Bootcamp for coders

06 Nov 2018

Bootcamp for coders

Jonathan Arnold, Editor of OBSERVE Magazine, reports on the coding bootcamp phenomenon sweeping the globe.

Bootcamps for young techies are sprouting up everywhere. Intensive coding courses lasting anywhere from a few days to a few months either online or in brick-and-mortar classrooms, aim to bring students up to speed in their chosen coding language as quickly as possible.

They promise hands-on experience, lightning talks, and intense learning, all of which may lead to attractive starting salaries in the lucrative world of software development.

The fast track

The School of Accelerated Learning in Hyderabad, India, for example, offers a full-time, 14-week coding bootcamp. Its Exponent Program in Web Development helps students “master the fundamentals of full-stack JavaScript, with a focus on React, NodeJS, database design, and APIs.”

The core elements of the course are meta-learning, a comprehensive curriculum, fluid classrooms, learning by building, and an exceptional faculty. The instructors are all experienced software developers who introduce concepts through lecture, live coding, lightning talks and hands-on demonstrations.

‘Fluid classrooms’, ‘lightning talks’ – this is learning, 2018-style.

According to the school, it looks for applicants “who are passionate about learning software development in a collaborative, immersive and accelerated environment.” ‘Immersive’ and ‘accelerated’ are the key words here. If you’re not up for intense tech hard labour, this might not be the career for you.

Hands-on experience

A similar course took place in August 2018 when a one-week, full-time React, Redux, GraphQL bootcamp was held in London. The bootcamp advertised itself as offering “extremely rapid, intense learning”.

Over a seven-day period, expert coaches and mentors worked alongside bootcampers to master the React ecosystem in order to qualify to work as a React specialist.

Reed UK – part of one of the world’s largest employment agencies – commented, “Many coding bootcamps are designed to be hands-on. So instead of lots of time spent in lectures, you’ll be putting your skills to the test in a series of practical exercises.

“With the industry growing by 150% and average starting salaries of £30,000+ for qualified web developers, there’s never been a better time to get into coding.”

No job, no fee

These intensive courses are proliferating so rapidly that recently produced a list of the Top 10 coding bootcamps. Number one on its list is AppAcademy, a full-time, intensive “full-stack developer training program” that spans 12 weeks. No previous coding experience is required. “Students use hands-on projects to build Ruby on Rails and JavaScript applications, and learn the ins and outs of web development in a completely immersive environment.”

Interestingly, AppAcademy offers a tuition deferment programme whereby students only pay the $17,000 course fees if they land a job within 12 months of completing the programme.

Sustainable growth?

Those who master coding in one or several programming languages during a bootcamp are usually able to apply for a job immediately upon completion of the course with starting salaries averaging around $69,000. That’s an attractive prospect for someone who wants to bypass a traditional – and slow – career progression through a large organisation.

But is the coding bootcamp bubble about to burst?

In autumn 2017, Reuters reported that the field was “jammed with programs promising to teach students in just weeks the skills needed to get hired as professional coders. So far this year, at least eight schools have shut down or announced plans to close.”

Added Reuters: “Collectively, these bootcamps expect to graduate 23,000 students this year [in the US and Canada], more than double the 10,333 students that graduated in 2015.”

If you are keen to learn programming languages and break into software development – and want a fast track to high earnings – a coding bootcamp may be just the ticket. But choose wisely, be aware that the field is becoming ever more competitive, and prepare yourself for intense military-style training – this is bootcamp, after all.

This article is from the latest ‘Talent and Potential’ edition of the Odgers Berndtson magazine, OBSERVE.

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