The Reasons of Coding Bootcamp Failure and How to Avoid It

Coding boot camps are on the rise and have quickly gained popularity over the past couple of years because of their flexible program structure and affordability. According to The Next Web, coding boot camps have grown 11 times since 2013, with approximately 23,000 people graduating by the end of 2019. 

There are various reasons you may want to attend coding boot camps, from kick-starting your career in Software Development to gaining more new skills to add to your experience as a Front-End Developer, UX Designer, software developer or Cybersecurity Specialist.

Whatever may be the reason you apply to a bootcamp, make sure you do it for the right reasons to avoid a coding bootcamp scam and failure. The last thing you would want is your time and money wasted when you could have spent it doing something that better fits your vision and goals. 

If you’re going to advance your technical skills in programming, or you are a beginner with a true passion for the field, then attending a coding bootcamp is worth considering. Just ensure you keep in mind all the below information to avoid a coding bootcamp failure.

person writing code

Five common problems most coding boot camps have

1) They promise a job for small effort and money

One of the problems with coding boot camps is that some schools mislead students into thinking software development jobs are 100% guaranteed with minimal effort and money spent.

While the price for a coding boot camp may be lower than a 4-year college/university degree, some boot camps are still costly. Moreover, a common way that coding bootcamps entice students to apply is through payment options like deferred tuitions, where prospective students can pay no upfront/little cost and complete their tuition payments once they land a job. While this is great if students find a job after the bootcamp, it can be frustrating if they are not successful. This issue may be more common among those graduating and starting from scratch in software development.

Students who fail to land jobs after a coding bootcamp may find themselves asking if such schools work in the first place since they will have spent a couple of weeks immersing themselves in studies they thought would help them get a programming job as soon as possible. 

If you are considering coding bootcamp, do not fall into the trap that some schools often market online, promising job success as soon as students graduate their courses and programs in a short amount of time.

2) The quality of their programs may suffer

When researching coding bootcamps to apply to, be sure to go through enough alumni reviews to help you make an informed decision. The quality of the boot camp’s curriculum is a crucial element to look into because it will affect the quality of the skills you learn throughout the program. The last thing you would want upon graduating coding bootcamp and when you eventually find a job is not to have all the technical understanding required to succeed in a programming role.

When going through alumni/student reviews, you will notice a lack of negative experiences online: The positive feedback will fill most of your search results. That is because many graduates prefer avoiding confrontation with the coding bootcamp if they cite their negative opinion, primarily after they have already invested a lot of time and money into the programs. They may also want to avoid the fact that they have failed the bootcamp due to a lack of course quality. 

So, if you search for a quality-dense coding boot camp and want to learn helpful information there, make sure that you take your time researching the program and speaking with as many people as you can.

3) Their placement numbers can mislead students

According to a review of coding bootcamps done by TechBeacon, which gathered details of approximately 24 programs, 17 of the 24 programs claimed that more than 90% of their students become successful at landing full-time or freelance positions upon graduating. However, these numbers can be misleading — and unfortunately, most jobs placement percentages are often exaggerated and are mainly unaudited.

Be sure to look into more than the job placement rates when researching a coding boot camp; alumni reviews might give you a more accurate representation of job placements.

Another thing to keep in mind is that many schools end up hiring their own bootcamp grads as instructors or mentors as soon as they graduate. It ends up being a part of their job placement statistics which they advertise on their website. This practice also fills any shortages in teaching staff and is a common practice that may mislead students. Such a trick is sometimes common for all educational institutions, not boot camps only, of course, but it’s worth your consideration.

Try to find and investigate as much information as possible regarding where bootcamp graduates end up working, not just the percentages of job placements.

4) Coding bootcamp graduates flood the market

Another concern of coding bootcamps, and why your chances of really standing out are sometimes slim, is because of an abundant market of coding bootcamp graduates. That’s especially true for those starting from scratch in the tech field.

Coding bootcamps are, first and foremost, a business. They arose only a couple of years ago when entrepreneurs realized a gap in the number of  software developers on the market and decided to create coding bootcamps to fill it. While the market is filled with coding bootcamp graduates, this does not necessarily mean that they are all successful and armed with the right skill set to succeed in a job in tech companies.. 

The fact is, there are thousands and thousands of professional developers out there that require more experience across many areas in programming to excel. Coding bootcamp takes a concise amount of time to complete compared to a traditional four-year degree, which is why students rush into applying to these schools to grab coding expertise and then start coding job.

