Should you do a Bootcamp in 2022

Published on Jan 27, 2022
~34 min read

Introduction

Coding bootcamps were popping off in the early 2010s. Bootcamp graduates were landing jobs with fat $100K salaries. And many were doing this in 12 weeks or less. It seems like every bootcamp graduate you talked to was working at places with ping pong tables and free food.

It’s now the 2020’s and you want to be a big-time developer who makes a fat salary. You want to get paid to do something you love. So you think you’ll do a bootcamp. But, then you peep the $14K price tag. You start wondering - are bootcamps still good? Can you still make a big-time salary? Are all the things that were true a few years ago still true in 2022? And if they are, should you do a bootcamp in 2022?

The answer is...it depends.

Lame, I know, but it really does depend on a few factors. This post is going to tell you what those factors are and hopefully help you decide if you should take the plunge.

What is a Coding Bootcamp

A coding bootcamp is a short, intensive course that aims to teach you the bare minimum you need to find your first developer job. This is an important point to take note of, because coding bootcamps won’t teach you everything you need to know. Some of it you are going to have to learn yourself, and some of it you are going to have to learn on the job. This is an important factor to acknowledge, and we’ll go into it more later. For now, just know bootcamps aim to teach you to code quickly.

Coding bootcamps can also be online only, in person, or a mix of the two. All of them should offer live teaching, instructors, and a structured program. They are not pre-recorded video courses you might buy off Udemy where you have no access to the instructor.

Types of Bootcamps

There are many types of coding bootcamps and they can focus on a range of different technologies. They may focus on data science or maybe a web development. What interests you, will determine what type of bootcamp to do.

When looking at the types of bootcamps, I think the best way to look at them is cost and ownership structure. Here are the types to help you search:

  • Privately owned local bootcamps - think your little hometown bootcamp put together by local people
  • University Bootcamps - often these aren’t run by the University but are actually run by private for-profit companies who want to leverage the University's brand
  • Non-for-profit - bootcamps run for free (very rare).
  • Privately owned bootcamp chains like Generally Assembly, Le Wagon, or Lambda School

Now you know what coding bootcamps are and aren’t, let’s look at the factors you should consider before deciding if you should do a bootcamp.

Factors to Consider

Ideally, you want to give a bootcamp everything you have. You want to be able to dedicate your time and energy towards learning to code. Doing this will mean you can get the most out of the bootcamp, and it will also give you a higher likelihood of successfully finding a job.

Bootcamps are not easy. They will challenge you and ask a lot of you. Just having a teacher and structure won’t make things easy. A lot of people think they can just sign up, half-ass it and get a job in the end. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.

This next section looks at some factors you should consider if you’re not sure whether to do a bootcamp.

Do You Know if You Enjoy Coding?

Have you tried to code? Do you even like it? If you answered no to either of these. Do not do a bootcamp. Why?

Because as I mentioned a second ago, bootcamps are tough. You are going to have to work a lot of hours, on both nights and weekends. I probably averaged 10-12 hours a day on weekdays and 4-8 hours on weekends. This is how they squeeze 1 year's worth of material into 12 weeks because they force you to do a lot of work outside of class. Ouch. So, if you don’t want your money to go to waste, you need to work your ass off.

Therefore, if start the bootcamp without having ever written one line of code you’re going to be in real trouble. There are two reasons for this.

First, if you haven’t ever coded how do you know you’ll enjoy it. To use an analogy, let’s say you don’t enjoy exercise. Now say you sign up for a marathon, where you had to run it in 3 hours. How likely are you to train to do that marathon? And even if you run it, how likely are you to finish in under 3 hours? I’d say it is a low likelihood for most people. The same applies to bootcamps.

The next reason you should try coding before you start a bootcamp is a lot of bootcamps have pre-work for you to do. Anyone in my bootcamp who didn’t do the pre-work was toast. They either dropped out or struggled through the bootcamp and are now not working in tech. This is a dirty little secret of bootcamps where you need to know a bit about coding before you start otherwise you won’t survive; you’ll always be behind.

