Developer Bootcamp Downsides? We Wouldn't Know
There are a few angles to this question. First, it's good that you're looking for some of the more negative stories/experiences from students who have attended a developer bootcamp. There is no universally positive educational experience out there, although Hack Reactor has achieved a 98% hiring rate with its grads, so an expert on negative experiences we are not
Schools have the right to expel a developer mid course, or at any point during the program. It has to protect the rest of the class from constant disruption, or physical or sexual harassment.
What you'll want to look at here is the language in the contract you sign before the course begins. Pay attention to policies regarding deposits, and don't hesitate to be assertive when asking for clarification about the rules regarding refunds.
The truth is there are many safeguards in place to make sure that students who are accepted into a program will have a successful time mastering the curriculum.
At Hack Reactor, we provide pre course work that is challenging and very informative to our admissions team. We've been able to prevent potential developers from an unpleasant time at our academy by reviewing their work thoroughly and deciding whether they should study more on their own before joining such a fast-paced environment.
Our interviewers are well trained at gauging your ability to learn on the fly, something that is highly relevant in a course like ours that is 12 weeks and nearly 800 hours.
Courses that provide after graduation attention also reduce the risk of a bad experience. Find out if the developer bootcamp you want to attend provides "Hiring Days" or job placement. See what type of environment the school provides and if it seems like a place where you can come back and seek help. Often times our students will return to get further clarification on programming interview questions that they didn't feel confident answering from potential employers.
You may find some of the negative reviews you're looking for in blogs from former students, or from popular review sites.
We touched a little bit on this in the last question. The short answer is absolutely. Whenever there's an agreement of money for services and the money is being paid before the services are provided, there should be a contract in place to protect the payee (you).
But before you even apply to a school, you should do enough research so that when moments like this occur, you're ready to go and you know what decision you're going to make.
If you're saying that you don't feel comfortable sending one of these schools a multi-thousand dollar check, then you're sort of saying that you don't fully know or trust that the developer bootcamp is legitimate. Never apply to a developer bootcamp unless you know for sure that it's legit and the results are worth it.
Hack Reactor's Shawn Drost adds more details:
The immersive learning environment that you experience by being in a developer bootcamp, around talented peers and real instructors, can't be matched. Also, working next to smarter coders (fellow students) drives you and motivates you to get better.
I'm not sure what the pedigree of the Tealeaf or Bloc teachers is, but Hack Reactor has instructors from OKCupid Labs, Twitter, Google, Mozilla, Adobe and more.
Employers will be looking at the pedigree and environment you learned to code in as much as they look at you. If you came from a place that churns out software developers that big companies are hiring, then recruiters will feel a lot more confident bringing you on board. Hack Reactor grads receive an average salary starting around 110k.