Not All Coding Bootcamps Are Created Equal
2 Oct 2019
13 minute read
The quality of coding bootcamps is a topic very close to my heart. As the General Manager of Coder Academy, the first and only accredited coding bootcamp in Australia, some might argue that I’m a bit of a biased source of information on this topic. However, a lot of my day-to-day life revolves around how my team and I can keep improving, testing and pushing the boundaries of education in a continuously innovative and industry-relevant way.
My role as General Manager is a complex one. Not only does it require a deep knowledge of the tech industry, and the best practices to train the next generation of developers, it also requires a brutal sense of honesty. What does a career changer need to support them as they enter the tech industry? What about someone looking to upskill? How can I support my educators so that every cohort gets better and better?
The answers to these questions are constantly evolving, and as a naturally blunt (sometimes brutally so!) and competitive person, I am consistently motivated and dedicated to understand where our bootcamps lag behind some of our global competitors. I also firmly believe that dissing your competition without evidence or justification not only makes YOU look bad, it also distracts us from what we’re trying to achieve, which in my case is promoting equality, driving innovation, and empowering the tech talent of tomorrow.
That said, I thought it would make sense to set out — in black and white, no bias here — the key points of difference across the wide (and growing!) range of Coding Bootcamps in Australia!
Listed above are the main coding bootcamps currently running across Australia. It is not an exhaustive amount of detail, but it gives you a good snapshot of the kind of offerings that exist out there. (P.S. The reason Coder Academy is listed first is because they’re alphabetical — promise!) I’ve chosen to include a comparison to a 1-year equivalent course at institutions like TAFE and traditional Universities too, not because I believe that Bootcamps are a competitor of these traditional institutions (I actually think there are splendid partnership opportunities between us!) — but because we often get asked how our Bootcamps differ from University.
The first differentiating factor is cost. If we consider cost per face-to-face hours, Coder Academy and TAFE are substantially cheaper than a subsidised university first year course. What I mean by this is that even when the student pays a subsidised fee of $9,500 per year rather than the full fee rate of more than $20,000 per year, Uni is STILL more expensive, not to mention quite time consuming for those wanting to retrain, upskill or simply get into programming — fast!
Besides cost and time, what else is important when looking at coding bootcamps?
Most Web Development Bootcamps teach similar technologies and skills. The questions that prospective students need to ask in relation to what’s covered is: “How much time is devoted to each topic?” and “How much support will I get?”
Every bootcamp is a commitment of time and money. Understand what is achievable in short amounts of time and whether you’re truly getting your money’s worth. Coder Academy is the longest Bootcamp by a good 240 hours — on purpose! Six months is already quite a short period of time to completely transform your career, pick up a job-ready level of coding, as well as hone the developer tools, soft skills, and relationships you’ll need to land that first job. To absorb the amount of new content we cover in a shorter time is borderline ludicrous — and graduates from shorter bootcamps often feel this, as do their employers!
When we speak about the quality of our coding bootcamps, this also translates into the calibre of our students. We have a thorough Admissions process to make sure that each of your fellow classmates are as dedicated, collaborative and passionate as you are. We’re not interested in filling up a lecture room of 400 people. In order to get the most out of our face-to-face hours, we cap class sizes somewhere between 20–30 people.
Coder Academy is the only Coding Bootcamp in Australia that offers a nationally recognised accreditation. If you successfully complete our course, you graduate with a higher education Diploma of IT. Other bootcamps may purport to be associated with Universities, but do not actually offer any formally recognised qualification.
Never completed any higher education before? No problem! Coder Academy graduates have the option to undergo further study at University after completing the program if they desire, whilst often gaining enough credit recognition to accelerate straight into their second year. Our higher education Diploma of IT can be used as credits towards a Bachelors degree in Computer Science or Information Technology at some of Australia’s top universities.
As the only bootcamp in Australia offering a higher education qualification, Coder Academy has the opportunity to provide eligible domestic students with flexible payment options including installments or access to FEE-HELP government loans. This differs from every other bootcamp in Australia where you either have to a) pay up front, b) take out a personal loan that has to be paid off regardless of your earnings, or c) hope that the “money back” guarantee claims are actually honored (I’d strongly advise to read the fine print on those ones!)
It’s not just about the technical skills here at Coder Academy. We’re the only Bootcamp offering an industry internship at the end of all of our bootcamps. Why? We care about getting you into your first dev job as much as you do! After all, it’s not just about learning to code inside the classroom — it’s about applying what you’ve learnt to become an awesome developer in the real world too.
Developing home-grown talent is at the core of Coder Academy’s mission. As the only Australian owned and operated Bootcamp, we run with the agility of a start-up, but with the financial backing and credibility that comes with being owned by an ASX listed company (RedHill Education Pty Ltd). Why does being Australian matter? For us, it’s not just about “making money.’’ We are committed to driving innovation, enabling students to create new technologies, and developing local talent to expand our opportunities at home first. We are not simply turning a profit for another Head Office in the US or France that’s super out of touch with the Australian market.
Empowering people — particularly women and underrepresented groups — into tech starts early. Coder Academy is the only bootcamp that works across the K-12 sector as well as the Tertiary and Corporate sectors. We’re serious about our mission. We want to drive the future of education from all parts of society, meaning that everyone — from teachers, to parents, to children — has access to digital literacy skills.
Coder Academy was the first to bring an accredited Full Stack Development bootcamp to Australia in 2015, the first to offer an accredited Cyber Security Bootcamp in 2018, and right now is piloting the first ever women-only accredited coding bootcamp in partnership with Code Like A Girl in Melbourne. We constantly iterate and update our offerings in order to deliver kick-ass, accessible, tech training for all.
So, if you’re considering transforming your life and pursuing a fulfilling career in tech via a coding bootcamp, it’s important you do your homework first!
Coder Academy = Accredited + Australian + Authentic
About the Author
Sally Browner is a former corporate executive turned passionate high school teacher turned technology education enthusiast. She was appointed as General Manager of Coder Academy just 2 years ago.Sally believes that the people who control technology will control the future, and she is passionate about ensuring that this group of people is as diverse as possible. She is a reformed Luddite with a desire to keep learning and inspire others to do the same. Sally was a finalist in the 2018 Women’s Agenda Emerging Leader in Tech Award and a finalist in the Telstra Business Women of the Year Awards for 2018/19.
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