The Value of Coding Bootcamps: Does a Crash Course in Coding Increase Your Market Value?
We’ve all seen the course offerings out there: “Learn jQuery in Ten Days”; “40 Hours to SQL Proficiency”; “Web Dev Bootcamp — From Beginner to Expert”; and on and on. Many of these courses — quite a few of them offered exclusively online — not only give big promises but guarantee to increase your knowledge base and skill level at a fraction of the cost you’d expect. So, what is the real value of these crash courses in development and, more importantly, do they actually make you more hirable and grow your earning potential?
Unfortunately, the short answer to these questions is: “it depends.” We know, that seems like a non-answer answer. But, bear with us while we explain. At Exadel, we believe in hiring people who have a passion for technology. In our years of experience, we have discovered that it is these people — the folks who live, eat and breathe tech — that make the most productive, the most innovative, and the most insightful employees.
So how does that relate to coding bootcamps? We have found that folks who have dedicated their whole lives, careers and education efforts into a tech-specific field are almost always deeply passionate about technology. It is what has shaped them from a foundational level. On the other hand, while some of the people who are coming out of bootcamps are passionate about tech, not all of them are. It is simply a better hit-rate when viewing “tech passion” as the number one identifier of a good future employee to choose someone who has dedicated their life to the technology field rather than someone who has committed only a few weeks or months.
Another reason we give more credence to “lifelong techies” over bootcamp participants is the breadth of knowledge possessed by those who have broad coding education and experience. We all know that development and technology is constantly changing. One thing that a deep coding education and experience provides is a strong overview of the underpinnings of technology. By having a strong grasp on foundational technology topics like logic, programming language concepts, operating systems, algorithms, hardware, and so on, every OS and programming language provides a different window into the same world. Having a broad understanding of the foundation on which new concepts have been built means developers can easily shift between technologies and programming languages and can fundamentally be more agile than someone who just has an understanding — even a deep one — of one or two programming languages.
So avoid coding bootcamps, right? Hold on — remember at the beginning we said, “It depends.” So when does a crash course make sense? If you are a developer or architect with a CS degree, coding bootcamps can be amazing resources for helping to deepen your understanding of something you maybe only know topically, or can serve as a great refresher if you find your memory fuzzy on a specific technology or language. If you learned SQL at one point, but don’t use it in your day-to-day and suddenly have a project where you’re going to need to use SQL extensively, taking a four-week course can be just the right thing. In itself, adding “SQL Bootcamp” to your resume might not make you more valuable, but the simple fact that you can claim you’re proficient in SQL can.
To sum up, we won’t go so far as to say coding bootcamps have no value, because truly and honestly they do – in the right context. But if you’re looking for a magic bullet for becoming a developer and earning a six-figure income, taking a crash course in web development might not get you as far as you hope.
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May 26, 2017 at 06:39PM