Don’t Attend That Coding Bootcamp Until You Read This

Michael Mitrakos
Nov 19, 2017 · 3 min read

The truth is — there are A LOT of bad coding bootcamps out there.

Coding bootcamp graduates are, now more than ever, having a hard time finding jobs. Time-to-employment statistics are dropping by 10% or greater for just about every bootcamp out there. A lot of companies will completely disregard your application if you graduated from one. Why? There are probably a few reasons, but I think the biggest one is that they’ve wasted their time before interviewing graduates that were a waste of time.

I graduated from a bootcamp myself, taught for a stint, and have even interviewed dozens of candidates from every bootcamp on the West Coast. I think attending a coding bootcamp is an amazing idea if you want to get into software engineering — but beware of the scams.

Here’s what you need to look for in your future bootcamp:

1) Coding by yourself and coding as a team are completely different

After interviewing so many bootcamp graduates, it became very clear why some students excelled in the interview process (and had the right skills) while others didn’t. I was extremely surprised when I was told (multiple times) that a student didn’t once work with a team on a real project during the bootcamp.

This is highway robbery at its worst. I would never hire a full-time software engineer that hasn’t worked with a team before. There are many skills that you pick up when working with a team — not to mention so many more around team and individual communication. This is a must.

2) A core focus on ONE language

Knowing a medium amount of every language out there is not going to get you a job. PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, GO — no one cares unless you know at least one language extremely well. Find a bootcamp that focuses entirely on ONE language (or in some cases max two).

3) Where did their graduates go?

Get on LinkedIn and start to search for that bootcamp’s graduates and see what companies they are at and their title. Be careful — really smart people can still attend a bad bootcamp and still be successful because of their attitude. Don’t put too much weight on this one, but it’s something to look into.

This is a major commitment you’re about to embark on — don’t allow yourself to attend a bootcamp that’s not giving you all the right skills you need to truly be a successful software engineer. If you have to wait and study for a few more months to be accepted into one of the top bootcamps like Hack Reactor or App Academy… do it.

P.S. I write a lot about JavaScript algorithms and data structures that you can read at initjs.org, and if you’re about to attend a coding bootcamp I highly suggest you read these three rules on how to graduate as one of the top students at your bootcamp.

Michael Mitrakos

Written by

Senior Software Engineer at LivelyVideo & President at DoubleTap Consulting.

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