Coding bootcamps have been popping up everywhere — and making a killing at attracting students eager to transform themselves into highly-compensated software engineers.
But which bootcamp is the right one for you? Or would you be better off teaching yourself using books and online resources?
One company, Switch, has been in the business of helping prospective students shop around the many bootcamps, and today it’s releasing an orientation quiz to better help people considering a bootcamp.
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Prior to this, Switch was mainly relying on the alumni reviews and bootcamps’ profiles as a way to guide people who come to its site, kind of a “Yelp for coding bootcamps.”
The newly-added quiz takes folks through eight questions about their work style, what they like about technology, the types of skills that interest them, and more. At the end of the quiz, Switch serves up recommendations of bootcamps and programs. Since Switch’s database includes programs that teach non-coding skills as well, such as user experience design and data science, the quiz can help people discover programs they might not have otherwise thought to look at, or think could be a good fit.
“We’re targeting our quiz more for our audience who haven’t decided what career they want,” said co-founder and chief executive Jonathan Lau in an interview with VentureBeat.
The reviews are at the core of Switch’s product and naturally also central to the quiz’s results. The higher ranked programs will tend show up more often, Lau told me.
And just like Yelp, Switch is enabling the bootcamps to edit their profiles on its site, to ensure that comprehensive and accurate information is available to visitors.
As someone who’s previously worked for one of these schools and heavily interacted with prospective students, I’m definitely seeing the value in resources helping people make sense of the landscape. The rise of the coding bootcamps came with a lot of promises of an easy ticket to a brighter future, yet the reality is not as rosy. As with anything else, no high-paying jobs (or jobs at all) are promised, and not all programs are created equal. Moreover, learning to code does not suit just anyone as a career choice.
“I realized that as more and more of these schools come up, there’s really a need for an objective third-party site,” said Lau.
Of course, this not a new idea. There are many other sites with information about about the various programs such as Thinkful, BootCamper, SkilledUp, Bootcamps.in, and Switch will have to yield seriously better guidance and added-value in order to distinguish itself. Its new quiz is still pretty shallow right now, though it’s a step in the right direction in holding people’s hand through the process.
“We eventually also hope to hook up students with internships and jobs especially in the entry-level part of the market,” said Lau about Switch’s longer-term plans.
Switch was founded by Jonathan Lau, Michael Suen, and Michael Schwartz.
Disclosure: I was previously employed at General Assembly, one of the programs Switch provides information about.