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2021 Guide

Coding Bootcamps

Find out everything you need to know about coding bootcamps and digital skills training with the BrainStation Coding Bootcamps Guide. BrainStation’s bootcamps and courses can help you build digital skills and prepare for a new career.

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The rising demand for web development professionals has led to a boom in coding bootcamps. There are now hundreds of coding bootcamps around the world, all promising to give aspiring Web Developers the technical skills and programming languages needed to stand out in a booming job market for web development talent. This guide will provide a complete overview of what to expect from a coding bootcamp.

What Is a Coding Bootcamp?

A coding bootcamp is an intensive, short-term technical training program that teaches the programming skills that employers are looking for. Coding boot camps promise to give students with no prior coding experience the coding skills they need to solve real-world problems and pursue a career in web and mobile development, design, security or related tech fields in a short period of time.

Though most coding bootcamps are focused on teaching programming languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Python so that alumni can become Developers – the people who design and build websites and apps – coding bootcamp graduates can apply those coding skills to any number of jobs within the tech industry, including in web and mobile development, UX/UI design, data science, digital marketing, machine learning, and software engineering.

Still, most coding bootcamp attendees want to transition into a career in web development. They do this by learning to build applications at a professional level under the guidance of instructors who are immersed in the industry. That provides the foundation they need to build production-ready applications and demonstrate they have the skills to add real value to a potential employer.

Immersive coding bootcamps can be full-time or part-time, and they are offered both in-person and online. Though they differ dramatically from traditional postsecondary institutions, top coding bootcamps will often have a career services team that offers career support and career coaching.

The typical coding bootcamp takes less than four months to complete — 15.1 weeks on average. And most graduates report getting a job with ease – in fact, more than 90 percent of BrainStation’s graduates are employed in their fields within 180 days of graduation.

Coding bootcamps have grown more popular each year recently. According to market research by Course Report, coding bootcamps graduated an estimated 23,000 students in 2019. The research found that across 44 states, there are 95 in-person providers and 13 online bootcamps.

What Is an Online Coding Bootcamp?

Online coding bootcamps are fast, intensive programs that teach coding, programming, and other technical skills in a short period of time in a fully remote environment.

Online bootcamps can be full-time or part-time, with graduates in both formats gaining the technical skills necessary to begin looking at a career in fields like software development, full-stack web development, cybersecurity, and mobile development. A schedule of online classes can be an appealing option for would-be bootcamp students who live far from major tech industry hubs like New York City and San Francisco where many in-person coding bootcamps are located.

Online programs are also often a good option for prospective students who are eyeing a career transition but still working in their other field. Still, bootcamp students should not expect an online coding boot camp to be any easier than its in-person counterpart. Online programs take just as long to complete and are just as challenging as in-person bootcamp courses.

How Long Are Coding Bootcamps? Most coding bootcamps take less than four months to complete — 15.1 weeks on average.

Outcome reports show that most bootcamp graduates report getting a job with ease – in fact, more than 90 percent of BrainStation's bootcamp graduates are employed in their fields within 180 days of graduation.

There are short-term coding bootcamps that could be a good choice for tech professionals with some background in web development who already has some digital skills, a grasp of computer science fundamentals, and some experience programming.

There are also 4-5 month bootcamps that tend to offer a comprehensive curriculum that would likely include full-stack web development and might also delve into areas topics like software development, data analytics, or UX/UI design.

What Are Part-Time Coding Bootcamps?

Part-time coding bootcamps are flexible but intensive programs that give graduates the in-demand skills to begin a career in web development while working around their schedules.

People who are interested in attending a web development bootcamp but who can't commit to a full-time schedule due to work, family, or other factors often consider part-time coding bootcamps. Both a full-time and part-time web development program will impart the same in-demand skills, a part-time course might only require around 25 hours per week of commitment from students.

At the same time, a part-time web development course could take significantly longer to complete, anywhere from 20-32 weeks.

How Much Do Bootcamps Cost?

