So last post I talked about how you could learn how to code in a computer programming language via online courses and in person courses. I tried to find the most highly recommended courses to date that were coming up on Google with the best feedback in terms of how the courses were taught and the outcome of the graduates.
It sounds great right? Learn a skill most people don't have and provide your services in exchange for a significant jump in compensation with an above average salary.
Once you have a solid foundation of coding for beginners, you can start your career as a junior programmer and make a decent amount of money. And by a decent amount, I mean something like a starting salary of $101,000 if you're in the San Francisco Bay Area or $89,000 if you're in New York City.
And that's just the average. So obviously there are opportunities to make even more money. With that being said though, there's going to be a con to every pro.
Everything isn't as rosy as these bootcamps portray it to be with the outcomes of students who attend their courses. It takes a tremendous amount of work and focus just to have a foundational understanding of the basics of computer programming to land a job as a junior programmer. This is especially true for those who have zero background going into the courses.
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Here are some pros and cons I found most people agree with who have experienced the bootcamp life:
Cheaper and quicker than college
- The highest cost I've found so far is at App Academy for I believe $28,000
- Yes, that seems expensive for a course, but considering the company has the best reviews out of all bootcamps I've seen in the United States, it looks like it's worth it
- On top of that, an MBA can total up to $120,000 or more, so you're saving yourself over $92,000 for a salary that you may match after graduating from a bootcamp vs an MBA program
- If you saved and invested that $92,000 instead in an S&P 500 index fund for 40 years, that would turn into $1,377,650 without even reinvesting dividends
Bootcamps can be more effective than a Computer Science degree
- I've read a lot of the times Computer Science degrees require you to go over material that isn't even related to actual programming, so you waste a lot of time going over abstract ideas having nothing to do with literal coding
- Bootcamps get right to the point, making you learn the essentials for a foundational understanding to get a job
Once you learn one language, it's easier to learn others
- Everyone says the hardest thing is learning the first language to get the hang of the way a coding language is structured
- You'll also become that much more valuable to whoever you decide to work for if you learn more than one language
- That also leads to possibilities in negotiating for a higher salary
You can make more money than you are at your current job
- If you're making and living comfortably off of, for example, $50,000, you could potentially find a position that offers $100,000 and save the other half to invest
- That's a LOT of money you could be making down the road in capital gains and dividends, if you reinvest those dividends of course
- Between the money saved from an MBA program and the extra $50,000, that's $142,000 right there
- Invested for 40 years in an index fund at a 7% rate of performance would give you $2,126,373 without even contributing another dollar
It's a great opportunity for a career change if you're truly interested in computer programming
- It's a relatively quick turnaround starting from scratch to getting a job if you're 100% willing to commit to the bootcamp
- In just 3-12 months depending on the plan you choose, you could go from an accounting job to a junior full stack programmer
- I'm definitely not familiar with any other opportunity that allows you to change your career and bring in that kind of salary so quickly
Be able to invest the difference between your old salary and your programming salary to create the wealth and freedom you want, to live life on your own terms
- I briefly mentioned you can invest the difference between the salary you were previously making if you're already living comfortably
- But this presents a tremendous opportunity for you to create a huge net worth if you choose to invest the difference instead of spending more like most Americans do
- This is where you make the money; not from your day job, but from investing
- If you can be diligent enough to stick with investing the difference, you'll approach retirement on your own terms in no time
The bootcamps don't give you the full story of people's experiences
- Sometimes people aren't focused enough to make it to the end of the program
- I've read stories where App Academy forced people to leave the program because they weren't learning the material quickly enough
- But don't get intimidated, the real reason is because those people didn't take the program seriously and thought they could coast by without putting the work in
- It's really tough to learn programming at first, it's literally a new language, so to not take it seriously when you're expected to be ready for an entry-level job after 3 months is foolish
- Sometimes these acceptance rates of getting a job include unpaid internships, but they don't explicitly reveal that
- It's definitely not what you had in mind when you set out for a career change in computer programming, so you have to go in there knowing this is a possibility as well
Although the courses are cheap compared to an MBA, maybe you can't afford the $17,000 it takes to pay for App Academy
- Even some other programs are over $9,000
- I only mention App Academy because the upfront payment is $17,000 or an option to pay $28,000 after the course, which is by far the most expensive
- They don't come cheap, but they are cheaper than an MBA program
- The only thing is these programs don't offer loans as generously as if you were getting an MBA to my knowledge
Companies sometimes respect a Computer Science degree more than a bootcamp certification
- Although you do learn more applicable concepts at bootcamps from what I've heard, companies realize it's not realistic for someone to be a master at their job from learning how to code in 3 months from scratch
- Unless you're some genius, it's probably not realistic to think you'll be 100% prepared for the job
- I've read several stories where people were hired at places like Google for instance, and they were not prepared very well
- They took 3 times as long to solve basic problems someone in their role should have taken
The hours you have to devote to the in-person courses can be overwhelming for some
- I see in reviews a lot of the time, weeks are 100 hours of work including weekends
- People eat, sleep, dream and breathe code while they're learning it and have no time for anything else
- It can be exhausting, so if you're doing it just for the money, stop and find something else
- It's not for the faint of heart, you need to be 110% dedicated to learning as much as you can all day every day or else you may very well be the one being asked to leave the program
Learning styles vary for individuals
- Sometimes the structure of the course is best suited for people, sometimes it's not
- Are you able to learn and retain tons of information in a very short amount of time in a fast paced environment?
- Although the reputation for App Academy is great, it may not be best for your learning style if you feel pressured and can't focus in a set up like that
It really depends on the type of person you are and how well you know yourself. If you can handle the reality that you may not actually get a job after successfully completing a bootcamp or end up with an unpaid internship, go for it. Chances are if you're focused and patient, opportunities will come your way.
If you're in a tight spot for money and can't risk the chance you'll end up without a paycheck in your next job, you may want to stick with the online courses. You can go at your own pace and there's no pressure to complete assignments on a strict deadline if you don't want to or can't because something came up.
Would you be interested in looking into a computer programming bootcamp? Why or why not?
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