Are bootcamps helpful?

Bootcamps can range in price from hundreds to several thousands of dollars. In my opinion, paying for a bootcamp out of your own pocket is almost never worth it unless you are really strapped for time. Even then, negotiate for a deal as much as possible; don’t hesitate to reach out to the training vendor to see if they have deals or scholarships available for folks paying out of their pockets.

Fortunately, I work for an organization that sees value in sending employees to bootcamps for various technologies, and two of the certifications I received in 2019 were the result of having attended a bootcamp.

Attending a bootcamp can really accelerate the learning phase. Instead of going through a textbook and video series in your free time, you get to attend a class where the instructor does that for you.

Taking notes and making flashcards is still essential to a successful certification exam regardless of whether you attend a bootcamp or do it on your own. There is a lot of overlap between bootcamps and self-study as it relates to certification preparation.

Having attended four separate bootcamps in 2019, I have some great tips that will help you get the most out of your experience:

  • Stay free of distraction:
    • Unplug from work while your class is in session. It may be impossible to completely remove yourself from certain situations, but setting proper expectations with your coworkers will allow you to focus on what you’re supposed to be learning.
    • This extends to family if you choose to attend a virtual classroom at home. Just let them know when the door is closed that you need to be left alone; there are lots of breaks and lab time where you can briefly step away.
  • Take notes, ask questions:
    • Bootcamps move quickly. If you’re following along, take screenshots of slides that are confusing and don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s why you’re paying for an instructor!
    • Circling back to confusing areas when the bootcamp has ended will pay dividends during the exam.
  • Take the labs seriously:
    • All four bootcamps I attended in 2019 included a lab portion. These labs put the concepts we were learning into action and helped connect the dots. I learn really well by doing so the lab portions of the bootcamps were integral to my exam success.
  • Stay motivated and focused:
    • By day 3 or 4 of a bootcamp, you may feel so overloaded with information that the idea of sitting through another 1 or 2 days can seem like a nightmare. I don’t really have any advice here other than consider a change of scenery for the last half of the bootcamp. Something that really helped me was moving from my home office to a library or coffee shop for a bit.

One thought on “Are bootcamps helpful?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *