Glory days of Coding Bootcamps are over…

What the fuck is a coding bootcamp?

Ted Y Whang
Mar 19, 2016 · 3 min read

It was less than 2 years ago, when I stumbled upon this concept called a “Coding Bootcamp”. A place where one could attend full-time and come out ready for an entry-level software development position.

These days everybody and their moms know what a coding bootcamp is. The illustrious array of successful alumni preaching “you can too!” makes it seem like anyone can become a developer in 3 months.

There’s nobody more guilty of that blind encouragement than me.

My famous in-depth blog documenting day-by-day activities of a coding bootcamp has now been seen by over 30,000 unique visitors. And for each new visitor, the blog gives inspiration, motivation, and hope that they too can get a job offer in 2 weeks.

Coding bootcamps were once a place where motivated people went to make a career change and do it in record pace. However I’m afraid they can no longer deliver like they used to.

Browsing through the websites of coding bootcamps, I can’t help but notice that schools no longer display their impressive statistics they used to have (e.g. “95% of our graduates get a job within 3 months!”).

Furthermore, the schools that would guarantee a job after graduation have repealed this guarantee.

I’m afraid the good times are over

Coding bootcamp graduates have flooded the market and frankly most of them do not have what it takes to pass technical interviews.

Back in 2014, companies were desperately looking for coders and were more willing to take on junior developers. Now they have coding bootcamp graduates waiting outside their doors saying, “Please hire me.”

I spoke with a friend who offered a job to a bootcamp graduate, only to get denied because the graduate had 4 other job offers.

Stories like that are no longer a reality anymore.

Bootcamp schools are now encouraging students more than ever to attend meetups and participate in hackathons to increase their chances of employment.

Enrolling in a coding bootcamp is different now

You’ve heard all the success stories. You’ve heard about their awesome work lifestyles and impressive salaries. You want it for yourself too.

Ultimately, you know coding bootcamps work.

But I’m sorry, you showed up a little late to the party. And now you have to do a whole lot more to stand out.

High risk, high reward

Not to sound like a condescending hipster, but I did coding bootcamps before they were “cool”.

They weren’t always located in flashy modern 3-story buildings in tech epicenters.

My coding bootcamp was located in a crappy office-space in an industrial area barely able to house 14 students (Don’t get me wrong, I actually love it!).

There weren’t many success stories and the validity of coding bootcamps were still under heavy questioning.

It wasn’t uncommon to see coding bootcamp reviews like this:

“Don’t go here. This place is a FUCKING SCAM!”

I took a risk and lucky for me it was a good bet and I was able to collect my reward at the end of the tunnel.

Graduating from a coding bootcamp used to mean a lot

“You dropped everything in your life and dedicated 3 months straight to learning how to code? That’s amazing!”

You won’t hear those kind words of praise any more, except maybe from your mother.

The thing is… the more people can do something, that something becomes less impressive.

The line on my resume that lists that I graduated from a Coding Bootcamp has lost more and more weight with every batch of students these schools pump out.

But I’m not complaining. I’m hustling even harder because of it.

The hustler will always win

Good things happen to those who hustle.

Currently you can find me at a schools learning about User Experience and Graphic Design at the School of Visual Concepts.

Or I’m often found at info sessions contemplating whether I should get a Master’s degree in Human Centered Design or Software Engineering (I’m learning towards the MSE).

It’s a competitive world out there and you always have to be on top of your game if you want a fair fight.

And to the prospective coding bootcamp student…

My intention was not to discourage you, but to be real with you about where I think the software industry is going.

It’s going to be much harder for you to get a job upon graduation than it was for me.

But if you truly are a hustler, there’s nothing that’s impossible to attain.

I’m rooting for you, fellow hustler.

Life is good on the other side.

Ted Y Whang

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Full-stack developer with a knack for User Experience Design. Find out more at