The average full-time coding bootcamp in the United States costs $13,584, according to Course Report. However, tuition can range from $7,800 to $21,000.

If that's too costly, some nonprofit programs offer tuition-free models based on corporate partnerships. Many coding bootcamps offer deferred tuition, flexible payment plans, income share agreements, or might receive payment based on referral fees from a job placement. Most also offer a range of scholarships to help ease students’ financial burden. Another opportunity worth exploring is an employer scholarship, where students get their tuition reimbursed by their employer.

The cost of a coding bootcamp might also depend on how intensive it is. A coding bootcamp designed to teach the front-end and back-end web development skills necessary to become a Full-Stack Web Developer, for instance, might be longer and more expensive than a course focused exclusively on the front end.

Bootcamps also vary greatly in length, another reason for the disparity in tuition costs. Though the average is roughly 16 weeks, coding bootcamps can range from six to 28 weeks.

Whether you are considering a program at the high or low end of the cost spectrum, there are some elements most have in common. They teach modern, widely used programming languages and frameworks like Ruby on Rails, Python on Django, JavaScript, and PHP stacks through project-based learning. Students graduate from bootcamps with a portfolio, an online presence, and, usually, interview skills. Further, most will match students with an employer network or help them attain an internship. It seems to be working; Course Report's most recent research found that 83 percent of bootcamp alumni report being employed in programming jobs.

With campuses now in more than 90 cities across North America, coding bootcamps were expected to gross $309 million in revenue and graduate 23,000 students in 2019.

And the investment was worth it for most alumni, Course Report found; their study found that graduates made an average starting salary of $67,000.

What Are the Best Coding Bootcamps?

The best coding bootcamps offer rigorous, up-to-date courses taught by industry-leading professionals and give graduates all the coding and technical ability they need to thrive in a booming job market.

The best coding bootcamps will graduate job-ready professionals with the programming skills and polished project portfolio necessary to land a job in web development, software development, software engineering, data science, or other related fields.

Top coding bootcamps should provide some degree of transparency when it comes to student outcomes. The best programs should also be able to offer some detail on their courses in advance, so if there's a specific skill, tool, or competency you're looking to learn (for example, you're after skills in full stack, JavaScript, or data visualization), you'll know whether or not it's included.

Top bootcamps will also offer robust career services, networking events, and mentorship opportunities.

  • Online coding bootcamps. Industry-leading online coding bootcamps will offer a lot of flexibility in allowing students to put together study schedules that fit their lives. A good online coding bootcamp should also give students the benefits of as many of the services that they would have received in-person as possible. Networking events, mock interviews, and panel discussions with industry thought leaders can all be conducted virtually. Similarly, some attention should be paid to helping students forge connections with faculty despite the physical distance.
  • In-person coding bootcamps. Simply put, the best in-person coding bootcamps will have modern, innovative, and state-of-the-art campuses. Not only give will those campuses allow students access to the most up-to-date equipment and technology, but they should also be comfortable spaces to hang out and work, particularly given the long hours that many students put into a coding boot camp.

Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?

Yes, coding bootcamps are an increasingly worthwhile investment for aspiring Web Developers (and Software Engineers). The coding bootcamp sector in the U.S. increased to over 35 thousand students in 2019, which was a 4.5 percent increase from the year before (and nearly a 2,000 percent increase from 2012). There are good reasons for this growth.

First, career opportunities in development are attracting professionals from other fields. Our Digital Skills Survey found that 54 percent of our development respondents began their career in a field other than development, and 57 percent had been working in development for less than five years.

Second, employers are increasingly valuing skills and experience over education, which has made it harder to justify prioritizing inexperienced Developers with a college degree. Coding bootcamps have thrived because they are short, immersive, and focused on outcomes and employment – their goal is to develop job-ready skills. By all accounts, they’re succeeding. In Course Report’s Outcomes Report, 83 percent of respondents say they've worked in a job requiring the technical skills they learned in the bootcamp. What’s more, over 90 percent of BrainStation graduates have found work within six months of graduation.

