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Tips for Choosing Technical Bootcamps

October 2017- By Carrier Collier, National Talent Advocate

There are many ways to teach yourself new professional skills. Whether you’re just graduating high school and aren’t interested in or unable to go to a four-year university, a recent college graduate eager for more hands-on coding experience, or a career professional with a passion for more, why wait to gain new coding knowledge?

If you’ve found yourself on this blog today, you may be one of thousands of Americans that are googling “technical bootcamps” and are wondering how to sort through them all. There are currently over 600 technical bootcamps nationwide. How do you decide between them all? This is a common question many ask when looking to identify bootcamps. We’ve compiled a short list to help get you get started finding an answer.

SO WHERE TO START?
There are quite a few informational sites out there to get you on the right track – here are a few of our favorites:

  • Course Report – Course Report allows you to research bootcamp reviews, sort through schools, and apply online all in one place. I personally like this one for market trends and reports they post on their “Advice” page. There is even a podcast on the state of the bootcamp market.
  • Switchup – Switchup is a complete comprehensive guide with student reviews and bootcamp rankings. This site lets you compare schools and search by location and skill.
  • Council on Integrity in Results Reporting, Inc. aka CIRR – CIRR is an independent non-profit organization whose mission is to stay transparent about reported data. They require CIRR members, to report their success numbers in a single, simple, clear report. They are also committed to having their data verified by an independent auditor.
  • You may even want to start joining SLACK groups and start asking other developers questions about where they went to learn and how they got started.

HOW DO THEY OPERATE?
Most bootcamps are 14 weeks to six months long on average and teach Full Stack Development. You can learn online or in person and attend classes either part-time or full-time. They all tend to cover web fundamentals (HTML/JavaScript/CSS), data structures, algorithms, and focus on programming languages like Java, .NET/C#, Mobile, MERN/MEAN, UI/UX, Data Science or Python. Some schools focus on one primary language and others teach up to three. One aspect that is common amongst them all is the requirement to log over 1000 hours of hands-on coding experience and work on projects that speak to your accomplishments.

Depending on the bootcamp, most are set up to aid students in their final weeks with some sort of career services workshop training. Apex Systems currently partners with quite a few bootcamps, extending our arm to help with resume crafting, mock interviews, LinkedIn branding, sharing trends on what clients and development managers are looking for, and introducing students to local employers in the area for job placement. Bootcamps also have major IT players from local companies attend technical talks to provide an open forum for students to ask questions. Nothing is better than to see a former graduate come back to share their success story after attending the bootcamp.

WHAT DOES IT COST?
You’re probably thinking, “This is great and all, but how much does it cost?” “Are there loans or scholarships available?” Technical Bootcamps can vary in cost from FREE to $20,000. The latest statistic is around $11,400* on average with the top programming language being JavaScript (MEAN/MERN).

The enrollment process is a little different from school to school. Some recommend a previous technical background while others provide free preparation courses to ensure enrollees can accomplish this fully immersive experience. Many schools are open to taking anyone interested in learning, while others have a more formal academic process with interviews and coding tests.

As for loans and scholarships – absolutely! Once you identify a school, they will work with potential students to identify programs that provide scholarships and discuss how to obtain student loans. There are even programs that won’t charge students until they land their first job and can pay them back slowly in increments. Veterans are in luck as many of these bootcamps are accepting the GI Bill!

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
There are many benefits to attending a bootcamp and getting the training necessary to launch a career in programming. Many of these programs introduce you to programming methodologies, paired programming, and TDD (test driven development), which are all highly sought after skills by many of our clients. Many also have mentorship programs, ongoing career services, and SLACK groups to continue the comraderie when leaving these programs. Graduates are trained in technology that is highly sought after in the technology industry like Java, React or .NET. Most graduates have an increase in salary by 64% and are employed in a full time job using the skills they learned at a technical bootcamp.**

If you are interested in exploring partnerships, Apex has Technical Bootcamp schools nationwide. Reach out to your local Apex office here and ask to speak to an Applications Recruiter. They will be able to recommend bootcamps in your area and help guide you to the right school that matches your interests. For a list of Apex’s locations, click here .

*“The Growth of Coding Bootcamps 2017,” Course Report, 2017,
https://www.coursereport.com/reports/2017-coding-bootcamp-market-size-research

** “2016 Course Report Alumni Outcomes & Demographics Study,” Course Report, 2017,
https://www.coursereport.com/reports/2016-coding-bootcamp-job-placement-demographics-report