Code Bootcamps: A SwitchUp Guide to Help You Choose
At SwitchUp, students commonly ask us: what do I look for when I am trying to choose a bootcamp? No matter the focus, the core components that make the best programs stand-out from the rest are consistent. To make things easier, we've compiled a list of the most important things to consider when comparing potential bootcamp programs.
First and foremost, have you had a chance to sit down with yourself and consider why you are beginning your bootcamp journey? It is important to begin by identifying what your goals are as you enter the research phase of your process.
Do you want to:
- Learn a new skill?
- Expand your resume?
- Land a high-paying job?
These are all very different reasons to invest in bootcamp programs. Some bootcamps are focused on job placement while others are targeted at university graduates looking to transition into more specific career tracks.
Reading school summaries is an easy first step. Get a feel for the student body at different institutions and make sure their goals are aligned with yours.
Attend an Info Session
Don't be afraid to go to the school and ask a ton of questions. Info sessions are a fantastic way to get real insight into the school's passion, level of individualized attention and overall success. Many bootcamps have data to support their job placement rates and also work with hiring partners to ensure their students are learning the skills necessary for the workforce.
Attending an info session can:
- Lead to connections with teachers, alumni and administrative staff
- Give you the answers you need before you begin your application process
- Clear up any discrepancies that might be unclear on the bootcamp website
These sessions are both cost and risk-free. Plus, many schools offer them in an online format, so you can easily attend from anywhere! Attend one as a jumping off point. You have nothing to lose.
Career Support and Mentorship
Excellent career support is one of the best signs of a quality program. From one-on-one mentorship to job placement assistance, great schools are driven to help their grads succeed.
Mentorship can actually make or break a bootcamp. By finding the right mentor, students can jumpstart new careers with the support they truly need to succeed. One-on-one mentorship and group-style mentorship are two different ways bootcamps provide these services.
Ask yourself these questions when considering the career support of a program:
- Pair you with a mentor that best fits your needs as a student?
- Hold mock interviews to help you prepare for future professional experiences?
- Aid in the building of your portfolio?
- Provide office hours for questions and support?
- Guarantee a quality job after graduation?
Note: We used the word quality when referring to job placement above. Transparency is key when looking at job placement statistics. Make sure you ask not only if students are being placed in jobs after graduation, but also typical job titles and graduate salaries.
When comparing job outcomes statistics, be sure to ask your school for a third-party verified outcomes report. These reports will give you a detailed breakdown about how a school reports and publishes outcomes.
All of these details are fair considerations when comparing programs. Find your perfect blend of career support and mentorship by digging around their website or reading code bootcamp reviews.
In any field, a high-quality curriculum will balance structure and industry trends with enough flexibility to accommodate different learning styles and abilities.. A strong curriculum sets students up for success, and enables teachers to perform at a high level.
So how does an industry that moves as fast as coding ensure a quality curriculum? We've seen a couple of ways.
Take a look at the syllabus: It matters. The coding program syllabus reviews will give you insight into what you're learning, the pacing of the program, and whether or not it covers everything you feel you will need to learn.
Flexibility: Core skills are important for an institution to teach, but it is also imperative for them to operate with a flexible approach. Technology is constantly evolving. Is the curriculum keeping up?
Computer Science Fundamentals: In an effort to provide students with a more thorough background, many bootcamps now teach computer science fundamentals in addition to languages and frameworks. You'll want to consider if this approach is right for you.
Programming Blockchain reviews: See if your desired school is starting to offer programs in blockchain technology, or similarly up-and-coming subjects that will help catapult you into the future. Schools that stay up with the times are more likely to help you succeed.
When you think of coding or technology hubs, which locations come to mind? San Francisco and New York perhaps? Of course the draw of big cities makes it easy to justify a move, but you might be surprised by what your hometown has to offer.
Did you know that if you look at the Fortune 500 comapaies by state, 54 are in Texas?! That's right. Houston is a tech hub. In fact, "Houston is recognized as one of the best cities to work in as a programmer with regards to salary, cost of living, and job opportunities."
The reality is, tech hubs are not necessarily in expensive cities. For instance, we connected with Montana Code School to talk to them about what's going on in their neck of the woods, and it's booming! "Bozeman, Montana has already attracted national attention for its growing tech sector. In addition to Oracle, there are numerous businesses in the photonics industry as well as in the Saas and marketing industries."
With thousands of bootcamps now operating worldwide, you might have the opportunity to move to a place you've never considered before. Make sure the school is driving you towards the right location, not the other way around.
Is your desired location the comfort of your own home? Fret not! There are many online programs to choose from in the bootcamp industry including Flatiron, Thinkful and Bloc. Take a look at our piece to compare this top-notch bootcamp programming, or access our full list of online programs.
One of the greatest advantages of attending bootcamp instead of a university is the significantly lower cost. Bootcamps have begun offering a slew of ways to fund their education programs. Upfront payment often offers a discount, while in-house financing can help students who need a longer period of time to pay. If you are intimidated by the thought of funding your dream, don't worry too much. There are plenty of options. See more on how to deal with coding bootcamp cost.
The cost of the bootcamp itself can also play a huge role in determining your perfect program. Bootcamps can have very low costs depending on their location, level of one-on-one support and a slew of other factors. Check out our price filter to find the program that fits your budget.
Alongside cost and payment options, there are a wide variety of scholarships now available to incoming bootcamp students. Scholarships categories now include much more than stellar grades. Diversity scholarships, scholarships for women, scholarships targeted at high-need students and other options have provided schools with a wide variety of ways to lend financial support.
Our comprehensiveblockchain technology list of scholarships can help you to jumpstart your search.
Are you a veteran? Take a look at our list of scholarships aligned with GI Bill eligibility, offering specialized scholarships for those who have served or are currently serving.
For quality control, students have taken to using reviews and ratings from graduates to eliminate the less-than-satisfactory programs saturating the market. Detailed reviews take students beyond marketing materials or publicity, and provide valuable first-hand experience.
On-the-ground perspectives are often a deciding factor when students are looking to change careers. It can help students understand the big picture, from the beginning of their research through to a career.
The reviews on Switchup include how programs helped students before, during and after their attendance. If you're curious about pre-work, info sessions, career services or even the application process, all of these details can be found on the alumni reviews page for each individual school.
Have you attended a bootcamp and are interested in helping future applicants? Write a review of your program to help clear things up! You will automatically be entered to win one of five $100 Amazon gift cards or one $500 Amazon gift card grand-prize from SwitchUp once you submit a verified review.
Our get matched tool helps pair students with programs that are a good fit.
Using this free resource we will:
- Pair you with highly-rated programs (4+ stars)
- Recommend a program that best fits your needs
- Ensure that you start getting information about the industry and the programs within it
We hope this comprehensive list has provided you with all of the answers you need to get started on this exciting journey. Still have questions? SwitchUp can always help.