How can I avoid taking a bootcamp?

Hi, I have been working with free code camp for a few weeks now. I have completed the web dev module and I just started the javascript section yesterday. I also watch random coding youtube videos on the sides. I have been really focused and feeling good about my progress, but I feel like if I want to find a job within the next year I will need a bootcamp to get there.

Does anyone have any advice for/against a bootcamp? I would 100% prefer to do things without spending $14,000 but besides freecodecamp and youtube I don’t have a lot of direction on how to proceed. I also don’t want a 3 year plan, I would like to switch jobs by the mid or end of 2022.

Any advice is appreciated.

First off, be aware that setting a timeline of a year or so can be hard to meet.

Second, I’d start by entering some of your questions into the forum search feature. A few people have asked similar questions in the past and gotten really good replies.

Also, the freeCodeCamp news has some good articles that may be relevant to you:


Hi @chase1 !

Welcome to the forum!

Getting that first job will vary from person to person.

I have heard of some people getting a job right after bootcamp and some take months or longer to get a job after bootcamp.

There is no guarantee of getting a job right afterwards with a bootcamp no matter what their marketing says.


Hello, Welcome to the forum. Please be aware that:
1.No true Bootcamp will teach you the skills from the scratch. The curriculum of FCC is better in this aspect, it goes to the basics to the advanced level.
2. If you want a bootcamp to improve your skills more fast, that is more realistic. But it have to be a good bootcamp, there are very few good bootcamps. Really, and even those, they are not for everyone.
3.Regarding the networking, bootcamps will not find you a job inmediatly, It could take months. And the probability of getting a Job still is NOT 100%. So is not a fast escape.

4.Then make your research about the industry, contacts, and specific positions. Knowledge is power. A boot-camp generally wont teach you these skills.
Hope this helps

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This is the short version of what I’d pro/con for bootcamps:

  • Pro: a bootcamp will help you learn quickly, possibly the fastest, if you’re transitioning from a non-tech career. Trying to study on your own will inevitably take a lot longer. Bootcamps typically run somewhere between 3- to 6-month programs that are full-time (they’re basically what you do all day every day, there’s no time to even try to work a job even on nights/weekends).

  • Con: cost? Yup it’s true they cost quite a bit. But I would say the “strongest” con is that not everyone needs a bootcamp, and I’d say the strongest candidates for not doing a bootcamp will likely have previously worked somewhere in IT and already have an aptitude for coding.

If your previous career wasn’t in IT, IMO you’d have a very steep (and long, more than 1 year at minimum, but I’d say 2+ years) uphill climb to land a developer job without doing a bootcamp.

Trying to study and learn on your own is guaranteed to take at least 1 full year to begin to get job ready. And I say that because that’s how long it took me. And I had a previous career in IT (cybersecurity) too.

Not to discourage you totally though. Your timetable can be done hypothetically. But you’ll need to spend a lot of time to learn & study, in addition to time actually job searching. I know of people who’ve completed bootcamps (and CS degrees too for that matter) who took upwards of 6-8 months to land their first developer job. And your first developer job probably won’t be your ideal job or company either - it’s extremely likely you’re going to have to set your expectations accordingly.


If you want to avoid going to a bootcamp, don’t go to a bootcamp. If you want to try to get roughly the same benefit of a bootcamp, you have to hold yourself to that standard of work. It’s probably possible to research what some of the more effective bootcamps are like, but my understanding is that a lot of them get you through in a year-ish by pushing you to work for 10+ hours a day and expecting you to build a lot of projects in a short time. At the end of the day, no matter where you’re learning from a huge part of learning to write code is to do A LOT of it.

I’m sure that there are people who have gone from 0 to employed as a developer in a year, but that requires a lot of luck and absolutely working your ass off during that year at studying, coding, applying, interviewing, and pushing yourself.


Bootcamps have a number of general issues.

  1. The quality range can be huge, just because you pay more doesn’t mean you get better instruction.
  2. The information you get from a bootcamp can be useful, but its always condensed, meaning you wont magically learn 5+ years of experience in 1 year.
  3. The cost of bootcamps is usually vastly beyond most colleges in terms of “learning time cost”. Where “learning time cost” is how much money you are spending to learn per a given time frame. Simply put, bootcamps are expensive for what you get.

