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July 8, 2023 - 8 minutes

Online Bootcamps: How They Work

Remote work is all the rage but did you know you can take a bootcamp online too?!

Ironhack - Changing The Future of Tech Education


When you think of bootcamps, you might just think of people crowded around computers, working together to learn everything they can in a short period of time. And while yes, lots of bootcamps (especially those in tech!) do resemble this image, there’s actually a whole separate realm of bootcamps: online or remote bootcamps. 

Already renowned for their flexibility, online bootcamps take said flexibility a step further and eliminate commuting requirements, offering students the chance to take their bootcamp from wherever they prefer. On a high level, this guarantees that: 

  • Students can access bootcamps in other parts of the globe, which would be impossible if the class was taught in-person

  • Students can choose the location (or locations) where they want to study; for students that like a change of scenery, this can be extremely beneficial

  • Those who have other responsibilities, such as childcare or family duties, can stay at home and not miss out on classes

  • Many remote bootcamps allow students to watch classes or report work at various times, meaning that they’re accessible for all students, even those that might have to work nights or work other jobs during the day

These are just a few reasons why online bootcamps have become so popular and we could go on and on. But you probably have a few questions about the differences between remote and in-person bootcamps--and if you’ll receive the same quality education, including access to the other perks that bootcamps offer, such as career services and networking. 

Before we cover the details surrounding remote bootcamps and what to expect from one, let’s dive a bit deeper into all the benefits of online bootcamps. 

Benefits of Online Bootcamps

We mentioned a few above, such as flexibility, but we wanted to go a bit more in-depth about why online bootcamps are such great choices for a wide range of profiles. We could go on and on, but we’ve summed it up into six points:

  • Comfort: imagine making a total career change and never even leaving your sofa! The world has become increasingly digital and education is evolving right alongside it; gone are the days of having to get up early, pack lunch, and head to class. Now you can stay in your pajamas and learn, making the experience overall better. 

  • Flexibility: are you responsible for children during the daytime? Or maybe work nights, meaning you need to sleep during the day? Or better yet, maybe you have a dog that needs to be walked every few hours and hiring a dog walker would be yet another expense. No matter your reason, online bootcamps let you maintain your responsibilities while kickstarting your career change. 

  • Added confidence: entering a brand new field can be quite the challenge and even more so if you’re shy or unsure about speaking up in class. For those who are more comfortable learning on their own or reaching out to teachers in private, remote courses offer a sense of security that in-person ones lack. 

  • Preparation for the real world: tech has always been a flexible field, but since the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of jobs are entirely remote or hybrid, meaning you need to know how to work from home and get your work done. Taking your bootcamp online can be a great way to test the waters and see what works for you. 

  • Expanded opportunities: once you decide to take a bootcamp online, you have tons of options available to you; you’re not limited to just ones nearby. This means that entirely new fields have now become a possibility. Keep in mind, however, that some bootcamps are taught live and others via recorded sessions, so depending on your time zone and availability, you might still have some limitations. 

  • Global network: all your classmates will be attending remotely, in addition to teachers and staff that come from diverse places. Your network will grow accordingly and introduce you to new aspects of tech that you hadn’t considered beforehand. 

Remote vs. In-Person Bootcamps

Having trouble deciding if remote bootcamps are right for you? We get it; it’s a tough decision. Both are great options; take a look at these bullet points and see if either resonates more with you: 

Remote bootcamps are right for you if…

  • You’re a bit unsure about starting a new course and want to study more independently, without the fear of being scrutinized or judged by other classmates.

  • You’re confident in your ability to stay focused and on track, reaching out to other students or instructors for help when needed.

  • You need to maintain other responsibilities, such as childcare, pet care, or a part-time job. 

  • You can’t attend in person for whatever reason but want to receive top tier instruction anyways.

However, in-person bootcamps might be the better choice if…

  • You benefit from stricter timetables and schedules, opting for a more guided learning method.

