Or is an in-person course more likely to guarantee a job after completion? What kind of certificate can I expect to get from a school like Thinkful, and will employers recognize it?
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Yes, but that does depend on the bootcamp. Your best bet is to look at their job placement statistics: what portion of students are actually getting hired after graduation? Are those stats CIRR-verified, or did the school make up their own standards?
If you can look at a school's job placement numbers, then you can actually see whether or not that bootcamp is sufficient for getting a job (or at least how many people it was sufficient for — nothing works 100% of the time). If a school refuses to report their data according to open standards, bluntly, you can't trust their claims at all.
SwitchUp has Thinkful's most recent CIRR reports on our page, though you can also check out our up-to-the month data at https://thinkful.com/bootcamp-jobs-stats/ . They show that Thinkful gets graduates hired just as well if not better than most offline schools.
Usually, graduates are hired on the strength of their portfolio. Showcasing well-built professional projects to employers carries more weight in the tech industry than certificates.
Overall I'd say picking the right bootcamp for you is more important than whether it is online or in person. Different people learn differently. I strongly recommend meeting the actual instructor who will be teaching you and hearing them give a talk, whether in person or online.
The honest answer about bootcamp certificates (including the ones I offer at my bootcamp) is that some employers will recognize them and some won't. In general if you want a piece of paper that will help you get a job, go for the 4 year CS degree from a respected univeristy. What you get from a bootcamp is a certificate that *some* employers will respect, some will ignore and some will look down upon PLUS a portfolio of work you can show. The portfolio and the personal connections you make (networking, networking, networking) are the real jewels you are after.
Whether you study online or in person make DAMN sure you are going to meetups and user groups to get to know people. The more people you GENUINELY connect with (not just hi, My name is Bob and I want to know what you can do for me...), the better your chances that one of them will know someone who is looking for someone like you. This isn't a one or two month commitment. Pick a group or two and go consistently for a long period of time.
Hope this helps.
Yes... and no. The answers below are totally legit. Pick the right bootcamp or online program or university that works for your learning style, give it your all, make connections. Those are important things to do.
Here is what is really going to get you a job in tech - A head full of questions, and the passion to answer them. (and lets be honest... a friend in the industry, but hopefully you can make one while you are going to school)
A good program will tell you that the specific tech you are learning doesn't matter. That the ability to learn it does. Learn how to find the answers. Learn how to read the documentation. Learn how to ask for help. Learn how to work with other people. Learn how to learn new things... and yes, you also need to learn the basics of programming, and (the Basics - not mastery of) at least one language. Preferably you would learn the basics of 5 or 6 languages or tools. Then yes, you can get a job in tech. Be open to change, frustration, trying, making mistakes, taking ownership of your mistakes, and trying again, and you can get a job in tech. If you find the right job, your co-workers will teach you more, and the problems will teach you more. (The wrong job will make you feel undervalued and you should get back to job searching immediately.)
Proof is in the pudding: I went to epicodus for 4 months starting in January 2014. I got my first job, at the company that I interned with, in June that year. Nine months later, I moved to another job, in a similar, but more stable company (with a generous pay raise). I didn't go into that job interview saying I know everything I need to know to do this. I went in there with a list of questions about everything and a desire to learn more. I said "I don't know" more times than I can count, but I always followed it up with "Is it like _____" (this one thing I read an article about, or worked with at my last job, or overheard during a chat at a meetup)? I have also been contacted by recruiters from Amazon Web Services (twice) about working on their infrastructure team because of the work I have done since graduating from my bootcamp - (*le sigh* if only they didn't require a move to Seattle)
That said, some hiring managers will not look at the resume of someone from a bootcamp. It's not what they think they need. Some folks will not pay you as well with a bootcamp education because they think they will need to train you longer. Those are the downsides. If you want to get in and get to work, and you don't need to work at Google (they will not hire bootcamp folks, yet) ... bootcamp beats BS (bachelors of science, but I couldn't resist) any day.
