June 12, 2019

4 Bootcamp Myths Debunked with Fullstack Academy

Fullstack Academy addresses common bootcamp misconceptions in this new piece on SwitchUp

Coding bootcamps aren't new anymore, but they're certainly not as established as traditional educational institutions like four-year colleges and universities, which means there are a lot of misconceptions out there. To compound the confusion, the bootcamp industry has matured considerably over the past five years, and it's hard for prospective students to keep up with the ever-evolving landscape. Below, we'll address four of the most common misconceptions we hear at Fullstack Academy, so you can better understand the industry and make an informed decision about whether a coding bootcamp is for you.

Myth 1: Bootcamp will make you a coder.

A coder is anyone who enjoys programming and dabbles in it in their spare time. And the truth is you'll already need to be a coder in order to even get into most competitive coding bootcamps like Fullstack Academy or Grace Hopper Program. Bootcamps like those won't take you from 0 to 100 in just a few months' time; that would be nearly impossible.

What bootcamps can do is make you a developer, a programmer so well-trained in a specific skill set that you're able to get a job using those skills. In other words, outcome-focused bootcamps can take you from 20 to 80 in a few months' time--not from pure beginner to absolute expert, but from intermediate coder to junior developer.

Myth, busted: Bootcamp won't make you a coder; it'll make you a developer.

Myth 2: Bootcamp will get you a job in tech.

Yes, one of the selling points of top-tier bootcamps like Fullstack Academy and Grace Hopper Program is that they include not only technical training in software development, but also job search help. Their Career Success teams will work with you on your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letters, networking skills, technical and behavioral interview preparation, contract negotiation, and more.

But bootcamps like Fullstack Academy and Grace Hopper Program don't want you to get just any job so they can put a check next to your name and advertise another great hiring outcome. No, they want you to get the job that's right for you. Sometimes that means turning down offers. Sometimes that means starting with an internship at your dream company if it leads you to a better shot at actually being hired afterward. Whatever the case, none of your instructors, career counselors, or fellows--no matter how knowledgeable or supportive--can lead your job search for you. You have to be diligent and disciplined, and put in just as much as you hope to get out.

Myth, busted: Bootcamps will give you the skills you need to get a job in tech.

Myth 3: Bootcamp isn't a "real" education.

Coding bootcamps are relatively new to the education system, but you know the old saying: "There's nothing new under the sun." If you think about it, coding bootcamps are just a conservatory education for programmers, and conservatories have not only been around for more than a thousand years, but many like Juilliard or the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts are highly respected even outside their fields. Coding bootcamps will eventually be similarly accepted as a standard educational option, and may even a come to gain that same prestige outside the programming industry.

In the meantime, whatever view the industry takes, it's important to measure the legitimacy of your education not by credits or degrees, but by whether your education enables you to achieve your goals. If your goal is to advance as a programmer to the point where you can get a job as a developer, then bootcamp is absolutely a "real" education. You'll learn real-world skills, both as a programmer and a job-seeker, and you'll build an impressive portfolio of relevant technologies, so that you're as prepared as any college grad or Master's recipient--if not more so--to get a job in the industry.

Myth, busted: A Bootcamp is a real-world education.

Myth 4: You can't trust bootcamps because they're for-profit.

For-profit education has been a grey area in the education system for some time now, especially since the dawn of online schools with relatively little oversight. The Obama administration sought to regulate for-profit institutions, while under President Trump, Betsy DeVos has rolled back those regulations. That uproar has cast a shadow over all for-profit education, and the closing of several bootcamps in the past few years hasn't helped.

But here's how coding bootcamps have grown over the years--and are different from for-profit colleges and universities.

First, in the last two years, many coding bootcamps--like Fullstack Academy and the Grace Hopper Program--have become members of the non-profit Council on Integrity in Results Reporting. CIRR is a third-party organization that sets industry-wide standards for results reporting of job outcomes, to ensure that prospective students can make apples-to-apples comparisons between institutions, and independently verifies those results, to ensure the data prospective students receive is accurate. If the bootcamp you're interested in is not a member of CIRR, ask yourself--and them--why not.

Beyond CIRR--an example of the industry regulating itself--non-degree-granting institutions like coding bootcamps (and unlike degree-granting for-profit colleges and universities) are in fact regulated at the state level, even though they're privately-run, for-profit organizations. In New York, for example, the New York State Education Department operates the Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision, which oversees--for bootcamps in New York--curriculum standards, truth in marketing and advertising, student privacy protections, veracity of outcomes reporting, and more. Each state has its own regulatory body and its own requirements for compliance.

So coding bootcamps are far more regulated than you might think--specifically for the benefit of prospective students.

Moreover, not-for-profit educational institutions like typical colleges and universities aren't necessarily any more trustworthy, simply because they're more established, than their for-profit counterparts. Consider all the money spent on athletics--on athletic directors, coaches, on wooing players, on stadiums--versus the money going to teacher salaries. Bootcamps like Fullstack Academy and Grace Hopper Program offer competitive salaries to quality instructors and, in doing so, put tuition money back into the local economy.

The long and short of it is, every educational institution is different, whether they're a coding bootcamp or a four-year public university, and you should do your due diligence before jumping to the conclusion that one type of institution is inherently more trustworthy than another.

Myth, busted: "For-profit" doesn't mean bad, and "not-for-profit" doesn't mean good. Do your research, no matter what.

You should now have a more accurate picture of what you'll get out of a coding bootcamp and what you'll need to put in--plus the information you need to move past the misconceptions to the truth about how coding bootcamps operate. Once you've decided that coding bootcamp is, in fact, the right next-step for you, it's time to choose one of the many available programs.


This post was sponsored by Fullstack Academy.

Want to learn more about Fullstack Academy? Check out their alumni reviews on SwitchUp.

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