Coding Bootcamps and different educational programs specializing in design, sales, or career direction can be an intensive, fast way to break into a remarkable new career change. With coding Bootcamps, graduates see an average increase of 34% in salary in their first job after the Bootcamp.
However, to be successful at your Bootcamp and get the most out of your program, you need to find a program that fits your budget, works with your schedule, one that's in the right location, and teaches the skills you want to graduate with.
To help you out, we created a list of the top 5 tips in deciding what the best higher education program is for you.
1. Think About the Cost and How You're Going to Pay for it
Coding Boot camps and online courses are much less of a financial pressure than college, but pricing typically ranges somewhere between $8,000 to $20,000. So along with reading reviews and researching outcomes of the program, you'll want to compare tuition costs and payment plans to discover what works best for your budget.
Many programs offer scholarships that you should take advantage of if at all possible. Additionally, an increasing number of coding bootcamps are beginning to offer Income Share Agreements or deferred tuition options as part of their financing.
With an income share agreement, the student doesn't pay for the Bootcamp until they've landed a job earning an agreed income. Their payments are also linked to their income by a percentage to ensure payments are affordable. Check out this list of programs that offer Income Share Agreements if you're interested in learning more.
2. Find one that fits your schedule
Some programs, specifically coding Bootcamps, are not a get-rich-quick-scheme. They take dedication, perseverance, and time. That being said, many programs offer the option of full-time or part-time and some even online learning self-paced programs, but you need to find the one that will work best for you. Time can be a huge factor in choosing a Bootcamp, so here are the most common ways for bootcamps to be structured:
Full-time Bootcamps often require you to quit your job and put your life on hold for 3-6 months while you throw yourself into the program. The advantage of committing to a full-time program is you can devote all your focus fully to the program, meaning that you'll get the best education possible and receive the most information. A full-time program may be the best way to prepare yourself for your new career.
Part-time Bootcamps are for those with busy schedules. These normally range from 6 to 12 months and allow you to fit the curriculum around your other obligation. These usually work the best for those who need to continue to work full time to pay the bills.
Self-paced Bootcamps are for those who have a filled schedule already and need full flexibility. These programs take place entirely online and allow you to speed up or slow down your learning at your choice. More control of the timeline means you can give your program the attention it deserves when you have time to do so.
The best way to position yourself to get a great job after graduation is to devote as much time and energy as possible to your education - whatever that looks like for your schedule.
3. Know What You Want To Learn
It's important to know what type of skills you want to graduate with. This doesn't mean you have to know the exact job you want after graduating (some programs will help you figure out what job will be an excellent fit for you). If you're going to a program for a specific skill like coding, ask about the skills you'll learn outside of that skill. Software engineering is not just about writing code. It's about communicating about the code, figuring out user requirements, and empathizing with your teammates on the best way to solve a problem.
If you're more of the creative type, maybe a UX/UI program would be a good fit for you. If you like talking to people and building relationships, check out a sales program like PreHired! Are you interested in something that's more hands-on? Look into a mechanics or welding school.
4. Find the Right Location
Ask yourself: where are you currently and where would you like to end up? You may want to move to the opposite coast, end up in Silicon Valley, or attend a program close to your home. There are also many programs that you can complete remotely from the comfort of your home. Again, this choice is up to you and your schedule.
If you would like the full experience of being near a campus and in-person teachers where you can have conversations and ask questions face to face or would like to work around your current situation through taking online courses and knowing your teachers are only a zoom call away is all up to you.
5. Talk with Alumni or Staff and Research Job Outcomes
When joining an intensive program or online coding Bootcamp, not only will you learn new technical skills, but you'll also meet a community of students, alumni, and teachers who all share similar values and perspectives. It's important that you feel welcome in the space and community. Reaching out to the program advisors to connect you with a graduate or current student of the program can be an excellent way to learn more about the program and if it's a good fit for you.
If you want to take your research, one step further look at the backgrounds of the founders of the programs on Linkedin. Discover why they started the schools to ensure you're being taught by legitimate industry experts.
Many programs also provide career coaching and some even provide job placement services as well. However, it's important to take a look at concrete statistics to discover how many graduates have actually landed jobs, how long it took them, and what kinds of salaries they're earning. One place to find these statistics is through the Council on Integrity in Results. Some programs guarantee a job at the end of the program, and if the program you choose to go to offers an Income Share Agreement, you can be certain that the program is invested in making sure you succeed after graduation.
In the end, only you will know what Bootcamp is the right fit for you. Programs and coding bootcamps are a serious investment of time and money, but once you find the school that ticks all the boxes for your situation, you're on the path to a great new career! Want to find the perfect online program or online Bootcamp for you? Check out the Meratas student page for information on great educational programs!