It really depends on the bootcamp you're considering. Many don't focus on job-readiness specifically, and few have employees focused on Careers and placing their graduates.
At Makers Academy, our largest team is the careers team - we charge our partners a £5,000 fee to hire from us, which means that we're incentivised to grow that team and help incentivise us further to ensure our students get what they want - a job!
While you won't get any certificates, you'll have a portfolio of projects, all written using Test Driven Development, and we'll introduce you to our 00s of hiring partners after graduating.
Nothing in life is guaranteed, but a bit of research should show you that there is *huge* diversity in the quality of the European bootcamps :)
Attending a bootcamp, be it online or in person, is going to take dedication, and you will get as much out of the experience as you put in.
There are a lot of different styles of bootcamps out there because it seems that everybody is looking for something a little bit different. Some things to consider, cost, duration of program, hours per week, location, framework or languages taught, size of class… oh my goodness the list goes on. When it comes to online learning, some people are very well suited for that environment and enjoy the flexibility that comes with it.
There is a cost to that flexibility though. One great way to get your foot in the door in the tech industry is to network. To meet others who are interested in the same things as you, and to meet industry leaders. That’s something that does not comes very naturally if you are attending a school online.
I took a risk to attend a school in the heart of San Francisco, and eat the cost of living while attending the school, largely because of its proximity to top tech companies. Not everyone can make that kind of drastic change (I uprooted from Chicago and headed west).
I think an online bootcamp is sufficient enough for getting a job but it also depends in how much effort you put into it. I completed an online bootcamp, Makers Academy Remote (Ronin at the time), and was able to land a job in week 10 of the course (12 week course). I'm not going to say it was because I knew so much they would have been dumb not to hire me because that's far from the truth. In fact, I think the main reason was luck and timing but hey, I still got a job.
My bootcamp wasn't self paced, we "met" every day for 12 weeks through video chat. Makers is based in London and I was in the good ole US of A so the time difference was tough but well worth it. There aren't any bootcamps near me so I knew I was going to have to eat the cost of housing and travel, not to mention the cost of those in person bootcamps were significantly higher than what my tuition was at Makers. I think there are a lot of benefits to online bootcamps and shortfalls as well. With online, you're on your schedule (most of the time) and in your house or coffee shop or bar if you so choose. At the same time, there are so many distractions that can happen that at times it makes it hard to continue, however this could also be a positive. For instance during my course my grandpa passed away in California. If I were in an actual bootcamp I would have had to decide to either miss a week of school, move to the next class or miss my grandpa's funeral (which wasn't happening). With my online class I was able to take the school with me. I had to wake up at 1:00 am to get to the class but it made more even more dedicated than I already was. It really was a deciding moment for me. I wasn't about to go through over a week of waking up at 1:00 am if I wasn't completely dedicated to this career.
Job resources is also a huge deal. With Makers being in London, I was pretty much on my own to find potential jobs. This meant I had to get out there. This will probably be the case for a lot of people unless they're in the big cities, which I wasn't. The best piece of advice I received was from a friend who took a bootcamp about a year before I did. He said to get involved with the local dev scene. I think someone else mentioned this in an answer as well but I can't recommend this enough. The job I received wasn't posted anywhere and the only reason I heard about it was going to developer meetups and the CTO of the company was there. He asked to grab coffee to learn more about me and what I learned. It was a great fit and they were in need of a Junior Dev so, like I said, timing was a huge factor. I can't count how many jobs I've seen on the local dev slack channel that aren't on any job board.
Make sure the online bootcamp is in a language that's popular in the locaiton you want to work. I think there are two Ruby shops where I live and I somehow got lucky to get a job at one of those. Had I thought about that earlier, I would have tried a Java or .Net bootcamp because that's the most popular out here. You could be the best Ruby developer in your city but if there aren't any jobs, who will know or hire you?
