So, I’d like to preface by saying that I’m currently in Fullstack Academy’s first Remote Immersive cohort, and I absolutely love it - there’s really no place I’d rather be. I’d also like to say that this is a giant wall of text, but I hope it’s a helpful one, at least.
@amkhokar - There’s a very large difference, from what I know, between your first three (Viking, Hack Reactor, and Dev Bootcamp) and your last two (Bloc and Thinkful). The first group is fairly intensive (you’re going to be working 60+ hours per week, and most likely more), and even though they’re all online, you’re going to be with your instructor(s) and classmates for most of that time. From what I know about the other two, they’re not quite as intense, and you’re only meeting with an instructor/mentor a couple of times a week for short periods of time, and you’re on your own for most of it.
You need to start by figuring out exactly what you want from a program. Do you want your instructors to always be available, and to be pair programming constantly? Or would you rather do most of the material on your own? Can you/do you want to devote 60+ hours per week to coding, not including personal projects, going to local meetups, etc.? Joining an intensive bootcamp is not something to be taken lightly; your days will literally be consumed by coding. (I can go into more detail about my daily schedule if you’d like, but trust me when I say that almost all of my days, including weekends, consist of ~12+ hours of coding with small breaks for meals and a run.)
@eBenzen & @amkhokar - a paid, top-tier bootcamp comes with a lot of perks that a free bootcamp or a not-as-great bootcamp wouldn’t in terms of getting a job, in my opinion, primarily:
- Your curriculum will cover both a large breadth and depth, making you more attractive to employers in general. Most, if not all, of the top-tier programs don’t necessarily teach you just how to code, but also how and why things work and how to think through a problem and learn on your own accord, which are the skills that most employers will be looking for. Two things I’d like to mention along with this:
a. I have a friend currently in the Iron Yard, another bootcamp. She’s outright said that my program seems much more advanced than hers.
b. One of my classmates actually went through Thinkful’s program, and then worked as a developer for a year. She’s now with us at Fullstack, and is currently a mentor for Thinkful, and also has said that there’s a world of difference between the curriculum alone. If you’re interested in talking to her about her experience, please let me know and I can definitely put you in touch with her.
- Almost all (that I know of) top-tier programs have a Career Services team, whose job is literally to help you find a job.
- Top-tier programs will have established a network of hiring partners and will have had successful alumni at companies, both of which you can leverage for your own career.
That being said, a top-tier program is far from the magic bullet for getting a great job as a developer. You’re going to have to work your butt off and do a significant amount of work on your own in order to succeed and position yourself well. I knew 110% that I could be a successful developer on my own - I knew I had the capability and the drive to do it. But I wanted the mentorship and the classmates and the structure and the network that a top-ranked program provided.
And, adding on to what @Bigghead has said - if I had to pay full tuition for the bootcamp experience that I wanted, that might have been enough of a deterrent for me to not do one - $10k+, not including time off, is not chump change for me. I managed to get a number of full and partial scholarships to various programs that brought the cost down significantly, and might be worth looking into if cost is a factor at all.
I’ll end by saying: I was choosing between a number of bootcamps not too long ago, one of which was Viking and I applied (and eventually withdrew my application) to Hack Reactor and one of its partner schools as well. I wrote pretty extensively about the process and my experiences: here (part 1), here (part 2), and here (part 3). I’ve also written extensively about the experience in my other posts, so those might give you a feel for what it’s like in an intensive online program.
Apologies for the essay, although I hope it helped! Feel free to reply and/or reach out directly to me with any other questions - I’d be happy to talk about any of my experiences or things I’ve heard in the bootcamp world or put you in touch with the aforementioned classmate.
TL;DR: Figure out what you want in a program. If cost is an issue, scholarships are definitely a thing. Find the ones you think would be a good fit, apply, prep for interviews, hope to get accepted.