Coding Schools

I once met someone at a tech event and they mentioned that they had been very busy lately preparing to apply to bootcamp. I asked them if they was joining the military. They laughed and said they were talking about coding bootcamps.

Coding schools, also referred to as coding bootcamps, are intensive programs that last a few months and aim to teach students practical coding schools that will make them employable as a developer, typically in a junior level role. The programs cost several thousands of dollars though they are less expensive than four years of tuition (if you do not have any scholarships in either situation).

Many people spend four years in college studying a major related to computing, usually computer science, before they get an entry-level position as a coder. Is a program that lasts a few months a legitimate alternative? This article discusses this question.

I have not attended a coding school, but my personal opinion at this early stage in my career is that these programs not only seem to be a legitimate way of learning how to code, but they seem to better prepare students for a job as a developer than the material they would learn in a four-year computer science program.

Why do I think this? I went into college with absolutely zero knowledge of how to code and my first two programming classes on core Java very difficult, but I managed to learn the material. However, after those first two classes, I did not have the slightest clue as to where to begin to build some sort of functional application that someone could actually use for a practical purpose.

It was not until I changed my major to Information Technology and was required to take a web development class that I learned about the 3-tier architecture and other concepts about how an actual application is built. I learned how to put code on a server so it could actually be on the Internet which was a lot simpler than I had imagined it may be. A few months later, I started an independent study project where I built a dating website.

This is not to say that my Java class was not important. The programming concepts learned in an introductory programming class and a data structures and algorithms class can be very useful in building applications.

I think a mix of the more practical skills helps those people newer to programming get an idea of what people can actually do with programming and why you're learning all the other theory.

Perhaps this is something that universities can change in their undergraduate degree programs. It may be less important for students who come into college with some experience coding and building applications as many of my peers did, but I think it's essential for people very new to technology.

Although I think that these coding schools are great in terms of the skills that they teach, I think that a university education is an ideal choice because many employers still want to see a degree in a technical field. This is no longer the case at Google according this article so perhaps other employers will follow suit. College also give students more time to absorb the material they learn and gain internship experience and explore personal projects. Of course, not everyone is in a good place in their lives to invest four years into a college education.

If I had to sum up my opinion on coding bootcamps in one sentence I would say, a college degree has its advantages, but coding schools are a viable option for anyone who does not have time to go back to school for a few years.