Are Design Bootcamps Really Worth it?

November 10th


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Artur Meyster

This post is by a special guest contributor – Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.

The worth of a design or coding bootcamp depends on many factors, not just tuition costs. As this new form of intensive training grows, many people remain skeptical if such programs are worth their time and money.

A four-year college degree can cost $150,000 whereas a coding bootcamp can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $30,000 depending on the school and payment methods. 

So, are bootcamps worth the investment? According to the Course Report, bootcamp graduates have a satisfaction rate of 83 percent.

You should also consider that the average salary of bootcamp graduates is around $70,000 per year; in cities like Los Angeles, the average jumps to $100,000 per year. 

Now, let’s take a look at a few of the benefits of bootcamps and what you need to succeed at one below – then you can decide for yourself if they’re worth it.

Integral Curriculums

Bootcamps have complete curriculums in which they teach all the tech skills and other soft skills needed to succeed. Design bootcamps provide students all the skills needed to enter the tech industry. 

The best bootcamps also dedicate the last few weeks of the course to building a portfolio, that way you will find yourself ready to enter the market. 

An example of a good curriculum is the UX design course offered by DevMountain. The curriculum includes UX research, prototyping, information architecture, visual and motion design, building a resume and portfolio, and career and interview prep. Plus, the school offers free housing for students who enroll full-time and the opportunity for networking in industry events.

Creating a Network

One of the keys to entering a new industry is to know the right people. People who enroll in bootcamps often do it because they want to become tech professionals right out of high school or want to change their current career. 

Either way, networking is a must to enter the tech industry, and in this regard, bootcamps help a lot. Most design bootcamps have teachers with lots of experience in the field; they can provide real-life examples of working in the tech industry as well as industry connections.  

Some bootcamps also provide links to recruiters in the tech industry. After that, it is up to you to make the right impression. In an interview with Course Report, Chris Dominguez, DevMountain Director of Outcomes and Student Success, explains how he has helped students land jobs with companies like American Express and Wayfair by helping them reframe their resumes.

Dominguez says they support students from day one at the bootcamp through to the end of the course and beyond. “We stay with you. A massive function of DevMountain is to guide and also to be there to celebrate the wins.” To help students accomplish these wins, DevMountain holds its own career events twice annually. They also actively engage employers, advocating for their grads, Dominguez explains.

Bootcamps vs College Degrees

One of the concerns some people have when looking into a design bootcamp is that they will not find a job when competing against candidates with a bachelor’s degree. This could not be further from the truth. 

In fact, the tech industry has a shortage of professionals and as bootcamps gain more traction, more and more companies are hiring bootcamp grads because they want someone with hands-on and up-to-date experience. 

Some companies do require a bachelor’s degree, but many more employers value experience over a degree or certification. These tech companies that hire bootcamps graduates aren’t just startups; tech giants like Google or Paypal are among those turning to bootcamp grads.

You Need Dedication

Another belief about design bootcamps is that they are more relaxed than a college degree because they are much shorter. The truth, however, is that they are intensive courses with heavy workloads. 

Bootcamps require a lot of dedication and passion; you will be learning new concepts every day and completing projects each week. You will have to set aside time for going to class, studying, networking and collaborating in group projects. 

Even when doing a part-time bootcamp, you will probably be dedicating 30 to 40 hours a week to the course. You have to be self-sufficient and disciplined to be successful. With this in mind, employers know bootcamps require hard work, meaning they know bootcamp graduates have the dedication and passion needed to succeed in the industry.

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