Join a bootcamp or stick with FCC

I’m looking for some advice. I’m currently doing the FCC curriculum, right now I’m doing the making your own portfolio project, I’m having fun so far, had some struggles but after some googling and trial and error, I figured it out.

There’s a local Web Development bootcamp that I have been eyeing on. They are going to have another intake soon, and I wonder is it advisable to join a bootcamp, even though so far I’m not having a hard time learning this on my own(not yet at least). My goal is to be able to get a Junior position in about 6 months or so.

I’m wondering if employers don’t just look at your portfolio, but look at whether you have worked with others on a project together, and how well you work with other programmers, which you don’t get when you are teaching yourself at home. So the question is - Should I join a bootcamp, just to get that experience and show your employers that you can work in a team?


I went through a bootcamp. As far as an experience went, it was good, (but not great).

As far as it being a keystone to a new career, it was a total, absolute bust.

So it depends what your expectations are and how talented you are. I was in the bottom 2/3 of the class, but by no means the bottom and I am not even close to getting a job. And I still haven’t even made it to the intermediate algorithms yet. I finished 6 months ago.

So if you are doing it simply for learning, then it’s a pretty cool thing to do. If you are doing it because you need to get a job, you might want to stick with FCC and save your money. You’d have just as much chance w/o the bootcamp as you would with it. Especially if you’re really talented.

That’s my opinion based on my own experience.


That’s really unfortunate… Where was your bootcamp and why wasn’t it very good?

What did they teach you there? Did they rush you too much without explaining everything?

Well it was good actually. I don’t have many complaints about the course. But they all but promise you a job after, and this is what I am concerned about.

It just isn’t true, especially if you are an average dev. Let’s face it, we’re not all rockstars. Still they make it seem like you will get a job even as a mediocre developer, as I am.

So I guess all I’m saying is don’t depend on it to change your career trajectory unless you are already, say, finished all the beginner materials before you even enter. Then you would be in a position to focus on intermediate level material and really stand out form other juniors. But if you still in the fizz buzz arena, well, it might be better to save your money.

It is fulfilling though, just as a learning experience, if you can afford to do it without expectations of a career shift after!


I think the best thing you can do is to evaluate your learning abilities. Are you someone who is disciplined and can commit to working x amount of hours to get y amount of things done? I have been studying web development for two years. I worked as an intern for one year and now I am back at learning JavaScript and programming for a new role. I have considered bootcamp (Hack Reactor) in the past but because of their limited financial option, I was not able to attend. Now they have these 3 great financial options where you can: 1. pay $17k up front (the first way), 2. pay $5,000 upfront and then do monthly, 3. pay 2,000 upfront and when you get a job, you pay 22% of your first year salary. So if you make $104k, you would pay roughly around 22-23k in a span of 3-4 months. These options are more appealing for my situation. And what makes it even better is that they provide remote immersive/part time option now, so you don’t have to be jobless for 3-4 months in order to finish it.

Anyway, point is - I have been studying for two years under my own structure. And I have a friends who started off around the same time as me but they went into bootcamp for 3 months and got a job within the first 2-3 months of graduating (while I am still working at my intern and learning each day). I would say I need guidance and structure if I want to get to where they are quicker otherwise, it’s going to take longer learning on my own. I would research and interview particular bootcamps to see how effective they are. You want to speak to the students who have attended - see where they ended up and how they liked it. Overall, I see Hack Reactor and App Academy being very effective. You also get the opportunity to work with other people and find a mentor who will help you get that software engineering job faster.

With that said, you can stick with FCC. I think it’s a great program not only because its online and free but also because of the great helpful community that comes along with it. But if you attend bootcamp, you’ll have a mentor, faster learning, strong projects on your resume and for some cases, better credentials than someone who is self-taught (this is be debatable - but that is another topic).

Hope this helps.

Happy coding!


I think it really depends on your situation, how quickly you want a job, and your learning style. Here is part of my thought process that led me to go in the self directed route. I’m currently living in the Bay Area too so that is part of a factor that may make this more feasible for me. I’m a little more than six months in and am hoping to get a job by 9 months of total time.

