With the multitude of online learning options, including a whopping 99 venture-backed education startups, you can find a class on almost any topic these days.
The skill levels and content density you’re looking for are certainly out there. This too is true for some of today’s most sought-after skills: web development, web design and technical marketing to name a few.
The difference being, these 21st century skills are often sought after by working professionals — people who hope to use their freshly minted skills immediately in their current position or the job they’re aspiring for. Time commitment is a serious concern. So is cost. Enter: part-time bootcamps.
Part-time bootcamps are a fairly new concept. Traditionally, if you can’t commit to a full-time program then your only option is to learn online. Having completed a few online courses before, I am certainly a proponent of information sharing and alternative learning, but I know that it’s not always smooth sailing.
Inevitably an online class brings about questions that weren’t answered in the pre-recorded 1-hour video. Perhaps I pushed something to production, but it just didn’t work. Or maybe I have a specific question about the design I’m working on. Emailing my instructor who may have hundreds of students will not give me the detailed answer I’m looking for. Posting on the student board will get me an overwhelming amount of responses, and it’s hard to tell the true from the false.
The easiest and most reliable solution is to ask an expert. Part-time classes give bootcamp students the student-teacher facetime they need to actually learn, while allowing for the flexibility of maintaining a job.
The downfall of online classes? Besides the inevitable “getting stuck,” there’s no one to hold you accountable (except yourself).
Let’s be real. If you sign up for an online class, you’re probably going to “miss” 2 of the 8 classes because of the big game or a friend’s birthday celebration. Chances of you watching the class later… slim to none. I don’t know about you, but being accountable to a teacher is the only thing that is going to ensure I keep progressing. New part-time options such as Startup Institute’s RampUp, MakerSquare, and Anyone Can Learn to Code provide that accountability at prices substantially lower than a fully-immersive program.
If you’re looking to add a new skill to your resume, or just add a new skill for fun, a part-time bootcamp might be right for you. There is certainly value to full-time bootcamps that incorporate other important skills (like emotional intelligence) that will help you land your dream job, but everyone’s situation is different.
Check out a part-time program if you want to go to class once a week, after work, and learn in small groups with peers who have similar goals and ambitions. It could save you a lot of time and money.
This article is a guest post by Emma Zimmerman of Startup Institute. It has been edited for clarity. The author is responsible for the content.