There is, of course, also an important financial component involved, and here too coding bootcamps come out on top. According to Course Report, the average tuition for a four-year computer science program is over $163,000, with bachelor’s degree holders earning an average of $59,124. Coding bootcamps, on the other hand, are 12-14 weeks long and $11-15,000 in tuition, with the average bootcamp graduate earning $70,698.

What Are the Benefits of Coding Bootcamps?

These programs offer a wide range of benefits, allowing you to gain in-demand skills in a short period of time, expand your professional network, and eventually find a high-paying job in a growing industry.

Although it is possible to learn to code by yourself, most experts in the web development field find that going the self-taught method is deeply time-consuming and challenging.

A web development course or program will first establish your foundations, deepening your HTML and CSS knowledge, and familiarizing you with frameworks including Flexbox, React, and JavaScript. You’ll also understand server-side programming, how to build servers using a modern back-end framework, and how to manage databases and data on a web server. Most likely, you’ll also combine some of these competencies to create a project that follows industry practices – boosting your portfolio in the process.

You’ll also establish the beginnings of your professional network, getting to know other aspiring Developers, instructors who double as industry pros, and guest speakers from leading tech companies.

Some programs even get you ready for the interview process by putting you through mock interviews with a hiring manager and a Web Developer and then offering constructive feedback.

The Pros and Cons of Coding Bootcamps Coding bootcamps are a popular way for people to gain the programming skills they need to transition careers and land a job in web development, but before signing up, it’s worth considering both the pros and cons.

Here are some of the pros of coding bootcamps:

  • Cost. Attending a coding bootcamp is certainly affordable in comparison to a four-year computer science college degree.
  • Focus on modern languages and frameworks. These programs tend to have an edge over traditional college programs in one important area: flexibility. They tend to adjust their curricula often to ensure students are getting the most up-to-date education possible.
  • Immersive environment. These programs are laser-focused on getting you up and running as a Developer.
  • Networking opportunities. Intensive web development programs can help you begin to build out your professional network as you begin pursuing your new career.

And here are some of the cons of attending a coding bootcamp:

  • Cost. Although these are definitely less financially imposing than a four-year college degree or diploma, not everyone will be able to afford them, and if you want to enrol in a full-time program, it will be very difficult to work at the same time. And many aren’t eligible for Pell Grants or federal loans.

  • They require a time commitment. The average program is about 16 weeks, and it could potentially take longer for those who want to master full-stack web development, for instance. That doesn’t seem like much when you consider that you’re coming out with a totally new skillset, but it’s still a significant commitment to make. And again, it’s also a long time to be out of work or working only part-time. Prepare to give up some evenings and weekends for homework, too.

  • Not all programs are created equal. Make sure you do your research and due diligence before making a commitment. Take a look through different curricula and gather as much information as possible about the program before you start to make sure it will get you where you need to go.

Can I Calculate My Bootcamp ROI?

Coding bootcamps can be a great fit for career changers who want to acquire an in-demand new skill in a hurry, but if you’re not sure if this is right for you, you can calculate your bootcamp return on investment (ROI).

First, take a look at your current financial situation and jot down your monthly income after taxes and your current expenses.

Next, look at the total time and money you’d be investing in the program. Calculate or estimate the cost of tuition, the time it will take to graduate, your cost of living while you take the course, the cost of financing your tuition (if applicable), and any other upfront costs – like a new computer or any other supplies.

Finally, let’s get realistic about your post-graduate expectations. What salary do you expect to make? Although the average salary for a Web Developer is $78,248 in the U.S., we recommend erring on the side of caution and putting in a more conservative figure for now. Then factor in expected income taxes and the amount of time you expect it will take to find a job placement.

Then, you just need to weigh the total investment against the difference in your expected income after taxes.

How Much Will I Make After My Bootcamp?

