Choosing the Right Coding Bootcamp for You
By Rachel Seitz
1. Look at the Cost
Some programs might be worth a higher tuition when taking other factors into account, like location or employer connections. Depending on your current financial situation, though, it might also be in your best interest to opt for a less expensive program. And after all, higher cost doesn’t always mean better results.
Many coding bootcamps even offer part-time programs, if cost and scheduling are your top concerns.
You’ll also want to look into financial aid options such as scholarships (check out school websites to see if they have scholarships available) and coding bootcamp loans to help ease the burden of any cost!
2. Find the Right Location
Where are you currently, and where would you like to end up? You may want to move to the opposite coast, if your ultimate goal is to take a course and end up in Silicon Valley. Or you may prefer to attend the program 5 miles from your house.
Evaluate the tuition, program quality, and proximity to potential employers to determine if it’s worth the extra miles. Take into account where you want to ultimately live and work—and any factors which might make you want to stay in your current location—to help you choose the right campus for you.
3. Do Some Online Research
Online reviews are a lifesaver when it comes to finding out if a program and its instructors are right for you. Course Report and Switchup offer reviews and ratings specifically for bootcamp programs, but you can also visit sites like Yelp, Quora, and Google for more insights.
Course Report and Switchup also contain lots of informative guides, like Course Report’s “2017 Coding Bootcamp Outcomes & Demographics Report” and Switchup’s “Navigating Code Bootcamp Admissions.” And they both feature several student testimonials, so you can see for yourself what some alumni have done after graduating. This is a great way to compare information and read more about the courses and people teaching them!
4. Meet the Staff
Learning from the right instructor can have a huge impact on a student’s success, so learn all you can about who will be teaching your potential courses.
See if they have any work published online, look at their social media presence, and read what past students have said about them. This way, you can be as confident as possible that their teaching style and skill level will both be a good match for you.
To take it one step further: Cahlan Sharp, in his piece for Developer, suggests doing research not only on the instructors but also on the founders: “Find out their backgrounds via LinkedIn, and discover why they started the schools to ensure you’re being taught by real industry experts.”
5. Visit Their Campuses
Finally, if you’re able, you’ll want to visit campuses in person before committing to a coding bootcamp. Both employees and students emphasize the importance of seeing the classrooms and meeting the staff face-to-face, to determine if this is the environment you want to be in before signing on.
Attend open houses or events that the school is holding—many schools have an events page where you can view when and where talks, panels, and meet-and-greets are taking place. Or visit on your own to take a look at where you’ll be learning. This way, you can gain personal insight you might otherwise miss online and from secondhand information.