4 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Coding Bootcamp

November 23, 2016

12:45 pm

High school students have plenty of resources when choosing a college. Applicants can easily find information on everything from dorm room descriptions to campus cafeteria ratings. Evaluating a coding bootcamp however, is a different story.

Sure, there's lots of information available, but how much is of it is just a sales pitch? When you're evaluating programs, make sure to ask the following questions and don't get distracted by shiny stats with no substance behind them.

Who else is the program admitting?

A well-designed program will require an application, skill evaluation, and interviews, to ensure that every student is set up to succeed in the program. If a bootcamp is ready to take your credit card number without any questions upfront, they’re more interested in their bottom line than in your education.

How do they calculate their placement numbers?

Sure, a 99% placement rate sounds good, but what’s really behind that number? Sky-high placement percentages can be meaningless, depending on how they’re calculated. Because there’s no standard industry definition of “employed,” you need to ask if the placement includes graduates who got a job unrelated to their new field or is it a less-than-ideal freelance and part-time gigs?

Often, placement rates don’t reflect the full student sample size: students who dropped out, got an unrelated/non-technical job, or who started their own company aren’t counted when calculating success rates. Do your research here, and don’t get distracted by the razzle dazzle.

How long does the program last?

“Start a new career in tech in six weeks! “Sounds too good to be true, and it is. Coding, web development, and data science aren’t skill sets you can learn overnight. If you want to ensure you’re valuable in your new field, you need an expansive breadth of knowledge and experience in solving real-world problems.

High-quality programs are longer because you learn more, practice more, and come away with more. Make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck and not signing on for a “shortcut” that doesn’t take you anywhere.

Outside of class, what does this program offer?

Will your coding bootcamp send you off with nothing more than a certificate and a pat on the back? The right program doesn’t just offer training, it provides the connections you need to break into your new field. Whether it’s hiring events, access to a network of industry heavy-hitters, or ongoing assistance with your résumé, applications, and interviews, the best bootcamps offer a range of resources to get you hired.

Beyond career services, what does your campus offer? Will you be stuck in a windowless cube all day, or surrounded by people eager to innovate and collaborate? While some bootcamps cultivate a community of like-minded learners, other leave you adrift on your own. Try to get a sense of the day-to-day before you commit to spending six months on campus –– it’s worth the research.

The post 4 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Coding Bootcamp appeared first on Galvanize.

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