On average, coding bootcamp grads in the United States have a national average starting salary of $65,000-$70,000, and the graduates typically increase their salary around 50 percent after program completion. Low-income students have been especially affected, receiving around a 180 percent raise in salary

But there are lots of factors at work when looking at the salaries of freshly graduated bootcamp students, including what part of the country they’re in, what type of career they have, and the amount of freelance experience they might have gained.

A Full-Stack Developer who specializes in JavaScript is likely to receive a starting salary somewhere in the low-to-mid $60,000 range, while a Python Developer — a role that is arguably in higher demand right now — might start out somewhere in the low $80,000 range.

Further, if you have any prior experience in the tech field, you can certainly expect a higher starting salary. If you’re someone with a tech background considering attending a bootcamp to boost your skills, you might even expect a salary in the six figures after you graduate.

Earning Potential for Coding Bootcamp Grads

Coding bootcamp grads earn an average of roughly $65,000 in their first jobs after graduating, according to a survey of more than 1,800 grads.

Expect that number to leap up as you gather more experience in the field. According to the survey, bootcamp graduates in their second job earn around $77,000. By their third job? They earn an average of $90,000 per year.

Whether or not you have a college degree will likely affect your salary. However, even grads without bachelor’s degrees still see an average salary of roughly $60,000 – an average increase of 77 percent compared to their pre-bootcamp wages.

Tuition Range for In-Person Coding Bootcamps

Tuition for in-person coding bootcamps can vary from $7,000 to $21,000. Ranging in length from six to 40 weeks, no two programs are quite the same and that’s one reason for the high degree of variance in tuition prices. Some offer a guarantee of a Developer job and if you don’t land one, you’re only on the hook for your initial deposit.

Most offer other scholarships as well as flexible payment plans to help you manage the cost. Others offer employer scholarships, where your next employer will reimburse your tuition fees.

If you’re unsure that you can afford a coding bootcamp, it might be worth booking an appointment with a representative and carefully going over all the costs of the program, as well as any financial assistance programs or scholarship opportunities you might be eligible for. Many institutions offer robust scholarships for veterans, women, and other groups underrepresented in tech.

Will a Coding Bootcamp Get You a Job?

Most students get a job in the field upon graduation, but of course, no certification or diploma could ever absolutely guarantee that a person could get hired. Other factors like location, quality of a candidate’s portfolio, and other intangibles like personality and demeanor will also play a role in whether or not a student lands a job after graduating. Most institutions report their outcomes. A Course Report study of American bootcamps found that 75 percent of coding grads found jobs within 90 days of graduating. Other institutions manage even higher numbers; BrainStation, for instance, saw 95 percent of its Web Development graduates working within 180 days of graduation.

Based on a survey of nearly 2,000 coding grads, they saw their salary grow from $43,348 pre-bootcamp to $66,694 at their first job after graduating. In other words, their salaries rise by 51 percent on average after completing the program. With a few years of experience, an average Web Developer brings home nearly $80,000, while those with a decade of development under their belt make $100,000. Senior Web Developers make $107,115 on average, plus a $5,000 cash bonus.

Are Coding Bootcamp Grads Actually Getting Jobs?

Coding bootcamp graduates are indeed really getting hired in large numbers, but there are no guarantees and a small minority of graduates do report not being able to find work in their field.

According to Stack Overflow’s 2018 Developer Survey – the last year to specifically include a question about bootcamps – 45.5 percent of people who attended coding bootcamps already had a job as a Developer and were simply upskilling. 16.3 percent found a job immediately after graduating, while 33.8 percent got a job within three months. In total, then, nearly 80 percent of bootcamp grads were employed in their field.

That said, out of 6,652 responses, 8.7 percent did report that they didn’t find a job as a Developer.

How Are Coding Bootcamps Perceived by Employers?

Coding bootcamps are well-perceived by employers, 84 percent of whom think bootcamp grads are at least as prepared and likely to be high performers as candidates with computer science degrees.

According to a study by Indeed in which 1,000 HR managers and technical recruiters at U.S. companies of all sizes were polled, 80 percent of respondents have hired a coding bootcamp graduate for a tech role within their company. And they’re happy they did; in fact, 99.8 percent said they would hire a bootcamp grad again.

