“The proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time,” confessed Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations of Google, in an interview. “One reason is that I think academic environments are artificial environments.” Indeed, traditional education is great for learning skills that don’t change over time, but it can’t keep up with the pace of change outside the academic bubble.
Thankfully there are learning alternatives that adapt their curriculum quickly to mirror the skills that are most needed in the real world. Bootcamps. Coding bootcamps are technical training programs that allow students with little knowledge to focus on the most important aspects of coding and be able to apply their new coding skills in a short amount of time.
Let’s say that you aim a transition into a career in web development without going to college. How would you choose among all the bootcamps out there? First, be aware that there’s no such thing as the ‘best bootcamp’. The best bootcamp is simply the one that best fit the type of person you are, and the type of student you want to be. The question is then how do you know what your perfect match is? Consider these factors.
Programming Language. Although it should absolutely factor your decision, it matters less than you might think. There are so many valuable languages to learn, and it’s impossible to become fluent in all over a few weeks. Plus, technology changes quickly, and a popular language now may not be as relevant in a couple of years. Focus your energy on understanding the programming concepts. Once you handle its logic and fundamentals, it’ll be easier to learn any language.
Length & Intensity. Shorter, full-time programs tend to be more intense, and are the perfect choice for those who want to learn to code as fast as possible. Longer, part-time programs allow more flexibility for those unable to quit their job or have personal obligations. In any case, be prepared to spend nights and weekends programming in addition to regular learning hours.
Job Support. If this is your first-time diving into a tech role, you might need a career support staff to help you improve your odds of obtaining the job that most suits you. A somewhat universal metric is the job placement rate—but make sure you understand how they calculate it.
By the time you finish, you’ll be exhausted and immensely proud. Most importantly, you’ll be ready to completely change your career. Don’t forget, however, that digital learning never ends, and what you know today might not apply in the future. Stay motivated and be always ready to adapt to the constantly changing times.