Should I do a bootcamp or not? Class of 2020 grad with CS minor

I’d like your guys’ advice on whether I should attend a coding bootcamp or not, given I took a CS minor in college and took some upper-level math courses (like Discrete Math, Calculus 3, and Linear Algebra). I have a decent understanding of CS fundamentals like recursion and dynamic programming with experience mostly in Python, and am working through LeetCode Easy’s. My fundamentals can certainly be stronger, but my main concern is the lack of projects (besides class projects, which aren’t that substantial) and almost no knowledge of the tech stacks (like MongoDB, AWS, React, etc). I’m mainly interested in Full Stack and backend.

So ultimately my main concern is developing projects and becoming proficient in these tech stacks, while brushing up on CS fundamentals - and given that I’m trying to get a software engineering job 3-4 months from now, is self-learning or bootcamp the way to go?

The obvious benefit to self-learning is that it’s free, but it’s unstructured and nobody to turn for guidance. For example App Academy (a well known coding bootcamp) offers all 1500-hours worth of their materials for free, but by taking a bootcamp I wonder how much faster I can go through the material. Even though bootcamps offer that structure and mentorship, there’s a lot of conflicting articles/videos/reddit threads on which ones are/aren’t good.

Please tell me your opinions, because I’m torn on what path to take.

Hello and welcome to the freeCodeCamp community~!

A lot of variables go in to such a decision, and many of them are personal. As such, it is tricky to give guidance because I don’t know your individual situation. That being said, a couple of points I would like to make:

  • The freeCodeCamp curriculum will take you through some fundamentals of React and MongoDB, and will have you building projects as well.
  • There are plenty of people you can turn to for guidance - here, on the forum, is a great example. We also have a very active Discord server.
  • Boot camps are expensive. Is it a cost you can afford? Remember to look in to their success rates as well.

I leave this with an article from freeCodeCamp’s founder Quincy, which is a bit of a long read but very worth it - good information to consider before taking the plunge into a bootcamp.


It comes down to:

  • Is taking a bootcamp affordable for you?
  • Do you prefer structured learning or learning with classmates?
  • Do you like the study program of the particular bootcamp?

I think your main worry about getting structure can be filled by simply getting/hiring a mentor, then your learning path might be even better than at a bootcamp, because it will be tailored to you specifically.

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Thanks for your advice petrs - how should I go about finding a mentor? I was thinking of going on FreeCodeCamp’s discord server, and seeing if there’s anyone who could mentor me (and I’d pay them of course)

Thanks so much for your advice and the article, nhcarrigan - I’ll be sure to check out the Discord. I read the article last night - right now, the best course of action seems to be learning things on my own, apply to junior dev positions to see if I can get them in my current state, then consider bootcamps. Thanks again!

I mostly try to shy away from giving direct advice, but if you have a STEM degree and a CS minor, I would go ahead and pursue your job hunt now. Continuing to build your programming skills in between Resume revisions and screening interviews is a good idea, but paying to go through a Bootcamp right after completing your BS seems like a bad cost/value proposition.

The best advice on bootcamps I’ve seen is in that Handbook that @nhcarrigan linked.

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Just to clarify on this:

You are more than welcome to join our Discord. And there are many of us who would be happy to help you as time allows.

However, offering payment for mentorship becomes a job offer and would be a violation of our code of conduct :slightly_smiling_face:


I’d first try some new platforms that connect people with mentors I don’t have any experience with them, but in 2020 I believe it should be possible to find someone through a specialized mentor platform.