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Actualize Blog

April 8, 2018

What Are Coding Bootcamps?

By Jay Wengrow, CEO of Actualize

Coding bootcamps, coding schools, dev bootcamps, code academies - they may go by different names, but they are all phrases that describe the same phenomenon.

What is a coding bootcamp?

A coding bootcamp is a vocational program that teaches its students the skills necessary to become a software developer. A software developer - sometimes called a computer programmer or software engineer - is someone who creates software by writing computer code. Software developers consistently rank in the top 10 careers in various lists by Glassdoor, U.S. News, and similar organizations.

Traditionally, people would learn software development skills by attending university and majoring or getting a Master's degree in computer science. However, since 2011, many vocational schools called coding bootcamps emerged with the promise of teaching the same skills for a fraction of the cost and time. The average coding bootcamp costs approximately $11,000, and lasts 3 to 4 months. When comparing this to college tuition, and the multiple years spent earning a degree, it’s easy to see why coding bootcamps have surged in popularity.

But do coding bootcamps truly prepare their students as well as universities?

A recent study by Course Report shows that 80% of code bootcamp graduates have been employed in a job requiring the technical skills they learned, with an average salary increase of about 50%.

Now, this sounds a little too good to be true. Is there a catch?

I’d say that there are two important caveats that someone considering a coding bootcamp needs to be aware of. Firstly, there are some companies who only hire individuals who have actual computer science degrees. While the 80% of successful coding bootcamp grads prove that there are plenty of companies that do not have such a requirement, it’s important to note that some companies have strict hiring policies in this regard.

The other important point to make is that simply having the requisite technical skills is not the only factor in landing a job. Just as a recent university grad has to go through the application and interview process to land a job, the same applies to coding bootcamp graduates. At Actualize, we place heavy emphasis on teaching and guiding our students on what we call the “Job Hacking” skills - that is, the skills of personal branding and networking that one needs to engage in to actually land their first job.

In short, one shouldn’t see a statistic of 80% and assume that if they join a coding bootcamp, they have a 4 out of 5 chance of landing a job. Instead, one must realize that they must engage in the hustle of getting out there and job-hunting through networking and personal branding. The 80% of successful graduates are those that engaged in that hustle.

At Actualize, we provide one-on-one guidance both during the bootcamp and afterwards to help each grad stay on top of their job-hunting game. That is the true key to landing one’s first software engineering job!

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