There is considerable debate about the benefits of going to a coding bootcamp versus getting a 4-year computer science (CS) degree through a university. Studies, articles, Reddit threads, and bloggers compare the two paths as if it’s one or the other.
The reality might surprise you. At our Seattle campus, for example, CS grads make up the largest population of students when compared to other majors. We find that many students come to Coding Dojo with a CS degree because they need to hone their practical skills to land that interview, and get the job.
Jerrod New, Coding Dojo’s Developer in Residence Program Director confirms, “The reason we’re getting these CS grads is that they’re applying for positions, they start their job search and then realize it’s harder than they expected.” explains New. “They’re either not getting called back or they go on their first interview and they realize they have all of the theory but they don’t know how to code, and they really need those skills.”
Jay Nagarsheth, a current student at Coding Dojo San Jose, was fresh from a Computer Science program at Rutgers University and wanted to get hired at a top company like Amazon or Microsoft. With a “shiny new degree,” in hand, as Nagarsheth describes it, he was able to meet the requirements for the job description on paper -- but the “real-world experience [was] a little different.”
Upon exiting Rutgers, Nagarsheth was able to grasp the theory and had tried his hand at Java -- but couldn’t actually code just yet. Since high-school it had been his dream to become a programmer, yet he wasn’t getting calls back from employers. He didn’t know multiple languages, had non-functional projects in his portfolio, needed more practice writing algorithms by hand, and didn’t have any experience with the latest technologies utilized in the industry.
That’s when he started researching coding bootcamps.
“When I got out, there was a gap I needed to fill to become employable,” explained Nagarsheth. “That’s when I really started exploring Coding Bootcamps and I saw that Coding Dojo had an offering of three complete stacks which is basically how I narrowed down coming here. And I’ve done more coding work here than during my whole degree -- it took me 14 weeks to create a full Java e-commerce website as an elective at university and it wasn’t even fully functioning -- I did that in a week here at Coding Dojo.”
Similarly, Sadie Flick, a Teaching Assistant at Coding Dojo who attended university for Computer Science courses was stuck in the same boat. “I'd say the vast majority of CS education is individual learning,” explained Flick. “They might have team projects in the later classes, but the first two or three years you code on your own.”
Flick adds to this, saying the program she attended didn’t cover white-boarding, something Dojo students do daily – nor did she get the chance to work hands-on in a team like she would in any position as a developer.
“At Coding Dojo, you’ll use GitHub, and version control with each other,” says Flick. “It’s working in a team environment in the same way that you would at a company. You have to be able to branch, merge, and understand how your code will work with other people’s code without having conflicts. You don't do that in school -- they don't do any of that.”
The coding skills are only half the story. The bootcamp experience enables students to become full-stack developers while also obtaining soft skills like working on teams, troubleshooting efficiently, and successfully presenting your skills -- all critical elements in the workforce.
Nagarsheth can attest to this, “You learn a lot of other things here -- you learn how to work with other people and you learn so many new technologies that are being used in the industry right now. My resume didn't have any of the things we learned here, except the Java stack. Now I have 2 other stacks, and two really big projects that are better than the projects I did at university. Just the environment here is helping me become more aligned with real world scenarios.”
Jay shares a final piece of advice ”I tell everybody to not give up. If anybody is doubting themselves, wondering if their degree was worth it, or having reservations about the knowledge they have, then I suggest going to a coding bootcamp and getting the 14 weeks done. You'll come out a much better individual, not just a coder.”
To learn more about Coding Dojo, our bootcamp, and our students, check out our website.
This post was sponsored by Coding Dojo.