I attended a bootcamp, and it was definitely the right call for me. In my experience, there are two main benefits to attending a bootcamp over self-learning:
- Accountability: I admire people with the will power to do self-learning, but that is not me. I needed the accountability of paying money, and having instructors and classmates expecting me to complete assignments or I absolutely would not have stuck with it.
- Network: The network you gain by being an alum of your bootcamp can be extremely valuable. If a hiring manager recognizes your bootcamp, it could give you an advantage in the interview process. You might be able to leverage connections into a job referral, or at least get guidance from fellow alums. For this reason, I highly encourage you to do your research about which bootcamps have the best reputation in your area, if you're going this route.
If you're considering applying for a bootcamp, make sure to do your research first! An easy first step is to look at reviews somewhere like Course Report.
Another tip to find programs with strong alumni networks is to look on Linkedin at companies you might be interested in working for, then check to see if any software engineers at those companies attended bootcamps, and if so which ones.
Obviously if you know any software engineers, especially ones that live near you, get their input here as well!
Questions to Ask
- How does payment work? Is it at all dependent upon you finding work as a software engineer?
- What is the percentage of graduates who find work as software engineers within a year of completing the program? For this question and the above, be mindful that some programs can use wording like "tech-related job" to cover anything from a software engineer to sales roles in the tech industry to social media management. If you have specific goals for the outcome of a bootcamp, try to be specific in looking for answers.
- What is the percentage of students who complete the program? This might give you insight into how supportive the program will be to you as a student.
Some Bootcamps to Look Into
|📍 Toronto, Canada
|I know quite a few people who speak extremely highly of their experience here!
|Ada Developers Academy
|📍 Seattle, Atlanta, Remote (DC beginning 2023)
|This program for women and gender minorities looks really cool. They were located in Seattle when I was applying to bootcamps, but it looks like they have since expanded.
|The Grace Hopper Program
|This is the bootcamp I attended, and in the end it was the right decision for me, but there were definitely pros and cons—if you'd like more details feel free to reach out to me!
|My bootcamp, the Grace Hopper Program, was a subset of Fullstack Academy—same deal, if you'd like some of my impressions, feel free to reach out!
|📍 Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
|I don’t have a ton of first-hand knowledge about this program, but from what I’ve seen it looks like an awesome program with a fantastic mission to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color breaking into tech
|Alchemy Code Lab
|📍 Remote, Portland OR
|I know of quite a few alums who speak very highly of this program, and from what I’ve passively observed alums seem to graduate well-prepared to enter the workforce.
|📍 Many locations
|I don't know too much about GA, but it does seem to have a pretty large footprint, which at the very least means it has a large alumni network.
|📍 Virtual, Austin, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Dallas, DC, Denver, NYC, Seattle
|Another program that I don't know too much about, but I do know quite a few people who attended so it seems to have a strong network.