I went from a career in software sales to teaching english in Japan, and from there I became a freelance writer and travel blogger, and now I’m opening up my mind to computer programming. It’s been a weird, interesting, albeit challenging transition as I move from a career focusing on English-language-based services to something more abstract. If you know anything about me as a person, then you won’t hesitate to assume that my decision was overly researched. I split hairs on small choices, folks, and this wasn’t one of them. I’m not made of money, but I didn’t want to skimp out on a great programming bootcamp just because it was a little more expensive than others. If you are looking into a career in remote work, want to become a digital nomad, freelance worker, or just locationally independent, then computer programming might be the best route for you too. Here’s how I chose my bootcamp:
How to Choose a Computer Programming/ Development Bootcamp.
There are literally thousands of options available. Finding one appropriate for you is going to be the largest portion of your decision. Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself first:
- How much are you willing to spend on a bootcamp? What can you afford?
- How much time can you spend at said program?
There are many different options for the length of programs, what they teach, and how much each program is. Since I live in the USA, and most schooling is notoriously overpriced, I immediately decided to begin searching for something I could do abroad. Here’s what I found:
- In the US, there are quite a few highly-ranked programs that range from 15-weeks to 1-year
- These programs run anywhere between $10,000 – $28,000
- There are many options for ‘intensive bootcamps’ that are shorter, much cheaper, and run year-round. These programs are both inside the USA as well as abroad.
- Intensive bootcamps are anywhere between 9 and 15 weeks long.
I also found websites dedicated to ranking computer programming schools, bootcamps, and other options available. These were by far the best resources I can recommend for finding the program right for you!
- SwitchUp: The Best Bootcamps of 2018
- Switch Up compiles all sorts of information from graduation placement rates, overall satisfaction levels, price, and scholarship/financial aid information
- CourseReport: The Best Bootcamps of 2017
- Similarly, course report is dedicated to finding the best value for your money. They have been researching bootcamps since 2013 and will help you find a program that fits your needs/desires
- Here are a few secondary resources that also rank intensive bootcamps and programs:
If you decide to train within the US, there are quite a few programs that, while pricier than other options, often offer scholarships for POC and other minorities, and Women in tech.
There is actually a free development school in Seattle, WA just for people that identify as female. (My decision as to why I chose NOT to attend this program is below, as well!)
But here’s the real scoop on why and how I chose my programming bootcamp:
How I Chose My Programming Bootcamp, Le Wagon
Life ain’t cheap. Though there is a completely FREE program in Seattle that I could have applied to (it’s highly competitive), they only offered cohorts every 6 months to begin training, and each cohort takes a full year to graduate (6 months of learning, 6 months of an internship). This means that if I chose to go to school at ADA, I would have forgone a year of earning potential before seeing any returns on my investment.
The other programs, Coding Dojo and Code Fellows, still came out to $15-21,000 in tuition costs, even with the potential scholarship opportunities for being female, or a race other than white. They also had longer courses, ranging from 18 weeks to 6 months or so. Thats a lot of money and time to invest, just to stay in Seattle. As a digital nomad, I’m really not down to stay put for that long. Being location independent is important to me…I’m not ready to give up this nomadic lifestyle yet!
I also looked at moving to another city within the USA, but couldn’t find anything even half the cost of just staying here, in Seattle, to train. So, I began to look abroad. Here’s where SwitchUp and CourseReport played into my decision:
- The cost of Le Wagon Intensive bootcamp is $5,900
- The Le Wagon bootcamp is taught in over 20 cities worldwide (in English- some programs are in French!)
- The cost of living in some of their bootcamp locations would be up to 500% cheaper than staying in the USA
- The opportunity cost of foregoing salary and other earning potential while going to an intensive, 9 week program is significantly lower than other, longer programming bootcamps
- The graduation placement rate for a Le Wagon graduate is 98%, with some getting hired even before completing their programs!
After some conservative assumptions, my best guess is that I will be spending a grand total of $9,000USD for a 9 week programming bootcamp. This includes tuition, flights, cost of living, and other miscellaneous expenditures. If my estimations are correct, I’m going to save roughly $10,000- $15,000 of the cost to live in Seattle and attend a program here! Plus, I’ll be able to explore Bali, Indonesia for a few months on a student visa, and have the chance to really learn about their culture!
I hope this helps you make a decision towards a career change to the tech industry! In comparison to some other continuing-education options I was pursuing, this decision saved me years of schooling and time invested.
Check out some of my other blog posts about:
- How I became a Digital Nomad
- How I prepared for my Programming Bootcamp
- How I learned to Travel Blog (Coming Soon!)
- How to Make Money Online (Coming Soon!)