Is a Dev Bootcamp Right for Me? How to Make an Informed Decision

The prospect of enrolling in a dev bootcamp generates a whirlwind of questions in the minds of aspiring developers. ‘Is a dev bootcamp right for me?’, ‘What value will I gain from it?’ and ‘How do I pick the right coding bootcamp’ are questions that have probably crossed your mind if you’re in that situation.

Enrolling in a dev bootcamp can be a solid investment in your future, but it’s essential to ensure that bootcamps align with your personal learning style and, if so, that the bootcamp you choose will help you get where you want to go in your career.

What You’ll Learn

  • Why picking the right bootcamp is so important and some common pitfalls to avoid when making that choice.
  • Which questions to ask yourself to determine if a bootcamp is your best option, and how to apply them to pick a bootcamp.
  • How to maximize your success during the bootcamp and after you graduate.
If you’re interested in coding bootcamps, take a moment to check out Kodeco’s Accelerator bootcamp, which makes learning both flexible and accessible. Learn from anywhere in the world, at a pace that fits your lifestyle. With live sessions and asynchronous mentorship, you’ll never be without support on your coding journey.

Learn about Kodeco’s Accelerator Bootcamps

Now, you’ll start by looking into some questions you should ask before diving into a bootcamp.

Evaluating a Coding Bootcamp Is Difficult

Enrolling in a bootcamp seems like the fastest way to get where you need to go, whether that be entering the tech field, upskilling from a different role in tech or brushing up on skills you haven’t used in a while. If you don’t have time to go back to school, if you don’t want to spend years learning, a bootcamp is an effective shortcut.

However, keep in mind that dev bootcamps make some big promises — but they don’t always deliver. Everyone seems to be offering bootcamps, and not just for coders. You can find bootcamps for careers as different as product management, digital marketing and more. And while they might sound like a grassroots movement, they’re a multi-billion dollar business — which is something you should keep in mind when evaluating offers.

Headline from a news article about a restaurant worker landing a tech job after bootcamp

So yes, you can get tech jobs after graduating from a bootcamp… but it’s not a sure thing. Bootcamps vary widely in quality and effectiveness. To have a good experience, you want to be sure that:

  1. The bootcamp offers a solid learning curriculum.
  2. It matches your personal needs as a student.
  3. You end up with a job that you’re happy with, not just any job.

But how can you tell ahead of time?

Wrong Ways to Choose a Coding Bootcamp

You might think that the best way to choose a dev bootcamp is to simply pick the most expensive one you can afford. However, price is a poor indication of quality. A free bootcamp might suit your needs better than bootcamps that charge five figures to enroll. So don’t think that the more you pay, the better your results will be.

Another tempting offer you might see is a bootcamp that guarantees you a job after graduation. The problem with these programs is that they are graded on finding you a job, which means that they won’t be very picky about where you land — or if you’re happy there.

But you’re not just any person, and you don’t want just any job. A role that makes you miserable in the long run, or one that you’ll leave after a few months with not much gained, is a waste of your time, effort and money. Avoiding guarantees gives you the freedom to find a job you’ll find fulfilling.

And you might think that skills are the key to the right bootcamp. Of course, if you want to be an iOS developer, a bootcamp offering iOS skills is a good idea. But if the boocamp is a bad fit for you in other ways? Well, a lot of companies offer the same skills… and a lot of tech skills are transferrable. So really, they’re not the big decider they might seem.

Surprisingly, the best way to evaluate a bootcamp is a factor you might not even have considered… the people you’ll be working with, and how well what they offer fits your personal needs.

Creating a Plan to Pick Your Dev Bootcamp

Woman looking at her computer

Unsurprisingly, there’s no one right bootcamp for everyone. We’re all individuals with different situations, study preferences and goals for the future. So the first step in deciding on a bootcamp is to evaluate your own personal needs. Before you decide on a course of study, ask yourself:

  1. What’s your learning style?
  2. What are your end goals?
  3. What kind of support do you need to succeed?

Next, you’ll look at each of these in detail.

How Your Learning Style Guides Your Bootcamp Decision

While it’s true that the old way of dividing people into learning styles is a myth, it is true that we don’t all learn the same way. And your individual preferences will influence which bootcamp is right for you — or even whether a dev bootcamp is the right choice at all. Here are some critical questions to help you evaluate your choices:

  • Learning on your own or in a group? While bootcamps involve a good amount of self-study, the cohort aspect is really important as well. If you want to learn totally on your own, you might prefer a self-paced bootcamp or an online course instead of a live bootcamp.
  • Time-limited or limited time? Do you thrive with an aggressive schedule, or do you prefer to set your own pace? Bootcamps, especially those that last for 10–13 weeks, can be intense, time-wise. If you don’t thrive under that kind of pressure, look for a longer bootcamp, a self-paced bootcamp or a college course.
  • Face-to-face or Facetime? If you hate being on video calls, a remote bootcamp isn’t the place for you. Instead, look for in-person bootcamps or a college experience.

Takeaway: How do you decide if a bootcamp fits your learning style? Talk to them first. If a bootcamp doesn’t want to answer your questions, that’s a big red flag. Good bootcamps care about retention, and they’ll work with you to ensure that you’ll thrive if you enroll.

Now that you’ve considered your learning style, it’s time to think about your overall goals.

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