How to Choose the Right Coding Bootcamp?

Ruth Ng

Ruth Ng

8 min read
how to choose a coding bootcamp

With new tech startups popping up every day, there is a demand for computer programmers and coders today like never before.

But where do these programmers come from? It’s not like every coder is going through 4+ years of computer science degrees, getting viable workplace experience, and then building these apps and websites.

No. New and talented developers are being churned out of these coding bootcamps. As an alternative to college or university, coding bootcamps are short and very intense programs that help their students gain the necessary skills to pursue a career in tech.

Coding bootcamps can be part-time or full time and can focus on coding in general or on a specific tech-related area, like user interface (UI) design, a specific coding language or front-end or back-end development, and data science. In fact, most careers in tech now have associated bootcamps; even partially-related fields like digital marketing and product management.

Bootcamps are so intense because they will teach you everything you need to know to achieve a career in the tech industry while honing your skills as a developer. You will work on portfolio projects to highlight your skills, and will even receive support when it comes time to search for a career as an entry-level developer. Many bootcamp programs feed into large companies that promise to recruit bootcamp graduates as new hires. So you may even come away with a job offer!

But how do you choose the right bootcamp for your desired career path in tech?

Stick with us and we’ll explain everything you need to consider.

Before you start looking for a bootcamp you’re going to want to ask yourself a few questions. First, you’re going to want to know whether this bootcamp is to grow your existing career, begin a new one by switching fields, or simply for personal interest.

If you’re pursuing a coding bootcamp to grow your career or start a new one, you need to clearly understand what types of skills and code languages you will need to focus on to meet your career goal. If you are unsure of what area of tech you want to work, a general coding or all-encompassing bootcamp may be better than a super specialised one, anyways.

If you want to have technical skills while also working more on the management side of things, you may want to consider whether college is a viable option instead of a bootcamp.

Second, you’ll need to know whether you could complete your learning in a more self-guided program through online learning, or whether you’ll need an instructor through in-person learning. This may look a little different than traditional bootcamps throughout COVID, but many bootcamps have adapted to live video lessons from their instructors for a seamless transition from the classroom.

Finally, you’re going to want to set a budget. Like we said, there are many types of bootcamps available out there. Some of them are free and less risky, which may be ideal for part-time learners or code-curious folks, and others are paid programs which tend to be more intense for full-time learners.

When you know how much time and funding you can dedicate to your code bootcamp, you will have a better idea of what type of program to look for that fits your goals, budget, and learning capabilities.

Here are some tips and tricks that can help you narrow down the program that will work best for your situation:

  1. Read online reviews. Just like choosing a good restaurant in a new city, you don’t want to spend your money on a bootcamp that is totally wrong for you and not in the style of learning that you enjoy. By reading (verified) reviews online you can paint a nice picture of some students’ experiences and successes (or failures) from the bootcamp. Was it easy to get a job after? Is the program well-regarded by potential employers? Make notes and refer to them later.
  2. Conduct teacher and student interviews. You’ll be able to find teachers and alumni of the program you’re considering by visiting the program’s website or by searching for the program on LinkedIn. Mentors and students are likely to list the program on their professional profile and are usually available to share their experiences/answer any questions you might have. Maybe find someone with similar qualifications to yourself on LinkedIn, and ask them how they enjoyed the program. For example, if you work in marketing currently, find someone who used to work in marketing and who completed the bootcamp.
  3. Take some free courses or examine the materials. Oftentimes these bootcamps will have intro courses or sample classes available on their sites. Take these classes to see whether you understand the material and like the style. If you can't find any free resources through the bootcamp you’re considering, take that into account before signing up to their program.
  4. Research preliminary requirements. Some bootcamps require you to complete an introductory module before beginning the program. Make sure you’re aware of the time commitment that is required of the bootcamp and their expectations regarding workload and projects. If you have a family or are considering a part-time bootcamp, take the weekly time requirement into account.
  5. Compare programs of varying degrees. Some programs are highly ranked and have prestigious alumni who have gone on to create amazing products or work for well-regarded companies. Compare these programs to any other programs you’re considering and determine whether the courses you’re considering offer everything you need to achieve your goals.
  6. Visit the learning facilities. If you’ll be attending this bootcamp in-person, be sure to visit the learning facilities to determine whether the environment is one you’ll thrive in. You want to enjoy the experience and chances are you’ll be spending a great deal of time there, from studying to completing assignments and portfolio projects.
  7. Align with the teaching style. Check whether the bootcamp is mostly pre-recorded videos and lessons or live streams that are instructor-led. Whether the program is mentor-driven or project-based is also a big factor towards determining your success. Consider how you work best and learn best. Do you learn from listening or doing? Look for programs that align with your learning style.

Remember your end goal and use the above checklist to consider how these factors will impact your goal.

And of course, think of where you want to be after completing the bootcamp. Many graduates go on to work for large companies like Facebook or Google, start their own companies as a technical co-founder, become tech consultants, or join small startups as an engineer. You may even be able to move to a more technical role at your current company, if that is your end goal.

If you like the bootcamp you attend, chances are you’ll be able to use the skills and knowledge you acquire to find the perfect career for you upon graduation!

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We help people looking to future-proof their career or move into new areas of work by firstly reducing the barrier of upfront payment, and secondly removing the difficulty of sourcing an appropriate course.

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