Should You Try A Bootcamp?

For learners that wish to acquire new tech skills, there are typically two options: self-teaching the material, or an online structured course. Curriculum Designer Siana Altiise discusses the pros and cons of each avenue in this article, and why a middle-of-the-road path may be the ideal avenue to take.

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This article on “Should You Try a Bootcamp” is part of a series developed by Curriculum Design to guide students through the Flatiron School program experience.

If you are contemplating breaking into tech and need to learn some new skills, you’ve more than likely come across two common paths: self-learning, and the coding bootcamp. While self-learning can be a great option for those dedicated enough to maintain momentum for months on end, online courses and bootcamps are often described as the “fast track” to learning skills that can lead to well-paying tech jobs.

Here we’ll go over the pros and cons of each learning avenue, so you can decide which is the best path for you to take on your journey toward tech.

Learning At Your Own Pace

Self-teaching is becoming increasingly important, as educational formats increasingly shift away from traditional, teacher-centered settings and toward learner-centered approaches.

Learning on your own can enhance your learning experience and create the intrinsic motivation necessary to enable effective, dynamic, lifelong learning processes. This method of learning is best suited for those who prefer to learn at their own pace, and want some flexibility in the structure and content.

Self-Learning: Benefits

  • You get to set your own syllabus and pace. You can put together a medley of programs/languages to cover just what you need.
  • You can practice all you want, and experiment as much with the code as you need.
  • Self-learning is usually directed toward an end goal – such as developing an app. In the end, you have something concrete to show for it.
  • You can study where you want, how you want. Location is not an issue. You don’t have to leave home if you don’t want to.
  • There is a wide range of online courses available to suit every budget from free to paid.

Self-Learning: Drawbacks

  • When you are working alone, it is easy to lose motivation or get stuck. It takes a lot of discipline to move forward on your own.
  • Working by yourself can get lonely. There is no one to discuss questions and concepts with, no one to turn to for help, especially when Google isn’t able to provide you with the answers.

The Fast Track (a.k.a. A Bootcamp)

For those who learn best in a structured, group environment, a bootcamp is a good option to consider. This format may also include optional group sessions and time for individual practice, as Flatiron School does.

This style of online learning works well for those that prefer group-based learning. With lower tuition costs, shorter class times, and a practical learning curriculum, bootcamps as alternative education programs make tech education more accessible.

Fast Track: Benefits

  • Bootcamps lay a good foundation, covering the theory of a language in a structured manner.
  • They usually have practice sessions for you to try out simple projects.
  • They offer great group dynamics and enable participants to learn from each other and work together.
  • Demonstrate your ability to learn new technologies quickly – a major plus for potential employers.
  • Great way to make connections with peers as well as tap into your instructor’s network.
  • Can attend in person or online, depending on the provider.

Fast Track: Drawbacks

  • Bootcamps cover a fixed syllabus that may or may not suit you. It’s also a set pace, so you won’t be able to skip parts you know or linger on difficult sections.

The Best Of Both Worlds

Both learning methods have their own advantages and drawbacks. To get the best of both worlds, you can choose a middle path. First, learn some basics on your own using online resources. Then do a bootcamp or further online course to learn the methods, theory, and ways to continue polishing your newly-learned skills. Flatiron School both combines and encourages these approaches in our live programs.

The ability to learn new skills and adapt to new knowledge quickly is becoming increasingly vital for success, giving learners the drive and enthusiasm necessary for ongoing engagement with new material, even when they are settled into their careers and formal schooling is far behind them. As the need for ongoing learning grows, embracing online learning and self-learning is crucial in such a rapidly-changing job market.

Posted by Siana Altiise  /  January 4, 2023