Have you decided to start a coding bootcamp? (if you haven’t made up your mind yet, first check out my post of the different paths to becoming a programmer). Take these 5 things into account before you make your final decision.

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1. Transparency about stats and outcomes

Are their jobs stats third-party audited? Are they a part of CIRR? Colleges are expected to be honest and upfront about their job stats and so should coding bootcamps. In the past year, there have been a few mishaps in the coding bootcamp space so it’s important to have third parties vouch for the legitimacy of a coding bootcamp.

2. Student reviews

Student reviews are one of the best indicators of what your experience with that coding bootcamp will be like. That isn’t to say that a coding bootcamp won’t have a few negative reviews, but you can definitely get a feel for a bootcamp based on their reviews. I’d recommend Bootcamp Finder and Course Report, which are two leading sites for bootcamp reviews and comparison.

You can get some of the most honest reviews by reaching out to former bootcamp students. Try tweeting or emailing new graduates to get their opinion and see where they are in their career. Did they like the bootcamp? Did they get a job as a developer?

3. Get to know the people who work or teach there

If you are about to commit your time and money to a coding bootcamp, you deserve to talk 1-on-1 with a student, teacher, or employee. Maybe this means attending local events or a workshop they are hosting. Perhaps it simply means a phone call. Do whatever it takes to feel like you actually know what to expect and the culture at their school.

4. The right stack for your region

Do your own research about what skills are in demand your city. You want to learn the most in-demand skills in your area, to improve your chances of finding a job. This could start with a simple Indeed job search (check out my post on what programming language you should learn according to your state) or organizing an informational interview with an engineer in your town. Learn a stack that is in demand and don’t get stuck learning a language that no one is hiring for (especially if it’s your first programming language).

5. Money / job guarantee

Does the bootcamp take on some of the financial risk or do they put that entirely on the student? You want your school to have the right amount of incentive to get you hired. Also, depending on your financial situation, you may only be able to join a coding bootcamp that provides loans or other financing options. Also, if the school you are looking at does have a job guarantee, make sure to read the fine print and know exactly what the terms are before you commit.

Keep in mind these 5 factors when choosing a coding bootcamp. I’m personally very passionate about sharing this financial risk with students and you can read about how we do that at Thinkful. Best of luck on your coding bootcamp search and coding journey!

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