Before choosing and entering a bootcamp experience, just remember that you need the right amount of experience to succeed in a job role and that the programming language expertise you will gain throughout the coding bootcamp is not enough.

5) Their courses are super short to graduate a high-level specialist

Again, coding bootcamps take quite a short amount of time to complete compared to a traditional four-year degree: They are super immersive. And while students do learn all things programming, graduating from a coding boot camp does not make them high-level specialists. 

The topics covered throughout coding bootcamps teach all the fundamentals of web development, like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Still, the issue here is the amount of time allocated to each subject. Most bootcamps will happily cover all these topics without the deep-dive required to arm graduates with quality skills upon graduating.

Looking at course outlines is an excellent indication of the time spent covering different topics. 

For example, DevMountain top coding bootcamps allocate two of the thirteen weeks in total on the fundamentals of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and Lambda School gives four weeks for these subjects. It’s a short time for coding bootcamp graduates to truly call themselves Full-Stack Developer, meaning that many students will suffer when asked to perform tasks on the job due to a lack of solid understanding of different subject matters in tech.

bootcamp fail

Why you can fail in a coding bootcamp

You come unprepared

Once you enter a coding bootcamp , you may find yourself not meeting the expectations you had and start wondering if coding bootcamps work. One of the reasons this often makes a big difference among students’ experiences is because they come to coding bootcamp totally unprepared and their coding journey becomes downsides.

While coding bootcamps successfully equip beginners with the technical efficiency  needed to become programmers, you still cannot enter without the knowledge or general understanding of “who is who” in the niche. The mock interviews procedure at coding bootcamps aims at eliminating those who seem uninterested in actually learning to write code and those who are not that motivated to learn.

Remember that bootcamps come with the setback of being a high-stress environment (because they are short and therefore immersive). So if you can’t handle this type of environment, you are better off not applying.

Some bootcamps prefer that their applicants know the code basics before applying – learning different languages like HTML and JavaScript is a good start. Also, if you are a complete beginner, it is probably a good idea to familiarize yourself with code via free online resources. It will give you a better idea of what to expect, how to avoid a coding bootcamp failure and gauge your interest in the field.

Money is your only motivation

Advancing your skills for a higher pay cheque is a common practice and the main reason people pursue further education, and it’s okay. However, when money is your only motivation, with little or no interest in the field itself, then your chances of boot camp fail become higher.

Sure, having a higher income is a huge plus, but make sure you are getting into a coding bootcamp for the right reasons, which is to advance your expertise and experience in the world of coding and become an invaluable hire down the road.

If you doubt the path you wish to take as a coding bootcamp student, it is perhaps a good idea to sit down and write a list of your goals and the reasons you think you want to be in coding. Once you realize the reason behind your motivation, you will likely be more successful throughout your experience at the program. Remember, money should not be your only reason – and you will probably make it in any area where you invest time learning anyway, so make sure you are at least passionate about coding.

You don’t try hard enough

Another reason you may fail in your coding journey is because you do not try hard enough to succeed. Many students don’t comprehend the intensity of a coding bootcamp and get into it thinking they will grow with minimal effort.

Boot camps design courses and programs to be completed in a concise amount of time, and for this reason, they are jam-packed with classes. Many will find the pace challenging for their liking and may fail because they did not put in the extra effort. That is especially true if you attend a full-time coding bootcamp, where you will need to work at least eight hours per day.

Remember that programming takes a mental toll, and it is not all theory, so you will be required to stay focused and concentrate throughout these eight hours per week. There is a lot of mental effort associated with succeeding in a coding bootcamp, so be prepared to dive deep into the technicalities and not assume that it is easy work. Without a true passion for coding and a willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed, you will likely fail coding bootcamp.

You learn to writing code just because it’s trendy

Coding bootcamps have had immense popularity over the past couple of years, but according to real world experience some students end up failing because they enrolled with the wrong reasons in mind to begin.

Learning to code is no easy task, and becoming a successful programmer is even more complicated: It requires the right amount of experience and skill set to arm you for success. You may think that getting into a coding bootcamp will help you land your first job in tech quicker, and it may do so, but do not just get into it because it is trendy.

