(Photo by Flickr user Dev Bootcamp, used under a Creative Commons license)
Technical.ly’s Editorial Calendar explores a different topic each month. The May 2017 topic is Learn to Code. These stories explore ways to dive into web development and software programming in each of our five markets.
In the past five years, New York’s coding bootcamp industry has grown significantly. The growth is good in many ways. A growing market with more competition means more choices for students and greater acceptance of non-traditional tech employees in the industry. Unfortunately, the downside of such intense competition is the shift in focus we’ve witnessed from many bootcamps: the shift away from creating real access and opportunities for students a more general focus on generating marketing leads.
In such a competitive city and environment, some bootcamps exaggerate their employment rates to attract new students and hit their marketing goals, making it difficult to determine the individual and collective credibility of local programs.
At Dev Bootcamp, we’ve long taken a stance against misleading practices and have encouraged students to look beyond the inflated “success rate” percentages used by some organizations. Instead we suggest people begin asking tougher questions of the programs they are considering.
Recently, the National Consumers League, which is well established and often considered “America’s pioneering consumer advocacy organization,” shared a guide to help students sidestep false advertising and identify market-tested coding bootcamps that will provide real opportunities to access tech-related jobs after graduation. The advice provided by the NCL is a great resource to use in determining the quality of a bootcamp, and we have a few of our own tips to add to the the list.
Tips from the National Consumers League:
If the job placement claim seems “too good to be true,” it’s probably false.
- Some local bootcamps advertise impossibly high job placement rates and starting salaries to lure prospective students. Unless you are aware of, and understand, the methodology behind a bootcamp’s jobs report, which often relies on cherry-picked data, don’t be fooled by vanity metrics when choosing a coding bootcamp.
Make sure that the schools you’re considering are licensed in your state.
- Aside from the inflated job placement statistics, you should be aware of the schools operating without a state license — a legal requirement. Dev Bootcamp is one of only a handful of schools to have proper licensure in every state it operates. A licensed training program must abide by very strict rules and regulations, established by a third party, to protect consumers from fraud, thus making it a more credible option. If a bootcamp isn’t licensed, it doesn’t have any legal obligation to refund your tuition should it close for any reason or at any time.
Don’t rely solely on advertising materials provided by the bootcamp operator.
- Students should speak to alumni who have first-hand knowledge of the training program, assess the qualifications of instructors, and read independent reviews on sites like Course Report.
More tips from Dev Bootcamp:
Consider what you hope to achieve with your coding education.
- A successful outcome after bootcamp graduation looks different for different types of students. At Dev Bootcamp, our students come from a wide array of backgrounds and have a variety of ways of defining personal career success. For example, some students want to get their foot in the door in the tech, while others want to learn to code to start their own businesses or get ahead in a current job or discipline. At Dev Bootcamp, we believe the outcome that matters most is the outcome that is most important for each particular student.
Ask if the bootcamp offers dedicated career support during and after the program.
- Students enrolled in Dev Bootcamp’s full-stack web development program receive the guidance, coaching and support they need to find a job in tech. In our program, you can count on one-on-one coaching time with a dedicated career developer, job searching strategies, technical interview training and practice, access to a proprietary employer platform where you connect directly with hiring managers, membership in our vast and vibrant alumni community with frequent networking opportunities, and work space on our campus to focus on your job search and career preparation. Graduates often say that our lifelong community contributed the most to their success.
Determine whether the bootcamp’s core values align with your own.
- Here at Dev Bootcamp New York, we pride ourselves on providing access to technical training for people from all backgrounds. We believe diversity in teams contributes to innovation, resulting in better technology for everyone. In 2016, the percentage of women and minorities enrolled in our program nationwide grew from 19 percent to 31 percent. We’re continuously launching initiatives to deliver on our commitment to diversity in tech, including the inaugural award of 24 full-tuition scholarships through the DBC Access Fund this spring.
When searching for the right bootcamp, there’s a lot of choice out there. Hopefully the tips from the NCL mixed with some of our own can help you determine the best choice for yourself.
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