Another huge thing is to keep being curious. Don't stop learning. Whether that means getting a more in depth knowledge in your language or learning another. Take those intro classes on Codecademy to see which one you like the most. Look up dev jobs in your area of interest to see which languages are needed. Get out there and have fun with it. Build a project to keep you busy. Ask friends or family if they need/want a site built. I know I'm still new to the industry but the more I'm in it the more I realize they don't care about education, well a lot of companies don't. What they care about is your attitude, your ability to learn and depending on the position, how much you know but that's for more senior positions. So the more you do, the more you learn the easier it will get to learn quicker. I realize this is from 3 months ago but maybe it could help someone else out.
The only necessary ingredient for you to get a job is YOU and only YOU. And this is sufficient. Nothing else can be sufficient.
Is it online? or requires your local presence? it is irrelevant. My believe is that a good school teaching you computer programming:
Do you want to try one that covers all that stuff and you will not have to pay the whole course in advance? Take it and leave it if you don't like it? Pay only as you go? Try their exercises tasks, projects and mentoring?
Here it is one: https://www.techcareerbooster.com/online.
You will not regret it. Except from some of your time, you don't have to risk anything. Maybe spending some small amount of money to start the course and take the first chapters until you realize whether you like it or not. Sign up is free. Why not do that? You will see the full curriculum. Start first, second, third chapter. Talk to your Mentor. Talk to other students. Continue or just say no and leave.
To add to Kris' comments I'd say if you attend an online bootcamp you had better make friends with Meetup.com!
Networking is vital to your success in any career, but crucial for programmers these days.
If you are going the online route, you will have to find people to network with yourself and Meetup can be a great resource for that. If you are in a rural area, you will likely have to put in much more effort in this regard. Don't have any technical meetups near you? Then you need to do whatever you have to do to get yourself to more distant meetups. I'd plan at least two times a month.
One thing I tell my students is don't think of it as "I'll go for a couple of months while in the bootcamp and then I'll be fine." No, you won't. User Groups and meetups don't exist to find you a job! The way you get jobs through them is to be an ongoing member who attends regularly and gets to know people. Sneaking in, listening to the speaker and sneaking out won't get you anywhere either. You must engage people in conversation. It is when they get to know YOU that your odds of someone remembering you had a skill or interest in a specific area will lead to them recommending you.
The ideal trajectory you should go for is a) attend for several months and SHOW UP EARLY and LEAVE LATE so you have plenty of time to meet people, b) get to know the members and show an interest in their lives (basically just make some friends), c) search for chances to start presenting short talks, d) advance into longer presentations, and finally e) progress into speaking at conferences.
OK, so not everyone likes public speaking. In that case you need to pursue blogging or making videos.
Be sure you are contributing to open source projects as well! For a beginner with little or no experience, you want to show that you've written code that was reviewed and accepted by other, more experienced programmers.
The key is differentiate yourself! Give people a reason to choose you over your compettion!
I'm with Nick on this and many of the other responses. It depends on what type of learner you are and how much effort you can put into learning. If you're able to follow the course material remotely, without having an in-person conversation with your instructors or peers, then an online course may work for you.
Another key factor is what type of career path you want. If you want to become a developer, then an online course can still help you get a job, as long as you are putting in the time to master the material. However, if you want to become a Product Manager, we find that on-campus courses are more practical to prepare you for a job. Product Managers manage teams and work directly with designers, developers, marketers, and others. It's important to learn how to work with your team, run sprints as a team and other tasks and responsibilities that will require you to influence your stakeholders. Another thing that is missing from online courses is preparing for the job interview, which is what we do at Product School.
As Jeff mentioned, no matter which format you decide on, online or in-person, make sure you are networking and meeting people. Find a mentor and stay connected in the space you want to be, and keep going as often as possible.
Best of luck!
Carlos González de Villaumbrosia
Founder & CEO