Is it worth it to do a bootcamp prep course? Will it help me get a job?
If so, what is the best prep program? Does First Step Coding give you more advantage over a free course or a bootcamp run course (like Fullstack or App Academy prep)?
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Hi there! I'm going to do my best to answer while imagining I'm not the founder of First Step Coding and you're just a friend trying to figure out the best path to take : )
I'm going to frame this as a set of questions back at you.
How good of a self-learner / autodidact are you?
Have you taught yourself to play an instrument or other skill that requires 100s - 1000s of hours of practice? Most people are pretty bad at self-learning for a variety of reasons, but anecdotally I'd say the #1 reason is the lack of inherent accountability. It's all too easy to skip the hard parts or quit if no one's watching and checking up with you. For many people, the accountability that comes with a teacher and classroom full of people learning with them makes all the difference. If that sounds like you, then taking a structured bootcamp prep program might be worth it to you.
With that said, a small percentage of people are natural autodidacts and have no problem teaching themselves even topics that most people find challenging. If this sounds like you, then you may be capable of adequately preparing yourself without a formal prep program. You'll just need to very selective about finding the right curriculum to follow.
How confident are you that you actually enjoy coding and it's something you can be great at?
I personally love coding, but despite what a lot of the bootcamp marketing tells you, it's NOT the best career for everyone. The reality of coding is something you have to really experience yourself to understand. It's a reality that can be super exciting when you're making progress, but it can also be extremely frustrating. E.g. strugging with a bug for five hours, reading every article on the internet you can find that sounds vaguely related, only to later find out it was all due to a stray character typo! This is all too familiar a story to most career developers : )
In short, you have to REALLY love the upsides of coding to be able to push through the enevitable challenges you will face. A structured bootcamp prep program like FSC will lead you into situations that simulate what it's really like to be a coder.
Are there reasons you are already 100% committed to a particular bootcamp?
If you are, and you also answered yes to the last two questions, then it might make the most sense to do the prep program that your chosen bootcamp offers. But if you're like most people and you aren't so sure yet, that's where First Step Coding can help. You'll be connected to a network of hundreds of alumni who have attended a variety of bootcamps, so you'll be able to hear "from the trenches" what all these options are really like. You'll also have tuition credits available to you that you can redeem at any of our 9 (and always growing) list of partner bootcamps. For example, if you sign up for Rithm School after FSC, your tuition there will be reduced by $1,500, effectively offsetting the majority of First Step Coding's cost.
I hope at least some of that helps, but I'm also happy to talk more! Feel free to contact me directly via firstname.lastname@example.org
Founder / Teacher / Software Engineer @ First Step Coding
My suggestion is that if you need to take a bootcamp prep course, you may not be ready for the intensity of a bootcamp. Bootamps are best designed for students who are already well versed in the fundamentals and foundations of basic computer science principles, and move at much too fast a pace for student show are new to software engineering. They are best for students who want to gain a very specific skill since most bootcamps teach and focus on one specific thing.
If you are looking to gain some of those fundamentals and foundations, then you may want to look into a more comprehensive program. I didn't have too much experience in tech when I decided I wanted to start gaining the skills needed to build a career in software engineering. I found a school that was project based like most bootcamps, but instead of being only a few months, and only focusing on one language, it is a two-year program that teaching full-stack software engineering. Holberton was exactly what I needed because it allowed me to enter the tech space with little to no previous experience, and start building projects that would give me the base knowledge the rest of my career would stem from.
Yes! Many bootcamps are now offering Bootcamp "Prep" courses. Check out SwitchUp's guide here: