Why Coding Bootcamp?

Photo by Natalie Grigorovskaya

The Value Proposition

In my opinion, there are a few areas where bootcamps really stand out:

Structure

Notably, they provide a framework for learning a ton of new material. They crank out a new class of graduates every seven to thirteen weeks, and know what it takes to get most people over the finish line.

Expedited Timeline

Sure, you could learn to code in your free time, but how much of your free time are you really willing to devote to programming? Hours per week. Be honest with yourself.

Peer Cohort

Humans are social creatures, and contrary to many stereotypes, so are software engineers. The archetype of the lone programmer banging away at their keyboard late into the night is just not true in the professional world. (Ok, it’s often a little true, but generally not in the actual office.)

Resilience

Even at a bootcamp, you will not be spoon-fed “the answers.” That isn’t how they work. You will be thrust into challenging learning experiences; that’s how you grow. A good bootcamp will help you become more resilient. It will teach you how to find answers on your own and become comfortable with the unknown.

Job Support

One of the most stressful parts of becoming a software engineer is the actual process of job hunting. The entire bootcamp ethos is structured to ensure you’re prepared to tackle this challenge, so by the end you’re ready to enter the job hunt.

  1. Practiced toy problems (small programming challenges).
  2. Created a basic work portfolio.
  3. Experienced some interpersonal challenges and lived to tell the tale.
  4. Developed some Day 1 job skills.
  5. Pulled together a presentable resume.
  6. Practiced your elevator pitch.

Choosing a Bootcamp

Ready to commit? I encourage you to look at some of the resources out there and consider what you’d like to be doing after “graduation.” What program would give you the skills you need?

Check Your Sources

Question your sources while researching bootcamps. You should critically consider what motivates the provider to give you information one way or another. Do they have any skin in the game? How does that affect what decisions they might like you to make?

Follow the Money

Bootcamps occupy an unregulated, for-profit sector of the education industry. Individual instructors and mentors will (hopefully) care about your progress as a person and an engineer, but ultimately the institution that you attend is creating a product, and you are that product.

Conclusion

For many people, coding bootcamps offer an effective, expedited program that turns graduates into software engineers. They are not a magic bullet, and they’re not for everyone. If you’re comfortable making the trade-offs listed in Is Coding Bootcamp Right for You?, they may truly be for you.

Photo by Natalie Grigorovskaya

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Hannah Henderson

Hannah Henderson

Software engineer @CircleCI and cynical optimist — hannah-henderson.com/