Coding bootcamps have been growing in popularity as a way to quickly launch a tech career. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most bootcamp providers now offer their programs online. But not all online classes are the same. This guide discusses the different formats online bootcamps may follow, helping you decide which type is best for you.
What's the Difference Between Online and Live Online Bootcamps?
Online classes and live online classes share some commonalities. Both deliver lessons and homework assignments to the student, and both allow students and teachers to interact with one another. But live online bootcamps follow a synchronous format. That means they meet on a regular schedule, and students must attend their classes at the scheduled time.
Asynchronous classes do not have a regular schedule. Although students must meet deadlines for homework assignments, they can watch their lectures and read the course materials at their own pace as long as they meet their deadlines.
- Online Bootcamps (Asynchronous)
Asynchronous online bootcamps allow flexibility for students with busy schedules, especially those who work full or part time. Students can log in at their convenience, listen to recorded lectures, read instructional materials, and complete their assignments. However, unless it is a self-paced program, students still have deadlines for turning in their assignments and completing tests and quizzes.
Most online programs, whether synchronous or asynchronous, use online platforms to deliver homework assignments. Students can log in to their bootcamp account to complete their assignments, including tests and quizzes. Sometimes, the learning management system automatically grades an assignment and provides feedback right away.
- Live Online Bootcamp (Synchronous)
Synchronous bootcamps require students and teachers to meet at regular times for classes. Teachers may hold lectures through Zoom or other platforms that allow live interaction. Teachers give students assignments that must be completed before each lecture in order to facilitate discussion of the subject matter.
How Does a Live Online Bootcamp Work?
Live online bootcamps can be delivered on a part-time or full-time basis, and students can typically attend regardless of where they live. Full-time bootcamps generally meet all day Monday through Friday, and learners often have assignments to complete in the evenings as well. Part-time bootcamps usually hold their sessions in the evenings and on weekends.
During bootcamp sessions, students may listen to lectures or work through coding exercises. The instructor may divide the class into pairs or groups to work on coding problems or projects. Most live online bootcamps provide a way for students to interact with one another and collaborate on team projects; this could be via Zoom chat and breakout rooms, online text chat, or online forums.
What You Need for a Live Online Bootcamp
Each bootcamp provider has its own requirements when it comes to equipment. Students must have a computer or laptop, and some bootcamp providers include a laptop in the price of tuition.
Bootcamp providers typically use an online platform to deliver course materials and assignments. Students may need to use platforms such as Zoom to attend class sessions. Usually, any programs that must be downloaded are either free or included in the cost of tuition.
Since live online bootcamps require you to attend at a specific time, it is important to have a reliable internet connection. If your internet connection goes down and you miss class, you will not only be marked absent, but you will likely fall behind on your coursework. Some bootcamps force students who have a certain number of absences to withdraw from the program.
What to Expect From a Live Online Bootcamp
Bootcamp providers often require students to complete pre-work prior to starting their bootcamp. You may also have to pass a coding test to get into the program. The average bootcamp takes about four months to complete.
As an example of a synchronous live online coding bootcamp, a typical day at Fullstack Academy's full-time online coding bootcamp starts with a programming challenge at 9 a.m., followed by a 10 a.m. live lecture and coding session. At 11:30 a.m., students team up in pairs to work on assignments.
Students take a break from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., then resume working in pairs on the workshop assignment. During this time, students can ask their instructors questions as needed. At 4:30 p.m., the instructor goes over the solution to the workshop problem. In the evenings, students complete reading assignments to prepare for the next day's classes.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Live Online Bootcamps?
So which is better: a live online bootcamp or an asynchronous bootcamp? Live online bootcamps have both pros and cons, some of which we've listed below.
Pros of a Live Online Bootcamp
- Increased Student-Teacher Interaction: Since the teacher and students join the online classroom at the same time, it is easier for them to interact with one another. Students can ask their instructors questions in real time if they don't understand the material.
- Peer Interaction: Live online bootcamps allow for easier collaboration between students, enabling learners to work together at the same time on coding challenges and projects.
- Quicker Graduation: Since students must stick to a schedule, they move through the course at the same pace as their cohort. Asynchronous courses allow more flexibility, which can lead to students taking more time to finish the course.
Cons of a Live Online Bootcamp
- Lack of Flexibility: Live online bootcamps don't provide as much flexibility as asynchronous bootcamps. With asynchronous bootcamps, students can more easily fit their course around work or other commitmentslip>
- Technical Difficulties: If a student encounters internet connectivity issues, they will likely miss class until the problem resolves. With asynchronous classes, these types of issues are less disruptive.
- Lack of Ability to Review: Although some live online courses provide access to recorded sessions, some do not. This means students may be unable to review the lecture material if they don't understand it fully. Asynchronous classes use recorded video, which students can watch over and over again, as needed, until they understand.
Is a Live Online Bootcamp Right For You?
Live online bootcamps aren't right for everyone. Students who thrive when working closely with classmates and instructors may prefer the live online format, though students with busy schedules often perform better if they can access the material at their convenience.
Both asynchronous and synchronous bootcamps require motivation, commitment, and hard work. Consider the pros and cons of live online bootcamps to determine which type of bootcamp is right for you.