by Sheri Dover - Oct. 5, 2018
The HONEST Truth About Bootcamps

Free Intro to Programming Course

Heard mixed reviews? Deciding if this path is for you? This will clear it right up.

What is a Coding Bootcamp?

A coding bootcamp is an intensive, technical program designed to teach programming skills that employers are looking for in a short amount of time. Coding boot camps are often attended by those with very little coding background who are interested in a career in tech. Tech jobs are in high demand, and extremely well paid, ranking in 8 of the top 15 jobs according to Glassdoor. After attending a good boot camp, students are equipped to apply for junior developer positions with a U.S. average salary of around $67,000 per year.


Are All Bootcamps Created Equal?

What difference does it make how I learn to code?


The three biggest differences between a programmer bootcamp and any other mode of learning to code are these…

1. Quality of programming skills gained

2. The amount of earning potential over the next few years

3. Your chances of finishing Bootcamps specialize in getting students skills fast so they can start high-paying careers in as little as 12 weeks. Learning by other routes has an opportunity cost of missed wages and lost job experience while you are taking a longer, and often lest complete route to learn. Many students overestimate their self-discipline in self-paced programs and there’s a much higher drop out rate.


Online bootcamps 

There are two times online learning is most useful. It’s great when someone is dabbling or learning what they can in preparation for a more robust course of learning, and when a programmer needs to brush up on some new syntax. Online courses will teach you mostly Syntax (the small differences in how each programming language is written) and you’re going to learn how the code is written, but you’re also going to have major gaps in important foundations. Working in teams simulates real work experience, problem solving under intense deadlines will also prepare you to manage the pressure that comes in this industry. We see so many students from online programs who take their time in self-paced programs, redoing the same problems over and over rather than adding to their stack. Many online bootcamps also make big promises, but be weary of ones that have “guaranteed job placement” or a “money back guarantee.” If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. While these are enticing offers, many of these guaranteed jobs are low paying and not expanding your skill set the way you’re capable of. This will give you a platform to lead into tech, but for how much money you will spend and the amount of time it takes to get where you want to be may not be what you were expecting.

Physical bootcamps 

In the location you will be working from are often most recommended as there are many networking benefits by taking this route. A good programmer bootcamp like PDX Code Guild will have a strong, up-to-date curriculum taught in small groups by instructors with recent industry experience.

The curriculum will focus on the individual student solving coding labs mixed with team and pair projects. Knowledgeable instructors should be able to keep each student challenged so that each student gets as much out of the bootcamp as possible and never has to wait for the rest of the class to catch up to them. It should stay at an intense learning curve most of the time.


What Happens After the Camp Is Over?

How much can I make and what kinds of jobs can I get?

If you take a programmer bootcamp, you can have skills for a high-paying job in 12-24 months. In Portland, PDX Code Guild graduates make between $45,000 and $95,000 in their first year on the job. Each year they work as a programmer, their earning power goes up. After two or three years in the field, a backend developer can make between $90,000 and $120,000 per year in Portland. With such a high demand for quality programmers, almost every graduate who wants a job will find one. Your interviewing skills and ability to articulate your knowledge can greatly affect the range in offers you receive, and many times it takes 3-4 months to find the right job. The jobs are really a mixed bag. You will be well situated for a job in web development. Lots of people end up in engineer positions where they help clients install integrate software into their products. Lots go into dev ops, deployment, taking care of servers, software testing, Q&A positions, and IOT.


Computer Science Degree vs Programmer Bootcamp

What’s the difference?

If you were to go to university instead of a bootcamp, you may lose out on a significant amount of money. For the four – five years you would be in college, you may miss out on between $245,000 and $435,000 plus what you pay for tuition and student loan interest. University CS degree programs were designed to train researchers and not programmers. They tend to focus on theory and most CS degree graduates only take one semester of actual programming.

At PDX Code Guild, we commonly hear from graduates of CS programs complain that they know a little bit of code, but don’t know how to start a project, and don’t know how to do all the bits and pieces you need to work as a programmer. Most bootcamp students already have a college degree, but if you don’t, and you want to get one, you may consider going to a bootcamp, working as a programmer, save your money for school and go later without having to take out huge loans. You’ll save a significant amount of interest and you may even be able to get your employer to pay for some of it.


Community College 

Community college classes move slowly. You can learn in one week at bootcamp what will take you a whole term in college (community or university). At a community college you learn job skills piece by little piece and it can take a couple years to gain entry-level job skills. It’s unlikely that you will get as strong as programming skills at a community college as you would in a good 12-week programmer bootcamp. Most technical classes at community colleges are designed to be transferred to a 4-year CS degree program or are for web development. In general you wont build the skills or portfolio you need for the higher-paying jobs at a community college, but if you find a good one, you will still lose approximately $100,000 - $165,000 in lost wages in the year and a half that you were studying longer than you would have been in a bootcamp.


Who Is It NOT Right For?

If you don’t like to program, this would be a bad career choice. If you are easily frustrated by puzzles, if you don’t like to constantly learn new things, again not the best fit. Succeeding at a good bootcamp takes grit, determination and intrinsic motivation. Bootcamp is a very active learning environment and is best suited to hard-working, highly motivated students who can manage frustration, give themselves permission to make mistakes, and keep going. Bootcamp students who posses these qualities are rewarded with high-paying jobs in a field with excellent work conditions and often phenomenal benefits.


Choosing a bootcamp Bootcamps vary in quality.

Look for bootcamps that are licensed. Avoid bootcamps with too much pair programming, classes led by teaching assistants or graduates of their own program with no experience working as a programmer, lectures given by video or have large class sizes. These programs tend to be more focused on making a buck than quality bootcamp education.


What is PDX Code Guild Like?

We like to compare it to drinking from a fire hose! It can be intense trying to fit everything you need to learn into a 12-week course, but it’s a great community. We have a very caring, comfortable and welcoming environment with a small staff that gets to know all the students by name. It’s a really encouraging place and conducive to working harder than you ever have in your life in order to start your career. Besides the quality of content, it’s really the community that everyone talks about. The fact that you can walk in here anytime of day from 9am-9pm, 7 days a week and there is someone here that you can ask for help, hang out, or use the free WIFI to work. You can’t get that from an online course. If you’re considering a career in tech, it’s time to take the next step! No better time then the present. PDX Code Guild has new courses starting regularly, as well as a FREE Intro to Programming 2-week course to get you started. Why wait any longer? Your new and improved career is waiting!