TIL: "How I chose a coding bootcamp"

In my last article, I discussed why do a coding bootcamp but I didn’t take into account how to choose the right one. I hope that this will close that gap and help you also to make a sound decision.

With the overwhelming number of options available I’m not entirely sure why I was convinced that spending $10,000+ at UNC Charlotte was a good idea now that I have browsed the area. Codecademy.com is relatively cheap and you get a lot out of it but what it lacks (for me) is meeting new like minded people in the area where we just moved, an instructor I can contact, and project based learning. The project based learning is especially helpful for building a resume in my opinion since getting a degree isn’t something I’m interested in.

Below are the three options available to me in Charlotte, North Carolina:

University of North Carolina at Charlotte Coding Bootcamp

After contacting University of North Carolina at Charlotte I decided to consider other options. Ultimately, I decided to avoid UNCC because I contacted them on two occasions and they were super sketchy. I talked to two different sales reps (“counselors” as they called themselves) and they both give the same scripted sales pitch that didn’t answer the question asked (I asked about vocational rehab). Then they both sent me two different emails formatted exactly the same with one exception… The price. It screamed “RED FLAG”!

While the course seemed to be everything I needed, it was over priced and seemed predatory with how high pressured their sales approach was. For the record, I was in sales once-upon-a-time and I don’t blame the guy for sending me a quote for the school that had a price that was increased, he is in all likelihood commissioned and would have been able to make more money. What bothered me about it was how shady it felt and very impersonal. I’m not interested in paying more for someone’s commission.

I searched on CourseReport.com for coding bootcamps in Charlotte and found two other alternatives in my area. I contacted both.

Tech Talent South

Tech Talent South was the first I contacted. Their course was priced at $6,700 for 8 weeks full-time and covered:

Ruby on Rails, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Deployment, Domain Modeling, APIs, Databases, Bootstrap, Model Associations, GitGithub, Ruby, & Gems

I spoke to them using their chat support to find out about vocational rehabilitation. They do not currently accept it but that’s not a big deal and was pretty happy with their replies to my questions. I felt the course work really didn’t go deep enough or cover enough technologies for the price and time commitment. This is a 4 hour per day 4 days a week course. It seems like it covers some topics that would be helpful, the stringent time frames of the course make attending difficult with my schedule. I could see anyone considering similar options with similar situations would probably have the same friction point:

Pay a lot of money and attend this course that would be smack in the middle of when you make money at your job or when childcare is costly..

NuCamp.Co

I then contacted NuCamp.co (I left CourseReport’s tracker link so they still get the referral) to ask about vocational rehab. After checking out their courses and their prices I was pretty impressed. So I reached out to their contact email info@nucamp.co and this is how that went (edited for format):

Hey Nucamp!
Drew here.
I spoke to co-workers who have done similar schools and I made a big’ole blog post about doing coding bootcamp and am pretty sold on it (https://drewlearns.com/2019/08/07/why-sign-up-for-a-coding-bootcamp-course here is that blog post.).

I scoped UNCC and it screamed “run away”. I’m looking for fullstack development training that I take away a portfolio, certificate, and possibly new job opportunities within my company. I noticed you guys don’t have a twitter but here is the reason: twitter.com/drewlearns2/status/1161491178778517505?s=20

I owned a digital marketing agency, I build websites and I do tech support for a web hosting company.
I want to learn more and not feel like I was taken advantage of in the process.

Can you guys take Vocational Rehab? (A veterans benefit)

Warm Regards,
Drew Karriker
Drewlearns.com

Within moments I received a reply back (not edited):

Hi Drew! Ludo here.
We don’t get that many emails with a flashy background so I got curious and read your twitter and blog post. Great story and I understand why you’re reaching out to us. We want to offer the best of coding bootcamps and online learning. Transparency, honesty and customer satisfaction is paramount for us.
We’ve had a few gov agencies pay for our bootcamps, however we’re still in the process of being accredited and may not qualify just yet- you would need to check with your agency.
My suggestion: enroll in the HTML, CSS and JavaScript bootcamp ($320) and see if you like what we have to offer?
Take care and good luck.

Ludo Fourrage
Founder and Chief Product Officer
nucamp.co

Ludo Replied back answering my question directly and didn’t use a pre-formatted sales pitch.

Shortly after that I got another follow-up:

Drew, 
Just to follow up with Ludo. I saw the Voc Rehab question. I am a vet also (FMF Navy Corpsman). Thanks for your service! We do not yet have sponsorship with the VA for GI Bill, Vet Tech, Voc Rehab. BUT… as Ludo mentioned, our price is so low, it would be financially better for you to use Voc Rehab for a much more affordable program such as a state tuition. In fact, my recommendation (if you are leaning towards a STEM field) is to take our coding bootcamps AND a BS IT or CS degree (and let the Voc Rehab cover the cost), for the most bang for your buck. 
We do have a Twitter account, https://twitter.com/NucampCodingBC If you were referring to UNCC, does that mean you are near Fort Bragg?  In fact, we have three locations in NC, to include, https://www.nucamp.co/community/nc/charlotte

I would love to chat more with whatever questions you have! 
Semper Fi!

Best, Paul 
Student Success Manager, Nucamp

The Price is $380 regularly with an early registration discount of 20% off making it $320 to do a four week HTML, CSS, Javascript course. *Bonus* I can do it during my own time in the week and then go meet face to face on Saturdays for four hours for a seminar with the instructor. This fits my schedule well and won’t break the bank. Besides a $320 investment for a legit certificate where I can dip my toes in doesn’t seem bad at all. If I like it then I will be signing up for the full stack program after the first four weeks (I’ll be sharing the whole experience here).

The full-stack program covers all of these systems over 22 weeks for $1905 ($1620 for early registration) and you get to do 16 projects to add to your portfolio which in my mind is the most valuable bits. It covers all the things I’m seeing on job boards for junior developer positions.

I submitted some paperwork at my job since this is relevant training they don’t offer in hopes that I can get this Basic Bootcamp covered by them. Some people may not have this option but if you subscribe to this blog, I’m sure you will find ways to make at least $320 online. Your first Digital Marketing project could easily pay for the full stack bootcamp over at NuCamp if you wanted. In any event, I’ll be sharing my experience and teaching as much as I can along the way.

Got some personal experience with coding bootcamp? Drop some comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Drew Karriker

Drew Karriker

My name is Drew Karriker, and I am really passionate about helping others, learning, and computers.

I created this site as a place to post projects and share things I have learned.

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