Why I Chose to Go to a Coding Bootcamp

Why Bootcamp? Remember when I said that I didn’t even know that web development was a job that people got paid to do and that I sort of stumbled into it? Well this happened in 2018. Last year, by chance, I ran into someone like me who was attending a coding bootcamp! They told me that after the 17 week program they would receive job offers around 65K. I thought that was crazy! This was in Atlanta and that sort of salary for someone who didn’t have a degree sounded preposterous. But I also figured that if there was even a slight chance that doing anything for 17 weeks would put me in a job making that much money, it might be worth looking into. That’s when I began researching coding, bootcamps and online tutorials. I was pretty sure that financially I wouldn’t be able to afford a bootcamp anytime soon, and to be honest, one of the major reasons many people choose not to go into the industry is because of the investment required up front. I absolutely did not have 17K to invest in some bootcamp and hearing that was almost enough to make me walk away. Instead, I kept talking and learned that he was able to attend for free through a nonprofit organization. I immediately applied. I didn’t hear back from the organization, but I kept emailing and calling, determined to talk to someone in regard to my application status. Finally someone got back to me and I was in! When I arrived on orientation day, In order to qualify, I had to be on time, take a reading, writing, algebra basics test. I've never been much good at anything other than basic math, so I was concerned about that one. Fortunately, I barely made the cut. The next thing we had to do was play a game called Lightbot : coding hour by sprite box and make it past a certain level in a certain amount of time. I didn’t know that this game would be something I needed to pass to be accepted through this organization, I had already played it because the bootcamp student I met had recommended it. My guess is that they use this app to sort of help them to determine whether or not you have an aptitude for coding. It’s a free app you can download on your phone right now. I did really well on the game since I’d played it before. Unfortunately I did not make the cut to get funded for bootcamp. The reason having to do with the criteria set by the funders of the organization. It was disappointing but I didn’t let it deter me. I decided that if I couldn’t go to a bootcamp I’d teach myself how to code. I’d watched a ton of youtube videos of people who taught themselves and got jobs, I figured if they could do it I could as well. As I took advantage of the free tutorials online, learning HTML, CSS and JavaScript, I continued to search for bootcamps that might take the GI Bill, since I’m a veteran, this would allow me to attend for free. At the time there wasn’t a single bootcamp in the stat of Georgia that accepted the GI Bill. The majority of bootcamps are for profit and relatively new. Not all of them deliver on their promises of job placement once you graduate. I knew that I needed to be thorough in my research if I was going to invest the time required to attend one. I spent months looking at different bootcamps, talking to students who had attended them, and reading reviews. By the time I chose the bootcamp I went to I had narrowed my choices down to two. Either of the two would require that I relocate out of state to attend. This was not something that I was looking forward to, I knew it would add to the mounting financial hardship to have to maintain two living situations and not just one since my wife would need to stay and continue working in Georgia. But because of what I learned was taking place in the world of tech right now, I knew that it would be worth the risk. Bootcamps It hasn’t been very long that coding bootcamps are a thing. Meaning before recently having a Computer Science degree to get into the industry was standard. But a few years ago, someone did the math and realized that of the million jobs that would need to be filled by 2024, only an estimated 400K of those jobs would be filled by individuals with a CS degree. This meant that the industry needed a whole new approach to not only get people interested in tech but to get bodies in position for the huge wave of change approaching tech. That wave has a lot to do with companies worth gazillion dollars needed to have their technology stack, the platforms that these companies are built on, restructured and revamped. You’ve probably heard that everything is in the cloud (appleCloud, amazonCloud, etc), well it’s true, and for companies who have procrastinated getting onboard, they are scampering to make the obvious adjustments. That’s where bootcamps come in. The snail-pace of a 4-year degree coupled with the need of on the job training to actually learn the technologies not even being taught in schools because technology is constantly changing, unlike curriculums… has led to this radical approach that involves teaching students exactly what they need to know to do the job required right now. It works! It works so well, in fact, that many CS graduates attend bootcamps to get the experience needed to get a job in the industry. Companies are hiring student right out of bootcamp, sometimes before they even graduate! It happened to me, and everyone in my class of 22 students with the exception of 2.

Designed by Dorian Wallace