Picking a Software Engineering Bootcamp
Choosing which coding bootcamp to attend can be daunting. There are so many to choose from that narrowing down a single choice can be difficult. What languages do you want to learn? How much money do you want to spend? How much time do you have to spend per day, per week, on material? What is your goal? Here are some things to consider when selecting what option is best for you:
- What is your budget?
A typical coding bootcamp can range anywhere between $10,000-$20,000. This is all based on the amount of instruction given, staffing, resources, length of the program, and material. There are several things to consider here. Are you going to have to take out a loan? If so, what are the interest rates and timeframe to pay it back? If you have the money upfront (which is almost always, in the end, less than the loan option), will you be able to part with that money and be financially safe during the program? Think of housing, food, bills, emergency funds. Look to see what the bootcamp offers in regards to the loan they offer. A common trend in coding bootcamps is to offer a money back guarantee if you do not find employment in a certain time frame(mine was 6 months). Usually there is a stipulation of following certain guidelines and requirements. If the bootcamp is reputable (you can check reviews and reports on coursereport.com), the tuition may not be of concern to you if you are certain this is the program that you want and are confident in the returns. What is $17,000 now if most graduates are making on average $115,000 for their first job after graduation? Money is very personal, and you have to make the decision that you are most comfortable with.
Another thing to note is that many bootcamps offer some pretty significant scholarships. Some scholarships include being a minority entering into tech and having a financial need. This is certainly something to check as scholarships can be thousands of dollars up to the full tuition!
- How much time do you have to allocate to studying?
If you have a job it may be best to enroll in a part-time, online, program that you can do at your own pace or during several scheduled days in the week. The most intensive bootcamps, such as on-campus or with shorter duration times, are known to be rigorous and would not be in your best interest to hold any employment at this time.
How much time do you have before your money to live runs out? How fast do you want to complete the program?
- Where are you interested in obtaining employment?
There are many bootcamps that you can complete from anywhere, including your own home, through virtual learning and online programs. If you want to network within your city and there is a bootcamp campus there that offers career services, you may want to lean towards that one to feel better connected to the local industry.
- What are the requirements to get into the program?
Check to see if you need any prior coding knowledge to get into the program. Some bootcamps may require you to pass a tech interview that displays baseline knowledge of a language. This is to not only to start you off past step 1 and to start learning about more advanced material than the basics, but to see if you have the discipline and stamina to be a good candidate for the course.
Do you need to do any pre-bootcamp work before getting into the program? How much time will that take you?
An important piece to note that I found during my search was that the specific languages learnt at your bootcamp of choice probably should not be a huge factor in your decision. Bootcamps teach you how to learn and give you the resources to do so. Most bootcamps offer flexibility in their later stages to learn and build applications in whatever language you want. A skill employees look for is if you’re able to learn code easily, not if you’re fluent in it. I wanted to learn C# for gaming but the bootcamps that were offering it were not ideal for me; wrong location; I did not like that they had zero requirements. So, I decided that was not going to be a big priority for me.
Overall, you want to pick the software engineering bootcamp that is right for you. One bootcamp that is perfect for one person may not be ideal for another. You will get a good sense of the bootcamp, hopefully, after the first two weeks. You will feel inspired, like you belong, and that you made the right decision. A good coding bootcamp will have a refund policy if you decide it isn’t for you within a certain timeframe from beginning the program.