7 Tips to Help You Budget for a Programming Bootcamp

Deciding which programming bootcamp to attend can be tough. It can be frustrating when finances constrain your choices. Here are 7 tips to keep in mind.

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Answer these questions to exclude options that don’t apply to you. Doing so will make it easier to compare prices.

  • Do you need a bootcamp with a flexible schedule, or will your schedule permit a full-time (40-60 hours per week) bootcamp?

  • Should you enroll in an online bootcamp, or do you prefer a classroom setting?

  • What topic do you want to learn? Bootcamps offer a variety of classes, including web development, iOS and Android mobile development, UX/UI design, data science, and more.

Answer these questions, and remove bootcamps that don’t offer what you want from your list.

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Programming bootcamps vary in many ways, but most share these traits:

  • They provide training for a finite number of hours

  • They cost money

Use this equation:

Total Program Cost ÷ Hours of Education = Cost per Hour

If a bootcamp doesn’t list hours of education, you can multiply the number of weeks in a program by the weekly hour requirement. For example, Bloc’s Full Stack Web Developer Track costs $9,500 for 960 hours of training, or $9.60/hour. By comparison, Dev Bootcamp costs $12,200 for 810 hours of training, or $15.06/hour.

When learning to code, the number of hours you practice is the largest predictor of success. Make sure you receive value for your time.

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There are “hidden” costs you might encounter when enrolling in a programming bootcamp.

If you must quit your job to attend a full-time bootcamp, you should budget for lost income. You can use this equation:

Annual Salary ÷ 52 × (Weeks in Bootcamp + Weeks Looking for Job After Graduation) = Lost Wages

For example, if you:

  • leave a job paying $35,000 / year

  • take General Assembly’s 13-week Web Development Immersive

  • spend four weeks looking for a job

You’ll lose $11,442 of income.

If you plan to move to another city, then you should be prepared for an increase in housing and other living costs.

Online programming bootcamps with part-time options mean you don’t have to quit your job to learn to code.

Use the True Cost Calculator to see some other hidden costs.

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One fifth of Bloc students say their employer contributed to their tuition. Some employers even paid the entire bill.

Program managers, product managers, customer support representatives, and graphic designers have all switched to a new job within their existing company after graduating Bloc.

Course Report’s Convince Your Boss to Pay for Programming Bootcamp also lists some great negotiating tips.

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To minimize the chance of financial loss on your investment, compare refund policies for your top choices. Here are refund policies for some major bootcamps:

Bloc:

If Bloc isn’t the right fit for you after all, you can withdraw at any time. Bloc is backed by a Real Results Guarantee that’s real simple: Withdraw in your first week for a full refund. Withdraw later, and get a pro-rated refund based on the number of days you’ve spent in the program, minus a non-refundable cancellation fee of $500.

General Assembly’s refund policies vary by location, but typically once you’re a certain amount into the course, no refund is available.

Dev Bootcamp’s refund policy is a bit complex, but once you’ve begun their on-site program at least $2,050 is non-refundable.

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Financing is a double-edged sword: it can increase your overall costs but improve your payment flexibility and cash flow. It can also defer some of the costs until you’re closer to getting a new job.

For example, Bloc’s Full Stack Web Developer Track costs $9,500 if you pay it off within four months, but for an extra $500, you can spread the payments out over ten months. Bloc also has partnerships with loan companies who can provide you with different terms; contact a student advisor for more information.

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Some coding bootcamps offer scholarships. Here are a few:

  • Bloc offers scholarships for women, USA military veterans, and other under-represented groups.

  • General Assembly’s opportunity fund offers scholarships for women, people of color, military veterans, and individuals from low-income backgrounds.

  • Dev Bootcamp has a scholarship for “veterans, anyone who identifies as a woman or is a part of the diverse gender community (trans*, genderqueer, gender nonconforming, etc.)​​, and anyone who identified as an ethnic minority group underrepresented in tech”.

Scholarships sometimes come with strings attached. For example, some Bloc scholarships require you to blog about your experience after graduation. General Assembly’s fund requires that you put in 100 hours of volunteer work with one of their nonprofit partners.

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The True Cost of Top Coding Bootcamps in San Francisco – Calculator

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Beautiful, sunny San Francisco is home to many wonderful attractions, including Lombard street, Fisherman’s Wharf, AT&T Park (home to America’s best baseball team), and the densest selection of coding bootcamps anywhere in the world.

As more people seek jobs as full-time software developers, it’s no surprise that San Francisco — where many of the software development jobs are — has many coding bootcamps that help people switch careers.

