10 Myths About Online Code Bootcamps

With in-person code bootcamps costing $10,000 to $25,000 (and oftentimes more!), you owe it to yourself to check out the online code bootcamps route.

Aside from delivering virtually the same course curriculum, online code bootcamps are flexible. And if you take the Udemy route, they are dirt cheap.

It’s important to note the two main flavors of online code bootcamps.

The first flavor is where you show up at a particular time every day online with your fellow classmates and instructor, and meet via video conferencing to go through the course material. One popular camp of this type is Lambda but there are many others too.

The second flavor of online code bootcamps are pre-recorded and video-based. These are the type you would find at places like Treehouse, CodecademyfreeCodeCamp, and Udemy.

Either way, you probably have heard rumors about online code bootcamps or at least have your perceptions about them. Just how accurate are they? Today we’re going through 10 myths that may surprise you about these courses.

Myth #10: This particular course is 45.5 hours, so that’s how long it takes to finish.

You may see the run times on pre-recorded online code bootcamps and start feeling motivated: learning web development only takes 32.7 hours? Sign me UP! If only it were that awesome. Expect to double, triple, or even quadruple the time it takes to get through your first online code bootcamp course.

Additionally, you may be finding yourself rewinding and rewatching portions videos dozens of times. That’s OK! And if you’re going the live route, you’ll usually meet online between 20 or 40 hours a week…But expect to do much more homework and other tasks outside of class to ensure the concepts are sticking.

Myth #9: Watching other people code is not learning.

It’s true, many times you’ll be watching the instructor fearlessly typing away on his code editor of choice. And you’re there trying to decipher what the heck he’s trying to do.

It’s easy to get sucked into Netflix mode and turn into a passive viewers, but the key is to absorb what’s happeningParticipate even during the boring parts.Each statement, line, and character of code has a purpose, and is an opportunity to learn something about how that specific language or tech tool works. You are also encouraged to code along with the instructor to build up some muscle memory, whether it’s a JavaScript function or a simple line of HTML.

Myth #8: Online code bootcamps are all-inclusive; the only thing you’ll need to be job-ready.

Marketing gets in the way of every good idea: no doubt you’ve seen advertisements for courses proclaiming it’s the only one you’ll need to get a foot in the door of web development.

But these camps get you about halfway there, covering the basics and some intermediate topics.

To be job ready, you’ll need a great-looking portfolio and the ability to explain the reasoning behind your decisions you made with your projects. Looking for real-world advice that shows you how to get a job as a junior developer once you’ve graduated? Check out my book How to Get a Job in Web Development, a #1 Amazon new release. It’s also on Udemy and has helped hundreds of people get the dev job of their dreams.

Myth #7: They’re just videos, so they can’t get me connected with employers.

Udemy, TreehouseUdacity and all the others can look pretty one-dimensional. After all, they’re just videos right? Wrong. Aside from the technical stuff, many courses now offer tips and strategies on using LinkedIn, job search advice, and follow-up resources where you can connect with employers looking for freshly-minted devs. In fact, Andrei Neagoie’s best-selling online code bootcamp includes access to a special Discord server and other resources where employers can (and do!) reach out to students.

Myth #6: There’s no community.

Whether you’re doing a live online coding bootcamp or pursuing the video route, you may think that you’re going to school in a bubble. And you do, if you don’t reach out. However, there are robust communities waiting for you all throughout the web.

Whether it’s Andrei Neagoie’s above-mentioned Discord sever or even in-person Meetups dedicated to junior web developers, there are groups out there dedicated to your course of study. Reach out and supercharge your learning! These are great places to bring follow-up questions from the course, too.

Myth #5: Dynamic learning like paired programming isn’t going to happen.

Again, it probably seems like all this online learning is done in a vacuum. And it can happen if you let it. But when you reach out, things start to change. Join a Discord, join a Meetup, even Tweet it out that you’d like to be part of a study group, pair programming team, or whatever you need to take your skills to the next level. Guaranteed, somebody out there is also interested in skilling up with you. You just have to ask.

Myth #4: The projects are worthless because 50,000 other people have done them.

True, no employer wants to see a calculator or TODO app. But what if you took those skills you used to build that calculator and built something cool? It takes creativity and thought, but at the end of the day problem solvers get paid. What can you build that would make an employer nod their head in approval? Take the ideas you got from those course projects and catapult them into a unique creation.

Myth #3: Web technology changes too quickly for these courses to be practical.

It’s true, web development tools have the shelf life of a gallon of milk. Even a course or curriculum that’s six months old can quickly become out of date. The key is to be on the lookout for course publication dates, and ask questions when you’re speaking with the school rep in the case of a live online code bootcamp. If a course hasn’t been updated for a year or two, be wary! As far as pre-recorded videos go, the following camps are usually pretty good with their updates:

The Complete Web Developer Bootcamp by Colt Steele
The Complete Web Developer in 2019: Zero to Mastery by Andrei Neagoie
The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0 by Rob Percival

(these are affiliate links and I may get a small commission if you buy something using them)

Myth #2: There’s no notable difference in the curriculum.

It’s true that all web development fundamentals are going to be nearly identical: to become either a full-stack or frontend a web developer you need to know HTML, CSS, JavaScript and usually a front-end framework like ReactAngular, or Vue.

But from there, it’s up to the instructor what types of add-ons they want to include. That includes everything from backend tech to advanced JavaScript concepts. For example, The Complete Web Development Bootcamp by Angela Yu covers the basics plus Node, APIs, SQL, design fundamentals, Authentication and Security, and much more.

Myth #1: I can just read the documentation.

Sure, you can rip open the Mozilla docs and start reading up on JavaScript. It may go well for the first two or three pages, but things get really technical after the introduction. These docs are geared towards practitioners rather than code newbies. Odds are, you’ll quickly find yourself in the weeds wondering where it all went wrong.

An online coding bootcamp is a kinder, gentler introduction to the world of web development. Here you’ll learn skills that will help you browse documentation like a pro once you get on the job.

There’s a lot of noise when it comes to these online code bootcamps, but hopefully these 10 myths have shed some light on what they are actually like.

Definitely consider exploring a cheaper option before taking the plunge of an in-person or “live” online bootcamp. You may find a site like Udemy can provide much of what you need (and cost significantly less).

Thanks for reading and if you have any other myths about online coding bootcamps, let me know in the comments below!