Bootcamp is translated from English as “boot camp.” And although educational programs in such places can be very different, this term often refers to intensive courses for training specialists in IT.
Bootcamps are extremely useful for people who want to learn a new profession from scratch. But there are also programs for specialists, the purpose of which is to pump a certain skill. The main thing is that a person should be motivated to solve the problem of obtaining new information.
What is bootcamp
The word bootcamp in English means “boot camp.” In IT education, a bootcamp is a training format in which students take small but intensive programming courses. They are completely immersed in this area, continuously learning new knowledge and skills.
Note that bootcamp is just one of the names for this training format. Previously, bootcamps were called army camps in the United States, where recruits were trained, but after a while, this word began to be used in other areas.
The duration of the courses can be different, from a couple of weeks to several months. At the same time, bootcamps differ from standard online programming courses primarily in intensity.
The first courses of this kind for IT specialists were organized in 2013 by the private American school General Assembly. In Russia, they began to be introduced only in 2018. According to a study conducted by the Course Report portal, in 2022, there were more than 600 bootcamps worldwide.
Today, courses in this format cover various areas of activity (design, Data Science, marketing, and business intelligence). However, it is bootcamps for programmers are common. This is explained by the fact that this profession is increasingly in demand. Therefore, the interest of people in obtaining IT education is increasing.
Bootcamps differ from each other in two main ways:
- Employment form. Full-time bootcamps can last up to 17 weeks. In this case, the student studies from morning to evening. Therefore, he cannot work or engage in any other part-time activity. Part-time bootcamps can last up to 34 weeks. The student studies in the evenings and on weekends, which allows him to work the rest of the time.
- Form of study. When choosing a full-time option, a person must come to the campus. There are bootcamps in which students live on campus during their studies. Online courses allow you to acquire knowledge remotely.
Below, we will only discuss the face-to-face form of obtaining information in training camps.
Features of the training camp for IT specialists
Availability of practice
Bootcamp allows students to gain not only theoretical knowledge but also practical skills. After mastering the educational material, a person must apply it in real life. At some bootcamps, the theory is covered for a week, after which it is proposed to perform reinforcing tasks. There are also courses in which students move on to practice immediately after receiving the information.
Most often, the training period in a bootcamp is from 3 to 8 months (depending on the amount of information). There are also shorter options but they tend to have a narrower specificity. Whatever the duration, all bootcamps imply a very high intensity of training and student immersion.
For example, in the morning, a person can listen to a lecture and attend a practical lesson. After lunch, he runs to another class and then does the practice again. This sequence of actions is repeated daily. Thanks to this, the student learns a lot of information quickly and is completely immersed in his specialty.
A lot of communication
Bootcamp is different in that students constantly interact with each other and lecturers and experts. Thus, a person constantly communicates with other people. In addition, there is teamwork and free intra-group interaction. Paired and collective tasks are issued, and joint discussions are organized. Students ask questions, study additional materials and create joint projects.
This allows me not only to gain valuable knowledge but also to be in constant communication with others. In this case, the student can always seek help from qualified experts.
This is another difference between bootcamps, which is a consequence of the high intensity of the courses. Each process has its due date. Lessons are constantly reviewed. The student must attend lectures and complete test tasks. If a person misses classes, then it will be more difficult for him to pass the next ones.
- The same conditions for all students
To get into the camp, all students must have an identical level of knowledge. Otherwise, some students will find it easier than others. The most effective bootcamps generally only hire experienced programmers.
- Short time
Bootcamp is notable for its short duration. Thanks to this, students make the most of the allotted time. A person is constantly focused on his field, allowing him to acquire and consolidate new knowledge in practice quickly. At the same time, the bootcamp may include various cultural events.
- Active environment
Only the most motivated people directly related to the development participate in the bootcamp (the only exception is camped for young children).
Students constantly exchange experiences with each other, which speeds up the process of mastering skills and knowledge.