Now, if you’re always behind that means your peers who you are competing with for jobs will be ahead of you technically. Meaning finding that first job just got harder.

Fortunately, it’s fairly easy these days to try your hand at coding before you ever step foot into a bootcamp. There are numerous sites that offer free coding lessons and environments. The two I recommend are freeCodeCamp and the Odin Project.

Can You Commit Financially?

Damn, money was tight during my bootcamp (and I’m saying this as someone who was a tight-arse during the bootcamp. I was rolling into class with packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, something I hadn’t done for years!) Despite this, I still nearly ran out of money before I landed my first job. So you need to ask yourself can you commit financially.

When you sign up to do a bootcamp, unless it’s part-time, you’re probably not going to be working. So that $14K you are investing is actually the cost of the bootcamp plus the opportunity cost of the money you could be earning. In my case, my bootcamp actually cost me $80K because I was giving up $66K in money I could have earned in my job. Now, I’m betting that I will make it back over my career. However, you definitely need to do your research and take a serious look at your finances.

**Real Cost of Bootcamp**
-Bootcamp: $14K
-Loss income: $66K
-Cost of living: $1500 per month
Total Cost = 14K + 66K + (1500 x 3 (per month)) = 84.5K

You also need to consider how you will pay your bills. If the bootcamp cost $14K, that’s money you no longer have available to spend on other expenses. I mean a man’s gotta eat. There were a few people in my bootcamp who didn’t really factor this in, and it added further stress to an already stressful time.

Another thing to consider is that you might not get a job right away. I know it took me about 3 months until after my bootcamp to land a job (I moved cities at that time, which complicated things). This was pretty common for about two thirds of my cohort who even got jobs. So your calculations should also factor in some post bootcamp buffer, you need a strategy for how you are going to survive a bit longer while you job hunt.

So make sure you have those dollars in the bank to handle your bills before you sign up to do a bootcamp, otherwise, you’re going to have a bad time.

south park badtime meme with text - if you do a bootcamp without enough savings you're gonna have a bad time

Do you Have Time?

As I mentioned in the previous section, bootcamps are massive time investments. They aren’t just an 8-hour day – they are nights and weekends of assignments, projects, and getting yourself job-ready. The question you need to ask isn’t just, “Do I have time?” but is also, “Am I willing to put in the time?” There are two ways to think about this.

The first question of whether or not you have time is the most important. Do you have a partner, like me, who was understanding and supportive, knowing you will be fully immersed in this thing for 90% of your waking time? Do you have other commitments that you can’t ignore? These are important considerations. It takes a lot of sacrifice.

The other thing to consider is whether or not you are willing to work 12+ hours a day, as well as weekends? I love my weekends; those mothers are sacred. During my bootcamp, though, I knew I’d have to give them up. I was willing to get up, bleary-eyed, on a Saturday morning after a night crying over bugs in my code to do it all again. You have to ask yourself: “Am I willing to do that also?” Because during my bootcamp there was very little time for the things I liked. I didn’t play video games, I didn’t read non-coding-related things, I only managed 1-2 episodes of the Office a night. It was tough. Worth it, but tough. So it’s more than just wondering if you have the time, but also considering whether or not you are willing to give up certain things in order to make the time.

Bootcamps are a sacrifice of your time, consider if your life will allow you to do that. If not, that is okay, there are other avenues for you to achieve your dream.

What Jobs are Available in Your Local Area?

This is probably less relevant in a remote post-covid world, but it is worth mentioning, because I think some businesses are still hesitant to hire people outside of their local area. So the more businesses that could potentially hire you means more chance of getting hired.

Therefore, you need to do some research into what jobs in software development are being advertised in your local area.

Do some research by searching sites like Indeed and LinkedIn for jobs in your area. Use terms like ‘junior developer’, ‘entry-level developer’, and ‘associate developer’ to see how many results are in your area.

When you’re looking at jobs, have a look at the languages they are using. If the languages are mostly in something you won’t be learning then consider if that will prevent you from finding work. Because, if your bootcamp teaches Ruby and Vue and there are only React and Python jobs in your area you might struggle to find a job.

