How to Pick the Right Coding Boot Camp and Land a Career in Tech

  • All over the world, people are using coding boot camps to quickly find a career in technology.
  • But choosing the right training camp can be tricky, according to an expert.
  • Students should measure outcomes such as placement rate and average salary against its cost.

More than ever, people are using coding boot camps – intensive short-term programming courses – to quickly pivot their careers and find new jobs in tech.

Insider recently spoke with a 33-year-old restaurant worker who took part in a 12-week program called Lighthouse Labs and now works as a full-stack developer. In Germany, we spoke with a trader, mechanic, and project manager who used a three-month program called AW Academy to kickstart their careers in tech.

Coding boot camps are a hot commodity, with venture capitalists investing big bucks in programs like Lambda School, Victory Lap, and Ironhack over the past year.

One of the main advantages of these schools is that they require a fraction of the cost and time of a college degree. The best universities can end up costing over $ 250,000, while even “the most expensive coding bootcamps cost less than $ 30,000,” according to a recent report by education analyst firm Switchup.

But not all coding boot camps are created equal, said Liz Eggleston of analyst firm Course Report. Some schools have a higher success rate than others in placing graduates, while others may require a larger commitment than advertised. Choosing the wrong program can leave students without the tech jobs of their dreams and in debt tens of thousands of dollars in tuition.

That’s why Eggleston said potential participants in coding boot camps should carefully review the programs. Before enrolling, prospective students should weigh the cost of the school against its outcomes such as placement, average salary, and graduation rate, as well as its application process and business model.

“A coding boot camp is really not a boot camp unless they get jobs for their students,” Eggleston told Insider.

The school must be transparent about its results

Eggleston said the most important factor in choosing the right coding boot camp was evaluating those results, which she defined as “tangible benefits after graduation.” These can include placement rates or the average salary. These results generally reflect the success of training camp in giving its graduates the skills they need.

“If a training camp does not have a strong career team with a career program built into the main courses, then the school will not do as well as a training camp,” Eggleston said.

She said as boot camps became a more common way for companies to recruit employees, the industry had pushed for more transparency in boot camp results. She recommended consulting the Council’s database on the integrity of results and reports before committing to a school. A good marker of a “good” boot camp is its partnerships with leading companies like Google or Amazon, as well as its associations with organizations like Girls Who Code and Black Code Collective.

But she said prospective students should not be blown away by these partnerships and should prioritize hard data to assess the quality of education.

The cost must make sense

While the average cost of a coding boot camp may be less than that of a traditional college degree, $ 20,000 is still a lot of money to commit “without the promise of a good career. “said Eggleston. Sometimes students get carried away focusing on a school’s brand or marketing and end up in more debt than they can handle.

She also said that students should know what they are getting into when a school offers a Revenue Sharing Agreement (ISA). Popularized by the coding of boot camps like Lambda School, an ISA means that a student does not have to pay tuition fees up front and can repay the program a certain percentage of their salary after they get a job. who pays more than a certain amount.

This model has its merits, Eggleston said, given that it gives the school a real financial incentive to help every student land a job in tech. But she urged students to read the fine print: “Although there is a little more uniformity in the ISA worlds now,” each school has different requirements regarding the percentage of each paycheck they charge. of their graduates, as well as different minimum wage levels at which the ISA comes into play, she said.

The school must be able to “evolve responsibly”

And while coding boot camps have grown in popularity because of their convenience and relatively low cost, you need to make sure the boot camp is “responsibly scalable,” Eggleston said.

Recent business difficulties and job cuts at Treehouse, one of the first venture-funded online development schools, highlight the difficulty these programs can have in staying competitive in an increasingly growing market. cluttered.

With so many students looking to change careers and so much venture capital money flowing into the industry, some schools are at the risk of growing beyond their means. If a boot camp doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to support students and help them find jobs, even if it attracts more students, it will inevitably lead to problems, Eggleston said.

“A training camp should be developed and responsibly,” said Eggleston. “A school must have employer partners in new emerging markets, but neither can it completely change overnight.”

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