Bootcamps can offer some advantages however:

  1. Forced condensed schedule, forcing you to learn

Overall there are usually 3 distinct options you can take

  1. Go to higher education
  2. Self taught
  3. Bootcamp

I usually recommend taking them in that order, where going to higher education (if you have the opportunity too) is still the safest, most flexible option with the most opportunity. But it can take the longest, and a good amount of money.

Self-taught is the most flexible option, but also requires the most discipline, as you can learn all that the other options can learn, but you are the one who finds and sets up what to learn. So if your not disciplined you can just end up just walking away. However, this also means this is the lowest risk option, as you are mainly risking your own time.

Bootcamps are more of the wild card, where you can easily spend more money and learn the same stuff you’d learn self-taught. Or get a decent opportunity through possible job placements. Or you could easily just get scammed.

Overall, this does mean Bootcamps have the most inherent risks when compared to the alternatives. Sure self-taught could mean you spend a buncha time fooling around, but you could do that going to college too!

Time based goals are usually difficult because spending X amount of time does not mean Y amount of goals met. You could get lucky and grab a job during that time, or you could not. You could learn what you need for job applications or you could not. I usually recommend a goal oriented approach, so you can keep track of how far/close you are to your time based goal. So if this means getting a job in 1 year, you have to learn enough to at least apply within a year, as applying could take a few months.
This could leave something like 9-10 months of hard learning to get the skills and build them up to show them off and apply. You can go further and cut down that time on what skills you want to be applying for, all the way down to a few weeks.

Overall there is a reason why college’s don’t teach you 500 different technologies in 4 years, they usually pick a few standards and focus on theory (as it doesn’t go out of style). As you can easily spend 2 months learning about something that you end up not applying for and burning up a large portion of your time on something not important to your goal. As such knowing what to learn, so you can apply for is important aswell.

Because of that, i’d suggest looking into job applications now and see what is being sough after right now, and use those requirements as a starting point for what kind of tech to learn and focus on, bootcamp or not. At least this would give you an idea of what you could learn with or without a bootcamp.

Otherwise, goodluck with whatever you choose :+1:

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I don’t see anything wrong with spending a couple of years learning before getting that first job.

I can understand from a financial perspective if getting a job sooner rather than later is ideal.
But if you are financial stable, then taking the time to build some really strong projects and learning these concepts well can be really beneficial.


So I think I can offer some insight because I think a year ago I was where you are. I had just started the JavaScript section, I had deferred my enrollment in an MLIS program, and I had decided that I’d commit to 20 hours per week of coding on top of my full time work schedule. I even had a great plan for completing the first 6 FCC certs. I’m 100% confident with enough time in your week you could finish the curriculum in a year. I hit a road bump when my seasonal depression kicked in around November. So you really don’t know what will happen. Just don’t set yourself up for disappointment with unrealistic timelines/goals.

Regarding self study something that has been very beneficial for me over the last few months has been LinkedIn Learning. I’m still planning to return to finish the Front End Libraries Certificate, but my I was put in charge of administering the the Wordpress blog at work. Part of that project has included building a new theme and I’ve followed several tutorials on LinkedIn Learning for WordPress and GIT during this process. I’m lucky that my public library pays for LinkedIn Learning though.

Hey @chase1, I am totally in your camp that you shouldn’t have to spend $10k+ on a bootcamp. I dropped out of college and got my first internship after 4 months of studying. I have now been working full-time as a software engineer (1.5 years).

Which website/resources are you currently using? IMO FreeCodeCamp is THE best place to prepare for a full-time job along with the coding interview. If you have trouble with basic language syntax you can try Code Academy first.

I’m in the camp that education is a basic human right and you should be able to learn everything for free (which you can). Please ping me if there’s anything I can help with!


RithmSchool has a great way of going through BootCamp without being there (for free). They deal with learning the Terminal and Unix, Git and GitHub, HTML/CSS, JavaScript Fundamentals, and Deeper. Only difference is that your doing it on your own…. Or not, if you have others doing the same thing to start going over in a Team Environment within GitHub / Terminal to post code into Big Picture (being the Project). Pretty much what FCC does/did within their BootCamp(s) they offered for free (I been through a few of those in the past and coming back in to refresh and really getting to know coding better (as I’m now focused within Python Crash Course book that’s doing that for me at the moment).

Link to RithmSchool Free Courses (also do a search within FCC forum to see what other say about the school (I think I wrote about them in the past):

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Wow that is really fast! Did you have coding experience before dropping out?

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