But these bootcamps are pricey, with typical tuition ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. They also have some hidden costs that prospective students don’t always consider.

To help these prospective students understand the differences between attending part-time online and in-person full-time coding bootcamps, we created the Bootcamp True Cost Calculator, which allows you to compare the top coding bootcamps in San Francisco.

How to Use This Calculator

Enter your current salary and select San Francisco. The calculator will display San Francisco’s bootcamps that are rigorous enough for career switchers. Each row will estimate your lost income, if applicable.

For example, if you leave a job paying $35,000 / year, take General Assembly’s 12-week Web Development Immersive, and spend three months looking for a job, it will cost you $17,500 in lost income.

The Hidden Costs of Full-Time Bootcamps

Full-time bootcamps cost much more than their tuition. If you attend one, you’ll experience some hidden costs, sometimes thousands of dollars more than the bootcamp’s tuition.

Lost Income

If you quit your job to learn to code full-time, you’ll embark on a life-changing journey, but you will also stop earning money while you study and job hunt. Most bootcamps agree it takes students about three months to find a job after graduation.

Hack Reactor says 99% of students get a job “within 3 months of graduating.” Similarly, General Assembly says “more than 90% of graduates of these programs who are job seeking find a role relating [sic] their field of study within 90 days of graduating and starting their job search.”

Part-time coding bootcamps do not require you to quit your job.

Moving & Living Costs

Technology and entrepreneurship are a strong part of San Francisco’s culture, and there are certainly advantages to living there. But if you plan to move to San Francisco, be prepared for moving costs. And unless you’re moving from another pricey city, get ready for an increased cost of living, especially in housing costs. You can use CNN Money’s Cost of Living Calculator to compare San Francisco to where you live now.

Online coding bootcamps with part-time options do not require you to move in order to learn to code.

Choosing the Right Bootcamp

The best coding bootcamp for you depends on your learning style, self-discipline, and financial situation. After using our calculator to narrow down your search, consider these questions:

  • Do you need a bootcamp with a flexible schedule? Will your schedule permit a full-time (40-60 hours per week) education?

  • Should you enroll in an online bootcamp? Do you prefer a classroom setting? Do you prefer one-on-one attention?

  • What topic do you want to learn? Bootcamps offer a variety of classes, including web development, iOS and Android mobile development, UX/UI design, data science, and more.

When learning to code, the number of hours you practice is the largest predictor of success.  Bloc can help you get there by pairing you with a mentor along the way.  Learn more about the Full Stack Web Developer Track.

The Bottom Line

  • Full-time bootcamps can cost thousands of dollars more than their tuition.

  • Online bootcamps can provide similar training and greater flexibility without forcing you to quit your job or move to San Francisco.

  • Whichever option is right for you, make an informed decision with a realistic budget.

About Bloc

Bloc offers part-time online coding bootcamps for people who wish to keep their current job, learn how to code, and become a full-time software developer.

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Bloc vs Hack Reactor: Which Programming Bootcamp is a Better Investment?

We would not be telling the truth if we did not start by saying: “it depends.” Both programs offer a great deal of value and choosing the right one depends on a variety of factors, all of which pertain to you. Let’s quickly recap what you can expect from either program, then we’ll take a look at how the two differ.

Curriculum

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Both programs offer proprietary, cutting-edge material that developers regularly update. Hack Reactor teaches a Full-Stack JavaScript program, Bloc teaches a Full Stack Ruby on Rails program. The two frameworks differ in execution, but many concepts overlap.

Employment opportunities are plentiful for both JavaScript and Ruby on Rails developers. We believe that learning general web development and programming skills is more important, as they go beyond any language or framework.

Mentorship

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In-class and out, Hack Reactor provides instructors that assist students and answer their questions. Bloc’s mentors are similar, but we assign them on a one-to-one basis. Bloc students do not share a mentor’s attention with any other student.

Projects

Before graduating either program, students build several applications using their new skills. At Bloc, students choose from a roster of several project archetypes, as well as a capstone that challenges them to build an app of their design.

Job Preparation

Both organizations support graduates who seek new employment after completing their program. They provide industry connections, online and offline résumé preparation, and interview practice.


Despite some similarities, the services are far from identical. Here are a few key ways in which they differ.

Application Process

At Hack Reactor, students must apply to join their program. The application process is uncompromising, often rejecting applicants who have no experience in software development. Bloc’s program accepts everyone.

We believe that with ample perseverance and a strong support system, even professional underwater basket weavers can learn web development and design, and achieve a positive outcome.

