If you’re looking to learn how to code, change careers and shift into tech, or you want to upskill in your current tech role, a coding bootcamp might be the next step for you. But, with so many options out there, you might be wondering how to choose a coding bootcamp.
Bootcamps have become a crowded market, so even conducting research on your different options, their schedules, payment plans, and curriculum may seem overwhelming. We’re breaking down the most important factors to consider when choosing a coding bootcamp that will meet your career goals, aspirations, and lifestyle.
How to Choose a Coding Bootcamp: Factors to Consider
Your Career Goals and Desired Field of Tech
Coding bootcamps teach you foundational tech and coding skills, but there are a lot of different types of coding bootcamps. Most don’t prepare you for just any role in tech, but rather they’re designed to prime you for certain technical disciplines. You can find coding bootcamp programs that focus on:
- Web development
- Software engineering
- Data Science
- App development
- Specific coding languages
Each different coding bootcamp will be best suited for someone most interested in those types of roles. Having an idea of the sort of job or position you want to have after completing the bootcamp can help you choose one in the first place.
The Coding Languages You’re Interested In
On a related note, having a good idea of the coding languages you’re most interested in learning will help you choose a coding bootcamp as well. Some fields or roles might depend more heavily on some coding languages than others, so keeping those goals in mind can help inform your choice in bootcamp.
Your Background and Experience Level
Some coding bootcamps are built for beginners, students, or all levels, while some are more geared or tailored to people with past experience or particular skill sets. In order to set yourself up for success, it’s crucial to pick a coding bootcamp that fits with your level of prior experience, whether that’s academic or professional.
To start to gauge your level of past experience, you might ask yourself:
- Do I have any level of college education — tech or non-tech related?
- Have I worked in any tech-related fields or positions?
- Do I have any experience with coding?
- What technologies or skills do I need to learn to be considered for my dream position?
If you’re a beginner, seek out coding bootcamps that accept those with no experience, or try to gain some experience on your own before applying to a more specialized program.
Learn More: How to Become a Coder Without Experience
Bootcamp Format: Pacing, Style, and Location
Coding bootcamps come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Considering your learning style, your schedule, and the sort of support you need will all help you figure out how to choose a coding bootcamp that will help you succeed rather than hold you back.
Pacing: Your Schedule
A huge consideration is understanding what your schedule looks like as well as what sort of learning schedule you’ll be able to commit to. Different coding bootcamps offer different schedules: some offer full-time options, some offer part-time options, and some offer both.
Here at App Academy, for example, we offer both full-time and part-time programs. We even offer a self-paced option for those who need or would like to learn completely on their own schedule.
Some students are able to leave their current jobs to commit to a full-time program, while others need to continue working to support themselves and their current responsibilities. How much flexibility you’ll need for the duration of the bootcamp and afterward is something to keep in mind when choosing a bootcamp.
Learning Style: Delivery of Lessons and Lectures
In addition to your schedule, take some time to consider how you learn best. Many bootcamps offer multiple programs with different delivery methods, such as in-person bootcamps or online program options.
For many of these programs, you’ll be following a set schedule with classes or lectures, independent work time, and homework assignments. For some students, they prefer the support and the structure of an in-person program, while others prefer the convenience and comfort of learning from their own homes.
App Academy offers both an on-campus coding bootcamp (with locations in New York City and San Francisco) as well as online bootcamp options (with both full-time and part-time schedules). Some of our students also choose to follow our self-paced course, which does not include hands-on instruction or a cohort of peers. Some students enjoy the freedom of this curriculum, while others thrive with the structure of our other programs.
Choosing an In-Person Coding Bootcamp: Location
If you choose to study with an in-person coding bootcamp program, another crucial factor to keep in mind is the location of your bootcamp. Is it somewhere you’ll be able to commute to, if you don’t live right nearby? What are the career opportunities in this location after graduation? Is it somewhere you would want to work?
