If you’ve been mulling over learning a new skill, going back to school, or switching careers, September is a great time to get focused and start laying the groundwork for your next steps. And if you’ve been thinking that attending a coding bootcamp may be your next move, here are a few ways to narrow down whether it’s the right choice for you. (We’ve even broken it down by week, so it’s all manageable.),
Coding bootcamps are located in most major cities (and even some smaller ones, too). Here at Launch Academy, we have locations in Boston and Philadelphia, and will be launching our newest women-only coding bootcamp, Prism Shift, in Washington, D.C., this fall.
Wherever you’re looking to attend a coding bootcamp, research the local tech scene to make sure you’ll have opportunities to network, interview, and get hired. Does your bootcamp have relationships with local hiring partners? Do the local tech companies (both well-established and startups) appeal to where you want to go in your career?
A coding bootcamp is a big investment, no question. But also consider the return on your investment—specifically, your potential salary. Do the salaries of junior web developer jobs in the city you’re considering align with what you want to earn? Research not only salaries, but also local housing prices and average cost of living expenses (e.g., groceries, public transportation, fuel, etc.). Additionally, look at how the region’s software engineer salaries grow with experience, so you can get a picture of how to benchmark your earnings in the years to come. Finally, look at your potential bootcamp’s career services offerings to ensure you’ll be able to get assistance throughout your career.
Coding bootcamps teach different languages, so you’ll want to weigh which programming languages you’ll focus on during your time as a student. While this may seem like a huge decision, remember that many bootcamp graduates don’t necessarily get jobs with the first languages they learned—and that’s OK. A bootcamp will teach you the fundamentals of web development, and most importantly, how to learn a new language quickly. So while you should be confident with the languages your chosen coding bootcamp teaches, also know that this isn’t a one-and-done learning experience.
There’s a lot of chatter lately about businesses and cultural fit, and this applies to coding bootcamps, too. To get a sense of the overall day-to-day experience, speak to alumni and current students at your potential bootcamp. Read alumni reviews here on SwitchUp. Do the positives align with what you value? Do the negatives bother you? Get a good sample size to make as educated a decision as possible.