With the increased demand for coding lessons, it’s not just the coding classes, but coding bootcamps, too have witnessed a surge in demand. The question then is: are these coding bootcamps – with their intense, rigorous training formats – actually useful?
The Covid19 pandemic may have taken away millions of jobs across sectors but it has also placed the spotlight on an increased digital presence like never before. And this has in turn translated into greater demand for coding, a skill that continues to be in demand even today. As a result, we see many people – kids and grownups alike – turn to not just online coding classes but also to coding bootcamps.
But how effective are these coding bootcamps? To begin with, let us look at what exactly a coding bootcamp entails. Essentially, they are intensive programs of software development and they are characterised by a condensed, rigorous format. And while they emerged a decade ago at a time when college graduates with four-year degrees were not enough to meet the industry’s growing needs, they continue to do well even now.
So how helpful are these coding bootcamps? What are the advantages of joining such a coding bootcamp? Going by their format, several benefits are rather clear.
a) Greater accessibility: Bootcamps typically do not have strict admission requirements. Moreover, they often turn out to be more cost effective than a regular class and / or a multiple-year college course. Take for example, YoungWonks (https://www.youngwonks.com/coding-summer-camp) which is providing bootcamp-style coding summer classes for kids and teens (ages 10 and above). For just $650, students here shall get to learn Python fundamentals (think Data Types and Operators, Variables, Input and Print Functions, If Condition, For Loop, While Loop, Lists, Dictionaries, Errors and Debugging and so on), making it the perfect primer to get started with coding.
b) Quick start: The quick but immersive nature of these programs allows participants to get acquainted with the main subject matter right away as opposed to traditional courses where one often has to jump through hoops just to get started.
c) Flexibility: A coding bootcamp is likely to have fewer opportunity costs than a traditional degree. The former will not need commitment beyond a few weeks whereas the latter typically takes years. At the YoungWonks coding bootcamp, students even get to pick between a two-week and a four-week period.
d) High relevance: Bootcamps make sure the learning experience stays relevant to the subject. So if you wish to learn Python fundamentals, you can solely focus on it, because that’s what the entire bootcamp is about. So there are no general education requirements that will stand in your way, no extraneous courses to tear you away from your main pursuit. In coding bootcamps, it’s all about the core subject, all the time.
e) Individual attention: Bootcamps are generally small classes where the instructor offers specialized, direct attention and instruction and helps students get over their hurdles. The intensity and rigor in such a setting is way more than in a typical course where hundreds are crammed into a class.
f) Practical Skills: Coding bootcamps put emphasis on practical skills over theory; there is a lot of focus on homework and projects. And with more companies focusing on skills than degrees (for instance, Elon Musk’s companies Tesla and Space X are known to prefer people with skill sets over just degrees), bootcamps are a great way of acquiring(or honing) a particular skill set and testing it out by actually putting it to use.
g) Eye-openers: Bootcamps are not only a great way to acquire the skill set of coding, but also to see what a career in coding can look like depending on the student’s specific areas of interest.
h) Network building: Bootcamps are often group activities where one gets to meet other like-minded students and connect with them over projects and lessons.
It is important to keep in mind that the above points notwithstanding, coding bootcamps cannot really substitute the depth and scope of computer science degrees. The latter involves hundreds of hours of lab work, several side projects and group projects, and sister courses that do supplement one’s core skill set making it a holistic learning experience.
That said, coding bootcamps still remain good options if one wishes to do a career pivot by exploring the world of coding and upskilling (for established professionals looking for a change) or one wishes to get a head start in the field before going on to pursue it for one’s graduate studies (for school students).
Here are a few tips that can help one gain the most from a coding bootcamp:
1. It is extremely important to make sure one’s interests are aligned with what the bootcamp is offering, especially in terms of the subject material.
2. Be clear about your goals, what you seek from the bootcamp and have an open mind about what you will learn and how you can benefit from it.
3. Be prepared to put in the hours. The intensity of a bootcamp is what in fact distinguishes it from other courses and hence one must be prepared to immerse oneself into it so as to benefit the most from it.