Before applying, make sure that you are genuinely passionate about the field. Talk to any peers in the area to better understand what to expect; do your homework when researching a program’s curriculum; and talk to any alumni online to get a solid idea of their experience.

You may also want to consider connecting with alumni through LinkedIn — this is a legit way of finally finding honest feedback online, so do not hold back.

You hope for a high salary just after graduation

Again, if money is your primary motivation to apply for a coding bootcamp, you may want to reconsider your decision.

While money is essential, and you may, in fact, end up with a higher paycheck after graduating, this is not always the case. Job search is often very challenging upon graduation because of immense competition in the field. Some have their salary expectations set so high that they end up disappointed. If you enter a coding school merely to get a higher salary after graduating, then your chances of boot camp fail grow.

It is not wrong to wish for a higher salary, of course, but if this is paired with a lack of motivation or a lack of love for coding, be prepared to fail. To help identify whether or not you are passionate about the field, gather as much information as you can about it and sit down and write a list of the pros and cons of you attending coding bootcamp. When your thoughts are on paper, it may help make things a little clearer.

How to avoid coding bootcamp failure

If for any reason, you ask yourself what happens if you fail boot camp, then you may want to consider these tips to avoid it. Failing coding bootcamp is more common than you think, given the intensity of their program, but it is preventable nonetheless.

Once you’ve enrolled, it is essential to put in the effort to succeed and not just assume it is an easy process. Before applying, you need to know and understand what you are getting yourself into; therefore, you can prepare by researching the bootcamp’s curriculum to get an idea of what to expect so you are not overwhelmed.

Another crucial thing to keep in mind is whether or not you are genuinely passionate about coding. The field is highly technical, so if you do not feel like being a coder is 100% what you want, then you may want to reconsider applying. If you are a beginner in the field and are looking to change careers, then a coding bootcamp may be a great start since you will learn all things programming.

Moreover, attending a coding bootcamp will provide you with many networking opportunities and career services, so ensure you’ll use these resources if you want to succeed in the bootcamp. A lot of coding bootcamps also pair students with mentors towards the end of the program, and this is an excellent opportunity to ask questions and seek interview advice, for instance.

In addition, to help avoid coding bootcamp failure, it is also equally important to remember that such other schools are not that simple to complete and that they require a lot of time and effort from your end. A full-time coding bootcamp may need an eight-hour commitment per day from your end, in addition to the mental effort associated with learning programming skills.

While some knowledge of code will help beginners succeed and avoid failing coding bootcamp, it is not a prerequisite to admission at most coding bootcamps. What you’ll need to do is immerse yourself in the bootcamp, especially if you are a beginner with no prior coding experience.

In addition to having some coding background to make your life easier, some good-to-have traits will come in handy once you’ve enrolled at a bootcamp. These traits will help set you up for success at a coding school:

  • being a self-help learner with a passion for coding; 
  • being highly adaptable, and capable of thriving in an intense learning environment; 
  • having the determination to succeed in the tech field; 
  • good communication skills; 
  • be self-driven and resourceful; 
  • have an aptitude for learning highly technical lead in coding programs and tools to succeed in the industry. 
  •  Critical thinking skills * Problem-solving and decision-making techniques:

As noted earlier, many coding bootcamps help set up their bootcamp gradsfor success by providing excellent opportunities for networking, including career services. Many of these programs also hire industry experts as instructors, meaning that you may have access to real-life examples to enhance your technical learning. 

Building your portfolio while studying is also a great idea to help you throughout the mock interview process. Instructors usually help guide you through best practices, so make use of this to better prepare for the job market after graduation.

Person on computer coding

The bottom line

Coding bootcamps are intense, incorporating every technical skill you need to help launch your career in tech. Establishing your technical skill set throughout your time at a coding bootcamp is an invaluable opportunity to land the job you have always wanted. But be sure to follow the proper steps to succeed, first of which is being confident that a career in coding is truly a passion of yours.

Avoiding coding bootcamp failure starts with setting your expectations and knowing that it is not an easy path, especially if you opt for the full-time option. You will invest a lot of time and effort to turn your experience into a success, in addition to setting time aside for networking opportunities, which you should not underestimate!

Moreover, remember that, before applying for a coding bootcamp, do your due diligence when it comes to researching schools and reading through alumni reviews. It is not enough to trust everything you read online; so, connect with any peers in the industry to learn more about the schools you are considering.

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