Picking Your Winning Coding Bootcamp

If you followed this guide you should be in a very good position to make the right decision. At this point you have a clear understanding of what you want to get out of a coding bootcamp and which coding bootcamp can help you achieve your goal.

In this chapter we want to review all of your information, pick a winning coding bootcamp and do a final check by reaching out to some "winning bootcamp" students.

Finding Your Winning Coding Bootcamp

I'm pretty sure you already have a good feeling about which coding bootcamp is the best fit for you. That said, it is important to review all the information you collected to make sure you didn't miss anything.

Review your notes with the following three questions in mind:

  • Does the coding bootcamp help you reach your personal and professional coding goal?
  • Will you build real-world web applications by yourself and as part of a development team?
  • Can you afford to pay the total coding bootcamp pricetag of tuition and opportunity costs?

If you have some unanswered questions left that came up since talking with the coding bootcamp, follow up with an email and ask your final questions.

Make a Decision

Take a fixed amount of time, say one or two hours, review all your notes and compare your top coding bootcamps one final time. Once that time is over, make a decision and pick your winning coding bootcamp.

If you feel like picking a winner isn't easy or you all of the sudden have doubts about everything, remember this important quote from Peter Drucker:

"People who don't take risks generally make about two mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year."

Final Check - Talking to Coding Bootcamp Students

Congratulations, you've picked your winning coding bootcamp and are ready to do one final check: talking to an actual student of your bootcamp. This last step will not only reassure you in your decision, but it is also an opportunity to hear about valuable “learned lessons” from a student of your winning coding bootcamp.

Most good coding bootcamps will be happy to introduce you to a former or current student in their program. If you send an email to your contact person at your winning coding bootcamp you should have no problem getting an introduction to one of their students.

Here’s an email template you can use to send to your coding bootcamp contact:

Hey there [Contact Name],

I’ve considered many different coding bootcamp options and I really feel like your program is best suited for my needs and goals.

Before I commit to your program, I would love to chat with one of your current students to see if the teaching style at [Coding Bootcamp Name] will match my learning style.

Will you introduce me to a [Coding Bootcamp Name] student via email, so I can ask them a few questions.

Aloha, [Your Name]

Talking to a student from your top coding bootcamp is very similar to a reference check an employer would conduct for their number one job candidate. It's a last check before committing to hire somebody. You should treat your conversation with a coding bootcamp student the same way - as a last check before you commit and sign up.

This means that you need to be well prepared before your conversation. Talking to a coding bootcamp student without doing your research will most likely result in a poor conversation that’s full of questions that could have been easily found out through a few simple Google searches. Don’t be that person. Not only does it waste other peoples time, but it also puts a bad light on yourself. Especially since the coding bootcamp is very likely to check back with the student you talked with to get a reference on you as well.

Questions to Ask a Coding Bootcamp Student

Keep the conversation with a coding bootcamp student easy going and simple. Remember that they are taking time out of their busy day to talk and help you out. Be appreciative of their time and make sure you thank them for doing you a favor.

Here are a handful of good open ended questions to guide your conversation:

  • Can you describe your experience with [bootcamp name] from beginning to end?
  • What was your goal when joining [bootcamp name] and did you reach that goal?
  • Do you think [bootcamp name] will help me reach my goal of ...?
  • Is there anything else you think I should know about the [bootcamp name] program, before I commit to it?

In almost all cases the conversations with coding bootcamp students go very well and you are full of confidence and excitement that you're making the right choice. Use that confidence to your advantage and commit to your winning coding bootcamp.

We picked our winning coding bootcamp by reviewing all of our notes and making sure we have good answers to the following questions:

  • Does the coding bootcamp help you reach your personal and professional coding goal?
  • Will you build real-world web applications by yourself and as part of a development team?
  • Can you afford to pay the total coding bootcamp price tag of tuition and opportunity costs?

We also talked to a student of our winning coding bootcamp and received answers to the following questions:

  • Can you describe your experience with [bootcamp name] from beginning to end?
  • What was your goal when joining [bootcamp name] and did you reach that goal?
  • Do you think [bootcamp name] will help me reach my goal of ...?
  • Is there anything else you think I should know about the [bootcamp name] program, before I commit to it?
Chapter 8Alec Babala