not as expensive as a degree which, at an elite school, can cost $60,000 per academic year. Bootcamps generally range from $10,000 to $20,000. While this is a substantial sum, it’s clearly nowhere near as costly as an Ivy League degree from somewhere like MIT.
What You Can Expect From a Coding Bootcamp
Coding bootcamps are fast-paced, intense, and immersive. You’ll spend long hours in classrooms just “doing”. You won’t focus much on the theory. Instead, you’ll spend your time learning the practical application. Although each school varies, classes generally involve your tutor giving a brief introduction to the topic, then giving you problem sets and challenges to work through, alone or in pairs and groups. So you get very little background knowledge, but start to build the basic programming skills you need. Many focus entirely on just one language while others give you broader overviews of multiple languages.
Will You Be Job-Ready?
This is a hotly debated question, but the general consensus is, probably not. Or at least, not entirely. In 8 or 12 weeks, you code for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. But the scope is limited. Your portfolio will be limited. And you won’t have much to put on your resume and wow potential employers. Even though most bootcamps promise you’ll be ready to walk into a super-duper high-flying, really well-paid job the day you finish your bootcamp, the reality is somewhat different. You’ll have basic knowledge and a pretty simple tutorial. What you won’t have is any real depth of knowledge. You’ll only acquire that through study and practice outside of the bootcamp. So, once you graduate, be prepared to dive into further self-study and coding practice while you build a portfolio that stands out from all the other bog-standard bootcamper ones.
There is another area where bootcamps really shine – interview and job search coaching. Computer science degrees don’t generally offer this as part of their curriculum, but it is invaluable. Searching for a job in tech and interviewing for a job in tech is unlike any other industry. It’s unique and, although there are thousands of open jobs with nobody qualified to fill them, it’s tough. If you manage to stand out enough from the crowd to be offered an interview, you’ll most likely undergo multiple rounds, including at least one technical interview, where you are given a problem set and are expected to code on a white board, are given access to a company’s code base and are asked to work on a real or fake “ticket”, or are paired with one of their existing developers and are given a real-world problem set to test your coding and teamwork skills. These are challenging and daunting for even the most experienced coder, so having coaching and practice sessions within the bootcamp can really help graduates prepare for the job market.
Who Is a Bootcamp Suitable For?
As we previously discussed in Coding Bootcamps as CS Degree Alternatives, bootcamps are a smart choice for experiential learners. They give you the basic programming skills and understanding you need to build further knowledge and get yourself a solid career. But they are costly, particularly those that require an upfront investment. Some offer an alternative, where you complete the course, then they garnish your salary, taking up to 20 percent of your earning in your first year of employment. These intensive study options are a good fit for mid-career professionals looking to change direction, such as those who have enough savings to focus exclusively on completing the course. Bootcamps aren’t great for those strapped for cash or who don’t have enough savings to pay for the course and support themselves for the two to three-month duration. Because they are so intensive, they also may not be suitable for people who have many other responsibilities and commitments, such as primary caregivers.