Over the past few years, coding boot camps have proliferated across the country. For those interested in a career in software, boot camps can prove an effective way of gaining the skills and knowledge necessary for landing a job; the pipeline of boot-camp graduates provides startups and established companies alike with fresh talent.
At least, that’s the theory. But how effective are boot camps at actually placing people in real jobs?
There are many different kinds of boot camps; some focus strictly on coding, while others take a more holistic approach to the technology industry, exploring methodologies and business concepts. Take the Wyncode Academy in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, for instance, which offers a nine-week program for people with no previous background in tech, and who want a “well rounded” experience.
Boot camps generally claim a high placement rate for jobs. Hack Reactor in San Francisco, for example, insists its placement rate is roughly 98-99 percent. Dev Bootcamp, Launch Academy, MakerSquare, and Hackbright likewise claim rates somewhere between 85 percent and 100 percent, depending on the school and program. (The tech industry’s historically low unemployment, and the desperate need for developers and other tech pros in cities such as San Francisco, doubtlessly helps with placement.)
But for best results, boot camps also demand commitment from those who participate in them; wanting to change careers and become a full-time developer is what will get you through the boot camp’s intense environment. Being able to afford the tuition and opportunity cost (i.e., you can spend weeks at a boot camp, or even move across the country to participate in one) is also essential. (If you’re interested in pursuing courses at a boot camp, Jeff Lee provides a comprehensive checklist for prospective students.)
Many boot-camp students are either starting out in their careers, or have decided to switch to a new career. Unlike universities or colleges, however, there’s no accreditation body that oversees boot camps; the next best thing is the New Economy Skills Training Association (NESTA), founded by a number of boot camps and coding schools around the country. NESTA has attempted to establish standards for the industry.
Although coding boot camps are still a relatively new phenomenon, students have plenty of choices. But the programs are not for everyone. In order for students to succeed, they must have the tenacity and personality to thrive in fast-paced environments.