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What is a tech bootcamp?

Is this a new trend or a chance to upshift your career? You've probably heard the term mentioned more than once and you'll know it's somehow related to technology, development, a career shift, innovation and even design. And you wouldn't be wrong, but what actually is a tech bootcamp? Maybe something to do with camping in the woods? Or perhaps outdoor military-style training? Doesn't it have something to do with learning to programme in your garage? Cold, cold...

Why are bootcamps becoming such a popular way of learning?

The tech market is undeniably lacking in qualified professionals. So, to tackle this shortage, the education sector has devised a methodology that seeks to teach the key skills needed to satisfy this demand. It's not a question of learning for learning's sake, rather the methodology hones in on what companies are actually looking for in potential candidates. Essentially, that's what defines a bootcamp, a training programme that's known for:

  • Intensive learning (very intensive)
  • Short-term teaching (1-3 months)
  • A focus on acquiring specific practical skills
  • Learning by doing
  • Participants don't need any former qualifications
  • Packing into a few months what would traditionally takes years to learn
  • Culminating in an individual project that you plan and write from scratch

The main aim of a bootcamp is to prepare students to tackle and satisfy the real needs of the job market, allowing them to secure the job of their dreams without having to study a university degree or vocational training course. Companies are increasingly recruiting their talent from bootcamps, and it's no happy coincidence...

But, where do I start? How do I go about taking my first steps in the tech industry?

Let's be honest: the tech world holds an ocean of knowledge and it's not possible (or advisable) to try and learn everything at once, especially if you're just starting out. The best thing to do would be to pick a specific area and delve in deep. At Ironhack, we advocate the fields of study with the highest chances of employability: web development, UX/UI design and data analytics. But how to decide which one is right for you?

In order to make this decision, it’s a good idea to conduct an in-depth analysis. Don't limit your choice to your potential chances of finding employment. It's important to find out what really interests, motivates and inspires you. If you want to start out with something simple and do some of your own research on web development, we recommend you take a look at CodeAcademy or Freecodecamp. At the end of the day, the objective is to discover which field that really inspires you before you start to get your career off the ground.

Why are bootcamps so popular?

Bootcamps are a source of hope and offer a new direction for anyone who wants to turn their personal and professional lives around by specialising further or starting a new adventure in the tech industry. If you are determined to accelerate your learning and acquire new digital skills, take a look at the courses we offer.

You should know that entrepreneurs are also fascinated by this way of learning, as it allows them to learn everything they need to know quickly and at an intense but efficient pace. Do you want to develop an app but have no clue about coding? Want to design your own marketplace? Need to learn more about a certain subject in order to face the challenges in your professional life? These are just some of the reasons you might want to sign up to a bootcamp.

Will I have the same professional opportunities if I choose to do a university degree?

In fact, you'll have the same or more specialist skills than someone with a university degree or vocational training qualification, although you should know there is a certain amount of theoretical knowledge that isn't taught at the bootcamp.

The technology sector is very receptive to this kind of problem-solving profile and these days employers tend to be less focused on uni qualifications, which makes it easier for you to access the same opportunities on the job market.

Ironhack promotes a skills-based employment philosophy that places a premium on professionalism and candidates' skills, a notion that is also increasingly observed by the top companies that approach us in search of talent to grow their teams. Remember: You get back what you put in. Although teachers are there to teach, without putting in some of the work independently, it's impossible to assimilate all the knowledge you need in such a short space of time.

If you're looking for talent, Ironhack has a whole network of budding experts. Get in touch!

So, can I change my life in 9 weeks?

Without a doubt. No one said it would be easy, but it is possible. If you decide to join a bootcamp of this length, bear in mind you'll need to dedicate yourself to full-time study. Each bootcamp includes a practical project that you'll need to submit at the end of the course. In short: You learn a lot, but you'll have to give up a lot of your free time over the subsequent 9 weeks.

If you do a bit of digging, you'll find testimonies from former Ironhack students who have gone from being firefighters to developers, from psychologists to UX designers and from architects to data analysts working in companies such as Google, Cabify and Accenture.

What about if I have a job I can't give up right now?

You can always choose to join one of our part-time bootcamps, which are taught two afternoons a week and on Saturdays. They are designed to help you juggle your personal and professional life whilst still providing you with intensive training. How does that sound?

If after everything you've heard you're still thinking about joining a bootcamp, there are three questions you need to ask yourself before you make any final decisions:

1) Are you motivated enough?

Remember we're talking about an intense work pace. Motivation will help get you through the difficult moments, pushing you to research, learn, meet deadlines and keep grinding for as long as it takes.

2) Are you good at teaching yourself?

You'll also need to be able to learn independently. Bootcamp classes are hugely valuable and very comprehensive, but in order to become an expert in such a short space of time, you'll also need to broaden your knowledge on your own, as well as completing all your assignments and a final project.

3) Do you know how to work as part of a team?

Bootcamps are not an individual experience. You'll be spending a lot of time with your classmates and it's important to have a team-oriented spirit and be open to collaboration.

A bootcamp is not a university degree, nor is it some kind of entertainment. It's much more than that. If after delving into our philosophy you still want to turn your career around, or improve the one you already have and specialise in web development, design or data analytics, get in touch and change your life. This is your chance!

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Follow the steps of more than a thousand career changers and entrepreneurs that launched their careers in the tech industry with Ironhack's bootcamps.

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