Different areas and cities may have higher demands for different skill sets or different roles in the tech industry. When thinking about location, connect it back to your career goals — does this place offer enough opportunities in the roles or the fields I’m interested in?
App Academy offers its Campus Program in two locations: New York City and San Francisco. With these campuses in two cities that are booming with business and tech advancements, our students are able to take advantage of networking and career opportunities post-graduation.
The Cost and Payment Options
While coding bootcamps are more affordable than other traditional education options, they’re still an investment of time and money. A big deciding factor in the bootcamp you choose is price.
In addition to price, it’s important to know what types of financing options and payment plans are available. Do they offer scholarships? Income share agreements? You want to choose a coding bootcamp that aligns their success with yours and makes that apparent by offering an array of payment options, especially if you can’t afford to pay upfront out of pocket.
More than any other consideration, price can and should be one of your biggest factors. It’s okay if you can’t pay the full amount upfront, but you want to be cautious that the bootcamp of your choice empowers you to find a job so you can sustainably pay back your education.
App Academy offers a number of different tuition and financing options including upfront payment plans, hybrid payment plans, scholarships, and Income Share Agreements (ISAs). Based on the program you choose, you’ll be able to find a payment plan that works for you.
Reputation, Reviews, and Outcomes
While every student might have a different and unique experience at a certain coding bootcamp, it can still be helpful to get a general idea of what those experiences might have been like. Read reviews of the coding bootcamps you’re considering, and think about reaching out to alumni or current faculty. Often, the parts of their experience they choose to focus on can tell you a lot about what a coding bootcamp values.
Consider asking questions like:
- How hands-on are the instructors?
- How much support did you get from instructors and/or from peers?
- What types of students were typically in your courses?
- How much were you expected to work outside of determined course hours?
If you can’t get in touch with recent students, take some time to browse through review websites, or sites that compare bootcamps side by side, like SwitchUp, Course Report, and Career Karma. These sites can put all of the most valuable information in one place so you can see exactly how different coding bootcamps stack up.
If you’re still looking for some firsthand experiences, consider venturing into forums like Reddit or Quora. You’ll most likely find some detailed and honest reviews of different programs, but remember that posts on these sites aren’t vetted, and some people use these sites to vent about bad experiences.
It can also be helpful to take a look at outcomes data for a bootcamp you’re considering, and it’s a good sign if they’re transparent about sharing those stats. This information usually includes details like graduation rates, job placement rates, average starting salaries, and time to find employment after finishing the program. You want to find a bootcamp where the vast majority of its students are experiencing positive outcomes and career growth after graduation.
Career Support and Job Placement Success
After attending a coding bootcamp, you want to be able to find a job. Prioritize coding bootcamps that offer job placement resources such as working with a career coach, access to a network of alumni and corporate partners, and/or guidance and prep work for interviews.
At App Academy, we fold career preparation into our curriculum. We include resume writing workshops, and our students work 1:1 with a career coach after completing their coursework to make sure their application materials are in good shape and they’re ready for the tech interview process.
We want you to succeed and land that first job post-bootcamp, and our career coaches are here to help you with every step of the process: resume writing tips, how to put together your portfolio, interview practice and guidance, and salary negotiation practice.
How to Choose a Coding Bootcamp: Check All the Boxes with App Academy
If you’re still wondering how to choose a coding bootcamp that’s right for you and your goals, consider that App Academy offers a number of flexible options for a variety of students. From multiple schedule options and program types to numerous payment plans and career support, we’re one of the best coding bootcamp choices for aspiring software engineers and web developers.
Explore our different coding bootcamp options, or get in touch with an Admissions Specialist to learn more!
|24-Week Full-Time Online Coding Bootcamp||24-Week Full-Time Software Engineer Program|
|Part-Time Online Coding Bootcamp||Part-Time Software Engineering Program|
|In-Person Campus Programs||New York & San Francisco Campus Programs|
|Learn to Code for Free||App Academy Open|