How to Get Into Tech Through a Coding Bootcamp
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- Coding bootcamps are intensive courses that help students pursue jobs in tech.
- Before applying, do your research and assess your interest and skills.
- Set realistic career goals to help determine if a bootcamp can get you there.
The tech talent crisis in the U.S. has been in the news for at least a decade. Politicians and CEOs talk about it regularly. And with an increased demand for remote work and telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for qualified tech employees has only increased. The U.S. is still facing a shortage of employees with the necessary skills to meet our increasing technological demands.
If the pandemic (or life in general) has you thinking about a career change, you might have considered finding a job in the tech industry. But what does it really take to break into tech?
What Is a Bootcamp?
Attending a bootcamp is an increasingly popular way to break into tech. A coding bootcamp is an intensive educational program designed to teach key tech skills.
Coding bootcamps can vary in length, intensity, topics covered, and student support. You can find online coding bootcamps, and self-paced bootcamps. Most bootcamps do not offer any type of degree or certification.
Students can pursue programs in a variety of disciplines, including data science, web development, software engineering, and cybersecurity.
Completion times vary depending on the bootcamp. At Flatiron School, the data science program runs full time for fifteen weeks. Thinkful's data science program runs 24 weeks part time. Coding Dojo offers a 12-week full-time data science program.
If you're thinking about transitioning into tech and are unsure how to pick a coding bootcamp, start by shopping around. Read up on different bootcamps and look over their websites.
Tech Bootcamps for You
Assess Your Existing Skills
Once you establish some preliminary research on coding bootcamps, you need to decide what you want to get out of it. Coding bootcamps are intense. That's why they're called bootcamps.
First, assess what interests you. Web development? Data science? Cybersecurity? UX design? There are a lot of options. If you commit to a bootcamp, you must be interested in the subject matter and interested in the jobs for bootcamp graduates.
Liking what you choose to study is good advice in general, but it's particularly true for bootcamp students. Bootcamps pack a lot of information into a short time, and the days are long.
Second, look at prerequisites for a variety of bootcamps. Some bootcamps require a college degree. Many bootcamps offer free prep programs for potential students.
Prep programs are a great opportunity to try out the bootcamp experience and see if it's what you really want. It will also help prepare you for your bootcamp application process. If you haven't coded before, you should probably complete some free online coding classes.
Set Realistic Expectations
Before you enroll in a bootcamp, analyze your goals and set realistic expectations. Are you most interested in financial stability? Do you love problem-solving? Are you looking to innovate?
First, decide if you want to leave your current company. If you like where you work but feel you've plateaued or need a new challenge, perhaps you could enroll in bootcamp part time or take a sabbatical. It's possible your current employer will finance your bootcamp enrollment.
If you're considering this option, review your benefits and see if they have any professional development programs that you can take advantage of. Then, collaborate with your supervisor about the proposition. Make sure you've done your research and know how this bootcamp will benefit your company.
Second, review your current time commitments. Bootcamps can be time-consuming and exhausting. Full-time programs can require around 60 hours per week. It may be impossible to work full time and do a full-time bootcamp. It's also important to consider your family commitments before enrolling in a bootcamp full time.
Finally, be realistic about what your bootcamp experience will get you. Your first job after graduation will probably be entry-level. You might not walk straight from your bootcamp into a new tech job.
Some bootcamps guarantee job placement or your tuition will be refunded. However, you will often need to be actively looking for a job for at least a year and fulfill other specific job search requirements before you can get that refund.
Because there isn't an official oversight committee for coding bootcamps, it's hard to find impartial data on student job placement. Finding a job quickly isn't guaranteed, even with the tech talent crisis.
Maximize Coding Bootcamp Resources
If you attend a bootcamp, your peers and instructors will be big assets to your job search. You will spend a lot of time with them. And if all goes well, they will become your colleagues and begin to form your professional network.
Your network could be your strongest asset in breaking into tech. In addition to your classmates and instructors, you might meet a mentor through bootcamp events or work for a tech company as a capstone project. These opportunities widen your network in a way self-instruction could not.
Different coding bootcamps offer different support systems for their students. Many bootcamps offer career counselors who can help guide you as you begin your job search. Some also offer tutoring or academic support to help get you through the tough coding curriculum.
Ultimately, getting into tech is a unique journey for each person. There isn't one right way. If you are considering a bootcamp as part of a career change, make sure you have the grit and determination to follow through. After that, it's what you make of it!
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Get Into Tech
How do I get a tech job?
There are many different ways to get into tech. Some professionals teach themselves coding with free classes. Others major in computer engineering or computer science in college and then move into the tech industry. Still others attend coding bootcamps to get the training they need to enter tech.
What is the easiest tech job?
If you're looking for a job in tech that doesn't require coding experience, you might want to look into social media manager jobs. These professionals manage social media presence for tech companies.
How do I get into tech without a degree?
A coding bootcamp is a great way to get into tech without a degree. Some coding bootcamps are affiliated with a college or university and offer a certificate.