Matt Upham

Web Developer

5 Reasons why you should NOT go to a coding bootcamp

I went to a coding bootcamp 2 years ago. From my experience and people I met, these are reasons why someone should NOT go to a coding bootcamp.
Check out this video for further detail:
5 Reasons why you should NOT go to a Coding Bootcamp
You don’t like software and/or technical thinking
  • coding is not for everyone, it's really painful to do it if you don’t like it
  • you probably won’t perform well on the job if you don’t enjoy it
Influences from family & friends
  • do it for the right reasons (money should be a side effect, not a main purpose)
  • if your parents pay for it, you’ll most likely fail (internal motivation is needed)
You can’t take time off to devote yourself, build habits, handle stress
  • it really is 80 hours a week (if you do the 3 month programs)
  • you need to build a solid routine (if you can’t, you’ll fail)
  • lots of stress, if you don’t cope effectively you’ll fail
It’s really expensive
  • ~$20k+ is a ton of money (yes, not all bootcamps are this expensive, but many are)
  • no guarantee for a job
  • job placement stats are bs (they’re usually manufactured / inflated)
You can learn on your own (Seriously)
  • you can find most of the material online for $50 or for free
  • FreeCodeCamp, OdinProject has the same and/or more material than the bootcamp
  • great inexpensive courses on Udemy, Coursera, Frontend Masters, etc
What are your thoughts on coding bootcamps? Yes, they have their flaws, and it’s not for everyone. But the high-quality ones are not completely terrible.
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August 9th, 2019

Matt,

I’ve taught full time at a coding bootcamp for 3 years, and you may be surprised to learn that I mostly agree with you.

I speak only for me, not for my employer Tech Elevator.

This year is the 40th anniversary of my taking my first full-time programming job and I’ve worked full-time as a programmer until I took this job.

Along with my BS in Computer Science, I’ve accumulated master’s degrees in CS and CyberSecurity and I’ve taught at the university level as an Adjunct Faculty member in CS.

1. No, not everyone should attend a coding bootcamp. Any boot camp that accepts everyone (or even most everyone) is doing their students a disservice. Bootcamps should screen for technical thinking/problem-solving skills

2. There is a direct correlation between "skin in the game " (giving up a job, paying out of pocket, always wanting to be a programmer) and success. This is way too difficult to do it because someone else wants you to.

3. Enroll in a bootcamp and it should be your new full-time job combined with your favorite hobby. No side gigs, Uber or bartending shifts on the weekends. Full-time ++. All your focus and energy. Most students tell me this is the most difficult thing they have even done. Full stop.

4. Yes, it is expensive, but if you can double your salary to the mid $50’s (an average in my marketplace), you can do the math on the payback. Placement numbers? Caveat emptor. Some bootcamps have audited placement numbers (see CIRR) that only count jobs in the industry (not a new bartending job). But there is no guarantee of a job. My experience is that the students who work hardest (meetups, side projects, hackathons, networking (yes, actually talking to other humans)) get the jobs quickest.

5. Yes, you can teach yourself to program. Many people do. Bootcamps do it quicker and provided a framework of support, exercises, help when you get stuck, help when you lose confidence, and assist potential employers to understand what you know (and what you may not know yet). The best bootcamps provide meaningful support (in parallel with the technical learning - not during the last week) for resume, LinkedIn, interviewing skills and introductions to potential employers in your marketplace.

Bootcamps are not for everyone. Do your homework. Ask hard questions.

John Fulton

August 9th, 2019

Hey, thank you so much for the detailed reply! I completely agree with the “skin in the game” answer. Personally, that was the #1 reason I was able to make it through. The ROI is also pretty insane if you look at the numbers. I truly believe it was the quickest way into the industry (for most people). Plus it was the most fun I’ve ever had learning!

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