Do coding bootcamps work? At Smoothstack, this is a question we get asked all the time. Lots of people are looking to jumpstart a career in tech, or switch lanes from a non-technology background – and bootcamps can seem like a powerful potential shortcut.
Because developer bootcamps promise students a quick way to acquire the prerequisite coding and programming skills needed for high-paying tech jobs, it’s not surprising that it has grown into a billion-dollar market. Previously valued at $460.7 million back in 2019, the coding bootcamp market has grown exponentially. Observers expect the industry to reach $1.2 billion by 2026.
But for many bootcamp graduates, expectations of a quick and effortless entry into a tech career doesn’t manifest. This can create disappointment. However, the issue here is an expectation mismatch. The reality is that developer bootcamps are a great way to learn and acquire tech skills and certifications that someday will translate to a career in tech – but they aren’t always shortcuts to high-paying tech positions.
Three Things that Bootcamps Miss
Short and intensive coding bootcamps cram coding and programming lessons – including front-end development, back-end development, and full stack development – into a small learning window.
Does this work? Well, yes, in the sense that you equip yourself with a raw set of the tech skills that the industry needs. But bootcamps aren’t magic bullets. Here are the three main reasons why coding bootcamps don’t work as an instant portal to a tech job.
1. They Can’t Offer Real World Experience
Not all coding bootcamps are created equal. Although most bootcamps offer extensive learning and development within a limited window, only a few can excel in terms of the quality of instructors, time devoted to learners, accreditation with government agencies, and enterprise partnerships. And when it comes to experience, only some bootcamps can offer learning based on real-world situations.
Why is this so important? Because the classroom and the real world are two different things. Most professional coders agree that it takes three to six months for a new learner to be fully acquainted with coding basics. Acquiring and retaining all that knowledge in just months is already challenging. And that’s just the basics.
Many experienced developers have dedicated years to learning and mastering the idiosyncrasies of particular programming languages. Coding bootcamp graduates spend most of their time focusing on learning and applying coding languages. However, they run out of time to build other skills, such as deploying variables, loops, and other abstractions correctly and effectively. Gaining these skills can take years of experience.
2. There’s a Shortage of Battle-Tested Teachers
An absence of the right sort of teaching talent is another reason why coding bootcamps don’t work as a quick route to a tech job.
Many bootcamp students imagine themselves learning from tech professionals with vast expertise. However, finding coding teachers with real-world experience and industry knowledge is difficult. This isn’t the fault of bootcamp organizers, and they often source great educators. But the reality is that the very best coders are out there coding!
Many coding schools hire their graduates as mentors. This creates a glut of teachers without real-world experience and industry expertise to share and pass down to their students. While they can undoubtedly teach coding and programming, many developer bootcamp instructors are limited in providing lessons rooted in real-world situations.
3. There’s a Success Bias Toward Those with Real-World Experience
Do coding bootcamps work for career advancement? The answer appears to be a resounding yes. According to the Council on Integrity in Results Report, 71.4% of bootcamp graduates gained employment within 180 days.
However, there’s a big catch… many successful bootcamp graduates already have existing real-world experience in computer science. These individuals have a solid understanding of programming and coding from hands-on work. They need to add to their existing skills to advance their existing technology careers – but they’re far from starting from zero.
This explains why many bootcamp graduates learning from scratch have a particular struggle. Those coming in with existing real-world experience benefit more from what bootcamps teach. And then tech employers naturally give those with the better resume priority.
This can make it hard for, and crush the expectations of, brand new learners. Again, it’s not really anyone’s fault – it’s just the nature of the industry. If you’re hoping a bootcamp will be a one-way ticket to a great job, but there are people ahead of you hoping for the same thing and they also have real-world experience… Disappointment awaits.
Smoothstack: More Than A Bootcamp
Do coding bootcamps work? If you’re seeking to acquire new tech skills, then yes. But if you expect to secure a tech position with a premium salary, then developer bootcamps aren’t typically the shortcuts people hope for.
This is where we come in. Smoothstack is built to provide aspiring software developers and IT engineers with a more reliable and more structured route into opportunity and a new career. To join our program, you’ll need foundational skills in coding – but absolutely zero real-world experience is required.
Our Hire-Train-Place model places you in a learning incubator where you are immersed in an intensive training program. Our specialized, tailored programs train you for a great company’s specific tech stack – and ensure you are job-ready from the jump.
We partner with tech employers to develop a 12-week training curriculum based on their technology stack and framework, ensuring recruits are focused on learning and mastering their prospective employers’ tech stack, processes, goals, mission, and more. The result? Developers and engineers gain 2-3 years of experience equivalency in weeks.
And the best part? Developers and engineers acquire advanced tech skills, professional certifications, and placement with a national employer at no cost to them. We provide talent with the breakthrough they need to kickstart a successful career in IT, and take care of all the admin.