Coding bootcamps have been all the rage for at least a decade, and you might be considering enrolling in one. But how do you know if a bootcamp ad is a scam or not?
You've likely seen unflattering reviews on platforms where real users leave their comments and share their experience with coding bootcamps. Most of the rankings of the best bootcamps are based on such reviews. The most popular ones are Career Karma, Course Report, and Switchup. But you can’t rely on reviews alone. If your goal is to get a job in tech without wasting your money, watch out for these red flags.
Red Flag No. 1: Coding school promises to get you job-ready too quickly
Technical bootcamps are meant to last for a shorter duration than college. Even so, they are intense training programs that give you the up-to-date knowledge and skills every tech specialist needs. But how do you know for sure?
If an ad for a bootcamp claims you’ll become a software engineer in anything less than six months, you should think twice before reaching for your credit card. Training to be a good coder takes time and effort.
TripleTen’s schedule is jam-packed with theory and practice, and spans half a year—if you’re doing it full-time. Our part-time program lasts up to 10 months. It may feel long, but with so much to learn, there’s no point in rushing it. For specialties like data science and data analytics, it’s no different.
“The length of the bootcamp was a challenge—eight months," says Chuks Okoli, TripleTen grad and machine learning engineer.
But I’d rather be a data scientist in eight months than do a bootcamp for, like, six weeks and claim to be a data scientist and not even know what I’m doing. Chuk Okoli, TripleTen grad
Red Flag No. 2: You can’t find a detailed syllabus
If a coding academy claims to provide quality education to students, why would it want to hide any information about its curriculum? On the contrary, it will be proud to show off what it has to offer. The less you know about what you're about to learn, the more skeptical you should be.
Incomplete lists and headlines for the program without any details about the skills and tools you’ll be mastering are not enough either.
You need to know the ins and outs of a bootcamp to understand if it suits your needs.
It’s also worth validating the syllabus by a friend who already works in tech. They could tell you if it's a wise choice or advise against signing up for a particular bootcamp.
At TripleTen, all our syllabuses are available online, detailing the modules and sprints week by week. Getting familiar with them is our first recommendation to potential students.
Red Flag No. 3: You don’t know who will be helping you along
Before enrolling in a coding bootcamp, make sure you don’t get a pack of pre-recorded video lectures.
There’s nothing wrong with lectures; however, you’ll also want as much practice and feedback as you can get.
Otherwise, you won't get your money’s worth.
In high-quality bootcamps, whether online or offline, you’ll be offered tons of support from mentors, managers, and code reviewers. You’ll be teaming up with other students, and should you get lucky, you could meet your future employer during an externship. After all, making friends and networking is a big part of the learning process.
TripleTen grad Zachary RodriguezBreaking Through a Professional Ceiling: Rex Rodriguez’s TripleTen Story says teamwork was a lifesaver to him. “You can assess where you are compared to others in a similar position. And if there are more experienced people ahead of you, you can study their code and learn from them. If there are people who aren't on your level, you can help them. Plus, you can add ‘working on a project with other people’ to your resume. That's important.”
Red Flag No. 4: There are no employment guarantees
The strongest motivation to master a new profession is to use your new skills and get paid for them. So it’s only natural to expect your school to help you land the job of your dreams.
Top schools offer internships at real companies, have a career advisor team, and support students beyond graduation. At TripleTen, we even return our U.S.-resident grads their tuition if they fail to get a job in software development after six months of active search. Coding schools that have none of the above make their study program worthless.
Eighty-seven percent of our alumni land a job in tech within six months of graduation. “I got hired for almost the very first job I interviewed for,” says TripleTen grad and former animation artist Desiree BradishFrom Graphic Design to Code Design: Desiree Bradish’s TripleTen Story.
I really nailed it! I felt prepared for all of the questions, and it was largely because I was able to talk to people [on TripleTen Career Team]. Desiree Bradish, TripleTen grad
Red Flag No. 5: A school’s graduate outcomes are not public
You’ve probably heard this one before (see Red Flag No. 2), but once again: transparency is key. A coding academy shouldn’t conceal information, including employment rates for their students.
Graduate outcomes show the real value of education. Eye-catching logos and figures on the landing page should be backed by independent reports and grads ready to vouch for the quality of the program they’ve completed.
At TripleTen, we publish annual reports with key data collected through online surveys of hundreds of alums. We also regularly interview our students so that we—and you—know how it fared for them during the bootcamp and beyond.
Now that you have the checklist of things to be aware of, make sure that whichever coding bootcamp you choose ticks all the boxes. And before anything else, check out what TripleTen has to offer. You may find the bootcamp you’ve been looking for here.