How to decide between two bootcamp offers

You've spent weeks reading through SwitchUp reviews, looking at hiring data through different hiring statistics, and preparing for your interviews. You wake up one morning and you find out that you got accepted into both of your top choices. Both programs have great reputations, programs, and outcomes. How do you choose between two great options?

Stalk alumni on LinkedIn

The first thing I would do is to take a look at the "companies that hire from us" for each bootcamp — this probably influenced you in some way or another — and stalk the people who got hired. Google, Facebook, whoever recruits from them, but is the typical hire someone with a 4 year CS degree who already has experience? Depending on your background, you need to make sure you're not over indexing on these results.

Next, I would try to find people with a similar background as you and see where they landed. Employment statistics are great, but they're often too broad. Maybe companies that recruit from that specific bootcamp look for people with more technical backgrounds, meaning that people with a liberal arts background might have a harder time.

Finally, I would take a look at their job titles. A lot of bootcamps are full stack but might be better at placing people in front-end or back-end roles. Some bootcamps might get more interested from companies in certain industries, but less interest from other industries. This impacts you depending on what you're hoping to do and in what industry.

Talk to alums who wrote reviews

You've already read the reviews but you can gain more insight talking to the person. They can expand on things that weren't mentioned in the review or answer questions you might still have.

You can typically find people on Twitter or LinkedIn and reach out for a quick coffee or call. If you're investing $20,000 and 3 months of your life to this bootcamp, make sure you do your due diligence.

Questions that are worth asking:

  • Do you have any tips on making the most of the program?
  • Is there anything you felt was lacking from the program?
  • Do you have any regrets on things you could have done or focused on?
  • Did you consider any other coding bootcamps? Why did you pick this one?
  • If you were in my shoes, what bootcamp would you do?
  • What advice do you have for me?

The goal is to go beyond what the reviews already answered about the program. You want actionable tips to make the most of the program and your time there.

Talk to alums who did not write reviews

Reviews tend to be polarizing; most reviewers either had great experiences or terrible experiences. The goal here is to talk to people who had the typical, rather than atypical, experience. Some people might also be afraid to write a public review because they don't want to risk reprimand or loss in social capital. I would try to discuss over coffee since people tend to be more open.

These conversations might sound excessive, but remember that this is an investment in yourself.

Consider the total cost

I encourage people to go to the best program for their needs, but if you have two similar options, you should strongly consider the costs for value. This is especially true if you're moving across the country for a bootcamp.

Spend the time to calculate the total costs for the programs and what makes sense for you. Moving and accommodations are obvious costs, but sometimes people forget the costs from increased cost of living.

Also, remember that most graduates need 1-3 months to find their ideal job post program.

Consider where you want to work

This seems self-explanatory, but you should consider where you're planning to work after the program. If you're in Texas and want to work in New York, it probably doesn't make sense to do a bootcamp in San Francisco.

Ideally, find a bootcamp in the city that you're hoping to work. If you're in a city that doesn't have a program that fits your needs (or a bootcamp at all), then go to the one that has the stronger brand reputation.

Follow your gut

If you're still not sure after considering all these factors, follow your gut. Either way, you're probably getting an amazing education.

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