Coding Bootcamps

How well do coding bootcamps work?

Hans Li Research and Development at Accenture Technology Labs

May 7th, 2015

Many of my friends have been starting to join these coding/data science bootcamps in major cities and I am very conflicted on how I feel about these bootcamps. On one hand, I hear great things about the outcome of these bootcamps -employment at major tech companies, 100k average salaries, etc. However, while working with some bootcamp graduates personally, I have notice most haven't been living up to their hype. For example, I've known folks who graduated from a well-respected data bootcamp but can't tell the difference between x and y axis. Or another friend of mine who can only complete projects with the help of existing node libraries. Anything outside of that I'd have to code it for her.

Does anyone have any insights on these bootcamps? I spent my past 2 and a half years taking lots of Coursera classes on Java, Scala, algorithms, etc. and solidified my coding skills day by day at my job. But these graduates are archiving this within only 12 weeks. I'm not trying to invalidate these bootcamps but rather I want to get a good idea of how they function to see if it's a good fit for myself.

Anonymous

May 7th, 2015

Hey Hans,

I think I can speak on this as I recently went thru a Ruby on Rails bootcamp and started with 0 coding knowledge.

As a business person and entrepreneur trying to start my own company I always wanted to try to build something myself so I went ahead and signed up for a bootcamp and completed the 2 month course work.

Lots of people ask me about my experience and I think I can sum it up in a few points:

1. If you are looking to take a 2-3 month course and be 100% ready to be a junior developer and make $80-$100k you are likely misguided.
2. That said if you continue to code and teach yourself for a couple more months after the bootcamp by working on as many real projects as possible you likely will be able to get hired (also if you interview extremely well and your specific city has a huge need for developers that obviously helps).
3. Bootcamps give a great base layer for people to work with and grow from. Giving you the ability to teach yourself more efficiently on your own thru other online courses like Treehouse or even hack together knowledge with the help of stack overflow and other online resources.

As a business person I did successfully build a very rough prototype of my site by myself but the biggest benefit I got from the program was really learning how to think like a coder and therefore become a better product leader. Learning basic jargon and how to debug issues allowed me to quickly understand issues when they came up with the developers I work with on a daily basis. It is also great to help you vet talent out when you are growing and hiring technical folks even when you are not fully a technical founder.

In the end I believe bootcamps are great and I still highly recommend them but keep in mind that there is a lot of hype with them and you really only get out what you put into it.

Hope this helps.

-Andrew

Joseph Moniz Software Engineer

May 8th, 2015

I'm currently working with a junior developer on my team that came out of one of these boot camps and he's been mostly killing it so far and we've even recently hired another one of his "classmates"(?) that he went through the program with. So as far as my highly limited and biased empirical evidence goes on the subject matter, i don't have anything negative to say about dev boot camps.

I personally am a self taught programmer without a CS degree currently operating as a lead software engineer at a fast growing startup, so i don't buy the "competing against people with BS or masters" bit.

The one thing i've learned about software in my limited career thus far is that it's not like most things in life, as theres not "tricks" to get from A to B, but at the same time there is no real speed limit. Which i guess is to say, that you're only really limited by your own ability and passion and bullshit counts less.

Michael Barnathan

May 7th, 2015

You can't become an expert in only a few weeks, and any bootcamp that claims to make you one should be viewed with skepticism. What they can do is give you the basics to learn more on your own and a certification path, and that's the value for someone without a formal background.

Daniel Marques Director of Application Development at Pragma Securities LLC

May 7th, 2015

I think if you're someone who wants to learn "what is programming about", either because you work with developers (you're a project manager, sys-admin, etc.) or just because you have an interest, then I think these are perfect introductions.

I would think that the opportunity to walk out of a 2 month program and get a six figure job (or any job) as a junior developer is pretty limited.  You are competing with people that have a BS, or even a masters, in computer science.


Ming Tsui

May 10th, 2015

I was surprised the college kids at UC Berkeley do not know how to

code web languages. Even my niece who has a computer programming

do not. I was surprised. I guess they might not taught web development

in most universities. Maybe they are learned on their own time.

Ming Tsui

May 10th, 2015

my take is life itself is always a learning process and experience so people going to

these boot camps get to know the major ins and outs of certain types of coding

needed for certain skill sets. Once they get that basics, they normally practice those

knowledge and then expand on how to make things work and continue to learn

as they go. This is how people learn. If you think about it, the college degree

major in programming might not be able to do any web development at all since they

were never trained to do those things in school. Maybe now they are teaching that.


Christopher Pyper Fixing online advertising for everyone

May 11th, 2015

In my experience the people I see who do well after these bootcamps already had programming experience or a technical mind.  That is, they are transitioning from something like a Java career to a new language, or they have an engineering, math, or science degree with some academic programming experience.

Brent Goldstein

May 10th, 2015

Can you truly be 'good' at a complex subject from a bootcamp? Of course not. It takes time, applying the creative process, making mistakes, and internalizing the concepts to the point where you really 'get it'. Nonetheless, great to take an opportunity to learn from those who are good teachers and mentors. Could I get a job as an accountant after a bootcamp? Well, that also depends on whether I'd want to get a job as an accountant.......