The Top 7 Questions You've Had About Coding Bootcamps

Stephen Ruh

Stephen Ruh,

June 07, 2023

You know that part of the story where the adventurer encounters a mysterious wizard? The hero asks for guidance, and the wizard gives them some cryptic response that they’ll spend the rest of the story trying to figure out. Well, this IS NOT that type of adventure. I know you’ve got questions, because you’re here… and why else would you spend your precious time and cookie-trackable-clicks if you didn’t really want to know this stuff? I’m not going to make you search all over the internet, I’m just going to give you the answers. This is an easy hero’s journey!

This list came from the top asked questions on google about coding bootcamps. Our team happens to know a thing or two about this topic, so I’ve pulled together the wisdom of many real coding wizards to enlighten you on your journey. Let’s get into it, shall we?

Members of the Web Developer Bootcamp at a recent demo day.

1. “Are bootcamps for coding worth it?”

Coding bootcamps can absolutely be worth it if you’re looking to jumpstart your career and get into tech, but they might not be for everyone. Most bootcamps are intensive, short-term training programs; they offer a focused and immersive learning experience that should equip you with practical skills and knowledge in a relatively short period of time. And as we all know… time is money. If you’re looking for a fast way to upskill, a bootcamp will provide that, and likely offers a much higher return on investment (ROI) than going back to school for a 4 year degree. Forbes lays out the many things to consider when making the decision to enroll in a coding bootcamp.

Many bootcamps emphasize hands-on, project-based learning, which helps students develop a portfolio of real-world projects to showcase their abilities to potential employers. Since 2013, over 1500 people have learned to code with Awesome Inc. Testimonials of their experiences can be found here.

Probably most importantly to the value proposition of a bootcamp is that they often offer career services and job placement support, which can be invaluable for someone seeking to transition into a new career or secure their first job in the tech industry.

While the value of coding bootcamps ultimately depends on your commitment, learning style, and personal goals, they can provide a streamlined pathway for acquiring relevant skills and boosting career prospects in the coding and programming field.

2. “Are coding bootcamps hard?”

Coding bootcamps can (and likely will) be challenging for most learners, especially those who are new to coding or have limited prior experience. However, hard does not equal impossible, and most things that are worth your time will be hard, so don’t let that scare you away.

The condensed nature of bootcamps means the learning curve can be steep, and the pace will be fast. Sometimes the intensity of bootcamps requires a significant time commitment, even outside of class. We usually tell our learners to expect not to be doing much else other than learning for the few months they’re learning full-time.

While all this might sound a bit scary, a bootcamp should also provide a supportive learning environment with experienced instructors and fellow students, which can help alleviate these challenges. It’s a lot easier and more fun to do something hard with other people who are going through it with you! We’ve seen that the faster our learners adopt a growth mindset, seeking to be proactive in asking for help when needed, the faster they will grow.

3. “Do I need to be good at math to code?”

Having a strong foundation in math can be helpful in certain areas of coding like algorithms, data analysis, or machine learning. But it’s not a prerequisite for learning to code by any means. Coding is a broad field encompassing a lot of different domains, and the level of math required can vary depending on the specific area of focus. A lot of fundamental programming concepts don’t really rely on advanced math skills (variables, loops, conditionals, and functions, to name a few)! Plus, if you’re not great at math, there are plenty of resources, tutorials, and programming languages specifically designed to make coding accessible to you, however diverse your background and skill sets are.

In certain advanced areas of coding, like data science or cryptography, a deeper understanding of math concepts can be helpful, but ultimately the ability to think logically, problem-solve, and apply critical thinking skills are more important than advanced math proficiency when it comes to learning to code.

4. “Can I get a job straight out of a coding bootcamp?”

It’s definitely possible to get a job straight out of a coding bootcamp, we see it happen all the time, especially for those who have acquired a solid foundation in web development or software development. Bootcamps often focus on providing practical skills that are in high demand in the tech industry, making graduates attractive to employers looking for junior-level talent. Some of the job roles that someone with junior-level web development or software development skills can pursue include:

  • Junior Web Developer: Work on the front-end or back-end development of websites, implementing designs, writing code, and handling functionality.
  • Software Engineer: Junior software engineers collaborate on software development projects, assisting in coding, testing, debugging, and maintaining software applications.
  • Junior Full-Stack Developer: Full-stack developers have proficiency in both front-end and back-end development, and they can contribute to various aspects of web application development.
  • Junior Mobile App Developer: With skills in mobile app development frameworks and languages, like iOS or Android development, you can work on creating mobile applications.
  • Junior Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer: Junior QA engineers participate in testing software applications, identifying and reporting bugs, and ensuring the overall quality of the software.
  • Junior UI/UX Developer: These professionals specialize in creating user-friendly and visually appealing interfaces, collaborating with designers and front-end developers.

