When I was a high school math teacher, parents often asked if their child was able to handle the rigor of the honors or AP class the following year. Their concern typically focused on the material, the content of the curriculum, or the teacher. What was often overlooked in the equation (sorry, couldn’t resist) is the peer group which is largely determined by the overall quality of the school. It follows that a weak school will have an easier honors calc class than a strong school. This is why standardized testing exists. The AP physics class at Stuyvesant HS in New York is simply on a different level than my suburban high school where math was feared about as much as the Zika virus. So not to brag, but honors math was a breeze for me. If I went to Stuyvesant however, I would still be recovering emotionally from the scars of the daily beat-down in honors math track.
The peer group is the distinguishing factor here and should be the key consideration for anyone looking into coding bootcamps. The class pace and rigor is largely dictated by the strength of the group and naturally, the outcomes are directly related. Obviously, the course material and instructional quality is important as well but assuming that is equal, then the peer group is the most important factor. Over time, the alumni will gradually enhance the reputation of the school and employers will look more favorably on certain schools — sound familiar? It’s just like college.
During our open workshops, we typically draw 10–15 people. Without fail, 1 to 3 of these are bootcamp graduates who are looking for work. They often come to the workshop in hopes of finding a job with Velocity (btw, if this describes you, it is not the right time or venue. Send an email like everyone else: firstname.lastname@example.org). Now that we have been doing these workshops for about six months, a clear pattern has emerged as to which bootcamp graduates consistently lack job offers. There is also a noticeable difference in the quality of individual — though this may be confirmation bias. I won’t go as far as to name the bootcamps in reference but with due diligence, you can probably identify a few.
So as a prospective student, how do you weigh this factor when researching schools? It’s not easy. Of course, asking schools for alumni references will only result in references from the best students. So you have to do your own digging. My suggestion is to go to meetups specifically targeted toward bootcamp graduates and get direct feedback. Another, angle is to look through employee profiles at several large tech companies and see if certain bootcamps show up more frequently in the education sections. Much of this takes real digging on your part but your future is not something to leave to chance or the judgement of others.
Velocity 360 is designed for students who want to accelerate their learning through flexible part time and full time programs. We focus on rapidly growing technologies such as Node JS, React, React Native and iOS. For more information, visit https://www.velocity360.io.