Over the past several years, there has been a rise in the number of courses known as “coding bootcamps”. People are looking for ways to advance their careers, without spending an exuberant amount of money on a new college degree, especially in the ever-growing tech industry. To meet this demand, the number of coding bootcamps has risen, offering people a way to learn a new skill, in a shorter amount of time and for a fraction of the cost of a degree. However, these coding bootcamps are not right for everyone, and for some, are probably not worth the investment.
What exactly are coding bootcamps?
Coding bootcamps are technical training programs designed to teach people who may have little to no experience everything they need to know to get a job in coding. The programs typically last only a few weeks or months, as they are designed with speed in mind. Over the course of a few weeks, people enrolled in a coding bootcamp will learn all about the most in-demand coding skills and how to create applications from scratch. Some coding bootcamps require payment upfront, while others defer payment until after you land a job.
The benefits of a coding bootcamp
So why would a person attend a program like this? For starters, coding bootcamps can be completed in a much shorter time frame compared to getting a college degree. If you know you want to work with coding, and you don’t want to spend 4 years sitting in a lecture hall, a coding bootcamp may appeal to you. In 3 months, you could have all the information and skills you need to get a good paying coding job, but without having to attend college.
Besides the quicker time line, a coding bootcamp is much cheaper than going to school. Getting your Bachelor’s Degree in the United States is a costly route to take, and leaves many people in debt for years to come after they graduate. While there are ways to make it more affordable – such as financial aid, getting a scholarship, or attending an in-state college – it is still typically more expensive than one of these coding bootcamps. Since you are only paying for a few months of training, rather than 4 years of schooling, you are saving yourself some money.
Coding bootcamps are great if you want to get a job coding, and you want to do it soon. They focus on the most in-demand coding languages, allowing you to enter the job marketplace with useful skills. There are a few drawbacks to these programs, and you should consider them before signing up.
Coding bootcamp drawbacks
While speed is one of the selling points for coding bootcamps, it’s also one of the drawbacks. What often separates a good coder from a great one is the ability to think for yourself. A great coder will be able to think outside the box to come up with better ways of doing things or finding solutions to problems. This ability comes when you have spent a decent amount of time working with coding languages, and is hard to develop over the course of a quick bootcamp. When you attend college, you have several years to work with different languages at a slower pace, which allows you to try new things and push your boundaries.
It’s for this reason that some people suggest coding bootcamps are better for people who already have coding experience. They are great if you want to learn the latest coding languages, but if you are going in green, some say it is impossible to learn everything you need to learn in just a few weeks. For those people who are going into coding bootcamps without any prior coding experience, be prepared for a steep learning curve, and to possibly have additional training to complete once you finish the program.
The other drawback is that you may have a harder time getting through the interview process – if the coding bootcamp is the only related education. Without a formal college degree on your resume, some companies may unfortunately be quick to write you off. Many organizations want to see that you have put the time in to study your field, and that you have a well-rounded education. Without the recognition of a higher education institution behind you, getting your foot in the door may prove more difficult for companies with strict criteria.
Is it right for you?
The question now becomes: is a coding bootcamp right for you? The answer really depends on how much passion you have for coding. If you have the drive and the passion to go through an intense training program, and are certain that you want to have a career in coding after you complete it, then perhaps it is right for you.
On the other hand, if you’re unsure about coding, and you’re simply looking for a way to improve your career options, then this may not be the best solution. While learning coding languages is a great way to boost your skill set, there are better ways to start off if you are not passionate about it yet. Consider taking some classes at a local college to try it out, or even teaching yourself through online materials. This will allow you to get a sense of what coding is like, and you can decide if your heart is really in it. If it isn’t, you haven’t wasted a ton of time or money entering yourself into a program you no longer wish to complete.
In the end, whether or not a coding bootcamp is worth the investment is up to you. The classes are expensive, but most graduates are able to land a good paying job afterward. However, if you are on the fence about coding, the investment may not be worth the amount of time and energy you’ll have to use doing something you don’t enjoy, so really think it over before you enroll.