Think of it this way, if you were hiring someone who you know you’re going to have to train anyway, wouldn’t you want to make life easier by ensuring they have experience with the languages you use? It’s kind of like an electrician trying to get a job as a plumber. Yeah, they are in similar areas but they have a lot longer to go than another plumber.

You also need to remember you won’t just be competing with people in your bootcamp, you’ll be up against community learners (I always thought the term self-learner is dumb, you didn’t just start teaching yourself. You used resources someone else made to learn...rant over) people with some experience and university graduates. So not many jobs might mean you’re going to have a harder time finding one.

It’s not impossible to get a job in another tech stack, but your chances of finding a job will probably increase if you know at least some of the potential employers' programming languages. So research what is available locally.

Are Your Skills Already too Advanced for a Bootcamp?

If you’ve been coding for a while. Especially if you have been coding with the tech stack that you’re going to be learning in the bootcamp. You might already be too advanced for the bootcamp.

The quickest way to find this out is to apply for some developer jobs. You’ll need to know  how to get past the automated resume readers. But, once people start looking at your resume the market will give you some indication of if you’re employable or not.

If you find that you’re getting calls for interviews, and you’re passing the tech tests. Then you probably don’t need to spend the money for a bootcamp. You just need to work on interviewing and solving tech tests until someone gives you your first break.

Considering all the Factors

So those are the factors to consider when thinking about whether or not you should do a bootcamp. If I had to answer every single Reddit thread asking that question, I would say this:

“If you enjoy coding, have enough money squirreled away, enough time, and feasible opportunities to find work, then I’d 100% recommend you do a bootcamp.”

If that’s you, then read on to see how to determine if a bootcamp is any good.

How to Tell if a Bootcamp is Actually Good

Alright, so you’ve decided a bootcamp is for you. Yay. That is great! You can stop asking Reddit if you should do one. Now, you need to figure out if the bootcamps you’re interested in are actually good.

But, how do you do that?

Below are some tips to help you do just that. Use these to get a feeling for if the bootcamp can actually deliver what they are promising on their landing page.

Don’t Read Reviews

You’ve probably already read some reviews for the bootcamps in your area. The thing to remember with reviews, though, is that they tend to be biased either to really positive or really negative takes.

In fact, I’d heard from other bootcamp alumni that some bootcamps make writing reviews a mandatory in-class exercise, which is very suss.

So my advice would be to ditch reading reviews. Instead, follow the steps below:

  1. Type into Google - site:reddit.com [bootcamp name], then read peoples threads.
  2. Go to Twitter's advance search - then enter the bootcamp name in the “Words” sections “exact phrase” box and down under the engagement section in the “minimum replies” box enter “1”.Then hit the “Latest” tab
animated gif showing the steps listed above to search twitter

This will help you get a sense of what people are saying about the Bootcamp, and it is less likely to be coerced.

However, I recommend you scrape reviews and follow the steps below to find out if the bootcamp is actually worth the money.

1. Do Some LinkedIn Research

LinkedIn is such a great place to learn more about the bootcamps you are considering. You can see all kinds of things, things that the bootcamp might not tell you or that they want to hide with clever statistics (we’ll look at this in a little bit).

Here are some things you should be researching on LinkedIn before you get going.

  1. How many past alumni are actually working in the field the bootcamp was preparing them for
    • You can do this by typing “ ” into the search bar → clicking the people filter → all filters → school → typing the school you are interested in → then filter for your area.
    • You can then click into people's profiles and see where they are actually working
  2. How many past alumni are hired as mentors/students
  3. Where alumni tend to get work after the bootcamp
  4. How long it took them to get the job
    • Check this against the time the bootcamp finished and the time they listed as when they started their job
screen recording going through the steps listed above to search linkedin

This will give you a good indication of what is actually happening with past students, and not what the bootcamp is telling you happens. However, the next step is the most important one you can take to help you determine if the bootcamp is actually good.