Coding bootcamps are also helping to create a more diverse tech workforce. Indeed’s survey found that 51 percent of surveyed companies said that hiring bootcamp grads is a good method to help get more people from underrepresented groups working in the tech sector. Many institutions offer scholarships targeting those groups, as well.

And 50 percent of respondents cited coding bootcamps as a good way to retrain workers who either don’t have college degrees or who could benefit from re-training.

That said, not all programs are created equal, and employers are noticing. In fact, 98 percent supported increased regulation for coding bootcamps. And the study also found that, depending on the role, some employers still look for candidates with computer science degrees.

Do Employers Think Coding Bootcamps Are Worth It?

Yes, employers largely do consider these programs worthwhile, with some even covering the cost for their employees to attend coding bootcamps to boost their skills.

According to a study conducted by Indeed, 72 percent of employers think bootcamp graduates are just as prepared and likely to be high performers as candidates with a computer science degree, and another 12 percent think bootcamp grads are actually more prepared and more likely to be high performers than computer science grads.

Given that roughly 80 percent of bootcamp grads are employed full-time within a few months, it’s clear that employers do value this certification. And outcomes reports from most coding bootcamps show that the vast majority of graduates say they need the technical skills they acquired in bootcamp at their new jobs, so clearly this is a skill set that employers are looking for.

So, Is a Coding Bootcamp Worth It?

Yes, these programs are worth it for students who want to learn a skill very quickly in a focused environment, with the goal of getting completely prepared for a new career in a matter of months.

College and university programs are not necessarily the best fit for all learners. They’re also comparatively much more expensive, with a four-year computer science degree likely to cost upwards of $140,000 on average. That said, coding bootcamps cannot match the depth and scope of a four-year computer science degree.

Ultimately, it comes down to the way you approach it. If you apply yourself and make the most of every opportunity, it’s likely you’ll be among the roughly 80 percent of bootcamp grads who find themselves employed in the field with a higher salary after completing the program.

Our Tips: Making a Coding Bootcamp Worth it

To make sure you find a job after you complete a coding bootcamp, you should lean on your professional network, establish an online presence, and gain some real-world experience, any way you can. Over the course of most coding bootcamps, you will complete a project that could be the cornerstone of a portfolio site. Your website should be a showcase of your best work. Make sure the site is professional, attractive, and easy to navigate. Consider including some of the following: bio/about; resume; social media profiles; contact information; responsive design; and past projects with documented source code. Also, you might want to be open to internships and apprenticeships, which are often a gateway to a job. Another idea is to volunteer. For instance, the Taproot Foundation helps nonprofits and social change organizations connect with skilled volunteers.

It’s also important to simply get out there. Attend networking events and Hackathons. Keep in touch with former peers bootcamp Instructors – your personal network will often lead to opportunities. Also, be sure to keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date so Recruiters can find you.

Here are four tips for making a coding bootcamp worth it.

Research Coding Bootcamps

If employers have a complaint about coding bootcamps, it’s that they want more regulation. Not all programs deliver on their promises, so do a deep dive into your research. Go through LinkedIn to find graduates of the bootcamp and see what they’re doing now – if you’re comfortable, reach out to them and ask their opinion of their experience. What does the curriculum look like? Which programming languages will you learn? Does the school offer job training or employment fairs?

Connect With Web Developers and Educators

Your classmates will likely be colleagues in a short while, and every person you meet could eventually be a contact who could help you land a job in web development. The same goes for your teachers – who are also likely industry professionals – and any guest speakers who may come through the classroom. Most schools hold networking events, and it’s worth your time to attend.

Build Your Online Presence

Sharing your experiences – and projects – on a blog or website is a good way to begin to get your name and skills out there for recruiters and potential employers to find. It will show that you’re motivated and creative, and it’s a nice way to showcase a bit of personality.

