Coding bootcamps have become all the rage the past few years. They truly seem like something magical. “Become a web developer in 10 weeks!”, say all the ads and headlines. The claims are incredible, and the results speak for themselves. If you succeed at a bootcamp, you will most likely succeed in getting a job as a developer.
So it seems promising, right? Just maybe, you think that it’s time that you gave it a shot. Learning to code seems fascinating, and to be able to make a career out of it in such a short period of time makes it an even more attractive proposition.
But before you make any decisions and start planning out a possible move into software development, I have some tips and words of wisdom to help you figure out exactly how you want to do it.
Trust me, it’ll be worth it! You can thank me later :)
Why listen to me?
Almost 2 years ago, I made the same big decision that you’re probably pondering right now. I decided to attend Wyncode Academy, the top coding bootcamp in South Florida. But most importantly, I made the decision that I didn’t just want to become a developer, I wanted to become a GREAT developer. Whatever I do, I like to do it well, and chances are if you’re reading this, you do too.
I had an excellent experience at Wyncode. I got a job immediately managing all the technology for a Miami marketing agency. Now, I work with Artificial Intelligence as a consultant on a variety of projects. I earn well and am fulfilled by my work, and honestly could not ask for anything more.
Now back to you. Let’s start at the beginning…
You need to first be sure that getting into coding as a profession is right for you. Everyone should learn to code, and everyone can get something out of it. The choice of whether or not you can tackle it as a career is a decision you should make with full transparency to yourself.
So first, here are some reasons NOT to go to a coding bootcamp and get into software development:
You just want to start making a lot of money fast. It’s a popular belief that coding bootcamps are the closest thing to a valid “get-rich-quick” scheme there is. As Haseeb Qureshi, bootcamp graduate and engineer at AirBnB, puts it, it’s more like a “go into a cave for several months and hopefully emerge with a job” scheme. Is there a demand for great developers right now? Yes! Do they have the opportunity to make good money? Absolutely! But be cautious:
It seems like obvious advice, but you will be surprised by how many people primarily get into coding just because of the monetary opportunities. I see these individuals attending Wyncode all the time. And what makes it bad? That they don’t enjoy coding. They’re having a hard time, not improving as developers, and hoping just to “make it out alive”. Many don’t seek jobs when they’re done, or simply give up halfway through the program. Don’t let that be you. The aspiration for money will only take you so far.
You don’t work well with others and want to work by yourself. Reality check! Most people think developers are these socially awkward people who do 18 hour coding binges while drowning in red bull. It’s the cliche, but most often developers are working in teams. Collaboration a big part of the job. When you’re not coding, your planning with your teammates or in meetings figuring out problems together. And even when YOU ARE coding, your goal is to write clean code that is easy to work with for anyone. In short, communication is critical when on the path of becoming a great developer.
You hate Math, and hate Logic. NOTE. I didn’t say “bad at math”, or “uncomfortable at math”. While it is minimal, depending on what you are working with, there is some math involved in coding, and logic is a large part of programming. If you’ve never been too good at math, don’t let that discourage you. You can get better at the kind of math you need for software development, no matter how bad you think you are. The only thing you need is an open mind.
You are not ready to go several months without employment. This one is more grounded depending on your current situation. The heavy truth is that a coding bootcamp is going to require 110% of your time and effort. When you graduate and begin looking for a job, there will be some time of uncertainty where you are interviewing for positions. Most importantly, the tuition for a coding bootcamp is pretty expensive, and while the return on investment is there, it’s going to be a tough up-front cost to cover.
The good news is that most schools like Wyncode provide financing options that make it easier for you to attend. Make sure that you can go at least 3 months without having to work to attend a coding bootcamp. My personal recommendation? Be prepared, and have savings that can last you at least 6 months of unemployment to cover cost of living.
Ok. Now we’ve covered all the negative points. Let’s get to the good stuff.
Why become a Software Developer?
You have a passion for learning. The Wyncode slogan is “Never Stop Learning”, and with good reason. Getting into programming isn’t a one-time thing. You are constantly learning on the job. Technologies evolve, and you will need to as well. If you are someone who enjoys the process of learning and trying new things, then perhaps there is something in coding for you.
You’ve done some coding before and enjoyed it. Even if you have only dabbled, we all start as beginners. If you found pleasure in writing the simplest of programs, or creating really basic HTML web pages, then you are on the right track!
You ARE good at Math and Logic. The mirror opposite on why you shouldn’t program; if you find ease in mathematics, you will most likely find great joy in programming, as both are heavily correlated.
You have the attitude and desire to get a good at a particular craft - “We are all apprentices of a craft where no one ever becomes a master” is a famous quote attributed to Ernest Hemingway in regards to writing. Like writing, Software development is a craft. It’s beautiful, fulfilling, and to top it all of, it can earn you a living. This was the biggest reason for me to start coding. I wanted a craft. At the time before attending Wyncode, I was in the purgatory of business school where no-one got exceptionally good at anything. You would graduate, and there was nothing especially remarkable about you; you couldn’t “make” anything. Through coding, my desire for having my own craft has been fulfilled, and I’ve been incredibly happy doing so.
So you still want to become a developer?
You’ve made the big decision, congratulations! If you really thought this through, then there is a world of excitement waiting for you.
In my follow-up post, we’ll get into exactly HOW you should prepare for your coding bootcamp. Remember, you don’t just want to become a developer, you want to become a GREAT developer.
Keep being awesome,