Video: Choosing the Right Coding Bootcamp

Tech bootcamps have become more popular over the past few years. According to the review site Course Report, the number of bootcamp students has grown from 2,178 in 2013 to 17,966 last year. Those students attended 91 full-time bootcamps in the U.S. and Canada, paying out an average of $11,451 per course.

As anyone who’s ever participated in one of these programs knows, there’s a high degree of challenge to go along with the expense—the term “bootcamp” is very much used for a reason. It takes a lot of work and concentration to learn something like full-stack JavaScript or Python in three months, and not everybody makes it through.

According to Course Report, an increasing number of bootcamps offer “deferred tuition” options; rather than pay a lot of money up-front for instruction, these institutions ask that students pay a percentage of the first year’s salary from their initial post-bootcamp job.

While that’s a nice option to have, it doesn’t change the fact that bootcamps require a very steep investment in time and money. We asked Liz Eggleston, one of Course Report’s co-founders, how to choose the one that’s right for you. Her advice, which is also encapsulated in the video above:

  • Attend a bootcamp in the city where you plan to work.
  • Choose a school that teaches technology that’s both current and relevant to the region you work in. Visit it beforehand to see its facilities and talk with instructors.
  • Before joining a bootcamp, evaluate financial options such as scholarships, lenders or deferred payment programs.
  • Research the school: Read reviews and attend meetups (which are hosted by many programs). Connect with alumni on social media, and get their thoughts on whether the bootcamp will meet your needs.
  • Look at the school’s job-placement rate and alumni salaries. As Eggleston suggests, many programs publish that data. Make sure to ask about drop-out rates, instructor styles and career support.

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