We talk to a lot of prospective students who want to learn to code. They know attending a coding bootcamp like Flatiron School is an efficient way to learn those skills, but they’re full of misconceptions around the admissions process—especially around when they should apply.
It makes sense: with all the free coding resources out there, it’s tough to know when to take a step back and say “now I’m ready.” The first point we make when trying to demystify the bootcamp admissions process is that there’s a big difference between when you’re ready to apply to a bootcamp and when you’re ready for day one of a bootcamp program.
So, here is our quick guide to know when you’re ready to apply—and when you might not be ready.
1. Wait until… you know you want to do this for the right reasons. You may know you’re not happy in your current job, but are you confident that you’ll like this job (a.k.a. web developer or software engineer)? Do you know you like programming? The last thing you want to do is invest a ton of time and money pursuing a career you may not love. The solution? Explore the coding community; speak to people who have gone through the process and become developers. At the very least, start coding and see what you think. “I like coding” is the right reason to apply.
2. Wait until… you know a school is the right fit for you. Don’t waste your time applying to a bunch of schools that might not fit your goals. For example, at Flatiron School, we place a huge emphasis on community. If that aligns with your learning style (you work best in a group and want to support others as you learn), definitely apply here. On the other hand, if you’re a more competitive student or your learn best on your own, it may not be the right fit.
3. Wait until… you’re ready to set aside the time to complete a coding bootcamp program, whether it’s in person or online. If it’s online, wait until you know you’ll have time to make consistent progress, even if you’re balancing your studies with a job (spending two hours a day per week is different from spending twelve hours over one day). If you’re considering an in-person program, wait until you know you’re able to quit your job, spend 3-4 months of intense focus on learning, and then take more time for the post-bootcamp job search.
1. Don’t wait until… you complete an entire prep course. We see this all the time in our applicants. They want to feel ready to apply without fully understanding the application process and how the school itself defines “ready.” You can wait—but you don’t need to to be a promising applicant. Our admissions team wants to see consistency and passion more than expertise. That doesn’t mean you need to enroll right away; but if it’s the fear of the technical interview holding you back, it’s important to understand that that doesn’t need to hold back your initial application, which is more a way to get to know you. If you are invited to do a technical interview after that, you’re welcome to say you want to do more studying before scheduling it. (Also, realize that the technical assessment process may be different for online programs—since our Online Web Developer Program is self-paced we’re able to include more introductory lessons and don’t need to have the same sort of technical assessment as our in-person programs.)
2. Don’t wait until… you have your finances 100% figured out. While finances are important, lots of coding bootcamps now offer financing and scholarships that might not be immediately apparent to you. Even if you haven’t found that information on a school’s website, that can definitely be a part of your discussion with the admissions team. Be sure to ask if there are any scholarships that match your qualifications. For example, here at Flatiron School we have fellowship programs and we’ve partnered with organizations like Women Who Code to offer full scholarships to aspiring female programmers and SwitchUp to give scholarships to SwitchUp members who want to change the world with code.
3. Don’t wait until… you know which school you’re definitely interested in attending. Use the application and admissions process to figure that out. Some people mention in their application that Flatiron School is the only coding bootcamp that they want to attend… but it’s crazy to believe that before you’ve even spoken to us. You should use the admissions process to further evaluate us before making that call. Get to know our culture and community. Definitely look at rankings and reviews, but that’s not enough. You have to connect with a school and know this place will bring the best out in me. Don’t be so certain about that until you speak to people from the school—the admissions team, but students and alums as well.
Remember: Ready to Apply ≠ Ready to Attend
If you’re going to take one thing away from this, we just want to reiterate: You don’t have to be ready for technical interview to apply! It’s a super common misconception. After you apply, your first interview will be a non-technical getting-to-know you chat. It is definitely important for us to see that you’re passionate about programming, that you’re tinkering with code in some way, or even taking a free course on Learn.co. But scheduling the technical interview is different for everyone—ask an admissions person to make the best plan for you. And know this: if you get to the technical stage of the process, it means they love you. So separate it in your head: apply when you’re ready to take this process seriously; but whether you schedule technical interview for a few days or weeks after that is up to you.
For an even closer look at the coding bootcamp admissions, join us on November 8 at 1pm EST for our online lecture “How to Ace the Bootcamp Admissons Process.”
Ready to begin your coding journey—or see if you like coding enough to start? Try Flatiron School’s new Bootcamp Prep course—the most efficient, effective way to prepare for the top coding bootcamps.