By Kevin Juhasz for Hack Reactor
No matter what path you choose to take, you’re going to have to invest in your education. The goal of any student is to make sure they get the most out of that education and to make sure they’ll get a solid return in the future.
Careers in technology are an area where you’re most likely to find multiple paths to learn software engineering, data science, or whichever discipline you choose. Traditional education offers degrees for software engineering and programming languages. There is also the option to find methods to teach yourself.
Achieving your goals
Nothing evolves faster than technology and the programming needed to run that technology. A continuing issue with traditional schools is that changes to the curriculum can take time. The self-taught method requires you to wait for someone else to create the material.
Bootcamps thrive and survive on staying up-to-date with the technology and making sure their students are prepared to go to work upon graduation.
“Instructors at boot camps have years of experience in the field,” said Miranda Vin, co-founder of VinPit. “They don't simply educate students on how to write code; they also show them how to apply programming languages in real-world applications. These professors are well-versed in their subject matter, and, perhaps more importantly, they are approachable to students who require assistance.”
Assistance with learning
“While it is certainly possible to become a decent programmer by self-studying, I see huge advantages in taking bootcamps,” he said. “One major advantage is that you have a mentor or coach that you can ask in person. That is probably the most powerful advantage. In programming, a small thinking flaw can cost hours if not days of progress. An expert opinion is much more effective in solving those than spending hours on stack-overflow.”
The numbers on how many jobs result via networking vary, but there’s no debate that who you know is one of the vital components for advancing your career. Making those contacts is the first step in building a network that can help with a common career or one in freelance or consulting. Being self-taught reduces the opportunities to network, while traditional education won’t guarantee you’ll make enough of the necessary contacts for your field.
“Learning JS at a bootcamp gives you the opportunity to interact and network with others in the industry, including aspiring developers as well as industry leaders and professionals from the bootcamp's alumni,” said Eric McGee, senior network engineer at TRGDatacenters. “Networking within the industry will be critical in helping you grow your career after the bootcamp.”
Bootcamps don’t mess with unnecessary classes, so students are focused on what they need to learn to be successful. This also helps them increase their chances of landing work because the nature of the bootcamp is to make you do the work, so you can prove that you can do the work.