There aren’t many things you can do in life in a short period of time that truly have the ability to change your life positively and almost instantly. On the flip side, there are a ton of things you can do to change it negatively in probably just a week, followed by regrets you’ll entertain for the rest of your life. I wouldn’t recommend those, but each to their own.
For the positive changes, let’s say you need about 11 weeks. In 11 weeks—for a highly suspect example—you could go from reading this piece of prose to being a shiny new developer. But how you get there is important. Not all bootcamps are created equal, and it’s key in figuring out which to pick that you know what’s important to you before you embark on the relatively short but highly intense journey deeper into tech.
Here are a few of my thoughts about what to consider when you’re weighing up potential bootcamp candidates.
Speak with your future teachers and their past students
Once you’ve narrowed down your top choices, jumping on a call with the folks at your potential bootcamp is a good way to check cultural fit, and to see if the learning style of a coding school will suit you. It’s important for you to find somewhere that fits the kind of individual you are and can provide the mentorship you’ll need going through the bootcamp as well as beyond.
For me, this is one of the most important aspects of further education and it’s the environment I try to foster at CodeOp by keeping our classes small. I also speak to all of our applicants and am happy for anyone to reach out and ask any questions about studying with us.
Another way to get a feel for your future learning environment is to attend any events or workshops they’re holding where you’ll be able to speak to academic staff and current students about potentially studying and possibly explore the environment if somebody is willing to give you a tour! We’re always more than happy to do this at CodeOp, so feel free to get in touch.
Pay attention to job placement rates
I actually think this is a better way to compare coding schools than going by normal reviews. When looking for general ratings, a lot of the time you’ll find yourself looking at a bunch of schools with the same number of stars—If you’re lucky, there might be a fraction of an inch in it. But what’s important when making a career transition is to find schools that have high job placement rates and offer job offer guarantees.
These schools tend to provide career development and mentoring programs to support their students throughout their courses. Be aware of the amount of time on average it takes graduates to secure a job from each school when comparing if you’re hoping to be gainfully employed sooner rather than later. I’d recommend looking at switchup to find schools that offer job assistance to their students in the first instance, but you’ll also find this information on coding school sites.
Take teaching style into consideration
What type of program would you like your bootcamp to have? Project based? Mentor driven? A combination of different styles? Think about how you learn and compare that with the structure and curriculum of the bootcamps you’re considering. You want to choose one that’s a good fit for how you learn.
At CodeOp we’re serious to the point of obsession about giving our students access to the best resources and instructors as well as the best teaching practices. With small classes the focus is on the learner, allowing our instructors to stay flexible to the context of each learner in the classroom.
Set your budget
With so much to learn in an intense amount of time, the last thing you want to do is splash out on a bootcamp and then be worried about your finances the whole time you’re studying. Some schools work with other institutions to help some students win scholarships, while some offer deferred payment plans that allow you to begin with just a deposit. Make sure you research the financial plans each bootcamp has in place to support their students.
We offer a variety of plans including no interest deferred payment plans and the options for scholarships in conjunction with Lesbians Who Tech and Fundació Catalana de l’Esplai. Finding a school that has a job offer guarantee can also help to relieve financial worries, as you’ll be able to find a position more easily after you graduate with the help of the school, and if not, as is the case at CodeOp, you can get your money back.
Another important thing to consider is location. Maybe you’d love to do a bootcamp in San Francisco, but this could cost you upwards of $17,000 for the course alone, not including living costs. You can easily cut those costs in half by studying somewhere else where the standard of living is excellent and there’s a buzzing tech scene, like Barcelona. Definitely consider relocating, even for a short while, if you’re serious about joining a coding bootcamp.
Define your goals
You’re doing a bootcamp for a reason. That means you want to make sure the curriculum of your chosen bootcamp fits your goals for the not so distant beyond. It’s a good idea to delve into the curriculum of each bootcamp to look at what you’ll be learning and how it will help to inform your future steps.
The tech world changes fast. You need the coding languages to keep up with it, but also the right skills to navigate it too. Finding a course that will help you develop a growth mindset over a fixed one is going to be crucial in doing so. My best educational experiences have always been expansive, not just about what is being taught, but also both how and why it’s being taught. Find a bootcamp that’s holistic in its approach and you’ll find your transition into the tech world becomes much simpler.
Decide on a location
You want to choose a school that speaks to you as well as a region. You’ll have an easier shortlist to put together if you want to stay local, but if you’re looking further afield the options can seem endless. Have you always wanted to study abroad? Does it work out cheaper to do a bootcamp in another city or even another country? Are you considering relocating for your future career? Would you consider relocating?
These are just some of the factors you might take into consideration when choosing your bootcamp. Look for places where the local connections to the tech scene are good, in addition to places where, when you get a spare moment, you’ll enjoy exploring. Now is probably as good a time as any to mention that CodeOp’s main campus is in Barcelona ;).
Research is the best tool you have at your disposal to ensure you land on the right choice for your coding bootcamp. Do the checks as rigorously as you’ll soon be checking your own code and you’ll settle on the school that’s the right fit for you.
CodeOp is a woman-led international coding school that supports the advancement of women, trans, and gender nonconforming individuals in tech. With campuses in Barcelona and Kuala Lumpur, we offer bootcamp-style courses in Full Stack Development and Big Data Engineering. If you’re considering a bootcamp and you’d like to find out more about us, visit our website and get in touch. I’ll be more than happy to answer all the questions you might have about learning with us.
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