When you begin your journey in a tech bootcamp, you might have a lot of thoughts running through your head: is this the right choice for me? Will this even help me get a job? Can I actually learn enough in such a short period of time? We’ve heard all your questions and have created this guide to tackle each and every one of your doubts.
One of the tech industry’s most defining factors is its incredibly fast-moving speed, always developing and introducing new tools and technologies into the sector. This means that when four-year university graduates leave school and enter the workforce, what they’ve learned has already been surpassed by new tools that they don’t know how to manage.
And this is a continuous problem that’s constantly repeating itself; tech is evolving rapidly and the industry is already witnessing a large skill gap, which affects the overall efficiency and abilities of the sector. This is where bootcamps come in.
Tech Bootcamps: What Even Are They?!
Don’t you need a four-year university degree to work in tech?! What is a bootcamp? Well, a bootcamp is a rather new and innovative learning method that exists to provide the next generation of techies with the exact skills they need to enter the workforce. They’re typically completed over the course of a few months in a rather intense manner, looking to provide students with hands-on experience and foundational knowledge. More questions? Let’s get some answers:
What subjects do bootcamps cover?
Bootcamps usually teach skills that are needed in tech, as tech is one of the fastest moving industries where universities and traditional educational methods struggle to keep up. They usually focus on the foundational knowledge required for very specific roles: let’s take a look at four common sectors: web development, UX/UI design, data analytics, and cybersecurity.
Web development bootcamps
UX/UI design bootcamps
Students will harness both their logical and creative sides to create intuitive and user-friendly designs in UX/UI-focused bootcamps, learning how to use Figma and understanding the entire product development process. And the best part? You’ll graduate with a portfolio of your own designs to help you land your dream job.
Data analytics bootcamps
Every good decision is made from looking at data and that’s why data analysts are in such high demand; as we obtain more and more data from an increasing number of sources, companies need experts who know how to interpret, visualize, and present the data to help make the right decisions. You’ll learn Python, Tableau, and SQL queries, in addition to sharpening your critical thinking skills.
We’re putting more and more of our personal lives on the internet and this means that hackers and data breaches are also gaining traction; ensuring your team and company data are protected from cyber threats is absolutely crucial. Cybersecurity bootcamp students have the chance to tackle simulations of live attacks to put their skills to the test.
How much do bootcamps cost?
Just like with basically anything, bootcamp costs vary based on where you are studying, the school itself, and the length of the course. However, this isn’t your generic one-week online courses; most bootcamps boast highly-skilled teachers and teaching assistants, in addition to career support and an extensive alumni network. Certified bootcamps could cost anywhere from $7,000 - $15,000 and it’s up to you to carefully weigh the benefits and your own financial situation.
Some bootcamps offer financial assistance, scholarships, or financing options as well.
How long do bootcamps last?
Generally designed to be completed intensively over the course of just a few weeks or months, you might be surprised at how short your bootcamp is. However, expect long days, lots of studying outside class hours, and a huge transformation.
Some tech schools also offer different schedule options, such as part-time and full-time courses, or even completely remote classes. Consider the time you can realistically dedicate to the course and then pick the best option for you.
How do bootcamps differ from other courses?
You’ve seen that free YouTube coding course or a how-to guide about Figma, so why not just take those? Well, bootcamps are not like quick online courses; they’re much longer and go into far more detail, providing you with personalized instruction and assistance. Throughout your bootcamp, you’ll be asked to complete projects to put what you’ve learned to work and begin creating your portfolio.
Bootcamps differ from university courses in that they are much shorter and more concise; many universities require students to take courses in a wide range of subjects but tech bootcamps teach you exactly what you need to know to enter the workforce immediately after graduation. They’re also constantly updating their curriculum to reflect changes in the tech market to ensure that you’re as prepared as can be.
Common Misconceptions about Tech Bootcamps
Now that we’ve cleared up what tech bootcamps are, let’s dive into some of the most popular (but out there!) misconceptions about them and what you can really expect.
Tech bootcamps won’t actually prepare you to get a job
You’ve probably heard this one quite a bit and it’s a legitimate doubt that lots of people have: how can a two/three month course teach me what I need to know to work alongside tech professionals with four-year degrees (at a minimum!)? Well, tech is moving at such a fast pace that universities and traditional schooling methods can’t keep up and tech bootcamps teach students the precise skills they need to know (say goodbye to that Liberal Arts education!), preparing them to fill very specific gaps in the workforce.
In addition, the majority offer career assistance to help you polish your CV and portfolio, network, and practice your interview skills.
Employers prefer candidates with four-year degrees
This might have been true in the past and sure, there are probably some hiring managers that are still stuck in the past. But as the tech workforce gap continues to grow and new technologies enter the picture, employers are focusing more and more on the actual skills that candidates have.
You need tech experience to succeed
Nope! In fact, one of the best parts of tech bootcamps is the diverse backgrounds and experiences of all students. Well-designed bootcamps will start with an introductory section to provide students with the foundational knowledge needed to succeed and then build from there, understanding that students have little to no experience in the field.
You need to give up your current studies/job to complete a bootcamp
Wanting or needing to stick with your current job or studies during the bootcamp is completely fair and is something that lots of students consider when contemplating a bootcamp. But bootcamps are designed to benefit you and therefore offer a wide range of options such as part-time classes, weekend classes, or even remote courses.
No matter what your current responsibilities are, you’ll be able to find a program that works for you.
Bootcamps are too expensive for what they offer
Remember that bootcamps are growing in popularity, thanks to their increasing importance in the tech world and this means they are becoming legitimate options for those looking to enter the industry: compare the cost of a bootcamp to the cost of a traditional, four-year degree and you’ll see that it’s a great way to get the knowledge you need at an affordable price.
Tech is a man’s world
You have a point here. The tech industry is overwhelmingly dominated by men and that’s a fact. But that doesn’t mean women don’t have a place in the sector; in fact, more and more women are getting into tech and working to diversify the industry. And this is just the beginning: lots of tech schools actually offer scholarships to women and other under-represented groups to encourage their enrollment.
After all, it’s been proven that women in tech:
Provide unique and diverse voices that make tech solutions more accessible and effective for everyone.
Serve as mentors to younger girls and women who are either interested in entering the industry or just starting out.
Improve overall workplace culture, boast workplace satisfaction, and increase safety in the office.
Create better products that center both female and male experiences in the design process, instead of just male ones.
Bootcamps aren’t worth it
We get it. Bootcamps are extremely time-consuming and intense, meaning you are dedicating a ton of time (and money) to learning a new skill. What if you don’t get a job? What if you don’t like it? These doubts are completely legitimate and are concerns you will have at the beginning. But listen to what we’ve been saying all along: university graduates and current tech professionals are failing to move as fast as new technologies are, leading to a workplace gap that’s growing significantly every single day.
If you put the time and effort into the bootcamp, you will receive the knowledge needed to join the workforce, specializing and honing your skills over time. Remember, continuous learning is absolutely essential in the tech world and committing to this journey will benefit your future.
Deciding to take the jump into tech through a bootcamp is a big one that should be taken carefully. Do you have the time to dedicate to it? Are you financially stable enough to not work for the period during the bootcamp? Can you commit to completing all the work during the established time frame? These are all key questions to ask yourself before beginning your journey; at Ironhack, we’re here to help you choose the right bootcamp for you at the right time.