Junior-level positions usually involve ongoing learning and growth as you gain practical work experience. As a junior, you’ll have the opportunity to further enhance your skills, expand their knowledge, and progress in your careers over time. Members of the Web Developer Bootcamp discussing at the office space.

5. “How much do coders make?”

The salary of coders (often known as developers, software engineers, or a million other titles) can vary significantly. Factors like location, experience, skill level, industry, and job role all play a part. US News ranks software developer as the top job in the country right now, and lists the nationwide average salary at $120,000 per year. However, that’s factoring in devs at a lot of different experience levels.

When considering Kentucky specifically (where we’re located), the salaries for coders may be slightly lower compared to tech hubs like Silicon Valley or New York City, as the cost of living and demand for tech talent is much different. In Kentucky, the average salary for coders can range from roughly $55,000 to $85,000. However, with a few years of experience, it’s absolutely possible to reach six figure earning potential.

Another way to increase your salary as a developer is pursuing specialized areas like data science, artificial intelligence, or cybersecurity. It’s essential to consider all the factors and conduct thorough research when assessing potential salary ranges for coders in specific regions or industries.

6. “Which coding language should I learn first?”

The choice of the first coding language to learn depends on your goals, interests, and the specific applications you have in mind. Here are a few popular coding languages that are beginner-friendly and widely used:

  • Python: Python is known for its simplicity and readability, making it an excellent choice for beginners. It has a vast range of applications, from web development to data analysis, machine learning, and automation.
  • JavaScript: JavaScript is primarily used for web development and adding interactivity to websites. It is the language of the web and is essential for front-end development. Learning JavaScript can open doors to various opportunities in web development.
  • HTML/CSS: While not programming languages per se, HTML and CSS are foundational for web development. HTML is used for creating the structure of web pages, and CSS is used for styling and layout. Understanding these languages is crucial for creating websites.
  • Java: Java is a widely used language known for its versatility and cross-platform compatibility. It is commonly used for building enterprise-level applications, Android app development, and large-scale systems.
  • C#: C# is a powerful language developed by Microsoft and is commonly used for Windows application development, game development using Unity, and backend development using the .NET framework.

It’s worth considering your interests and the types of projects you aspire to work on when choosing your first language. Additionally, exploring online tutorials, resources, and communities can provide insights into the popularity and demand for different languages in your target field. But a great piece to keep in mind is that the fundamental concepts of programming usually transcend specific languages, so gaining proficiency in one language will make it easier to learn your next one and beyond as you progress.

7. “What do coders do all day?”

This one depends a lot on the specific role, industry, and project they are working on. However, here are some common activities that coders typically engage in:

  • Writing and debugging code: Developers spend a major chunk of their day playing with lines of code, crafting digital wonders like modern-day sorcerers. (You thought I forgot the Wizard theme, didn’t you?) They bring algorithms and requirements to life, transforming abstract concepts into functional software and applications. But to put it simply, they’re writing code, and then checking it to make sure it works how they want it to.
  • Problem-solving: Developers are like problem-solving superheroes. (I know, mixed analogies here, but stick with me) They tackle puzzles from small bugs to intricate technical challenges. They need to analyze issues, identify solutions, and apply problem-solving skills to resolve issues in the code.
  • Collaborating with team members: Most people assume that when you’re coding, you’re sitting alone in a basement. That’s rarely the case. Usually they’re working as part of a development team, collaborating with other programmers, designers, and project managers. They’ll sit in on team meetings, discuss what a client is looking for, give status updates, and contribute to the overall progress of the project. So really, coding is a team sport.
  • Testing and debugging: Some developers’ jobs are just to test code to find and fix errors or bugs. They use debugging tools, run tests, and ensure that the code is good to go.
  • Researching and learning: Coding is a dynamic field, and developers need to stay up to date with the latest technologies, frameworks, and programming languages. A good chunk of time can be dedicated to researching new approaches, exploring best practices, and enhancing their skills.
  • Documentation: Developers document their code, basically adding notes that explain the purpose and usage of their code. Documentation helps with code maintenance, future updates, and collaboration within their team.
  • Reviewing and refactoring code: The first time someone writes a program, it probably won’t be perfect. Developers usually review their own code or have code reviews with their team. They’re looking to improve code quality, enhance performance, and keep up with standards and best practices.
  • Planning and organizing: Developers plan and organize their work to make their lives a lot easier. They break down projects into smaller tasks, estimating timelines, and prioritizing assignments.

Remember, the world of developers is as diverse as the digital realm itself. Their daily routines can vary based on a lot of factors. So, my friend, if you’re considering learning to code, buckle up for a world where every day is different, but hopefully really fun.

So there they are, the top questions you’ve been asking about coding bootcamps and the career in general. Hopefully this blog has demystified the world of coding for you, and made you excited to jump in! If you’re looking for a guide on your journey, we’ve helped over 150 adults learn to code and make a career change into tech, and we’d love to help you too! For more information, check out our Web Developer Bootcamp program here.

See you next time.