Schedule

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The Hack Reactor program is intensive. It requires that students actively participate in group learning from morning until evening, including Remote Beta students. Bloc students take the curriculum at their pace and on their own time. We recommend our full time students (12-week pace) spend at least 40 hours per week on their Bloc studies and attend every one of their mentor meetings.

Price

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Hack Reactor’s 12-week programming bootcamp is approximately $7,000 more than Bloc’s Full Stack Developer Track. However, due to Hack Reactor’s schedule requirements, students often temporarily relocate and quit their jobs to attend, further increasing the cost of the program. (For a detailed look at the true cost of attending various bootcamps, check out the Programming Bootcamp True Cost Calculator).


From a numbers perspective, Bloc is the more affordable, common sense option. If that fact is always true, why do people sometimes choose Hack Reactor? They choose it because it is a more inherently rigorous program. Hack Reactor does not leave a lot to chance: they filter their applicants and continuously monitor students for moment-to-moment feedback.

Whereas Bloc’s program remains flexible and adjusts to your schedule. It is perfect for the self-motivated, disciplined, and persistent student who cannot forego their responsibilities to study full-time for 12-weeks. For these types of students, Bloc is equally rigorous and immersive.

The bottom line is that both programs are excellent and regularly graduate students of the highest caliber. Bloc best suits self-driven students with a strong resolve that make things happen for themselves. For those that need a bit more support and can afford the price, Hack Reactor is another great option.

Are you interested in a new career? Check out Bloc’s Full Stack Web Developer Career Track.

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Ultimate Guide to Ruby Bootcamps

Ruby Header Coding Bootcamps have erupted onto the scene just in the past three years and today there are *over fifty bootcamps* teaching Ruby on Rails alone. While some of these programs are well-oiled machines, others are just getting off the ground. So we decided to create a comprehensive guide — the kinda thing we wish someone had written for us.

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Meet Ben – Web Dev Program Directorben-circle

Ben is Director of Full Stack Web Development at Bloc, where he takes a holistic view of the program, iterating on the curriculum and managing Bloc’s Mentor team. Before that, Ben spent two years as a Mentor and helped over 40 students become full stack developers.  Prior to that, Ben was a web developer at Uceem and A10 Networks.

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(more…)

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Former English Teacher Changes Careers and Lands Remote Developer Job

Meet Kristin Gonzalez, a Bloc Full Stack Web Development Grad

Before Bloc: English Teacher Abroad

After Bloc: Remote Software Engineer at SyncTree

 

Kristin is a global traveler and for the past five years she has lived in quite a few places, including Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, and Chile, teaching English and conducting corporate training. Completely new to programming, Kristin jumped into her Bloc Web Development Course with her mentor, Elad Meidar. Looking to completely shift her career without sacrificing her wanderlust, her goal is to land a remote development position to realize her dream of total location independence. Kristin was able to balance an internship while enrolled in her Full Stack course and landed a remote development position at SyncTree upon graduation!

Here’s what Kristin said about her Bloc experience:

What did you work on for your capstone project?

Kristin built a job board for developer positions specifically geared towards non-profit organizations called Conscious Coding.

How was your mentor experience?

When Kristin started out, “everything was so foreign. Sometimes reading documentation would leave my head spinning and I couldn’t grasp how to use it. [My mentor] Elad Meidar was then able to explain it. He knows so much!”

What was the best part of the Bloc experience?

“Those small moments of ‘getting it.’ I feel that now I can say I’m a developer.” Kristin recently went to a code conference and feels like she can, “talk about web development concepts” where maybe a year ago she wouldn’t have understood any of it. She says “that transition is great, so is getting faster at everything, and the way I approach things is different now. I’m better at gleaning information from resources.”

Advice for anyone who wants to learn to code, or who has just enrolled in a Bloc course?

Kristin advises new learners to start with the basics, and “figure out if it’s something that you really like. It’s something that is going to give you torment and lack of sleep and great highs, so it’s something that you have to enjoy. If you didn’t like building and creating things, the obstacles will make you want to quit.” She stresses that learning to program takes time and good developers have often been working on their craft for years. “You wouldn’t want to hire a dentist who only studied for 3 months.”  Keep practicing, “if you don’t use it you lose it!”

How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?

Kristin says, “definitely I would recommend it…people learn in different ways, and Bloc is for people who are very disciplined and who can focus and be accountable.”

 

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What Should a Full Stack Developer Know in 2015?

Background and qualifications: I am Bloc’s Web Development Curriculum Director where I shape the curriculum for Bloc’s online mentor-led web development courses.

Being a full stack developer in 2015 (and beyond) is less about specific languages, and more about areas of competence. To start you’ll need to be comfortable with server-side development (the backend) and client-side development (the front end). In addition, you’ll need to be proficient with the command-line, version control, HTTP, and interacting with third-party APIs.

