Deciding on changing a career to coding? Deciding on if Coding Bootcamps are worth it? These are the same questions I asked myself a few months ago and many people are asking themselves too. My answer to these question is ... maybe. I hope that at the end of this blog you have a more clear picture on if attending a coding bootcamp will work for you.
My Story I always struggled with the educational system. Even at a early age, I always found myself struggling not because it was hard, but because it was easy and boring. I would say that our current school system had failed me.
We are students of words: we are shut up in schools, and colleges, and recitation -rooms, for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Now before you write me off, let me briefly explain. After finishing 4 years of high school and working 2 years delivering flowers, I realized how important it was to obtain a career. I realized that I did not want to deliver flowers for the rest of my life and it was time for me to be serious about a career. Going to college was the only way I knew how I could obtain one. Fast forward 5 years, I barely have enough credits to get a associates degree and have a bunch of student debt and something had to change.
Coding Bootcamp: My Way Out? A friend of mine graduated from a coding bootcamp and shared all the wonders and promises of completing a 12 week immersive course would bring. After hours of research and questioning, I took a leap of faith and dropped college to attend coding bootcamp. Little did I know what I got myself into.
The Promise Here's a little bit about Coding Bootcamps: they promise to make you a professional developer in 10-12 weeks and have a 96% job placement after graduating. While I can positively say that I am among those who got a amazing job right after finishing a coding bootcamp, becoming a professional developer was far off target. This brings me to my "maybe". Coding Bootcamps are completely different in the ways they teach their students, 100% opposite of the standard education system. They focus teaching through immersion, learning and apply the skills right away. Similar to learning on the job or training. There are no tests, just hard work and your willingness to learn.
Traditional Schools set you up to be awful at acquiring new skills but receive a diploma. Coding Bootcamps set you up to learn how to acquire new skills, but give you a piece of paper.
The bootcamp method worked perfectly for my style of learning! That is why I was able to succeed.
We are not created equal...
Ever heard the saying, "College is not for everyone."? I will add, "Code Bootcamp is not for everyone." College was a slow, draining learning process that after an exam was over, I forgot what I learned. On top of all host of issues, I was forced to take classes that had no reason to take or had anything to do towards a computer science degree. There were deadlines and putting minimal effort to just pass. I just wanted to learn, to be good at it, and find a good job. Coding Bootcamp did exactly that!
I was training more than learning how to code.
I was training how to learn, how to find the answers on my own, and how to ask for help. It was a different learning experience than traditional school system. It was more being mentored than lectured and I excelled like never before! I began having such a passion for learning and writing code. I believe people have the most success at bootcamp are those who really want to learn, retain, and remember the skills for years to come. You will not be successful if you come with the mentality of just making it by. Just enough to pass the exam or do it because its something you have to have. I learned more in 2 weeks of bootcamp than 1 year of computer science classes. The point of a coding bootcamp is to teach you all the fundamentals and learning to learn to become a developer who can find the answer to the solution at all costs and resources.
Neither Option Will Make You a Professional Society claims that you need a degree to become a professional, and bootcamps claim you just need 10-12 weeks of intensive learning; both claims are false. Becoming a professional coder is a long journey that starts as soon as you write your first line of code. Many search for months to land their first job. I was fortunate enough to receive a few great job offers even before I graduated. After working for three or four months, I've discovered that I am not even close to being a senior programmer after graduating a bootcamp! I have started what will be a very long road ahead of me and have a long way to go. After talking to many Computer Science majors, I learned that they feel the same way when entering the work force. There is so much more to learn, so many skills to master, and so much more hard work ahead. Whatever path you choose, either college or bootcamp, being successful depends entirely on how you want to learn and how hard you push yourself. It All Comes Down To... It all comes down to your drive! How badly do you want to pursue a career in coding? How much further will you go beyond the lesson to find the answer? How long will you push your limits to attain skills for which people will hire you? This is just the beginning-- the tip of the iceberg-- of becoming a professional programmer. Are you ready?
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