2. Reach out to past alumni

This is the single best thing you can do to find out if a bootcamp is good. Now that you’ve done some LinkedIn research, it’s time to reach out to some of the alumni, preferably recent graduates.

This the best thing you can do to find out if a bootcamp is good, because those alumni are the best way to find out what to expect. You get to ask them questions that let you dig deeper than reviews and LinkedIn research.

Now, you might be asking yourself, “How do I go about doing that, and why would they often respond?” First of all, the best way to reach out, in my experience, is to message them on LinkedIn and ask if they have time to chat about their bootcamp experience. It’s really that simple.

As far as answering you? Well, not everyone will reply, but you’d be surprised how many of them do respond. They’ve been in your shoes and again, in my experience, most people want to help. So let’s look at some steps to take to maximize success (in case you’re wondering, these steps got me an 80% return rate).

Here is the template I used to reach out to them. Using this I got about an 80% reply rate to all the emails I sent out.

Hi X,
I found your details from your website after I saw
you were an alumni of [bootcamp_name]. I really
liked [say something nice about their portfolio
they worked hard on it].
I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions
about your experience with the bootcamp? As I am
considering it, but I wanted to speak to a few
alumni before I commit.
I can shoot the questions to you over email if
that is easiest.
Let me know if you have time and I can send 2-3
questions your way, or book a quick 15 minute chat.
Cheers,
[Your Name]

If they agree to a face-to-face chat, make sure in your follow-up email you make it as easy as possible for them to chat with you. What I mean by this is offer them a few options for times to meet, like so:

That is amazing I really appreciate it.
Are you free on these days Wednesday between 5pm-8pm
and Thursday Between 10am-8pm.
If you are just let me know the time and send you a
calendar invite for a quick 15 minute Zoom call.

Then all you need to do is actually ask them for their opinions of the bootcamp. Here are the questions I asked.

  1. What did you enjoy about the bootcamp?
  2. Were there any students you know that didn't enjoy it, why do you think they didn't enjoy it?
  3. Were the teachers what you expected?
  4. Knowing what you know now about the bootcamp, would you do it again?
  5. How hard was it to find a job after the bootcamp? How many people in your cohort didn’t find jobs?

Feel free to ask other questions. The point is you are trying to get real authentic, answers from a person who isn’t incentivized by sales to give you only positive answers.

Also, try to keep in touch with this person if you decide to do the bootcamp; update them on your progress. Who knows? They might be able to help you get a job at the end, based entirely on your initiative!

If you’re still not sure after you’ve reached out to alumni, there are a few other things you can check to help you decide if you should do a bootcamp.

3. Check how old the Bootcamp is

I don’t think the age of a bootcamp is an indicator as to whether a it is good or not. Afterall, bootcamps are essentially the people teaching it; If a teacher leaves, then you’re going to have a very different experience from the last cohort. However, there are a few things that age can help you understand when trying to determine whether the bootcamp is good or bad.

Aside from having alumni you can contact, older bootcamps will also have employment statistics. The great news about statistics is that you can check these statistics against some of the LinkedIn research you did, just a quick eye test will do the trick. If a bootcamp doesn’t publish their statistics and won’t provide them if asked it’s a red flag.

For newer bootcamps, you are going to be taking a risk if this is their first run.

For newer bootcamps with little to no statistics, recognize that you’re taking a risk, but also know there are a few things you can do to help mitigate these:

  1. Look up the teachers on LinkedIn and Twitter and have a look at their experience and what they tweet about.
  2. Ask the bootcamp a lot of questions, things like how they plan to support you post-study, the structure of the course, etc.If they struggle to give answers, this could show they aren’t prepared.

Don’t write off newer bootcamps; they all had to start at Cohort 1. Sometimes it’s an advantage, as their best marketing tool is you. Think about it: they don’t have stats yet, right? They want your success, and they will try to make your experience as good as possible so they can attract future students.

Just recognize the risk and decide if you are willing to take that risk. It’s not for everyone.

4. Talk to the Bootcamp

The last step, and one you should 100% do, is to talk to the bootcamp.

