Since a few people have messaged me with their bootcamp questions, I thought to aggregate my suggestions into a blog post. Please share with anyone who is struggling to transition to tech or considering a bootcamp as their best bet for becoming a developer.
This article isn't to say that all bootcamps are terrible. There are great programs out there and free ones, too. Personally, though, I think bootcamps reached their peak years ago. But attending a bootcamp in 2021 just doesn't make financial, career, or educational sense. Why?
There are too many bootcamps and bootcamp grads. It used to be that attending a bootcamp was a way to stand out in a sea of would-be developers. But now we see a new one popping up every season and individual bootcamps churning out hundreds of graduates every month.
- Unfortunately, this also means larger classes, fewer instructors, and, worse of all, inexperienced TAs. Many bootcamps hire TAs directly from their graduate pool, which is a great way for the TA to continue learning. But is that fair to the future students who need support from a qualified teacher?
The curriculum is mostly ineffective. I graduated from Flatiron School, one of the largest bootcamps in New York. The reviews were great, their marketing even better, and at the time, they had a reimbursement program. This meant grads unable to land a job within 6 months of graduation had that debt written. Enrolling at the time felt like a relatively safe choice.
- We're talking about 1 new topic/framework/language every 3 weeks. With 1 week dedicated to passing that module's "code challenge", we technically received 2 week's instruction on each topic. This was barely enough time to grasp the high-level concepts, before moving on to something new.
- In addition to the watered-down curriculum, many of us struggled with the school's course material. Instead, we relied on each other, overworked instructors who stayed behind after class, and mostly free resources online to learn just enough to pass each code challenge.
There isn't enough career support. Many bootcamps parade their high job placement rates and post-grad career support in front of eager applicants. Some bootcamps have career coaches and career fairs that guarantee you a job interview.
- In my case, that career support was basically weekly emails of job posts I could find online. The career advice and resume feedback were pretty outdated. And rather than tailor each resume to the student, my career coach insisted I use the same boring template that every student was forced to use.
Bootcamps are too expensive. Flatiron was $17K. If not for the reimbursement program available at the time, I would be kicking myself now. Given that all of the material is available online for FREE, I would have basically paid for the structure.
- I understand new devs often feeling unsure and overwhelmed by the wealth of information online. There seem to be a million languages, frameworks, and places to start. That's how I felt before attending a bootcamp.
- After graduating, I still felt totally unprepared for the job market. But I did have a much better idea of where to focus my attention. But honestly, is that worth $17,000? I've seen people go into major debt to attend a bootcamp, only to graduate without the career they were promised, and without the basic knowledge they should have gained.
One of the best things I did after graduating was to create a self-study curriculum focused on learning the fundamentals. I would recommend starting there before spending over $10,000 to enroll in a bootcamp.
This blog was initially supposed to offer a list of alternatives to attending a bootcamp. But it was important to cover some of the issues first. I'm still going to write the article. I'll be going to detail on how to best use each resource. I'll also be sharing a list of FREE BOOTCAMPS I learned about too late.
Below is what the bootcamp alternatives list is looking like so far:
- Frontend Masters Handbook
- Technical blog
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