Bootcamps are a very intensive form of education that puts you under pressure to meet strict deadlines. If that helps you learn and you want to learn very fast, then bootcamps are probably a good option. I seriously considered this option and was accepted into HackReactor but ultimately decided against this. Here is a spreadsheet I put together that summarizes bootcamps out here in the Bay Area if you’re interested:


  • fast pace
  • high pressure
  • social environment/pair programming experience
  • more like a real work place
  • much more support with job placement/networking support
  • bootcamps have institutional knowledge of how someone can break into development industry.


  • expensive
  • education as a business can have mixed quality
  • quick learning isn’t necessarily deep learning
  • lots of marketing hype (esp around job placement/salary) that makes it hard to know the true quality of education you are getting.

If you have 6-9 months to dedicate and learn on your own, and are comfortable with building your own network of contacts, then you can probably save a lot of money by going the freecodecamp/open source route.

  • Self-directed -> learn the technologies that fit your style and interest
  • Low cost (depending on if you are working or not)
  • Build lifelong learning skills that will help you keep pace as a developer
  • Support and help build an open source/education revolution that could have HUGE impacts in the future of education :slight_smile:


  • Difficult to self-impose structure - Local meet ups, cohorts, and guides can help though!
  • Hard to evaluate success of self-learning and hard to plan
  • More time building your own network in the industry
  • No clear metrics of how others were successful self-learning (other than anecdotal)

I have just finished a 6months online bootcamp; I confirm: they are good, but not so great; bottom line it all depends on needs and expectations.
Personally, 6months ago, I needed to “jump-start” my coding skills (almost from zero), considering I am almost 44 years old, I could not “take much of time” with preparing myself before jumping to a hard bootcamp study pace. Fwd it in 6months, I have learn TONS of things, I have discovered my path, my tools and what I want to focus…am I ready for a job? Well, it depends, not really, but I do not blame it on the bootcamp, I think that the actual job-market is not ready (yet) to take Junior Developer, and to invest in these candidates; time will come and there will be more room for Juniors.
Said that the bootcamp was a good start, I learned a lot, but in depth, I learned nothing, now by myself I am trying to re-do the whole material…a bootcamp can help, but cannot replace years of experience and dedication.
So what? all wasted? no, absolutely no! the bootcamp completely opened my eyes, now I can easily move into the “coding-world”, I know what to do, what to practice, and the next steps are going to be much easier :slight_smile:
While focusing on material online like FCC, Codewars and some others great resources…I have decided to join a 2y College program to solidify my actual knowledge and have the ultimate exposure to this world.
In conclusion, it depends on the level and needs, and as already highlighted the bootcamp may or may not be so necessary, at my age I needed it…but if I could have been younger, I would go from a self-learner to a College program.



would you consider joining Hack Reactor or other top coding bootcamp now that you know your friends were able to land jobs in 2-3 month of graduating? I am also in the same situation as you where I studied for 1 year and 4 month but I was not getting as far as I wanted to. I had an internship and a contract short term job but I was still unable to get a stable $100K job.

A friend of mine who started this programming journey before me also did the self taught route and found that he was not getting results quick enough. 2 years of self-studying and interning for a company for a year (part-time) he decided to attend App Academy and 3 months after the program, he lands a $100K job in San Francisco. I think maybe the investment might be worth it after all since hearing your friend’s story and my friend’s story were pretty successful.

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Haha funny that I see this message now. Like you, I self-studied for 2 years and had an internship for 1 year. I was laid off in February and have not been able to find work. At this point, I thought to myself, am I going to spend another three months trying to study on my own or can I go for something more structured with guidance and up my chances of getting a job faster? I went with the latter. I have my technical interview with Hack Reactor this Friday and have been studying its prep course, rereading Eloquent JavaScript, doing Codewar/CoderByte problems for the past month. I would highly recommend doing the prep course - I feel I have learned and pushed myself further than I have the past two years just by focusing my studies on the prep course. Now we just have to see if I get accepted into the program after Friday. :slight_smile:

To answer your question, I AM considering Hack Reactor and only Hack Reactor. Maybe App Academy but all the other bootcamps don’t seem appealing to me.

You are doing the free basic prep course that they give right? What cohort date will you be in if you get in? I recently got into the July cohort but I have not signed and pay yet. I asked to push my cohort date to August because of my personal reasons. I am still debating between App Academy and Hack Reactor. I know personally 2 people who did App Academy and their solo projects were very impressive. I messaged a few people on Linkedin for Hack Reactor and their projects are more team based. They have a solo project called the MVP which needs to be done in 36 hours. While App Academy gives people 2 weeks on their solo project.