  • You’re located close to a campus, meaning you’re able to commute without giving up too much free time. 

  • You are looking for regular and constant interaction with your fellow students and instructors. 

  • You’re able to be present at campus for eight to nine hours a day, without other responsibilities to stress about. 

Now that we’ve established the guidelines for choosing an online or in-person bootcamp, you might still be a little unsure about the bootcamps themselves and what to expect from an online course. After all, an institution that offers both remote and in-person bootcamps in the same subject can’t expect us to believe that they’re the same, right?! 

And you’re right--they’re definitely not the same. But there’s no superior option, just the one that works best for you. Let’s explore how remote and in-person classes differ (apart from the obvious, of course!) and cover exactly what online bootcamps are.

Online Bootcamps: a breakdown

The most important factor to keep in mind with remote bootcamps is this: is it live or asynchronous? Here’s the difference:

  • Live bootcamps are taught on a specific schedule, such as 9am - 5pm. Despite being held virtually, lectures and classes are not recorded and available for later use. These bootcamps will typically have a strict attendance policy, expecting you to be solely dedicated to classes during this time. 

  • Important: if you’re looking to take a remote bootcamp because of other obligations during the normal class time, make sure you do not choose a live bootcamp. Think about live bootcamps as exactly the same time and attention requirement of an in-person one, just from the comfort of your own home. Don’t forget to check the timezone of the course if it’s not local; you don’t want to end up stuck to a crazy schedule in a different timezone. 

  • Asynchronous bootcamps don’t demand your presence at a certain time and offer one of the following options: the option to attend remote classes live or watch those classes later as a recording and solely recorded classes. Assignments are typically due within windows and different time zones are welcomed. 

  • Important: make sure you properly assess if asynchronous bootcamps are right for you beforehand; just because you’re free to make your own schedule doesn’t mean that you can expect a lower time commitment or less work. You’ll have to be on top of responsibilities, both in the bootcamp and outside, to ensure that you are keeping up with everything. 

How do online bootcamps work?

The most important thing that remote bootcamps demand is a strong internet connection; others may require that you have a certain type of computer with a suggested operating system. It seems like an easy thing to have, but remember that if your internet goes down and you can’t access a class, especially during live courses, you’ll be marked as absent and miss classwork. Test your WiFi signal at home and have a backup plan in case something goes wrong: a phone hotspot or a local public connection, for example. 

You’ll find that remote bootcamps follow the general schedule of other courses. You’ll have a couple hours of lectures, group work, time for questions and, of course, breaks. Through online tools like Zoom or Blackboard, you’ll be able to share your work with others and receive instructor feedback. 

Well-designed remote bootcamps will ensure you receive the same education as if you were sitting in a classroom with your fellow students, getting face-to-face instruction. But that’s not all: remote bootcamps, especially those that offer in-person options, can go beyond teaching and provide career services, networking opportunities, and even financing options to make your bootcamp more affordable: 

  • Career services: here’s a fact: you’re taking a bootcamp to switch jobs completely or make a transition within tech and you want to find a job. We get it and that’s why you should only consider bootcamps that offer robust career services, helping you polish your resume and portfolio, practicing interviews, and putting you in touch with tech companies. 

  • Networking opportunities: because bootcamps are held over such a short period of time, you need to take advantage of every chance to meet fellow techies; quality bootcamps offer students the chance to network with alumni and instructors (even in-person if the institution offers classes on campus!). 

  • Financing options: bootcamps are quite the investment and institutions that fully recognize those are ones that take your education seriously. Check out what financing options they offer, such as scholarships, income share agreements, government grants, or payment plans. 

Online bootcamps are a great tool for many and open the door to tech for a large group of people that otherwise wouldn’t be able to take such a course. But they do demand a certain level of independence and determination and certainly aren’t for everyone. If you’ve made it this far, however, we’re sure you’re strongly considering them: we can’t wait to see your application! 

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