If Covid permits, go talk to them on campus and meet them face to face. I find with in person meetigns, I get a better gut feel for if something is right for me.

When you meet them, ask them all the questions you have following on from your discussions with alumni. It is okay to say things like, "Past alumni I spoke to [don’t give them their names!] said they didn’t think you did x & y well. How are you planning on fixing it?".

This step is about clarifying things and feeling out the place. You want to suss out if you like the vibe. Are these people you want to spend the next few months with? You’ll be spending a lot of time with them and, personally, I like to spend my time with people I like.

Do Your Research

At the end of the day, the best way to decide if a bootcamp is worth your money is to do the research. You have to go beyond the reviews and try and speak to real people.

There is no full-proof way to ensure that the bootcamp will deliver what it says on the box. As I mentioned, so much depends on the teaching staff. However, if you do the research, you’ll empower yourself to make the best decision from the options you have.

If you take one thing away from this section, please make it the part where you reach out to alumni. I spoke to multiple alumni at 3 different bootcamps and it made my decision so much easier.

What Bootcamps Won’t Tell You the Full Truth About

Student Employment Rates

Bootcamps manipulate statistics and boost them in sneaky ways, so make sure you read the fine print. Here are some ways they do it:

Some bootcamps will have fine print that shows the employment rate of employees who found a job within 12 months. 12 months is a long time. Can you be jobless for 12 months? Most of use can't.

Another misleading way a bootcamp might manipulate these figures is that they hire their former students. They hire them to be mentors or teaching assistants, often paying them minimum wage. This way they can include them in the employed column.

Also, watch out for bootcamps that classify students who got jobs in non-course-related fields. Taking a coding bootcamp and being employed as a web developer is one thing, but taking a coding camp and being a low-level tech support guy is completely different.

So make sure you don’t just look at the big number. Dig into those numbers and check the fine print. Bootcamps can be really sneaky.

Employers Don’t Really Care if you Went to a Bootcamp

Yep, you read that right. The fact that you went to a bootcamp doesn’t really carry much weight.

What employers actually want are tangible skills. Skills like, being able to code in the languages your resume says you can.They’ll determine this from your projects and coding tests.

The bootcamp helps you actually get better at those languages and pushes you to make projects. But, it won’t mean much at the end of the day.

So if you are going to a bootcamp because you think their cute little certificate will get you a job, you’re going to have a bad time.

condescending wonka meme with text - oh you have a bootcamp certificate no need to do the coding test then

The Time it Takes to get a Job and Salary Expectations

Most people don’t just go from the bootcamp straight into a job. Many will finish the bootcamp and then look for jobs.

So, don’t get swept up in the claims a bootcamp makes. We talked about bootcamp hiring stats, so recognize it can take time to find a job. It can take people anywhere from 0-12 months post-bootcamp to find their first developer job. Some may never find a job.

Also, temper your salary expectations. A lot has changed since bootcamps started and people were getting paid $100K straight out of the gate. Bootcamps like to show off the big salaries people get, but they might be from years ago. Check the data on that.

I’d argue the average salaries are even bogus. Be skeptical: would you share that you got a $50K job after you finished your bootcamp if someone else got $100K? Would you share it at all? If the sample is 1, it’s not worth much.

Salary can depend on the location of the bootcamp. If the Bootcamp is in San Fransisco, grads will earn more, but their cost of living is higher than, say, someone living in Ohio. I think in this situation, it is better to be pessimistic rather than optimistic. It is also why it is really important to speak to alumni of bootcamps, as they can give you some hard truths.

Learning is Surface Level

A bootcamp is too short of a time frame for you to truly understand the concepts. It is going to take you a while to understand how things really work.

A bootcamp will pitch to you that you will know x, y, and z technologies by the end of the bootcamp. But, in reality, you’ll know just enough to be employed. You’re going to have to work on the rest after you land your first job. This can feel really uncomfortable; you’ll probably feel like an imposter.

