Is Coding Bootcamp Right for You?

I often hear from aspiring developers who wonder if a Coding Bootcamp will teach them enough to get a job as a Junior Developer.

Although I got a great result from Coding Bootcamp, I have seen others who have graduated from coding bootcamp, only to remain stuck in their old jobs.

From what I’ve seen, the main differences between Coding Bootcamp graduates who get jobs quickly after graduation and graduates who go long periods of time without any leads are:

  1. The quality of their job search skills,
  2. Their level of motivation, and
  3. Persistence

There is so much demand for software developers that, with the level of skill gained at a Coding Bootcamp, it is absolutely possible to find a job.

That being said, it is NOT easy. Breaking into a new career never is. Job hunting in general never is. It takes a massive amount of effort to find a job, and entry-level jobs are often the hardest to find. Getting an entry level job means convincing someone that, although you don’t know enough to be immediately useful, you are worth investing the time and money required to train you to be useful.

As in other jobs, employers want to see that you’re passionate about what you do, you’re eager to learn, you learn quickly, and you have a personality that they can handle being cooped up in an office with.

Junior Developers need to demonstrate 2 additional traits:

  1. problem-solving ability
  2. foundational coding skills that can be built upon

So…does Coding Bootcamp teach you what you need to know to get a job?

Partially.

Coding Bootcamp should give you enough foundational coding skills to meet the technical requirements of an entry-level position. My bootcamp also tried to address problem-solving skills and job search skills, but either one of those skills could consume an entire course on its own.

Yes, most Coding Bootcamps offer job search assistance, but it is just that: assistance. They cannot sit in the interview room and force you to make eye contact. They cannot save you if you become despondent and give up the first time you apply for a job and are not taken seriously. They cannot light a fire under your rosy little cheeks to make you chase a job like your life depends on it.

What they can do is help you get the technical skills you need.

But wait–can’t I get those for free, by working through online resources?

Yes. Yes, you can.

Then why should you go to Coding Bootcamp?

That’s a great question, and maybe you shouldn’t. You can save some big bucks by teaching yourself or by doing FreeCodeCamp.

The benefits of Coding Bootcamp over teaching oneself are:

  1. It’s faster. You will be sprinting for a few months, learning faster than you would ever naturally push yourself to learn. You will be fighting to keep up, and as a result, you will cram more information into your skull in a shorter period of time.
  2. Focus. You will have a period of time that is fully dedicated to learning to code. Having deadlines will keep you pushing forward on days when you otherwise would have prioritized other things. You will also have an excuse to tell your family and friends when they want to distract you from studying.
  3. Live Help. You have access to your teachers and other students, so you spend less time fighting problems and more time moving forward and learning.
  4. Resume Fodder. You will have concrete proof of skill that you can list on your resume, and this could be the difference between getting and not getting an interview.

If you are highly motivated and have time to spare, Coding Bootcamp might not be the best option for you. You can learn the technical skills through FreeCodeCamp and other online resources, and attend meet-ups to get live help and make connections. The job search might take a little bit longer, but you will eventually find something.

The path to the finish line will be faster and easier with a Coding Bootcamp, but it’s not the only option. Whether or not it’s worth the price tag will depend on you: your personality, your timeline, and your finances.

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