It's Not Just What You Learn, It's WHERE You Learn
The tech industry is exploding and all of your friends are bragging about their cool jobs at tech companies. After watching The Social Network and HBO's Silicon Valley on repeat, you're ready to take the jump and start a career in code.
Picking a bootcamp that is right for you is more than just deciding if you want to be a web developer or an iOS developer. Perhaps just as important as what you learn is where you learn. Here at DevMountain, this is a discussion we have with many prospective students.
When many start to think about a career in tech, they generally start to picture themselves living and working in a big market like San Francisco, New York, or even Los Angeles. After all, in order to "make it" in tech, you've got to move to one of those cities, right?
Not so fast. Let's outline some of the big advantages of learning in a smaller market city:
1. Cost of Living
This is a big factor when deciding where you want to learn. Attending a bootcamp in a city like San Francisco will not only cost a lot in tuition, but you also have to factor in your living expenses. It's easy to become distracted by high salary numbers in these bigger cities, but when you factor in how it much costs to live there, the income generally doesn't go too far. This includes short-term leases (if available), the cost of rent, the cost of a commute, and high prices for daily living (utilities, food, recreation, etc). Spoiler alert: Living in San Francisco or New York isn't cheap.
Unless you are sitting on a big stack of cash, we suggest finding a bootcamp that's located in a place that doesn't break your pocketbook. Maybe even one that offers free housing. This makes learning much more affordable and therefore a lot less stressful.
2. Tech Jobs Are Everywhere
In 2017, more and more tech jobs are becoming remote. In fact, 89% of software developers work outside of Silicon Valley. You don't have to pay outrageous rent prices in order to work for a tech company in Silicon Valley. Not to mention, 80% of the country's Fortune 500 are located outside of New York and California. Opportunities abound, whether you're looking for the sexy remote gig or the high performing local tech company. Here at DevMountain, we have many alumni who fall into both categories.
3. Fewer Distractions
It's tough to match the nightlife that big cities offer, but when you're trying to acquire such a specialized skill, that may be a good thing. Remember: you are dedicating your time to learning, not partying. Nightlife is great, but it can take away from the amount of energy and time needed to focus and get as far as you can during your bootcamp experience. Places like Utah and Arizona offer easy access to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country along with great restaurants and entertainment. Sometimes it is nice to get some fresh air or take a quick hike after a long day of looking at code, and it's tough to do that in some of the nation's bigger cities.
4. Less Competition
Landing a job after attending a bootcamp is not just about being qualified, but being more qualified than the other applicants. While there may be a lot of job openings in big markets, the number of people applying for those jobs makes it much more competitive. Try to find a school that dedicates time to helping you build relationships with local tech companies while you are learning to increase your chances of getting hired right after graduation.
5. You Are Not Locked In
Many bootcamp students demand to learn in a specific geographical area. A big misconception in the bootcamp industry is that to land a job in Silicon Valley, you have to learn in Silicon Valley. Or to be hired in New York City you have to attend a bootcamp in New York City. This is not only false but it is often the exact opposite. Mario Vargas attended a web development bootcamp in 2016. He states "I attended a bootcamp in Salt Lake City, saving me thousands in tuition costs, and after the program I had the goal to work in Silicon Valley. I am now working for Uber in The Bay."
Looking at the industry as a whole, there are obvious hubs around the country. However, that does not mean that you have to invest large amounts of money to learn there. Learning outside of the popular metropolitan areas is not only more cost-effective but also allows students to really concentrate on what they go to do: learn to code. That has been DevMountain's mission since day 1, creating the most accessible and effective tech education possible.
Learning in a smaller market isn't for everybody, but it is something worth considering because where you learn could make or break your career. If you still aren't convinced that learning in a small market city is for you, check out this great article from Beau Dure on millennials avoiding small towns.
DevMountain is located in Utah, Texas, and Arizona. For more information, check out DevMountain.com