However, coding is almost a never-ending pursuit of learning. Even the Seniors in my team are constantly remarking how they learned something new. It’s okay that the learning is just surface level, just be prepared to keep learning after the bootcamp is finished.

Payment Structure

It’s important to know that not all bootcamps have the same payment structure. The payment structure I want to point out is the “Income Share Agreement,” or ISA. This lets you attend a bootcamp for low upfront costs.

Now, I think ISAs get a pretty harsh rap. At the end of the day, an ISA is an agreement between two adults, and it’s up to the individual to read the fine print. Also, for some, it is their only option. That said, they can be pretty confusing, so let’s go through them.

ISAs are, in most cases, agreements that don’t require you to pay much up front. Instead, once you have a job, a certain amount of money is automatically taken from your paycheck, usually a pre-determined percentage taken out over a set period of time.

This is an important point to note. The amount is over a set period, usually years. It doesn’t stop once you hit a certain amount.

So say your agreement is over 3 years at 14% and your first job is $60,000 per year. It would look like this:

($60,000 * 14% = $8400) * 3 years = $25,200 total paid

That is a lot of money you are paying. Double. And some, compared to a $14K bootcamp. Also, if your pay goes up during that time, it will cost you more.

Now some ISAs have a cap. A max amount you can pay.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to do your research on potential ISAs. You need to factor in if you can live on your salary, minus the percentage from the ISA.

Benefits of Doing a Bootcamp

There are a lot of benefits to doing a bootcamp, aside from learning how to code with a teacher. I wanted to detail these because I think sometimes the “yOu can lEarN It fOr fReE” crowd can neglect these intangibles.

You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is

You spent $14K on the program. I don’t know about you, but if I spend that sort of money, I’m damn well going to show up every day.

When you do a bootcamp you have in-person hours, where you come in and learn and work. Even if you just do the 8 hours of class time, that is 40 hours per week that you are dedicating to learning to code.

When I was learning from home I found it very difficult to find 10-15 hours a week.

I think this happens for a few reasons.

  1. Friends & family understand that you are all in and that this is a temporary change for you. Therefore, they are more likely to be less demanding of your time.
  2. You won’t have unexpected things at work come up that disrupt your time and force you to miss hours you could be coding.
  3. You have peer pressure to do that work and show out.
  4. You paid all that money, you’re less likely to say you’re too tired to code or that you’ll do double time on the weekends.

Money is a great motivator; it can really light a fire under you. I know it certainly did for me.

Accelerates Career Change

Bootcamps will speed up the process of changing careers. They have to by the very nature of you being all in.

When you’re in a bootcamp, you are coding every day and flying through topics. Even though the learning is surface level, it is very unlikely you would achieve the same results over the same period if you were learning part-time.

Bootcamps are also structured. This means you don’t waste time thinking about what project you should build and what technologies you should use, you are told all of this. Not having to spend energy on this stuff, means you get to spend all your energy on learning.

This acceleration will also force you to learn how you learn best. This skill will be very valuable when you get into your first job. You’re going to need to use it time and time again, as you face new challenges.

Access To People Who Code Better Than You

You’ll get stuck all the time when you are learning to code. I still get stuck at work and need to ask my senior for help. Even my seniors get stuck and need to ask for help. It’s all part of the game. A bootcamp gives you near-instant access to someone more experienced than yourself who can help you get unstuck. The same is not often true for other forms of learning.

Previously when I was learning on my own. I would post in forums for help. I might get an answer, I might not. But, even when I got an answer, sometimes it would unstick that problem only for me to find another problem straight away. This, often led to frustration which would lead to me putting the keyboard away, and giving.

I can’t tell you how beneficial it is to actually see someone debug your code. Watching the process someone goes through and learning to imitate that skill is immensely valuable. I’d read about how to debug and solve problems, but it never really hit home until I saw someone do it. Maybe you can learn that async or by yourself but it’s nice to be able to do it super quickly, to save that time for learning.

Make Friends To Share the Journey

The best part of my bootcamp was the people I met and struggled with every day on our way to changing our lives. It is actually the biggest reason I would recommend you do a bootcamp if you want to learn to code.

