Pros and Cons of Developer Bootcamps

May 14, 2021

7 Min Read

It’s no surprise that software jobs have been growing rapidly over the last few decades. Technology drives humanity forward and the internet has helped quicken the growth. For those who already went to college and earned a degree, it might not make sense to go back to study computer science or another related field. If you decided college was not for you or you’d like to switch industries, bootcamps are an option with growing popularity. StackCache will dive into what they entail and the pros and cons.

How Coding Bootcamps Work

Coding bootcamps are condensed courses that are taught in-person and online by non-accredited instructors. However, bootcamps usually hire individuals who have been working in a related role for a decent amount of time. They can span between a few weeks to a few months depending on the number of hours students can dedicate each day or week.

For pricing, some bootcamps charge the equivalent of what it costs to get a bachelor’s degree in computer science whereas others charge nothing upfront but you need to sign an agreement to pay them after you’ve found a job. In order to figure out whether a coding bootcamp is worth it for you, you’ll need to consider a few things.

  • How much money do you have to put towards education?
  • What is your schedule like?
  • How disciplined are you in self-learning?
  • How much more earning potential will you have as an entry level software developer?
  • What are your career objectives and how does a coding bootcamp fit in?

Job Opportunities for Coding Bootcamp Students

Many bootcamps are designed to help their students or graduates land jobs. Like the ones we mentioned earlier that don’t charge any fees upfront, it’s in their best interest to generate employable candidates after a course finishes. Well-known companies like Spotify, Google, and Amazon have filled roles in their tech departments from bootcamps. 

According to Indeed, bootcamp students have a positive track record. In the U.S, four out of five tech companies have hired bootcamp graduates to join their teams. If you want more granular stats on job placement rates, you can usually find them on these boostcamps’ sites. On a high level though, it is estimated that 80% of coding bootcamp graduates land a job within 6 months of course completion.

Outlook for Careers that Require Coding

Many businesses, especially the ones related to IT, depend on developers and code in order to innovate and maintain competitiveness. This directly implies that software engineering is a reliable field that will continue to see demand in various industries. Even when you search through online job boards, many web development and other roles are available that require coding skills.

As more industries get digitized and the prevalence of the internet grows, it is understandable that the demand for people who know how to build software will also increase. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of roles within software development will grow 22% over the next decade. That is way faster than the average across industries of 4%.

This job growth will not only happen within the tech industry. For example, there are already many crossover companies within healthcare, finance, e-commerce, and the possibilities are endless. As startups and existing enterprises invest their time, ideas, and money into new opportunities, a lot of the potential is through software. 

Whether you decide to learn how to code on your own, through a four year degree, or with a bootcamp, StackCache will help you decide. Let’s dive into the benefits and shortcomings of coding bootcamps.

Advantages of Coding Bootcamp

Clear structure and direction

Students that went through computer science and programming in universities will tell you they had their fair share of challenges. Sometimes this includes having prerequisite courses that do not relate at all to what you intend to do within your career. However, the plus side to going through a traditional college program is the structure and direction it provides. That is where a boot camp could provide just as much value in your coding learning experience.

The Community

Boot camps usually have a broader community of other students, graduates, and mentors that it offers to support every member. They are designed so that students don’t feel like they are going it alone. One of the benefits of having a classroom setting or culture is having others to learn from or help when you can. Teachers usually have a number of years of experience in the course that they teach so that you know they are giving you first hand advice. Some teachers may be working in the related field at the same time they are mentoring at a boot camp. It’s possible that a university professor in computer science has not worked in the tech industry for a while and could not give an accurate assessment of the current landscape.

A Good Portfolio

Students in universities often have a tough time finding jobs because they do not have an existing portfolio of work to showcase their talents. Good colleges will have career consulting services that advise students to work on exciting projects in classes that they can show future interviewers. The good thing with boot camps is that you will get the opportunity to work on real, hands-on projects to build up a portfolio. If designed well, a boot camp course will work on current problems that employers need solving so that you prove you can do the job. Additionally, teachers and mentors are able to recommend the latest tools and languages needed to be successful.

Career Services

As mentioned previously, many boot camps are incentivised to help you find a job because 1) it helps boost their success metrics and 2) some don’t require graduates to pay until they’ve landed a job. Thanks to this model, boot camps invest in teams and networks of companies to help students jumpstart their careers. Whether it’s mock interview training, networking events, or working directly with recruiters, you won’t be left alone once you start searching for an opportunity.

Disadvantages of coding Bootcamps

Bootcamp Downfalls

Just like colleges and universities, not every bootcamp is of the same quality or style. Many bootcamps have popped up in the last decade or so and you’ll need to choose wisely. There are some that are just out to make a quick dollar and prey on prospective students who don’t understand what it takes to land a job in tech. They may hire unqualified teachers or leave students to figure out for themselves how best to tackle the curriculum. Worse yet, their curriculum might be inadequate in helping you be a successful coder. Buyer beware and let us take you through a few downsides to keep in mind.

Not Enough Fundamentals

Some bootcamp courses cover the basics, but even the basics are a bit too slim. Be careful of bootcamps that promise the world but the curriculum seems too straightforward. Most entry level programming jobs require a candidate who has substantial coding experience under their belt. Even if you went through a bootcamp, you should have covered somewhere between 300 to 1200 of coursework. 

Self Discipline Needed

Although coding bootcamps provide guidance, due to the nature of how much focus is required, self discipline is a must. In fact, it’s probably the biggest indicator of whether the bootcamps will be useful for you or not. If you don’t have a passion for coding or drive to maximize the experience, it may turn out to be a waste of money and time. Make sure you start out on the right foot and build up the habit of practicing and keeping up with all the coursework.

Time

Most bootcamps require many dedicated hours during a day to complete the course. If you’re in between jobs or taking a break and have a few months set aside, this could be a non issue. However, for people who are working or in another type of school during the day, it could be difficult to juggle everything. If you are in the second group, it may be best to evaluate programs that can work around your schedule. The downside of these programs is that the total duration of the course stretches out longer. In the end, you can’t get away from the hours of blood, sweat and hard work!

Intensity

Considering the amount of topics to cover and the need to excel at each topic by the end of the course, it’s inevitable that boot camps are super intense. Imagine condensing a four year degree into a few months. Just thinking of the structure of a bootcamp makes it obvious that it will be challenging. However, if you’re mentally prepared and eager to learn, it doesn’t mean that it’s not possible. Many others have gotten through it!

How to Choose the Right Bootcamp

After reading the pros and cons of bootcamps according to StackCache, it is clear that not all are created equal. To ensure you get the best experience, take our tips and find the one that fits you best. Do you have a few open months to dedicate towards a boot camp? Do you know this is the career path you want to take for sure? If not, maybe consider a few free coding classes to get a better understanding first. 

If you’re just setting out to find some bootcamp options, look at reviews on and off of the companies’ own sites and maybe listen to a few deep dives on Youtube. You’ll likely be able to find a breakdown of other people’s own experiences which can help you make your own decision. 

One final point we want to make is that bootcamps typically focus on getting students a job in tech. If your goal is just to learn for fun, there are likely more affordable, and less stressful options out there! Do your research and commit!

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