Coding bootcamps are cheap and short — so what’s the catch?

Bootcamps are so cheap compared to a 4-year university; that’s why they are so popular. They tend to cost anywhere from $5000 to $20,000 USD. Now, if you cannot pay that initially or you are nervous that you cannot land a job after graduating from bootcamp, bootcamps have another payment plan called deferred tuition. Deferred tuition allows you to pay no upfront cost or little cost, and once you land a job after bootcamp, a fixed amount from your salary will be used toward paying off the bootcamp.

The second advantage is that bootcamps are also shorter, as they can last from 8 to 12 weeks. Instead of graduating in years from universities, you graduate in weeks. The time investment is low compared to going through the traditional way.

Fantastic! Cheap and short! But then what’s the issue here?

Attaining a job right after bootcamp is not an easy task. A Stack Overflow study revealed that around 9% of graduates never found a software engineering job. 22% of graduates said it took about a month or longer to get a job, and 7% said it took 6 months or longer.

Why is this happening?

The focus of bootcamps is teaching their students skills to land an entry-level software engineering job. So they will teach them the full-stack languages (HTML, CSS, Javascript) and teach them backend (Python, Java, MongoDB). Because of the focus on these languages, these students tend to have a weak foundation in computer science fundamentals, which I have noticed countless times.

Their understanding of data structures and algorithms is super weak.

Bootcamp graduates struggle in evaluating time complexity of a coding problem. They do not know how to perform recursion or graph traversals. They are not comfortable tackling coding challenges. Why this is an issue is, unfortunately, companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter, etc ask these types of questions for phone interviews and onsite interviews. For these competitive companies, the level of technical questions asked on these topics ranges from medium to hard difficulty.

I have witnessed numerous clients that graduate from bootcamps fail coding interviews.I would say more than 70% of my clients who are bootcamp graduates have failed or would have failed these Facebook-rigor interviews.

Now what’s unfortunate is that some of these bootcamp graduates find out the tough way through constant rejections at these super competitive companies. They then enroll in another coding bootcamp designed to help with interview prep, which can cost around $5,000.

So what ended up maybe being a $10,000 investment now becomes a $15,000 investment.

Not all software engineering interviews are as hard as Facebook’s. Startups and smaller companies tend to have a lower bar for hiring engineers. However, if you are trying to aim for competitive companies, then my recommendation to overcome this weakness is to find supplemental reading materials and videos that focus on algorithms and data structures.

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