Start Building Your Developer's Portfolio

One reason such an overwhelming number of students get hired after graduating is that they’re able to build an impressive portfolio over the course of bootcamp. Keep in mind that this is what you’ll have to persuade potential employers that you’re the Developer they need.

Choosing the Right Bootcamp for You

When you’re trying to decide which bootcamp is right for you, you must first decide what’s important to you. What are your learning and career goals?

We recommend asking yourself the following five questions to determine which bootcamp is right for you:

Which Skills and Programming Languages Do I Want to Learn?

Although most coding bootcamps will teach programming languages like HTML/CSS, JavaScript, and a back-end language like Ruby on Rails, it’s not a given. Other schools specialize in certain languages, like Python. Take a look at the bootcamp’s curriculum and course package and see exactly what you’re going to learn from this coding bootcamp.

Next, take a look at some job ads for web development jobs that would appeal to you. Which programming languages and competencies do they call for?

Bootcamps have the advantage of being flexible and adapting their curricula on the fly to respond to industry trends. If the bootcamp you’re looking at doesn’t seem to align with what employers are asking for, it’s time to move on to another school.

What Are My Career Goals?

It’s time to take a hard look at where you’d like to see yourself in a few years. Are you looking to join an up-and-coming startup or hoping to be scooped up by an established tech giant? Are you anticipating spending most of your time designing on the front-end, or working server-side on the back-end? All of these considerations could affect how much you get out of any given program.

It’s also worth comparing the careers of alumni with your own career aspirations. Head over to LinkedIn and take a look at the resumes of past graduates. Where are they working now? What’s their role? It’s always a good idea to reach out to graduates to ask questions about their experience. Not only will you get unvarnished feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the program, but you form a potential professional contact too. You could also reach out to a Recruiter or Hiring Manager directly and ask for their opinions on the program.

What’s My Financial Situation?

There are no two ways about it, affording coding bootcamp tuition can be a tall order. It probably shouldn’t be the only factor in your decision on which school to attend, but there’s no denying it plays a role.

Tuition costs at different coding bootcamps vary wildly, from $7,000 up to $21,000, though the average is around $13,000. Most schools will be happy to pair you up with a representative so you can get a clear idea of how much this is going to cost you.

You’ll also want to look into which scholarships the schools offer. Almost all bootcamps have a variety of scholarships available, so talk to a representative to see if you qualify. And most institutions also offer flexible payment plans that might make your life a little bit easier.

Where Should I Attend a Bootcamp?

This might ultimately come down to where you’re already based, but if you are flexible about location, you might want to move to a bootcamp in a city like New York City or San Francisco where the largest hiring networks are. Not everyone has the heart to leave their friends and family behind for a few months (at least), so fortunately coding bootcamps have opened in almost every U.S. state.

How Much Experience Do I Have?

Before you choose a coding bootcamp, consider your own background. Have you worked in tech before? Have you completed any free, self-guided online courses? Do you have any experience hacking on open-source projects?

Some programs are so comprehensive that they can take someone totally new to coding and turn them into a savvy pro in a matter of months. Others, like Hack Reactor for instance, are up-front about the fact that you do need some background in coding to thrive in the course.

Check any prerequisites carefully. Be truthful with yourself about where you are in your journey as a Developer to get the most out of your bootcamp experience.

How to Get Into a Coding Bootcamp

If you've decided that attending a coding bootcamp is right for you, the first step to getting in is narrowing your list down to your top choices and preparing to apply.

You should look to begin preparing your application anywhere from one to three months before you want to begin taking classes.

When it comes to admissions requirements, every coding boot camp will have different criteria and prerequisites. A high school diploma is typically required. Some selective or particularly immersive coding bootcamps might include a coding challenge or even a short programming assignment (typically demanding a widely-used programming language like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc).

Application fees for a coding boot camp are usually non-existent or minimal, so there's no downside to applying to a few different courses that interest you. You'll often be asked to write a short essay about your interest in coding boot camp.

