Getting Into a Coding Bootcamp
| Liz Simmons Modified on June 23, 2022
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Completing a coding bootcamp can open the door to new, well-paying careers in computer science. How hard is it to get into a coding bootcamp? Applicants who demonstrate a passion for learning to code, a commitment to hard work, and a positive attitude usually receive admission offers.
This guide explains the process for getting into coding bootcamp. We discuss researching programs, planning a bootcamp schedule and finances, and fulfilling coding bootcamp requirements. We also cover how to apply to bootcamps and ace the coding bootcamp interview.
Steps To Get Into a Coding Bootcamp
- Research and Compare Programs
- Plan Your Schedule and Finances
- Fulfill Coding Bootcamp Requirements
- Apply to Your Preferred Bootcamps
- Ace the Bootcamp Interview
Research and Compare Programs
A 2017 study found more than 1,000 technology-related bootcamp-type programs in the U.S., Canada, and online. Coding bootcamps are not one-size-fits-all. To choose the right program, students need to think about their unique needs while researching their options.
Learners should consider their career goals, interests, schedule, and learning style when comparing bootcamps. Some schools offer part-time options, which students can complete while working. Intensive, full-time bootcamps require total focus. Other factors include cost, admission requirements, length, and program focus.
What Type of Bootcamp Are You Looking For?
Given how much coding bootcamps have expanded in recent years, prospective enrollees can choose from many types of programs to find the best fit for their needs.
Most coding bootcamps teach computer science and web development, while others offer instruction in data science or information technology and security. Other topics include software development and engineering, software design, and mobile app development. Students who want to learn specific coding languages should research course information to ensure their prospective bootcamp covers them.
Other important factors include full-time or part-time enrollment options and online, in-person, or hybrid delivery. Some individuals enroll in coding bootcamps to completely change careers. These learners may benefit from intensive, full-time programs, which truly immerse students in the experience. Some learners may prefer part-time online bootcamps, which allow them to keep working while developing their coding skills.
Should You Consider a Degree Instead?
Prospective students should weigh a degree in computer science against a coding bootcamp. Both options offer benefits.
Computer science degrees allow graduates to qualify for more and better-paying jobs than most coding bootcamp graduates. Many computer science careers, including computer programmer, computer systems analyst, and information security analyst, require a bachelor's degree at minimum.
College degrees qualify students for federal financial aid, which is typically not available for most bootcamp participants. However, coding bootcamp participants typically finish more quickly and pay less overall than degree program enrollees. Some students complete bootcamps as a first step to decide if they want to earn a computer science degree.
Find the Right Bootcamp
To find an experience that meets their needs and works with their lifestyle, learners should research different bootcamps before applying. Considerations for prospective bootcamp enrollees include:
- Program Format
- Coding bootcamps offer in-person, online, and hybrid opportunities.
- Enrollment Status
- Many bootcamps only accept full-time students, while others only take part-time learners.
- Specific coursework and the availability of classes vary by school. Some bootcamps focus on specific programming languages that others do not cover.
- Admission Requirements
- Getting into coding bootcamp varies by program, so make sure to research admission requirements before applying. Some bootcamps make prospective learners complete introductory modules before enrolling.
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Plan Your Schedule and Finances
How should I prepare for a coding bootcamp? Before you even start thinking about applying to bootcamps, study your finances and consider your schedule. How much can you afford to pay for this experience? Does your schedule allow for a full-time bootcamp? Below, we discuss coding bootcamp costs and options for paying.
Bootcamp Costs and Payment Options
While coding bootcamps often offer a more affordable path than traditional college degrees, they still make for a major investment. Prospective students should consider their financial status, especially since bootcamps do not typically qualify for federal financial aid.
- While this is not an option for many, bootcamp enrollees with the means can pay for the entire program at the outset. This is usually the least-expensive option overall, since it does not entail incurring interest on a loan.
- Deferred tuition allows bootcamp participants to hold off on paying tuition until they find coding jobs.
Income Share Agreements
- Income-share agreements do not require students to pay tuition until they land a coding job that makes above a certain salary. The average salary threshold is $42,476.
- Coding bootcamps do not qualify for federal loans. Instead, bootcamp participants can apply for private student loans. Companies that specialize in bootcamp loans include Skills Fund and Climb Credit.
Fellowships and Scholarships
- Fellowships and scholarships provide funding for tuition and other educational expenses without requiring repayment.
Scheduling Your Bootcamp Course
The length and format of coding bootcamps vary, but students can find full-time, in-person experiences more often than online or part-time opportunities. A 2017 study found that only 30% of bootcamps offered part-time options, with only 15% taking place online. However, distance education's rising popularity led to online bootcamps growing by 31% from 2018-2019.
