Bootcamp or no bootcamp?

Hi guys. I would like to ask for some opinion on this, I know it’s been asked thousand times already all over the net but let me elaborate.

I have been learning to code for a while now, got lost in the sea of information sometimes, got demotivated sometimes but in the last couple of months I’m really getting into it. I understand more and more, even did a couple of simple arcade games in Python which is my favourite language.

As I’m not progressing effortlessly and efficiently I thought about applying for a bootcamp and I found Flatiron in London. On paper it sounds great as you only need to pay £1000 deposit, you start paying when you get your first job. I thought maybe an immersive program is what I need as there would be a constant kick in the butt from 9-6 every day.
I visited the “campus” too. One open floor, I don’t know if I liked it or not.

I started the prep course which is great, my technical interview is scheduled too but I just realised it now that they want me to have an Apple computer too, they have a loan system but that is still an extra thousand pound. At the moment I’m still working hard to be able to take some months off work, 3 for the bootcamp and maybe 2-4 for the jobhunt but the extra money I would need to pay for the loan laptop means I will need to postpone the start for one more month at least.

As whenever I encounter a problem I immediately search for solutions so I started thinking maybe signing up for Teamtreehouse and do the Python tech degree would be a better solution. I am doing the FCC curriculum and paired with Python maybe I would be okay to find a job at the same time I would finish the bootcamp learning Javascript which I don’t really want to, plus I could have a part-time job to cover my expenses instead of living off all my savings.

Bootcamp would mean no money coming in but it’s more structure and job guarantee.
Me, on my own, would mean I could have a part-time job, it would take more time but I would be more secure financially. I’m 41, living abroad so can’t really go home if things go bad. Also I would learn more about how to trust myself, how to find problems, how to deal with things, nobody would hold my hand.

I am way better at discipline by now so probably wouldn’t be a problem for me to actually study 6-8 hours a day for months I’m just paralyzed at the moment. I can’t think straight what would be a better solution.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

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The main thing you should be looking for in a bootcamp is the instructor-to-student ratio, which translates into how much one-on-one time you can expect to get from instructors. If it’s not good enough, or their claims sound even a little bit fishy, give them a miss – you’ll be better off self-learning.

I never believe what they or anyone else promises on their website. They want to sell their stuff so even if they say 12 people in one cohort I just don’t believe that.

What pisses me off that I have to have an Apple computer for the work I would do at home and this info was well-hidden, not front-page. This is not a cheap course, so paying an extra thousand, even if I get it back at the end, I should know about this upfront as it just ruined all my planning.

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I see a lot of value to be found in a bootcamp, I really do – but for someone starting out, looking to build a skills base and a professional network, it just seems to me that its profiteering at the tyro’s expense. And that leaves a gross taste in my mouth.

I might suggest getting involved with meetups, or work with others to organize some. Make them directed, or challenges. If you do a meetup where a professional coder is invited to speak, then yes, pay them for their time and expertise.

I don’t say don’t do bootcamps, as I said there is real value to them. But here’s a parallel: a friend and I went to a seminar on flipping investment properties. It was a two-hour seminar, and it was free, so yay.

But the big push was “sign up for our three-day seminar next month, at a cost of $1400, and get access to all these resources and far more information!” Which is great. But of the sixty people who signed up, maybe three would continue to the point of making back that investment.

And the big kicker for me? When I got home from that two-hour seminar, I spend two hours online researching what they’d talked about, and pulled together the exact same set of resources they are charging top dollar for.

If you want to learn coding in an immersive way, get involved in open-source projects. Get going on Github, and find public projects that appeal to you. Bug test, and help bug-squish. Schedule weekend meetups where you’re working with a particular git project, and make bug-squashing a challenge: the team that catches and corrects the most bugs gets a trophy! or a stuffed animal. something.

Bootcamps are GREAT when you’ve got a place in the industry, and the employer wants you to take your skills to the next level. Or if you’re freelancing, and you have a few clients in the pipeline already, which could make the expense justifiable. But frankly, for someone just starting out, it’s taking on a college loan without the surety of anything after.

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@Wanderlust77, I’ve heard of some companies that have a paid apprenticeship program. This seems to be the best choice if you can find a company you like that offers this. These aren’t well advertised (at least in my area) so you may have to do some digging to find them.

I’m also skeptical about the overall benefit of bootcamps for many of the same reasons you and others have stated so far.

This is excellent and inspiring advice:

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Thanks for everyone. I think I am going to do the technical interview with them just to have a little experience and get the feel of the interviews then probably pass on the bootcamp.

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