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Coding Bootcamp Guide: 7 Things to Consider When Looking at Coding Schools

By Daniel Weiss

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Finding and choosing the right coding bootcamp is a huge decision - there's a lot of time and money on the line. As it stands, there are over 100 bootcamps currently in operation with more sprouting up each month. But unlike college, no official ranking service, like Princeton Review or US News, exists. This means it’s up to you to figure out which coding bootcamps are best.

These are the main factors to consider when evaluating different programs.

1. Admissions

With so many options for coding bootcamps, it’s important to select one that will get you the results you want. However, the top schools often have very selective admissions. A look at why that is will help you select the school that’s right for you.

Many schools will provide information on how to best prepare for their admissions processes on their websites. Fullstack Academy, Hack Reactor, and Dev Bootcamp all have devoted pages on how to best prepare for admissions success. Quora is also a great preparation resource for schools like General Assembly. Check out this post by Fullstack's director of admissions on how to best prep for the application pipeline.

2. Finding the Right School

The reason this comes after admissions is that you’ll want to get a general feel for the selectivity of a school before you begin studying. If a school has little or no admissions process, that’s a signal that the curriculum starts at a more beginner level, and also probably an indication of the class's skill level. For more information on how to choose the school that’s best for you, here are two good resources: Course Report’s 2015 coding bootcamp guide, and a Quora Post by Flatiron School’s Adam Enbar.

3. Paying for a Coding Bootcamp

The price of a quality education isn’t cheap, but there are a few innovative lending companies that offer loans for career transitioners. Pave and Upstart in particular have special designations for those attending a coding bootcamp. Affirm is another popular option.

Some schools also have financial aid built into their tuition model. For instance, Grace Hopper Academy, an all-women coding school, and App Academy both have deferred tuition models, where students pay a refundable deposit upfront, and the rest is paid as a percentage of your first year’s salary once hired.

4. Which Language to Learn

There’s a lot of noise about which language to learn at a coding bootcamp (or in general). Unfortunately, some of the discussion is fueled by emotion and individual programmers’ personal habits rather than true industry demands. Here are a few good articles on the subject. We’ll let you be the judge.

Is the Programming Language Taught at a Bootcamp Important?

What are the Best Programming Languages to Learn Today?

Course Report: LAMP vs. MEAN vs. Ruby on Rails

How Much Does Stack Language Matter When Choosing a Bootcamp?

5. Projects Built by Students

If at all possible, try to see the projects created by students of the schools you’re considering. Nothing speaks volumes to the results of a program like the actual results of the program! Projects are important not only as a learning tool, but they’ll also play a big role in helping you get a job as a developer after graduation.

Fullstack Academy Student Projects

Grace Hopper Program Student Projects

Flatiron School Student Projects

6. Hiring Outcomes

If you’re attending a bootcamp to get a job, this is a must. All bootcamps will advertise their big-name hires first (these are the Googles, Facebooks, and Microsofts), but you’ll need to look further. Do a variety of companies hire from this school? Are any of the hiring companies doing work in the space you want to be in? Alumni are great resources during the job search, and if you went to the same bootcamp as them, they’ll be a vital asset to your personal hiring team!

Fullstack Academy Hiring Outcomes

Hack Reactor Hiring Outcomes

Coding Bootcamp Job Placement Demographics Report

Are Coding Bootcamp Students Hired Solely on the work Completed at the Bootcamp?

7. Graduate Reviews

Nobody has better insight into the quality and value of a bootcamp than the bootcamp grads themselves. Websites like Course Report and SwitchUp routinely conduct alumni interviews and have forums that allow attendees of top bootcamps to give feedback. Quora also tends to be an honest platform for in-depth reviews of immersive programs (Check out what former Fullstack students have to say on Quora).

If you're looking to attend an advanced coding bootcamp, judge the curriculum for yourself. Below, you can sign up to receive Fullstack's Immersive syllabus and see which technologies help Fullstackers get jobs at companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and more.