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Are Coding Bootcamps still worth it in 2024?

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Last updated: January 19, 2023

It's no secret that the tech landscape is going through some tough times. Headlines about layoffs in big tech companies are more common than we'd like—even big tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon are laying off seasoned engineers. This shakeup has many wondering about whether coding bootcamps are still worth it to do, or if it’s best to wait a few years. In this blog post, we’ll try to provide a balanced view on why it may or may not be worth it.

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Why coding bootcamps are worth it

It is easier than ever to learn to code. With ChatGPT and other AI resources, there is so much personalized help that will allow you to pick up skills MUCH faster than previously before. Coding may have seemed intimidating initially, but it’s much easier to learn nowadays. You'll basically have a 1-on-1 tutor in your pocket to help you along the way.

There’s also a new wave of AI that every company is trying to jump into—from local government agencies to big tech companies and Fortune 500s. Companies need to get the talent from somewhere, and coding bootcamps are starting to add AI into their curriculums to make sure that students are up-to-date on the latest tech.

When the tech is only a little over a year old, companies are looking for people who have even just a little bit of experience. It could be a unique time to stand out in the job market whereas in a few years it might be harder for someone to break into the industry.

Companies are starting to hire again. Financial markets are recovering and people are anticipating interest rate cuts in early 2024. That means that companies are likely to start hiring aggressively again. We’re seeing this starting to happen already—there are tens of thousands of software job openings right now that are unfilled. We’ve even seen companies like Facebook reaching out to previously laid off engineers asking them to come back! When a coding bootcamp takes a few months in order to complete, now could be the right time to start.

Companies in other industries are still hiring. Although big tech companies and startups have had layoffs, there is still a huge scarcity of talent in traditional companies in more stable industries—think finance, healthcare, etc. You may not get the super lucrative salaries as at a big tech company, but you’ll be able to get experience somewhere that will allow you to build your skills for any future experiences.

There are a lot of low-cost options nowadays. Since online learning is the norm post-COVID, there are so many lower-cost bootcamp options available. Whether you’re looking for online, asynchronous, evening, or anything in between, there is an option for you out there. You can take a coding bootcamp from anywhere in the world too—in almost any language!

There are a lot of non-coding bootcamps today. Similar to above, if you’re looking to break into tech but aren’t sure if coding is for you, nowadays there are many other subjects available. On Dreambound, you can search for a variety of technology programs: cybersecurity, user interface/experience design, quality assurance, digital marketing, and much more. You don’t necessarily have to learn to code in order to break into the tech industry. This wasn’t really the case a few years ago.

In addition, these non-coding jobs are still high in demand today. For example, we’re seeing a lot of people want to break into the cybersecurity industry because a lot of government agencies, hospitals, banks, and other “stable” companies are hiring aggressively for cybersecurity specialists. People are drawn to the field because there’s job security, yet it still pays quite well.

Why coding bootcamps may not be worth it

Job market realities. Tech is on the rise again, but the big tech job market can be competitive, especially for entry-level engineers. A bootcamp alone won't guarantee a job, when you’re competing against recent college graduates and even some other junior/mid level engineers who have been laid off. Be sure to ask your admissions rep about what percentage of the recent class has been employed and what strategies they’re employing to adapt ot the current labor market.

More than ever, networking, building a portfolio, and nailing those interviews are key. Some bootcamps offer career support, apprenticeships, and/or internships—which can be a game-changer.

They can still be expensive. With high interest rates nowadays, unfortunately that has passed over to the lenders that work with coding bootcamps as well. Interest rates may be higher than before or lenders may be more strict about credit profiles they are willing to grant loans to. We’re also seeing that income share agreements (where you don’t pay anything until you’ve gotten a job with some minimum pay) are becoming less common. That said, these businesses still need to run! So, many lenders and coding bootcamps are operating close to usual.

How to make a decision

Assess your timeline, resources, and goals. First, be real with yourself about your timeline, resources, and goals. How quickly do you need to learn new skills? What’s your budget for education? Is this something you can afford right now? Will something about your timeline, resources, or goals change in the next couple of years?

Consider your current job situation. Next, think about your current job. Is staying put an option? If you looked back a year or two from now, would you be happy if you were still in your current job? Is it possible to keep working at your current job while enrolled in a bootcamp? Now is an incredible time to be in tech, with all the new innovations in AI and the scarcity of talent able to help build the future.

Self-study vs. structured learning. Be honest about your learning style. A lot of people have tried to watch Youtube videos as an introduction to programming or enrolled in a self-paced course, but don’t end up finishing. If this sounds like you, realistically it sounds like self-study might not be the right path for you.

Think back to previous learning environments (e.g. high school, college): were you able to effectively self-study, or were classes and the structured environment essential for your learning? Bootcamps offer a structured, immersive learning experience which might be what you need to stay motivated and on track.

Networking comfort level. Consider your comfort level with networking. You’ll have to hustle hard in order to get a job after your bootcamp. Are you comfortable cold emailing hiring managers so they’ll give you a chance? Are you comfortable adding strangers on LinkedIn so you can grab coffee to build out your network? If putting yourself out there sounds daunting, it might be a challenge to find a role post-graduation.

Leveraging personal connections. When the job market is tough, every personal connection counts. Think about your network: do you know someone in the industry who might be inclined to give you a chance once you're trained? Could be a friend who is willing to refer you to their company, or a family member with a business who needs a website so you can build out your portfolio. Having a potential inroad can make a big difference in how quickly you can transition into a new role post-bootcamp.

Consider other program options. We're seeing that Cybersecurity classes are really in demand (of all the tech programs we offer) because many cybersecurity programs offer job placement at government or healthcare employers. People view this as more stable compared to junior software engineering jobs. You can see Cybersecurity classes here.

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Hear from recent graduates

"You'll get hired as a junior dev, but it's not going to be the same crazy offers as you used to hear about. It changed my life though, I felt so stuck at my last job."

"Right now college grads aren't getting trained up in the stuff that matters. So when you go to a bootcamp and learn React, Next, Tailwind, whatever it's an easy choice for an employer to pick you instead."

"It's hard out there. I applied to literally hundreds of jobs for MONTHS and heard nothing..but I got an apprenticeship which just converted to a full-time offer..you really need to work hard to find someone to take a chance on you"

Conclusion

So, are coding bootcamps worth it in 2024? We think they are—if you are willing to work extremely hard and are okay with not immediately getting a job. Job searches are taking 6+ months—and it is especially challenging for new engineers—but people ARE still hiring today.

If you’re not okay with either of these things, it might be worth it to keep your current job and see if you can enroll in a lower-commitment option. Check out our post on coding bootcamps versus college degree.

Fel Gonzaga
Written by
Fel Gonzaga

Fel is a student support representative who guides enrollees to the right program and answers their queries. She's committed to helping students and takes pride in her work. In her free time, she enjoys sightseeing and hanging out with loved ones.

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