- Diplomas and certificates
Upon graduation, students are issued supporting documents valued by employers much higher than regular courses. It is very difficult for a person to relax and cheat, so a diploma or certificate is proof of his professionalism. The supporting documents may also reflect the results of competitions and completed tasks.
The cost of such training may seem overpriced. However, it is made up of several factors:
- The largest IT companies carry out the organization;
- The best teachers work in bootcamps;
- Students are provided with the most comfortable learning conditions.
The training program implies that the student must constantly communicate with like-minded people. At the same time, the most comfortable conditions are formed around it. In addition, IT companies hire highly qualified specialists who are always ready to help students. It won’t work at work. All this, combined with the short training time, can lead to a person needing to remember the learned information a few weeks after taking the courses.
The discipline inherent in bootcamp classes is only sometimes a guarantee that students are focused on the learning process. The program usually includes various excursions and recreational activities. Because of this, it can be difficult for students to switch in time and concentrate on the classroom.
The entire learning process takes place in real-time. Consider the main methods that are used in the classroom:
- Practical exercises in the live coding mode. It is about the joint work of the teacher-mentor and students. After the lecture, students consolidate the learned material in practice.
- Monitoring the execution of tasks by an expert. The mentor checks the lessons the students complete and clarifies any errors found. The teacher points out the student’s weaknesses so that he can hone his skills.
- Peer-to-peer practice. Using this technique, students themselves check each other’s work. Thanks to this, they gain the skill of exchanging detailed feedback. Developers learn to identify their own and other people’s mistakes and offer solutions to problems.
- Pair programming. Students are divided into pairs, each given a specific task to create code. It improves teamwork skills.
Consider the standard schedule of bootcamp students:
- 9:00 – theoretical lecture.
- 12:20 – lunch.
- 13:30 – work on projects + pair programming. Students now perform practical tasks related to the morning theoretical lecture.
- 17:30 – group reflection. This is an exchange of experience. Students share the knowledge they have mastered and discuss various problems and achievements.
Who will benefit from the bootcamp
There are bootcamps for both beginners and experienced programming professionals.
Categories of people who can take the course:
- Students who want to become developers and have a general understanding of programming.
- University students and graduates who have received a specialized education. As a rule, such people go to the bootcamp for practice.
- Juniors who want to gain valuable experience.
- Switchers who plan to change their specialization.
Bootcamps will be useful for all people who are motivated to learn. The only thing you need is a lot of free time that you are ready to devote to mastering knowledge and skills.
Cost of education
As we mentioned earlier, bootcamp workouts are quite expensive. The price can reach several tens of thousands of dollars. However, it should be borne in mind that the final result is often no worse than when studying at a university. The student receives a lot of valuable information and fixes everything in practice.
At the same time, he is given a supporting document, which may be useful in employment. Thus, the cost of bootcamps is often even lower than getting an education at a university.
You can also find small courses dedicated to a narrow direction. They last only a few weeks. For such training, you must pay from $ 50 to $ 500.
Preparation for training
Before signing up for a course, you must understand if it’s necessary. Do you want to devote yourself to programming? Are you ready to work hard in this direction? IT is very promising, but there is much to learn here. Therefore, we recommend you go through free training and write your first code.
Stay focused on the high salaries that experienced programmers receive. The most important thing is interest in the work. Writing code should be a real pleasure.
If you see yourself in development, you must find a good bootcamp. At the moment, there are many versions. At the same time, the industry is developing frantically, so you need to follow the news and check the current lists of courses. Also, be sure to read bootcamp reviews from former students.
Here are a few helpful tips:
- Optimize your schedule so that nothing distracts you during the program. Also, give up all household chores. You must be as free as possible to fully immerse yourself in gaining knowledge and experience.
- Get ready to start learning. For example, read books on programming. Try also to complete the test tasks.
- Be prepared for the fact that you have to absorb a huge amount of new information.
If you want to become a programmer, you don’t have to worry about your age. Many people have successfully mastered this specialty, even at 50. According to research, the average age of bootcamp students is 31 years old.