You can learn to code for free, by yourself, or by being part of communities. But, I’d tried that and it is just not the same. You will be on different schedules and different stages of your journey. In a bootcamp you’re all essentially at the same point, learning the same stuff and solving the same challenges at the same time.

I can’t tell you how good it feels to turn to your classmate and ask them how they are going, only to hear that they are struggling with the exact same thing you’re struggling with. Not just so I can feel better about myself, but so we can team up and figure out how to solve it together.

During the bootcamp you’re like this little army, fighting against the tide of information coming your way. You build super-strong connections from showing up and fighting side-by-side every day.

Post bootcamp, the battle isn’t over, and while you all compete for jobs. There is a lot of camaraderie, helping each other through the process.

Once you’ve landed that first job, you already have a network of developers that are not just within your own company. This means down the track if you want to move jobs or lose your job, you have access to people who know that you fought beside them in the bootcamp and that you could do it again in their organization.

I tried the learn-at-home, community-taught path, and I just couldn’t do it.Looking back, a big part is that I didn’t have people I could lean on, who could understand what I was going through. I didn’t have any friends who were developers, no one to help me learn when I got stuck.

The friendships I made are for life, and I look back fondly on those amazing relationships I built. That is the best part of a bootcamp.

group photo of all the people in my bootcamp drinking beers

Bootcamp Alternatives

There are plenty of alternative ways you can learn to code, and lots of people use these resources to successfully transition careers.

MOOCS

MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses, are a way for you to learn for free. These courses are recordings of lectures from some of the top Computer Science programs in the world.

They are usually a combination of video lectures, exercises, and assignments. All the same, ones you would do if you were sitting at Stanford.

It is actually amazing that anyone in the world with an internet connection and a computer can take these courses. For free.

It makes it hard to justify spending money on a Codecademy premium membership.

Here are some highly recommended MOOCs:

- Havard CS50 - Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python - Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) - Algorithms, Part I - HTML, CSS, and Javascript for Web Developers

Learn to Code Websites

All you need is an internet browser and a connection to the internet. Sometimes these sites will charge you money, sometimes they are completely free.

From experience, I can thoroughly recommend freeCodeCamp; it supplemented a lot of my learning during my bootcamp.

Most of these will also have communities built into them, helping you connect with other learners and giving you access to people who can help you when you get stuck.

It can be a bit of an adjustment learning online like this. You are essentially trying to learn in a way that you never have, since most of use have spent our lives learning in a classroom.

Here are some of the most recommended options:

University

Another option is to go to University to get a computer science degree. It’s a long game, but having that little piece of paper can be very helpful.

The biggest downside to this is it is most likely the most expensive option, not just in dollars, but in time. Most degrees are 3-4 years.

Still, if you don’t have a University degree yet it is worth considering. You can even do it part-time if you are just in it for the learning, and don’t want to change careers in a hurry.

Should You do A Bootcamp in 2022

Now, with all of that information out of the way, it is time for my recommendation as to whether you should do a bootcamp in 2022.

The answer is...it depends.

I know you’re thinking WTF! Just tell me! I need someone to make the decision for me. But, it really does just depend on you, the individual.

Are you the type of person who can dedicate 15 hours of your personal time to learning to code? Do you have the discipline to stick to it, with minimal potential hurdles? Then you can probably get a job without attending a bootcamp.

However, if you’re like me and had a highly demanding job, or can’t commit to learning with consistency each week then you might want to consider a bootcamp. If you can afford it, and actually enjoy coding, then I would personally recommend it.

Just make sure you do your research, speak to past alumni, and take a serious look at your current life circumstances.

I constantly think back fondly on my time in my bootcamp. I’ve made amazing friends for life who I still keep in regular contact with even though I’ve moved cities. The bootcamp was such an intense experience, and going through that struggle with others really helps you become quite connected. That human connection was enough to justify the expense to me as those experiences were priceless.

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Peter Lynch

Web Developer & Bootcamp grad who wants to learn as much as he can check me out on twitter.

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