There are so many options for folks who want to become Software Engineers, and potential bootcamp students usually think of the location of the program, the topic, and price as the most important criteria. But there is another factor that is also really important to consider: the length of the program. Let’s look at the pros and cons or shorter and longer programs and how the popular children’s fable “Three Little Pigs” can help you to make a decision.
The first question you should be asking yourself is: “what is my main goal for taking this program”? Is it to have a quick look to see if the Software industry is right for you? Is it to get just enough skill to get a job with entry-level requirements? If you answer “yes” to at least one of these questions, then a shorter program may be the right choice for you.
On the other hand, is it to get ready for a solid career as a Software Engineer? Is it to get a training that will allow you to access jobs with higher qualification requirements? If the answer is “yes,” then you want to go for a longer program that will help you to learn the foundations of Software Engineering. Many students find that a more in-depth program helped them get the job of their dreams and learn the skills necessary to continue to learn even after graduation.
Holberton School is a good example, the 2-year program is training highly-skilled Software Engineers. The first 9-months are dedicated to learning the foundations of Software Engineering. After this, students can start working and specializing in the area of their choice. Another example is Ada: a 27 weeks of in-class instruction followed by five months of internship. At first glance, you might argue that there is a significant time investment difference between a year-long and a few months training, but in the context of a life-long career, the difference is insignificant. On top of that, the longer choice often offers a greater chance of a better return on investment on the long run.
That’s a concept that we are taught since childhood with the iconic story of “The Three Little Pigs”. The first pig decides to build a house made out of straw, which he can build in the blink of an eye. The second pig puts a bit more effort and builds his house with wood. The third little pig takes more time, and put in more effort to build his house with bricks. As the time passes the wolf wants some bacon, only the one with the solid brick foundation is resisting to the wolf’s blow. In the the tech industry, the rapid rate of change may be very challenging for folks who went through a short training, maintaining employment and career growth will be hard. On the other hand, folks who went through a longer program often find that it is easier for them to adapt and grow.
The good news is that at the end of the tale, The Three Little Pigs end up collaborating together on the solid house where the hard working pig gave them a lesson. This can also be translated to the Software industry, where there is tremendous opportunity for both entry-level web developers and more experienced Software Engineers with more knowledge will be the one mentoring and coaching.
We are all different, and this includes learning styles. Some students thrive in fast-paced environment while others need longer periods of time to fully understand a concept. It’s important that you have a good sense of your own desired outcome when you compare bootcamp options. Whichever route you choose, patience and hard work will always pay off, there is no quick win in life as the Three Little Pigs perfectly illustrate!