The typical bootcamp lasts about 16.5 weeks. Full-time participants finish their programs more quickly than part-time learners. The average full-time bootcamp lasts 13 weeks, with part-time bootcamps taking 24 weeks to complete. Full-time schedules usually deliver courses Monday through Friday, while part-time programs typically meet on evenings and weekends. Distance education programs may provide synchronous or asynchronous instruction.
Most schools offer coding bootcamps several times a year, giving applicants multiple opportunities to enroll throughout the year.
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Fulfill Coding Bootcamp Requirements
Coding bootcamp requirements vary by school and course level. Common requirements include:
- Appropriate Technology
- Bootcamps typically do not provide learners with computers. Students must have access to a dependable, fairly modern personal computer with up-to-date software and hardware. For example, Fullstack Academy recommends that each participant uses a Mac laptop with a minimum of 8GB of RAM and a quad-core processor from the last few years. Students with different computers must install Linux.
- Prior Education
- Most coding bootcamps do not care much about an applicant's high school or college GPA. Typical coding bootcamps help those with little-to-no coding experience develop tech skills in a short period. Even though past academic performance does not make or break an application, bootcamps want to see evidence that you will work hard and stay committed to your goals.
- Technical Fundamentals
- Depending on which bootcamp you choose, you may need to demonstrate some familiarity with coding basics. Applicants, including those with no prior coding experience, can typically attain this requirement fairly easily. Many bootcamps that require fundamentals in the field offer low-cost or free introductory coding courses to bring students up to speed. Learners can find many other free short courses that cover coding fundamentals online, including a variety of massive open online courses (MOOCs).
- Coding Assessment
- Some coding bootcamps require a coding assessment, which asks students to complete coding exercises to test their programming skills. Many bootcamps, such as Fullstack Academy, offer prep courses for coding exams.
- Cultural Fit
- Coding bootcamps look for students who understand and can fit into the culture of the organization. Students can demonstrate their cultural fit by preparing for their interview and researching the program to get a feel for the school. Make sure to read the organization's mission statement and speak from a place of authenticity about how you see your values reflected in the program.
- Prospective bootcamp students should demonstrate an eagerness to excel at coding. If you do not have the technical skills yet, make sure to indicate your desire to succeed by completing introductory coding courses and demonstrating past instances of your strong work ethic.
Apply to Bootcamps
Though they are not typically not open access, most coding bootcamps include some admission requirements. The application process varies among programs, but individuals who show a strong interest in learning to code and the willingness to work hard typically earn admission. Getting into coding bootcamp often starts with applicants talking about their coding experience and career goals with admissions officers.
Some programs require each prospective student to complete a free introductory coding course before applying. Other coding bootcamp requirements may include passing a coding challenge and completing an interview. We describe the bootcamp interview process in detail below.
Prospective learners should thoroughly research bootcamps before choosing where to apply. Consider narrowing down your search to about five bootcamps. Part-time and online coding bootcamp requirements are typically less stringent than those for in-person, full-time programs.
The Bootcamp Interview Process
Some coding bootcamps require each applicant to complete an interview. Candidates may also need to pass technical interviews that involve coding. The interview often takes place with the program's instructors or director. For the interview, each applicant should:
- Research the bootcamp, including its mission, requirements, and structure.
- Expect to answer questions about why they want to learn to code, along with post-graduation plans.
- Discuss their previous experience with coding.
- Answer all of the questions to the best of their ability.
- Dress professionally and make eye contact.
- Get to the interview on time.
- Make sure that their camera and microphone are set up correctly before an online interview.
- Send a thank you note after the interview.
Frequently Asked Questions About Coding Bootcamps
Are there free coding bootcamps?Yes. Many organizations offer free coding bootcamps. Many no-cost bootcamps provide a beginner-level introduction to coding, while others offer a more in-depth approach. Students without any previous coding experience can take MOOCs and other free preparatory courses for some bootcamps.
Are coding bootcamps for beginners?Yes. Most coding bootcamps invite true beginners and do not require any previous experience using computer programming languages. However, students with basic coding knowledge typically find it easier to keep up with the curriculum.
Are coding bootcamps hard to get into?It depends on the program. Some top coding bootcamps receive many more applications than they can admit and may prefer students who already possess basic coding skills.
How should I prepare for a coding bootcamp?Prospective enrollees can take advantage of some of the free coding resources available online. Familiarizing yourself with coding basics before beginning a program helps enrich the experience.
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