We’re going through a coding bootcamp boom! And there’s a good reason for this. Coding as a career can be incredibly fulfilling, and gives someone the chance to work in some of the biggest technology companies as well as for some of the smallest, most nimble start-ups out there. There are near-limitless ways to use coding education.
With the rise of coding bootcamps, it can be hard to start differentiating one from the other. Though some bootcamps have tried one key tactic: guaranteeing a job after graduation or your money back. At the onset, it can seem like an incredible guarantee. After all, who wouldn’t want their tuition fees back if the time and energy spent into a coding bootcamp didn’t turn into a full-time job. But these programs often put a few conditions in very small print that make these guarantees far less valuable.
- Unreasonable Job Search Criteria: To qualify for the money-back guarantee, many coding bootcamps put black-and-white criteria around the number of job applications you must submit in a given week, as well as other details about your job search. If you are looking for a unique type of job, or if the job environment isn’t as robust in your location, these criteria may be completely unaligned with your situation.
- Inability To Turn Down A Job Offer: Believe it or not, some coding bootcamps won’t make good on their money-back guarantee if you turn down a job offer. And yet, there can be extremely valid returns to not accept a job. It can be a terrible personal fit, it may not be in the field you wish to enter, or it may offer an uncompetitive salary and benefits.
- Call Internships A Job: Internships are incredible learning experiences, often giving you the chance to get on-the-job training to apply your newfound skills in a real-world environment. However, they are not full-time jobs. They don’t come with benefits like health insurance, and often times the pay a small stipend, if any money at all. However, some coding bootcamps will consider an internship as a job, and remove any chance of you getting your money back if that’s all you can find after your bootcamp experience.
- No Parameters Around Job Type: While this isn’t the case of everyone, most students enter coding bootcamps to prepare themselves for technical, coding-oriented careers. But, many bootcamps count non-technical jobs as fulfilling their job-after-graduation guarantee. In fact, some will even find admin jobs within their own organizations to fulfill their guarantee. While this allows them to fulfill their criteria, it by no means aligns with student expectations prior to enrolling.
Because coding bootcamp job guarantees come with so much baggage, they often aren’t a good signal of whether or not a bootcamp can truly prepare you for a career as a web developer after graduation. They may be attractive, but they aren’t actually that valuable.
Instead, as you evaluate on coding bootcamp against another, a better evaluation method is looking at how well they prepare students for a new career after graduation. Are the languages they teach aligned with the types of languages sought after by core employers? Do they offer you the chance to build a coding portfolio to showcase your talents? And, do they support professional networking so that you can get the interviews you need to even get that first job? Being able to say “yes” to these questions are far stronger indicators of a bootcamp built for your professional success than any job guarantee.