Can’t decide if a coding bootcamp is for you?
You should probably do it then.
Don’t confuse that statement as my endorsement that coding bootcamps are the right move for everyone. There are three ways to learn how to be a developer and they are:
- Go to college for a computer science degree
- Learn on your own
- Join a coding bootcamp
Personally I have my gripes with the university process but I won’t go too much into that here. There are only a handful of careers that I would recommend going to college for and to be a developer is not one of them. Going to college is most certainly the more expensive and longer route. Now there are a few plus sides to going to a university. You can make connections with people that can help you in your job search. You are held to a learning structure of going to class and completing homework. Once you’re done you get a diploma that is often held to a certain value by recruiters. But ultimately the value of what you get vs what you pay are not equal.
The next option you have is to be a self-taught developer. I don’t have much personal experience here but I will try and cover it as best as I can. There are plenty of free resources out there if you want to be a self-taught developer(freeCodeCamp, Youtube). If you think you can hold yourself accountable to learn on your own than this is the option that I would recommend because its FREE! another plus is you work at your own pace so if you need to go slower or faster it is very simple and if you fail no one knows or cares. The downside to being self-taught is no one is holding you accountable and you have no support. With all the resources online it can be extremely difficult to pinpoint a place to start. Typically this option works if you have friends who are programmers who can point you in the right direction.
The last option is joining a coding bootcamp, which is what I am doing as of when this blog was written(full disclosure). Coming into the bootcamp I had taken an entry level python course at my university the year prior and that was it. I enjoyed it and wanted to continue but once I graduated my hopes and dreams of learning coding on the side quickly fell(I failed as soon as I started). I know what type of person I am and I know that self learning isn’t my strongest trait. Like a university you are held accountable with assignments(labs) and tests(challenges) and you are given lectures. Most bootcamps are roughly 4-6 months long and prices can vary. Flatiron the bootcamp I am enrolled in costs $15,000 and is 15 weeks long. While first looking at the cost it can seem large(and it is) but it is a fraction of what you will likely pay going to a university. I see bootcamps as a way to have an accelerated and structured learning environment with accountability without having to go to a university.
So the reason I say that if you are reading this blog then a coding bootcamp is for you is because you have likely attempted learning on your own or like me you understand self-taught isn’t your path. Give self-taught a try but if it doesn’t work then join a bootcamp, the price may seem steep at first but it is an investment in your future that will surely pay off once you’re done. But no matter what option you choose, once you are done do not stop, you lose what you don’t use.
All of this being said the people who really excel at anything are the ones who put their own time and effort into what they are trying to learn. View university and bootcamps as a tool to help you learn not as the be all and end all of understanding software development.