By Erica Freedman, SwitchUp
Coding bootcamps are a fast-track way to gain skills in programming, UX Design, and other tech fields to jump start a new career. Unlike traditional forms of education, this short-term, cost-effective alternative is specifically aimed at those eager to start on a new path. So how do bootcamps help you to achieve a software developer career change? Access this guide to better understand the effectiveness of coding bootcamps and see how a combination of skill-building programs and career services can catapult you into the job of your dreams.
Step 1: decide if a software developer career change is right for you
Before you change careers, there are some questions to ask yourself.
Are you no longer interested in your current job?
Do you find you are lacking upward mobility in your current position?
Do you feel stuck?
Are you burnt out?
Do you want or need to increase your income?
Do you want to increase your income potential?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, a bootcamp might be right for you. Because coding bootcamps equip graduates with specific skills, they are predominantly motivated by helping students achieve their highest career potential. Coding bootcamps are also regularly ranked on their hiring rates and average student salaries, so it is in their best interest to ensure your success.
Step 2: evaluate bootcamp career services
When you are looking to make a career change, one of the key elements you need from your program is an excellent career services department. Strong career support is one of the best signs of a worthwhile program. From one-on-one mentorship to job placement assistance, great schools are driven to help their grads succeed.
Mentorship can actually make or break a bootcamp. By finding the right mentor, students can jumpstart new careers with the support they truly need to succeed. One-on-one mentorship and group-style mentorship are two different ways bootcamps provide these services.
Review these important factors when considering the career support of a program:
Pair you with a mentor that best fits your needs as a student?
Provide office hours for questions and support?
Hold mock interviews to help you prepare for future professional experiences?
Aid in the building of your portfolio?
Guarantee a quality job after graduation?
Note: We used the word quality when referring to job placement above. Transparency is key when looking at job placement statistics. Make sure you ask not only if students are being placed in jobs after graduation, but also typical job titles and graduate salaries.
When comparing job outcomes statistics, be sure to ask your school for a third-party verified outcomes report. These reports will give you a detailed breakdown about how a school reports and publishes outcomes.
Step 3: acquire skills
A bachelor’s in computer science covers a broad level of training in several programming languages and also the history and theory of the computer science field. Coding bootcamps are designed to teach you marketable skills quickly. This includes specific program languages, teamwork, communication, and leadership, as well as job search skills like interview training and resume writing. A 10- to 12-week program will also include intensive hours of coding and possibly hackathons. As you learn these skills, be sure you not only grasp them but can actively put them into practice. Once you graduate from a bootcamp, you will be on the job hunt. Learn well enough to not only actively program, but also shine the brightest in an interview.
Step 4: study something of interest
Although many technology career paths offer impressive salaries, it is also necessary to ensure you are passionate about the new skill you are choosing to learn. There is a side of coding and programming that is considered monotonous. Before making a large commitment of time or resources, be sure you understand what an individual does in a particular position or department. Studying software engineering versus cyber security could mean a drastically different looking day. Consider your options before diving in.
Step 5: read reviews
For quality control, students have taken to using reviews and ratings from graduates to eliminate the less-than-satisfactory programs saturating the market. Detailed reviews take students beyond marketing materials or publicity and provide valuable first-hand experience.
These on-the-ground perspectives are often a deciding factor when students are looking to change careers. It can help students understand the big picture, from the beginning of their research through to a career.
The reviews on SwitchUp include how programs helped students before, during and after their attendance. If you’re curious about pre-work, info sessions, career services, or even the application process, all of these details can be found on the alumni reviews page for each individual school.
Step 6: begin your career transition
Utilize the mentors and career services department at your coding bootcamp. If you are unsure of what a program may offer in the way of a software developer career change, ask questions and seek help. It is worth noting that some bootcamp programs offer a job guarantee, where students are guaranteed a job within a certain number of months of graduation, or receive a full or partial refund of their program. See what your options are, read alumni reviews, and make sure and crack open your portfolio to start interviewing today.
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