Backend

  • Server-side Scripting: Server-side scripting is using programs on a web server to provide dynamic responses to client requests. Basically, it’s what makes it possible for Facebook to look different when I log into it versus when you log into it. There are an incredible number of server-side languages available to learn. Picking a specific language is less important than learning the concepts and design patterns that underlay all Server-side Scripting. Personally, I think Rails (built with Ruby) is a fantastic framework for learning about Server-side scripting. Ruby is a beginner friendly language with a focus on simplicity, productivity, and readability. Rails is a well-documented framework with a supportive and active community full of beginner friendly resources. Rails promotes an iterative workflow, allowing you to go from nothing to a working web app, and then quickly add new functionality as you develop requirements.

  • Databases: Dynamic web applications are backed by databases which allows users to create, read, update, and delete persistent data. Understanding how to configure and use a database is an essential part of full stack development. There are a variety of database systems which differ in many specific details, but are united by their general approach to data storage. For beginners it’s best to start with an established and well-documented database. Rails primarily uses SQLite or PostgreSQL for its database storage, but abstracts many of the database specifics, allowing beginners to ease themselves into using and understanding databases. (more…)

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Announcing Bloc’s New Designer Track

Today we are thrilled to announce our new Designer Track. This new mentor-led track ties together UX/UI and frontend curriculum so you can design stunning web sites and assets, and implement them with your frontend programming skills.

Designed to equip you with the professional-grade skills to begin a career in design, it’s a holistic, mentor-led program that offers job preparation and career placement support. With full-time and part-time options, the Designer Track is also more flexible and affordable than any in-person bootcamp.

In the final phase, you’ll spend dedicated time preparing your portfolio, practicing technical interviews, and connecting to our placement network for introductions to potential employers.

 

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10 Tips for Being Productive When Working Remotely

Remote Work, Part II

I’ve been working from home for nearly half a decade now, and it’s awesome — at times. Reducing my commute from 35 miles to 35 paces from my bedroom has helped me regain my sanity, but it’s caused issues elsewhere in my daily routine — and life for that matter.

Here’s 10 tips I’ve tried to learn and enforce to remaining productive on a daily basis as I work out of a spare bedroom in my home:

1. Wear pants — at least underwear

Every morning, get out of bed, shower, and get ready like you’re going into an office. Don’t get into a rut where you shower at noon, or better yet, forget to shower and go three days without bathing yourself. Your significant other, pet, or roommates will appreciate it if you take the time to not smell.

Once you dress yourself, put on a pair of pants. Most webcams only show from the waist up when sitting. However, even if you aren’t on a conference call, at least put on underwear — but I’d recommend actual pants. I like to act as if my camera is always running, and personally, I’d prefer no one see me pants-less.

2. Don’t become a hermit

I’ve always been in the middle of being both slightly introverted and extroverted. However, working from home has made me incredibly awkward, socially. When you lack interaction with things other than tiny children or your pets, you forget how to talk to grownups.

Try setting a day or two aside for working at a coffee shop. Find a co-working space near you so you can find friends, interact with actual real-life people, and potentially have a reason to shower on those days. (more…)

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9 Tips for Preparing to Work Remotely

Remote Work, Part I

As technology becomes more sophisticated and Internet access more ubiquitous, some companies are changing their stance on remote opportunities. FlexJobs reported a 27 percent increase in remote job listings in the past year.

Trading a life at the office for one working at home is a major life change, and the first step to completing it is finding your ideal job. We’ll review a few key tips to finding a “work from home” position, and then tell you a few things to remember as you start your new, flexible job.

Looking for remote jobs …

1. Where to look

The first step to finding a remote opportunity is finding your ideal job. Many sites exist dedicated to remote jobs, and you can begin searching at the following ones:

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Which is Better for Beginners: Full Stack Rails or Full Stack JavaScript?

Learning a programming language is a necessary step in becoming a web developer. There is no definitive choice for the best language to learn first, but Ruby and JavaScript are both great options due to their active community, resources, and job prospects. So which language is better for beginners to start with?

Readability

Rails uses the Ruby programming language, which focuses on simplicity and productivity. The creator of Ruby, Matz, designed it to have an elegant syntax that is natural to read and easy to write. Creating a loop that counts to 5 is as easy as:

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By contrast, the JavaScript equivalent is:

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JavaScript lacks Ruby’s simple elegance and focus on human readability. Ruby often looks and reads like plain English, making it easier for new developers to understand the code they are reading and writing.

Advantage: Rails (more…)

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