If you apply to a competitive web development bootcamp, you might expect an interview as part of the admissions process. During this interview, expect to be asked to talk through how you approached your coding challenge. You might even be asked to do some whiteboarding.

How to Prepare for a Coding Bootcamp

There are many steps you can take to prepare for a coding bootcamp that will ensure you hit the ground running and make the most of your time.

To get the most out of a coding bootcamp, take the following steps before you begin classes:

Complete an intro coding class

Chances are, your coding boot camp will offer preparatory classes, resources, and other materials to help prospective students with no background in web development or even the tech industry more broadly get ready for the course. That's not to say these resources are only useful for beginners – even bootcamp students with some experience in web or software development or a related field should take the opportunity to review prior to the course.

Determine what you're looking for

With so many careers now calling for programming skills – in the tech industry and beyond – different students will come to a coding boot camp with vastly different goals. Some are interested in transitioning into a totally new career as a Web Developer, Software Developer, or Software Engineer, others are already working in a tech field where coding competency can be an asset (think data analysis, data science, machine learning, or UX/UI design), while others might actually be learning to code for fun or to complete personal projects. Going into a bootcamp with a well-defined idea of what you want will help focus your efforts.

Check out as many free resources as possible

Even beyond material supplied directly from your coding boot camp, the Internet is full of free resources to help people learn to code. Explore what's offered online at places like Udacity, Coursera, Codeacademy, Stack Overflow, and Github. Watch YouTube tutorials and free introductory coding webinars to get a feel for web development and software development basics.

Spread the word

Let family and friends know that you're attending a coding boot camp. This is recommended for two reasons. First, whether you're pursuing a part-time or full-time program and whether it's an online boot camp or in person, you will have significantly less free time than usual for a little while. The second and perhaps most important reason: your job hunt will likely begin not long after you start your bootcamp, and your current social circle could have untapped new professional contacts.

How to Start a Coding Bootcamp

Given how short most coding bootcamps are, it's important to make the most of every minute you have there, and much of that will come down to getting off to a great start.

Here are a few steps to follow in your earliest days at bootcamp:

Meet and swap info with other students

Whether you're studying in person or online, your classmates can be an incredible resource to you during your time at bootcamp. Make introductions with your peers early on, and swap contact information or connect over LinkedIn or Facebook. While you're in bootcamp, your classmates can help offer feedback on your projects and clarify details of assignments and deadlines, and once you've graduated, they could form the beginning of your professional network.

Introduce yourself to faculty

Top coding bootcamps will employ leading industry talents as instructors, and bootcamp alumni will tell you that one of the best things about attending these courses is getting the opportunity to get to know those instructors. But again, these courses are typically short and every moment counts, so try early on in your course to establish a familiarity with your faculty. That typically leads to better results in the course, and you have the chance to make an industry connection that will be extremely valuable during your upcoming job search.

Explore student services and supports

Many of the best bootcamps will offer student services, academic support, and a buffet of career services – including career support, career coaching, and networking sessions. Try to familiarize yourself with what your new school has to offer early on during your course. If available, academic advisors can help you organize and prepare for the workload ahead, while career services professionals can provide crucial job placement assistance, mock interviews, or resume coaching.

Don't rush home

Most of the coding bootcamps worth considering will have a state-of-the-art campus with top-notch equipment. Not only should you take advantage of your access to that equipment as much as possible, but spending lots of time on campus will also provide more opportunities to network and meet new students and faculty. It goes without saying that you should attend as many networking events as possible, and the panel discussions, thought leadership sessions and other events hosted on-campus also provide great opportunities for learning and networking. If you're studying online, you should still get involved and register for as many virtual networking events and guest speaker sessions as you can.

How to Pay for a Coding Bootcamp

If paying out of pocket isn't an option, you have a number of options to pay for a coding bootcamp.

  • Look into scholarships. Most bootcamps offer a range of scholarships or bursaries to students who are in need of financial assistance or meet a range of other eligibility requirements (including scholarships geared toward veterans and women).

