The tech industry seems to have it all, right? It boasts flexible schedules, opportunities to work remotely, and great salaries. Those who originally chose a different career path might think it’s too late to get into tech, but here’s a little secret: it’s not! In fact, tech is one of the best and most welcoming industries for newcomers and career changers. And you can expect some great benefits (like the ones we listed above!). Why? Let’s see:
The tech industry is evolving incredibly fast and new professionals who are up-to-date with the latest technologies and skills are in high demand.
Because tech is always changing, even those with four-year university degrees are required to constantly learn new skills and stay updated on what’s needed.
Tech professionals need a wide range of hard and soft skills; it’s not just about knowing how to program or code. Those who come from different backgrounds bring new skills to the table.
So before we focus on how bootcamps can help fast-track your career into tech, let’s review what bootcamps are, what they offer, and key things to keep in mind when choosing your tech bootcamp.
What is a Bootcamp?
A bootcamp is a short and intensive course designed to teach you a very specific skill set. Although they can be offered across a wide range of topics, the most popular kind (and what we’ll talk about here!) are tech bootcamps, which aim to prepare you to enter the workforce immediately after graduation. How? Well:
Bootcamp curriculum is designed by industry professionals who know exactly where the holes in the job market are.
Throughout the bootcamp, students will have lots of hands-on experience that will help them not only master the theoretical details in their chosen field, but also prepare them to enter the workforce.
Many bootcamps offer career support to their students, preparing their resumes, reviewing portfolios, and practicing interview skills.
If you’re thinking about making a career change into tech, you might be considering self-teaching, a free online course to learn tech skills, or even going back to school to earn a university degree. And while these are quality options, bootcamps offer distinct advantages:
Bootcamps vs. self-teaching: there are tons of videos to watch online to learn how to code and books you can get that explain everything you need to know about cybersecurity, right? While the answer is yes, you’ll find that this type of learning constricts your overall growth and development, limiting your knowledge to just the basics. And if you run into a wall or don’t truly understand something, you have just a few resources to help you solve it.
Bootcamps vs. free online courses: courses you can find online for free might be easy to access and seem comprehensive, but ultimately you’ll find that there’s no way to practice what you’re learning with feedback and you might even run into barriers that block essential videos or exercises behind paywalls.
Bootcamps vs. university degrees: you might think nothing can beat a four year degree, but these courses are expensive, time-consuming, and provide you with a lot of additional knowledge that may not be totally necessary for someone looking to move into tech ASAP.
Is a bootcamp right for me?
In addition to what we listed above, bootcamps are incredibly valuable for one specific reason: their flexibility and ability to open the door to tech for so many other people that would otherwise be unable to switch careers. How? Through various options and assistance:
Different scheduling options: for some, the idea of attending a full-time course during the day is impossible and others might need to take classes part-time so they can maintain their other responsibilities, such as their current job, childcare, or other familial duties. Bootcamps offer full or part time options so that you can choose what’s right for you.
Remote or in-person options: no bootcamp near you that teaches what you want to learn? Or you simply can’t commit to commuting to a nearby campus? Or maybe you simply prefer learning from the comfort of your own home? No matter your reasoning, the option to attend in-person or remotely can make tech more accessible for so many more people.
Financing options: even though bootcamps are significantly more affordable than university degrees, they can still impose a financial hurdle to many; thankfully, lots of bootcamps offer a wide range of financing options such as payment plans, income share agreements, and scholarships to offset the cost.
Now that you know why bootcamps have become quite the hot topic in recent years, let’s dive right into how tech bootcamps can help you land that first job in tech.
How Bootcamps Can Fast-Track Your Career
Think about it: how many other industries could you land a job in within a few months? And when you knew practically nothing beforehand, this is quite the feat. But tech bootcamps have been specifically designed to achieve this, helping you get into the field before you know it. Let’s review two areas, revamping your career when you’re already in the tech field and entering the tech field as a newbie.
Fast-tracking your career from within the tech industry
You’ve studied your chosen field and been working in that industry for a bit. But you’re seeing needs arise that you simply can’t meet or are concerned about automation taking over your job. Here’s where upskilling and reskilling come into play:
Upskilling: what is it?
As Forbes put it, upskilling is the future of tech. Why? Because it refers to taking your current skills and upgrading them to meet current market demands. Tech is moving incredibly fast and although it might seem easier to simply hire new candidates that have these skills on their results, that places unneeded stress on the hiring department, not to mention the risks that come from hiring a new person when you aren’t sure if they’ll end up being a good fit for the team.
Reskilling: what is it?
Reskilling follows the same basic idea as upskilling, but is a bit different: instead of teaching a current employee skills that are related to what they currently know, reskilling makes them proficient in a completely different area. This might seem a bit unnecessary--after all, wouldn’t it be easier to just hire someone who already knows the skill?
Well, just like with upskilling, lots of skills in tech build upon skills professionals already possess and it’s more cost-efficient for employers to upskill the knowledge their employees have instead of going through the interview and hiring process for every new need that arises.
Fast-tracking your career from outside the tech industry
You’ve been working in a completely separate industry and aren’t sure how to get your foot in the door. After all, most tech professionals spent years studying to get where they are, right? And they’re the only ones suited for such a role? Well, that isn’t the case exactly. Tech bootcamps are becoming increasingly popular with hiring managers, for a couple key reasons:
Bootcamp graduates have shown they have drive and a passion for tech: the decision to take a bootcamp is major and demands a significant commitment, both financially and time-wise, from students. In addition, they’re heading into something totally unknown and new--it could work out in their favor or end up being a big mistake. This eagerness to learn and bravery to take on a completely new task are characteristics that many employers highly value.
Bootcamp graduates have an incredibly specific education that prepares them for a role that’s in need: since bootcamps are so short, there’s no time to waste on general, theoretical knowledge that isn’t necessary for day-to-day tasks. Graduates have spent up to 24 weeks practicing and practicing their skills so that they're ready to meet a specific market need.
Bootcamp graduates bring more to the table: with the fast pace at which tech is moving, tech professionals need to have skills beyond their exact field to tackle new challenges that may arise. And bootcamp graduates from diverse backgrounds bring exactly that to the table.
Bootcamps are a completely valid path into tech and help you maximize your time and effort to get the greatest outcome: landing that first job in tech. Your experience and skills gained from your previous education and jobs will be highly valued and even set you apart from other candidates. And your bootcamp will provide you with the foundational knowledge needed to make the most of your course, learning the most in-demand and marketable skills so that your job search is a breeze.
If you’re looking to transform your career and get into tech or even move into a new field, a bootcamp is just what you need to learn the necessary skills and prepare yourself for the workforce. If you’re interested in learning more about what Ironhack offers, check out our courses in web development, UX/UI design, data analytics, and cybersecurity today–we can't wait to see how you make your way into tech!