It’s not easy to make a big decision.
Psychology Today lists two good reasons why this might be the case:
- Lack of Self-Knowledge: You don’t don’t understand yourself well enough to know your own attitudes, preferences or tastes.
- Analysis Paralysis: You can see the pros and cons of both options and so it’s simpler just not to make a decision at all.
When it comes to deciding whether to study something new or change careers, you might find yourself stuck about what to do. We’ve outlined a number of factors worth considering before making the decision to enrol on an online coding bootcamp.
What is a Coding Bootcamp?
Before exploring these factors, it’s worth explaining exactly what an online coding bootcamp is. You can’t make a decision unless you have all the facts at your fingertips. Online coding bootcamps are structured, mentor-guided learning platforms that replicate an in-class experience. You’ll find that you need to put aside between 5 and 30 hours per week to study coding this way. But because the environment is flexible – you decide when you want to learn – you can choose when those hours will happen.
It’s useful to understand the distinction between a coding course and a Computer Science degree. In this article, the author explains how he experienced his Comp Sci degree (he studied a 4-year Computer Science Degree at a Northeastern University in Boston), and how a course like this differs from a coding bootcamp. Although he thought the degree would cover programming languages, he found that it focused mostly on “how computers are able to solve problems for programmers”. His only coding courses involved learning a programming language that was hardly ever used in the industry anymore. He concludes that many people with a CS degree are not necessarily fantastic programmers. Coding bootcamps, on the other hand, teach industry-specific coding skills – it’s more practically-oriented than theoretical.
Yusuf Isaacs, who now works as an intern at Injini, Africa’s first ed-tech incubator, did a BTech in Software Development and then followed it up with a HyperionDev Mobile Developer bootcamp, because he was tired of being stuck in tech support. “I wanted real-world skills for designing Android apps,” he says.
So, what factors should you be considering before enrolling on a bootcamp?
Should I do a bootcamp: three pivotal moments?
- Starting Out: You may have a college degree, but no actual tangible skills. Learning a programming language will provide you with skills that are in high demand. The average growth for all occupations between 2016 and 2026, as predicted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, is 7%; however, the jobs outlook for software engineers is 24%, much faster than average.
- Transitioning: It’s never too late to do something else. Perhaps you’ve started out as a Full Stack Web Developer and now you want to become a Mobile Developer who uses Java to build desirable apps, or you could be a marketing manager looking to get into tech and wanting to switch careers completely. A coding bootcamp lets you keep your day job while learning a new skill. You get a taste of the new career without needing to make any radical or permanent changes.
- Going Solo: Perhaps you want to start a new business or become a freelancer, a coding bootcamp lets you acquire the skills for these options. Or let’s say you are already a freelancer but you want to add to your skillset to acquire new customers or projects. A certification from a coding bootcamp lets potential clients know that you are competent in a particular area.
Things to consider before enrolling:
- Fear of Automation: Is there a likelihood that you will be replaced by a robot? Some careers are obviously more vulnerable than others. Bookkeepers, for example, have a 97.6% chance of being automated, whereas software developers have around a 12.8% chance.
- Unemployment: We’ve discussed people who are starting out and those who are mid-career, but what about the unemployed? Let’s say you’ve been unsuccessfully looking for a job for a while. Perhaps it’s time to acquire skills that are in high demand. Also, you can train up in only 6 months – that’s not a massive time investment, if you consider your entire working life.
- You’re indecisive: You don’t really know what you want to do. The good news about learning coding is that it opens the door to a wide range of software development careers, from a Full Stack Web Developer to a Mobile Developer, or even a Security Analyst.
- Your skills are out of date: You’ve become stuck in a very specific job and there are plans afoot to migrate systems. You need to pick up new tech skills. Forbes lists a number of tech skills that are in high demand this year, including data science, cloud and distributed computing and data visualization.
Are you ready for a career change?
Lastly, you may want to consider whether you ready for a career change. The National lists seven sign that the time is right to jump ship:
- You’re worn out and exhausted.
- Your skills and responsibilities are not a good match with your abilities.
- The salary, even if it’s large, is not enough.
- You’re not being used to your full potential.
- There is no room to grow.
- You feel overworked and under-compensated.
- You’ve lost your passion and enjoyment for your work.
It’s often easier to continue in a straight line than to shift direction. But think about it: you won’t know what is around the next corner if you don’t make that turn. Perhaps now is the right time to think about what you really want from your career.