If you want to be a competitive young professional, a technology bootcamp could be the right place for you.
A tech bootcamp is exactly what it sounds like – a program where you learn to either cultivate new tech skills or improve your current strengths. In a way, bootcamps are like extended workshops. Some can be completed in the span of a weekend, while others are paced more like a traditional school course. Topics can range from networking strategies for the business world, to developing a solid foundation in basic or advanced coding methods. There are also PR and social media themed workshops that can help new graduates hone their skills. These days, technology bootcamps are quickly becoming an essential part of a young person’s success in the business world.
How do you select the right type of bootcamp?
Be honest with yourself about your skill level.
Bootcamps require time, money, and a great deal of mental exertion, so choose wisely. If you’re not sure whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate when registering for courses, do not be afraid to ask questions. Talk to the program coordinator or the registration assistant to verify whether you’re signing up for the correct class.
Think about the time you have to spend (and the money)
If you’re tight on cash (or time), don’t worry! There are always options, you may just have to search around a little more to find something that works for you. For instance, if you don’t live in a major urban area where there are more physically accessible bootcamp options, you could explore online or distance learning opportunities.
Picking your subject
Essentially, there are two ways you can go about this process. You can register in a class to improve your skills in a subject you are already familiar with, or you can register in an introductory course on a topic you are less familiar with to expand your skillset. Unless you are attempting to become a specialist in a given field, we suggest option two – by exploring other fields and subjects, you will broaden your marketability within your industry and stand out as someone willing to learn. For example, if you work in PR and run social media for your company, you could check out a coding bootcamp. Learning to code will help you diversify your company’s media presence (e.g. you can create a better website, construct better graphics etc.) and better engage your company’s audience.
How can bootcamps boost your career?
In the current job market, three or four years of schooling and a degree are not the only things that define a good potential candidate. Bootcamps offer you the chance to challenge and improve yourself by equipping you with the tools to make your own way.
Bootcamps require less time than a traditional degree, which means that they can serve as a nice complement to a post-secondary program. Additionally, since they’re optional courses, they are a great chance to immerse yourself in a topic that you want to learn about, rather than have to learn about for your school program. They also provide a fresh and competitive learning environment for all ages and skill levels. In addition to all of that, they allow you to network with others inside, and outside of, your field. Who knows? Your classmates could end up being your colleagues down the road.
How to make the most of your experience
If the bootcamp is conference style (i.e. different workshops and classes occurring at the same time), then take time to familiarize yourself with the various opportunities and the people organizing them. Before the start of the program, reach out to the person or team leading the workshops to ask about any supplementary supplies or equipment that the classes might require. This is also a great opportunity to introduce yourself to your course teacher.
Also, make sure you research each presenter and his or her respective field. Even if you don’t want to work in that particular field, networking is always a good idea! Make sure to approach them throughout the bootcamp with questions and original ideas, but always be respectful of the presenter’s time. The same goes for fellow attendees – keep in touch with your classmates by adding them on social media during and after the event.
Finding a bootcamp
Check your local universities, colleges, and community centres for listings of technology bootcamps. There are also plenty of companies that specialize in bootcamps (with online and in-class options) such as Bitmaker Labs, BrainStation, HackerYou, and Lighthouse Labs.
Your education is always a worthy investment. If you’re looking for a fun and efficient way to upgrade your skills, technology bootcamps are definitely the way to go!