  • Consider a loan. There are bootcamp loans with lower interest rates and better repayment terms than high-interest personal loans or, certainly, credit cards. If you're going to borrow money from any source to pay for tuition, carefully compare interest rates and deferment policies and options to find what will work best for you.

  • Take advantage of a deferred tuition policy. If it's a new career you're after, you could consider a deferred tuition arrangement where you don't pay until you find a job with a certain salary. Keep in mind that many deferred tuition programs result in the student paying more money overall than they would have if they paid upfront.

  • Pursue income-share agreements. These agreements allow students to pledge future income to pay for school now. Again, however, students can find themselves paying more down the line than they would have had to upfront.

  • Find a program that works around your work. If gathering enough for tuition is a major concern, you could prioritize flexibility over other factors. Find a part-time bootcamp that will allow you to continue making your usual income or close to it, even if it means stretching your study out over a longer period of time than you might have preferred.

  • Get your employer to pay for it. If your newfound coding talent could be relevant to your current job, look into whether your employer offers training or education benefits. It might require some extra digging on your part to find out if coding boot camps specifically qualify for this, since some companies may have designed their policy around more traditional educational programs.

What to Do After a Coding Bootcamp

After completing a coding bootcamp, you will most likely be hitting the job market – either for a completely new career in web development or software engineering, or a new position within your field that takes advantage of your new skillset.

If you're on the verge of graduating, here are our tips for what to do after a coding bootcamp:

  • Begin applying for jobs – ASAP. Ideally, your job search should begin before you've graduated from bootcamp. That can be a tall order given that applying for jobs can feel like a full-time job itself, and you'll already be spending long hours on class and projects, juggling part-time or full-time employment, and perhaps completing or planning a job placement. Still, whether it's before or after your course is over, you should get your refreshed resume and new programming portfolio into as many hands as possible.

  • Go to networking events, industry meetups, and conferences. This is something else you should be doing while in school as much as possible. Once you're done your bootcamp, make as many new contacts as you can by attending events and expanding your network of professional contacts. If you want to specialize in a specific area of tech, look for events, panel discussions or conferences related specifically to topics like full-stack software development, UX/UI design, or programming for data science.

  • Reach out to fellow bootcamp alumni and faculty. The people around you in coding bootcamp will form the foundation of your professional web development network. Connect with your peers via social media and stay in regular touch. Not only can you offer each other support during a turbulent time, but these relationships will be mutually beneficial in finding job opportunities. Similarly, ask your former instructors for coffee or keep them in the loop on your job search. These well-connected industry pros might be more than happy to connect you with a potential employer.

  • Look for freelance opportunities. A good coding boot camp will help you build a strong portfolio, but having some real-world projects can only help your case in an eventual job interview. One way to bolster your portfolio, make industry connections and earn some money all at the same time is to begin looking for some freelance development opportunities. Not only can this often lead to a full-time position, but you might discover that you enjoy freelancing so much that you decide to continue that way.

  • Volunteer. Another option for building a more complete portfolio is to offer your services for free. There are countless charities, non-profits, and small businesses that could benefit from the services of a talented Web Developer. Volunteering your time could be a win-win: it looks great on your resume, you make more professional contacts, and you potentially make the world a better place, all at once.

  • Practice projects on your own. Though it's obviously ideal to have a clear purpose for your work – whether that means finding freelance work or donating your time to a charity – it is also important to work on projects for no reason other than to get better as a programmer. The time you spend now practicing using algorithms to solve problems, contributing to open source projects, or completing personal projects that put some of your design ideas into practice will have real-world applications once you're eventually employed.

  • Learn more. A coding boot camp should not be the last stop on your educational journey. The internet is full of free resources, webinars, tutorials, and more to help programmers get better at their craft. Given how many fields other than web development also view coding as a crucial skill, it would also be worthwhile to explore resources related to those fields. Study up on data science, software engineering, software development, full-stack development, or fundamental computer science concepts. Even learning more about fields totally unrelated to tech could eventually help you, so follow your curiosity to whatever learning opportunities catch your interest.

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