Full-Time or Part-Time Coding Bootcamp: Which One is Right For You?By: Nikki Carter, Fullstack Academy
Sorting through the many different coding bootcamps out there can feel like a daunting task. That's why resources like SwitchUp are invaluable. Let's say you've finally selected the bootcamp you want to attend (obviously we hope it's one of our Fullstack Academy or Grace Hopper programs!). You thought the difficult decisions were behind you but then, out of nowhere, a plot twist comes at you: Now you have to pick between the full- and part-time tracks.
How will you choose?!
The 3 C's: Curricula, Career Help, Commitment
You'll emerge from either program with up-to-date software development skills on par with any other techies in the industry, and you'll benefit from the strong reputations of Fullstack Academy and Grace Hopper. Our curricula are updated regularly, so you're always learning the very latest, most relevant programming tools and techniques. You can also expect to receive dedicated career help from our Career Success team, which will help you prepare for technical interviews and show you how to optimize your resume (among many other services) to empower you to land your dream job.
The biggest difference between our full- and part-time programs is the schedule. As a student in the full-time program, you'll be on-campus from at least 10 AM-6 PM every day of the week for 17 weeks, and you'll be expected to spend at least one weekend day either working on projects or reviewing class material.
The part-time program, on the other hand, is 34 weeks long: Your cohort will meet in person two evenings a week as well as two weekend days a month, and you'll spend one dedicated evening a week studying on your own or working on projects (Note: You will likely need to study a good deal on your own outside those scheduled hours, as well). Some students have told us they liked having this extended time frame to be able to review concepts in a more relaxed fashion.
Identify Your Reasons for Attending Bootcamp
Take a quick second to check in with yourself about what your goals are. Why do you want to attend coding bootcamp? If you're someone who's looking to make a big career change and break into the programming industry as soon as possible (and we don't blame you), the full-time program gets you to that endpoint faster. Full-time is also a good track for people who are new to programming and could use the immersive environment to network and expand their programming knowledge and expertise by a huge margin in a relatively short time.
On the other hand, perhaps you already work in the tech industry (or in a tech-adjacent industry) and you want to level-up your skills, but aren't looking to change industries entirely. Maybe you don't want to leave your current job while you're in school—or you simply can't afford to. No shame in that--it's a big reason why many of our students choose the part-time program. (If you're a woman or non-binary candidate, be aware that our full-time Grace Hopper Program offers a deferred tuition model, which can help offset initial costs as well.)
Take Stock of Personal Obligations
Again, if you need to work during bootcamp, there's no way to do that during Fullstack Academy or Grace Hopper's full-time track. As such, a part-time bootcamp is likely the best fit for you. And if you have kids or are the primary caregiver for a relative, part-time can probably better accommodate your schedule. We have seen parents succeed in the full-time program; it just requires a lot of communication and support from your partner or other family members during the 17-week program and the job search process afterward.
Think About Your Own Learning Style
Fullstack's full-time programs leave little time for anything outside of programming, so you have to love that kind of immersion to enjoy the full-time program. On the other hand, if you're a little freaked out at the idea of programming all day, every day, for 17 long weeks--surrounded by a bunch of people doing exactly the same thing--then our part-time program might be the best option for you.
There's a spirit of friendly competition in the full-time program, as students are pushing each other to do better and holding each other accountable. Extroverts may adjust more easily to this type of group learning, although several self-described introverts have absolutely found success in the full-time program.
The full-time program can also be a great fit for those who learn best via one-on-one instruction. We teach students to pair program, a practice in which one programmer "drives" (writes the actual code) and the other "navigates" (spots errors, talks through the problem, etc.) as they go, and even projects are done in small groups, promoting teamwork and collaboration among peers. Staff members also check in with individual students regularly to monitor their well-being and help them adjust to the program.
If you learn best at a slower pace, our part-time program is probably a better fit for you. You'll be able to take in the information in a steadier, more deliberate way than is possible for students in our full-time programs. You'll also have plenty of opportunities to learn and review materials on your own and in the environment of your choosing--whether that's in a library or at home in your own kitchen--instead of being required to spend 90% of your learning time in the group classroom environment.
If these factors have swayed you toward the part-time program, we want to point out that you'll have to be incredibly focused and manage your time well to succeed, since the part-time program requires a lot more independent accountability. Be honest with yourself: Do you have the discipline to choose project work over the latest HBO show?
Choose the Schedule That Works for YOU
There's no wrong answer here. We've seen a wide variety of students succeed in both programs. At the end of the day, it's all about what feels right for you. No matter which choice you make, you're taking a step toward building your future as a programmer, and that's what matters.
This is a sponsored post by Fullstack Academy.