One of the features on the RealToughCandy YouTube channel is that I have the best comments on YouTube.
People of all abilities and experiences write these magnificently insightful pieces about software development, whether it’s about certain tech tools, social impacts, jobs, improving your craft — everything.
Well, the video I published about coding bootcamps is no exception, and I want to share some of these comments today for a few reasons.
Firstly, anytime I get a bunch of comments from developers it gives my video a new dimension.
it turns in to a more lively and interactive experience, rather than just me spouting a bunch of words at you. It brings the video closer to reality (if that makes sense) and offers a more comprehensive picture of whatever topic I’m presenting.
Secondly, these comments are from real people.
Not marketers, not bots, not posers, but people actively engaged in the software field. I think they deserve to be shared despite (or perhaps because of!) conflicting viewpoints. The modern Internet is designed to create binary responses from people; context is often stripped from what’s being presented; conversations devolve very quickly into your classic name-calling or snap judgement behavior. That’s not healthy! And real life isn’t so black/white, either/or. . .It really isn’t.
Likewise, in the case of coding bootcamps, deciding whether to go to one or not isn’t a simple, binary decision. It’s not a yes/no decision after watching a five minute video or reading a 1000-word blog article. So let’s check these things out and investigate further: what are developers saying about coding bootcamps?
Note: comments have been lightly edited for easier reading.
First, let’s hear from the people currently enrolled coding bootcamps:
Athaliah just graduated from one and is ready to rock the job search:
Just finished a coding boot camp in Silicon Valley and I found that it was tough but worth it. It was 70+ hour weeks. A third of the students quit in my cohort due to not being able to do the hours, if that tells you how hard it was. And I feel that it was totally worth it, despite the high cost and the lack of any life during the thing.
I picked one because they were training you on multiple languages, and stacks ( on how to learn to learn on your own). I think I chose a decent one as my projects rock. I had some friends that went to one in SF that only taught one stack, and didn’t even learn half of what I learned in the same time period.
Oh, we had several fresh CS grads in my cohort who just came from college, so they could have practical experience and projects in order to land a job afterwards. I had money saved up for it and had a decent housing during it, but yeah, some of the loan programs for those who can’t afford it can charge a pretty penny when you work out how much the loan gives them.
I think one of my group even lived in a hacker house, renting a very small room while attending. Sure, I could of done the learning on my own, but I tried that for half a year using Udemy, Udacity, Codeacademy, fCC.
I found that the level of what I learned from online courses didn’t give me enough to compare to what I did while at the boot camp because I needed the conversations and communication in order to learn some things.
If I didn’t take the plunge, I estimate that It may of taken me around three years of time to get to where I am today after that 4 months of dedicated study.
Now, onto finding that job without debt after getting my projects up to level.
Imhameed92 pursued the self-taught route prior to enrolling:
I’m currently attending an online boot camp at Flatiron school and I love it! I’ve self taught for a year before starting at a boot camp and didn’t really get too far. I’ve done udemy, Udacity and a whole bunch of other resources and felt that there was information that was missing but I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Boot camps are a way to immerse yourself and reach out to your community when you need help.
The third bootcamp student who commented, Anthony, notes that he not only enjoys the camp, but also found one for free (!):
Comments from self-taught developers who opted not to attend a coding bootcamp varied in their stances on the camps. For example, kamaboko1 notes that so much time is wasted finding cheap or free tutorials online, that a bootcamp can be an attractive solution:
One of the problems with Udemy, YouTube and the like is that you never know what you’re going to get. Once in a while you might get a good instructor, but in most cases they’re self-taught too and pass on all their bad habits on to the student. Then there’s the lack of consistency.
For instance, get on YouTube and run a search for React & Redux. Pick the first five videos. Guaranteed, each person will set up their Redux differently. This leaves the viewer with that nagging question “which one is right?” I haven’t been to a bootcamp, so I can’t say. As for job opportunities today, at least in my neck of the woods, an entry level developer today is a mid-level developer six years ago.
One can’t even get an interview unless they can show three or four full-on MERN, React, or Angular projects (e.g., with AWS or Firebase or a Mongo backend). I’m not talking about something they copied from YouTube or got off of an Udemy, Coursera, or a Pluralsight course. Oh then there’s the minimum two years full-time working at a software company requirement. That’s for entry-level.
Juniors can expect a min of four years. So the question now is, does one fiddle fart around with YouTube, FreeCodeCamp, etc., or do they got straight for the jugular, pay the price, and have people show them specifically and exactly what they need to know? Let’s be honest. A lot of time is wasted looking for quality free content. That’s the downside of self-taught.
Conversely, RunOS is skeptical of these coding bootcamps, and perhaps for good reason:
There are way to many vids and blogs out there with people saying how they [regret] going to a bootcamp and there is a good reason for it. I figure if you need to pay 15 grand and move to San Francisco, New York, Chigaco, or Topeka, Kansas to get your ass moving, you’re have a discipline problem, not a learning how to code or get a job problem. Yes, I bought a ticket on the judgment train today, but I think bootcamps are way over priced and over rated for what they offer.
I visited a bootcamp a few months ago and found out that one of the dudes that was going to be teaching my cohort was fresh out of the last cohort and I thought, are you f’ing kidding me? This isn’t worth 16 grand or a percentage of my salary.
I mean really, it’s coding, not R&D into how AI can help improve the vectors of starships in 0g.
KaNisa, A college-educated developer is facing a hard decision on what to pursue after graduation, but coding bootcamps are still in the running:
I’m getting ready to graduate college with a bachelor’s, but I was thinking do I continue my education by getting a masters degree in CS or do I go to a boot camp, or do I teach myself? I’m still debating because I feel like I can go ahead and learn the rest I need to know on my own. I’ll already have student loans so apart of me is saying just teach yourself. In the mean time I do courses on Udemy & CodingPhase until I can figure out what I want to do. To be honest I think I just like being in school to give me something to do lol.
Finally, Todd notes how cities with high costs-of-living erase the value of scholarships for students going to coding bootcamps:
Cost of living in places like San Fran has negated the value of many scholarships. I had to pass up a Wallace Stegner Fellowship because the substantial money offered still wouldn’t have paid for transportation (I didn’t drive), rent, and food.
The director and financial assistants suggested that I have independent income or wealth to supplement my stay at the program, or a spouse who would be willing to help.
Seven years later, and I’m still stunned. A friend from school was able to attend, because he had a husband who made money outside the arts. The odds of me being accepted again aren’t good.
Besides, that city is more expensive than ever, and I have yet to marry a rich woman. Coding bootcamps scared me into believing that web dev was becoming another example of gentrification.
Thank you everybody for sharing your thoughts and experiences on coding bootcamps. I seriously have the best comment section on YouTube!