I think the advantage to App Academy is they have a solo project that is already pre-defined. So they have a list of project laid out for you already. Why is this good? Because someone has already made that project before so they can give you really good guidance on that solo project. They also have 1 team project which is completely your own idea but that is 1 week duration. And because they spend 2 weeks on a solo project, they touch upon everything, server, database, frontend. Where as, if you do a group project in Hack Reactor, theres a good chance that you won’t be able to do some things because someone else is already doing it. App Academy seems to also have a bit more lecture, I think their lecture stops at Week 9? Because their week 1-5 is backend ruby on rails / postgres, and their week 6-9 is JavaScript / React.

The advantage to Hack Reactor is that its pure JavaScript, so you don’t need to spend time learning another language, rather you can just start focusing on the fundamentals right away without spending time learning a new syntax. And in terms of the market, just from looking at FreeCodeCamp and StackOverFlow 2017 Developer survey, Backend Node.js is getting more popular than Ruby on Rails. And there are some perks for having the bootcamp focus more on a team also. It allows people to learn Git better and learn how to cooperate in a team. But when we are new developers, I don’t know if spending so much time on team project is a good idea though. Yes, we will increase Git skills and communication, but it might be better to have more time emphasis on solo project to maximize learning as a new developer.

What do you think? is it better to be in App Academy and have more time in solo project? or Hack Reactor for more time in team project? I know this sounds a little weird but when I look at the App Academy students project on github, all their files are neatly organize. Their React frontend is also very clean and well defined structure. If you look at an App Academy student, their code structure are all very similar. The way they write their React structure are almost all identical. But when I see a Hack Reactor student github, the files and folders are not as clean. And everyone have their own way of writing React code. But I don’t know if that is a good thing or bad lol.

Edit: Another thing about App Academy is, they take a % of your first salary. And if you don’t find a job in X amount of time, you get your money back. So it would benefit them for you to land a very high paying job. And yes I agree, all the other bootcamps does not appeal to me too XD. I’m stuck between Hack Reactor or App Academy. But in the end, I think both will be very good.

Wow. I didn’t know that about App Academy/Hack Reactor. I also have someone I know who just finished App Academy. I chose to go with Hack Reactor because it focuses strictly just JavaScript. If by any chance I do not pass the three chances with Hack Reactor, I may consider App Academy. Having a more organized React structure and working on solo projects do sound appealing. I guess if I had known that earlier I would of probably considered it but right now I am fully committed to attending Hack Reactor. With that thought in mind, when it comes to the team projects, I will do my best to get the most out of it and make sure I know or at least figure out how to do each section.

Another thing I have heard, and someone can correct me if I am wrong but since you are paying Hack Reactor upfront, they are more supportive and there is always someone there to help answer any questions you have. App Academy on the other hand lacks and more incline to let you fail since you don’t have to pay yet. That is what I have heard through the grape vines. If there is anyone in here who has done either of them, I’d love to hear your input.

I agree and need to correct myself. Hack Reactor is my first option but they allow you to try the interview three times but if I fail all three then I would consider App Academy.

Oh, also, Hack Reactor has a remote immersive program but App Academy can only be done in San Francisco or New York.

Were you thinking about doing the remote one? Yes, you are right about App Academy kicking people out. But I believe after week 6 you cannot get kicked anymore. Unless you did something terribly bad. The weekly test that can potentially get people kicked if they fail it, but it ends on week 6. So from week 6 and on, they pretty much have to invest in you because you can no longer fail. And you will no longer have those weekly tests.

As for Hack Reactor, I was told by an alumni that I messaged through Linkedin that it is hard to get help. Because there is just so many people that it is hard to get help. But I guess thats to be expected since they want you to figure it out by Googling. And if you are really stuck, you have to submit a ticket so a Hacker in residence will come by and help. That take on average 10-15mins wait. I imagine that to be the same in App Academy because it is just as crowded.

How is your friend experience who completed App Academy? When did he graduate and where is he now? Have you got to look at his projects and compare it to some of the students in Hack Reactor to compare their complexity? Also, did you take a look at his React code? Does it look like a well defined structure and neatly organize?