A 3-Step Process for Selecting the Right Bootcamp For You

  1. Identified you had a need (e.g. I need something to listen to music in public)
  2. Researched what could satisfy your need (e.g. I could get headphones or earbuds)
  3. Evaluate your consideration set (e.g. I prefer wireless bluetooth ear buds over the big headphones)
  4. Make the purchase (e.g. Apple Store trip anyone? Nah…let’s click for it online).
  5. Post buying behavior (e.g. am I happy with these? I’ll tell my friends about it or write a review)
Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Step 1: Decide what features are right for you

  • Guarantees: does you bootcamp offer some sort of guarantee that if you put in the work, you’ll be able to get a job? And if not, they’ll return your money? Some do. It’s a vote of confidence in not only you as a student (and the quality of student they’ll admit), but in their process as well.
  • Income Share Agreements: this can be considered a variant of a guarantee. Essentially some bootcamps will offer to admit and educate you you for $0 upfront cost, in exchange for a percentage of your future income, plus a fee. This is a great option for students that are low on cash.
  • Online Options: If you live in a small city that lacks a burgeoning tech scene, this might be the only option for you if you don’t want to relocate. Some bootcamps are on-campus only. Others offer the choice of online options.
  • Self-paced Options: the typical 3–4 month bootcamp is notorious for being intense and fast-paced. I have both a BS and masters degree from top universities in my chosen field of study. In my experience, the academic intensity of a bootcamp surpasses both. That level of commitment is not a viable option for everyone. Some bootcamps offer the ability to take the material typically consumed in three months over a year, or even longer.
  • Student:Teacher Ratios: this is one of the least spoken about, but most important attributes for a bootcamp, as well as any educational institution. I’ve seen the amount of teachers per student vary from 7 to 50 at some bootcamps. Do you really want to compete with 50 other people whenever you have a question (and there will be many!) about one of your projects? I’ve seen this make or break a bootcamp experience.
  • Acceptance Criteria: this is another attribute I’ve seen vary widely. I’ve seen bootcamps require students to already be able to create a basic website. I’ve also seen bootcamps require nothing more than money in their pockets. Consider how easy the bootcamp is to get into as a signal of the quality of students they graduate, the rigor of their program, and the level of students you’ll be interacting with. Think about it. Would you rather go on a learning journey with people that have proven they’re passionate about the topic by learning some of the basics already? Or with those that may not know what they want, and were just able to write a check to figure it out? It’s always better to have people around you that can elevate your competitiveness. Not dilute it.
  • Education Delivery: we all have preferred ways of learning. Maybe you prefer to research and try things on your own with some on-demand guidance. Others might prefer systemic and consistent lectures. Others might be more visual, and prefer the guidance of videos with what they’re learning and trying to build. Whatever your preferred style of learning, it could be helpful to understand if the education philosophy of the bootcamp you’re considering matches it. If not, it could be a frustrating experience for you.
  • Career Services: some bootcamps teach you to code, and release you in the wild. Others take it a step further by providing guidance on the basics to prepare you for your job search, such as resume help, and interview guidance. If you’ve never prepared a professional resume, or gone through a professional job search, this should be a big decision criteria for you.
  • Price: Obvious, but important. Total out-of-pocket costs can vary by as much as 200%. This can help filter your options considerably.

Step 2: Research Reviews

Step 3: Research Outcomes

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Saul Feliz

Saul Feliz

Always learning.

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