Why you should attend a coding bootcamp

College isn’t always the right choice for software developers.

Computer science classes in college can be a great way to learn the fundamentals of software engineering. You’ll learn theories and concepts that will not only give you deep knowledge about programming, but will also build the foundation for advanced topics like artificial intelligence, computer visioning, data science, etc.

If you want to study computer science in depth, then getting a CS degree might be a good way to go.

But with the average tuition cost being around $30,000 per year, it’s important to start thinking about the return on that investment. Most students can’t afford tuition out of pocket, so they end up taking tens of thousands of dollars in loans, and sometimes their education doesn’t give them what they need to hit their goals.

If you’re not college-aged this might amplify the burden of debt as you may have heightened responsibilities or simply not want to be around a bunch of 20-somethings.

If your only goal is to land a job as a developer, then it could be beneficial to skip the degree altogether. The most important factor to help you land a job as a developer is your past projects.

Luckily, there are a few alternatives to college that are popping up for people who want to make a switch into the world of programming. You can teach yourself to code on sites like Treehouse or Code Academy, or enroll in a coding bootcamp.

In this post, I’ll give you a few reasons why bootcamps can help you “shortcut” your way to a high paying job as a developer.

You’ll have a strong community

If you’ve tried to learn programming on your own already, you already know how difficult it can be.

In the beginning, it’s always exciting. You’re learning how to build apps that do some cool things, and it feels good to be able to create something from nothing. As you make progress in those initial stages, you gain some confidence and start thinking “hey, I think I can actually do this.”

But as time goes on, you’ll inevitably hit some roadblocks.

Your next app might not work the way it’s supposed to. You might want to create a new functionality that you don’t know how to code, and have no idea how to navigate all the information on web to find the answer.

At that point, you’ll typically realize that programming is a lot harder than you thought, since things aren’t coming so easily anymore. Worst of all, you don’t know how to ask the right questions to figure out the way forward.

And you’ll have to spend some time figuring out the right resources on your own.

Viking Code School calls this the “cliff of confusion” and the “desert of despair” — both are phases in the process of learning to code.

Source: Viking Code School

The “desert of despair” is typically where people give up. It’s hard to navigate the world of programming on your own with only the help of online courses that teach you a little bit here and there.

One of the best parts about enrolling in a coding bootcamp is the community that comes with it. Everyone is in the same boat. Everyone is trying to transition to a developer job. Everyone is going through the same “desert of despair together.”

And that makes it easier. You can bounce ideas off your peers, and work together to push past the dips and the points where it feels like you’re just not cut out for it.

You learn much faster

The best way to “shortcut” your way to the results you want is by getting help from people who have already done what you want to do.

If you want to get in good physical shape, you can get there much faster with a personal trainer compared to trying to get motivated to hit the gym on your own. If you want to learn a new language, you can learn it faster by hiring a coach.

Same thing applies to programming.

Bootcamps come with highly trained teachers who help you with the goal of landing a job as a developer. That means that they provide you with the right resources at the right time, they take you down the a proven curriculum so that you learn programming in the right “order”, and they help accelerate your learning by answering your questions so you don’t stay stuck for a moment longer than you have to be.

Imagine how much longer it would take to put all that together on your own.

The biggest problem with being a beginner in anything (especially programming) is that you don’t know what you don’t know. Because of that, you won’t even be sure what steps you have to take to get past the roadblocks that make so many aspiring developers give up.

By having one on one training, you’ll be able to follow a step-by-step roadmap to get from where you are to landing a job as a developer, without doubting whether or not you’re making the right moves.

That will save you months, if not years of wasted effort and heartache.

Bootcamps are a fraction of the cost of your other options

Some people look at the cost of bootcamps and select themselves out because they sound expensive.

Many of them cost upwards of $10,000, and some even require relocation — not to mention you won’t have any cash coming in while you’re learning. It’s not a drop in the bucket, that’s for sure.

But the truth is, all things considered, bootcamps are actually the most cost effective option when it comes to becoming “job ready.” Here are some reasons why:

  • You’ll be able to build a high quality portfolio and land a job, sometimes within weeks of finishing the bootcamp. 
    Developers can often scale up to a six figure salary relatively quickly, so even though the upfront investment seems high on the surface, the return can be over 10x within just a couple of years.
  • Other bootcamps take a percentage of your first year’s salary as tuition after you land a job — which incentivizes them to place you in a high paying position. On the other hand, if you’re trying to navigate the world of learning to code on your own, there’s no real guarantee that you’ll be able to land a high paying job within such a short span of time.
  • Many cities all over the country have bootcamps available now, so location isn’t as big of a concern as it used to be. For example, The Iron Yard has campuses in 20+ cities all over the US and even tailors its curriculum to what employers need in every job market
  • Imposter syndrome is really common among software developers. After all, most developers have to teach themselves a significant portion of what they do day to day, and it’s easy to feel like you’re “missing something.”
  • By learning from teachers at a high quality bootcamp that has placed grads in top notch companies, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re following the same path as others who have gotten where you want to go.

If you’re just interested in learning the basics of coding or learn how to create a simple website, then it might be beneficial to just learn from an online tutorial.

But at the end of the day, if you’re even considering a bootcamp, then clearly there’s only one thing that matters to you: landing a job as a developer. And if that’s the case, then enrolling in one is the fastest way to get there.

See how your background “stacks up” against everyone else in the tech world here.