I’ve always loved tech. Taking part-time programming courses at a local college as well as learning programming online. So I thought, alright I’m going to jump fully into this! I had 3 options at the time: go back to university, continue online students, or attend a bootcamp. But I ultimately decided to attend a bootcamp. Let me explain how I weighed my option based on what my goal was — getting a job as quickly as I can.
Bootcamp vs CS degree vs Online Courses
Getting a computer science degree was never an option for me because that was 4 years of no income. Continuing taking online courses was not my favorite either because I wanted to get into the community and build my network. That’s why I ended up enrolling in a coding bootcamp. It was short enough for me, so in case it doesn’t work out, it’s only 3 months of wasted time. (Depending on your bootcamp, the time duration is probably different). Most importantly, my bootcamp has a job placement program. It doesn’t guarantee a job (no program can), however, they can increase your chances of finding a job because they connect you with people in the industry.
If you decided a bootcamp is also right for you. Great, let’s get started! There are typically a few competing coding bootcamps. In this post, I want to share with you my tips on finding the right bootcamp for you!
⭐️ Here is my advice ⭐️
- Talk to the students
- Sit in on the class
- Read reviews
1. Talk to students 🤝
Bootcamp students are a great resource to ask about the pros and cons of the school. Because they’re going through the bootcamp, they can give you the unfiltered and unbiased feedback. Whether it’s past or current students, they’re a fantastic source to ask questions.
So how do you get in touch with these folks? You can ask the school coordinator to introduce you. Or if you’re very comfortable meeting people, just approach any of the students during their break and ask them. I did both. The coordinator introduced me to someone, but I wanted to get a wider data point. So I asked that person to introduce me to their classmates. I know this can be a bit scary for some of you, so here is a good conversation opening you can use:
Hi, I’m Suzy, I’m considering to enroll in the bootcamp. What do you think of the program so far?
2. Sit in on the class 🍎
Another awesome way to learn more about the program is to sit in on one of the class. Just ask the program coordinator. This is a great way for you to experience the class structure and check out the instructor’s teaching style. But a few things to keep in mind. Most of the time, they have multiple teachers, so know that the teaching style of every teacher can vary. Also, you don’t have to sit in on the entire duration of the class, I only sat through for about30mins and then I left. One more thing, they might get you to drop in a class that has progressed to the more advanced levels, so you might find the content overwhelming. But don’t let that deter you. The main thing here is just to feel out the class, the teaching style, experience the learning environment and see if particular bootcamp suits you.
3. Read reviews ⚖️
One thing I want to point out with reviews. It can be super skewed. Similar with Glassdoor.com reviews, it can be from disgruntled employees who are leaving a review. Most happy students might not bother leaving a review. Does that mean you should ignore it? Not at all. They might raise valid points. Here’s what I did. I took some of the negative points and used it as questions and asked the school coordinator to clarify. Or use those points and see if the existing students felt that way. Here are some sites you can find bootcamp reviews:
Use These 3 Tips To Select Other Schools
Honestly, you can use my advice to help you select any schools. So whether you’re trying to pick a college or university, you can absolutely use this guideline to figure which school works for you.
It’s not about picking the Best School, it’s about picking the Best School FOR YOU
Start with the ultimate goal you want to achieve and then reverse engineer it. For instance, if your goal is to easily find a job, maybe you should pick a school that has a good reputation or has a strong industry network or co-op program that you can tap into. But if your goal is to build your knowledge, then pick the school that you feel delivers the best learning experience and possibly save a few bucks from those fancy universities.
Remember, it’s all about YOU. Not what your parents think or your friends think is better for you. They have their own goals and it’s most likely different from yours — so why would you let their opinions dictate yours. This is YOUR path and you will know yourself the best. So figure out what the outcome you want from going to school is. Then pick the option that best helps you accomplish that 🚀
Good luck! You got this 💪
You might also be interested in my other post, How I got My First Developer Job Without a CS Degree.