What to Look for in a Coding Bootcamp

The need for new tech talent is continually increasing as the world rapidly evolves into a more connected space every day. To keep up with the demand for software developers and other coding-related positions, there are now hundreds of coding bootcamps out there that provide training on the skills needed to get those jobs. But with so many to choose from, how do you narrow down the one that’s right for you? Here are a few important questions you’ll want to ask before enrolling in a coding bootcamp:

1. Is the course online or in person?
Coding bootcamps are offered in a variety of formats, so it’s important to consider how you learn best. Do you thrive in a classroom environment where you can ask the instructor questions, get to know your classmates, and have a hands-on, in-person experience? Or do you prefer a self-paced format where you can move along the curriculum at your convenience? If it’s the latter, make sure there is a solid library of resources for you to reference and instructors to contact if you get stuck. You may also want the best of both worlds, where you get a real-time class in a virtual setting.

2. What is the time commitment?
Courses can run part-time or full-time, from as little as eight weeks to more than a year. How many hours per day, or days per week, or months per year will the course require? Are you prepared or able to leave a job or alter your work schedule to compensate for the time you’ll need to devote to the bootcamp? If you chose a self-paced option, this may be less of an issue, but many bootcamps are full-time commitments that fast-track you to a new career, so you’ll want to weigh out the pros and cons and see how you can best fit the bootcamp into your life.

3. Is prior experience required?
Coding bootcamp curriculum will differ from one course to another. Some will require a certain level of basic knowledge, while others don’t require any experience at all. Make sure you check out the requirements to see if your skill level is a match before applying.

4. What is actually in the curriculum?

Are you able to see the curriculum and get an idea of how the course will flow? Find out what it covers and whether you get the fundamentals, or if the instructors cover more technical subjects (this will likely tie into experience requirements as well). You’ll also want to view the curriculum to see if the content is up-to-date with the latest demands in tech. Is the programming language the course covers the one you want to learn? Do you get to work on your own project for some hands-on learning experience? This is preferred, especially if you’re a person who learns by doing, not listening.

5. Who is running the bootcamp? Who are the instructors?

Learn about the organization that’s behind the coding bootcamp and its reputation. If you the information is available, also try and find out who will be leading the course so you can check them out on their website or social media, peek into their background, and get a feel for their teaching style.

6. How much will it cost?

The big question. All the features are well and good until you can’t afford the price tag. The average bootcamp runs around $11,000, and does not include other materials, web-hosting services, or other third-party costs. Between the time commitment and the cost, you’ll have to weigh this one out with your current financial and job situation to see if it’s worth pursuing. If you can afford it, however, it is absolutely worth pursuing, as the average coding bootcamp grad sees at an average of 50% bump in their salary. If the price is too high, contact the school to see if there are any scholarship opportunities or payment plan options available.

7. What is the ROI?

One of the questions you’ll want to ask as you weigh out the pros and cons of the cost of enrolling in a bootcamp is what your return on investment will be. What will you get after graduating? Will you get an official certification? What will your title be? What can you actually do with your certification? We put together a list of potential jobs you can get after graduating from a bootcamp, which are just a few of the many your skills can help you get. Take a look and see if any of the positions interest you, and whether any of those career paths make the bootcamp worth the investment.

8. Does the school offer career services?

Will you receive any assistance getting a job after graduating from the bootcamp? Some schools offer career services to help connect alumni with hiring organizations. This gives the investment a bit higher value; not only do you have a leg up after graduating with the most current knowledge of software development, but you also get the perk of networking with companies who are specifically looking for talented people like you.

Careers in Code

Careers in Code is a 24-week, full-time coding bootcamp based in Syracuse, New York, run by Hack Upstate, our organization that hosts biannual hackathons and offers educational opportunities throughout the year.

We’re accepting applications for our program aimed at women and minorities from distressed communities in our area, which will happen in person here in Syracuse. No prior experience is required, and ALL costs are covered (from tuition to laptops, API hosting, and more), the only investment required is your time. At the end of the program, you have the opportunity to network with our partnering organizations that are looking to hire local tech talent.

Curious about the curriculum? Take a peek at it here, and apply now.