“Coding bootcamps have completely changed the way that the tech industry sees education.” - Manuel Barzi

21/05/2021 | Manuel Barzi

Until around 2010, if you wanted to learn coding, your trajectory would involve a three-year computer science degree. Then, the rest of your time would be spent pouring over scarce resources to carve out a specialization, only to enter a world of tech nerds that was closed off from the wider population. 

Fast forward to today and the landscape is very different. Companies from every industry are desperate for programming talent to build websites and apps, or get data-driven insights into their markets. Rapid advances in technology have pushed companies to make the move into the digital world often out of necessity.

In this climate, businesses and projects need coders that can get to work immediately. As they try to keep up with an ever-changing market, employers want a team that is ready to go. This doesn’t suit computer science graduates, who have more theoretical than practical knowledge and often have a tough time operating in a demanding environment.

“Coding isn’t impossible. Everyone can do it. You need will, determination, and logic.”

Manuel Barzi

At the same time, with so many industries becoming obsolete as machines move in, a lot of people are looking to reskill in something that provides good job security and a solid trajectory. The COVID-19 pandemic has only sped up this shift, devastating industries such as hospitality and making work-from-home jobs far more commonplace. 

So with companies needing tech expertise and workers looking for job security, it was inevitable that something would fill the gaps that traditional university computer science degrees were leaving. 

In a very short amount of time, bootcamps like Ubiqum Code Academy have managed to bridge the gap between supply and demand. Academies are able to take students with no prior knowledge to learn coding to a level where they can start work in a matter of months. Here, we explore the failings of previous methodologies and explain how coding bootcamps have become the go-to option for both employees and employers. 

Achieving goals through an engaging methodology

Most methods of teaching tech skills focus on the same end goals: learn coding and understand how to apply it in areas such as full-stack web development or data analytics. 

However, it is how you reach those goals that makes all the difference. For example, a more recent evolution of university learning is the massive open online course (MOOC) format. The aim of these courses is to offer a one-size-fits-all program for a theoretically unlimited amount of participants online. 

While this has been a step forward in the democratisation of education, the quality is far from ideal. MOOCs have taken the worst aspects of the university format, scaled them up, and put them online. Students learn through a series of boring video lectures and mark their progress with multiple-choice tests. 

On the other hand, bootcamps have a far more engaging curriculum if you want to learn coding, where an emphasis is put on the practical aspects. Their intensive, deep-dive approach allows students to see the results of their work in real-time and get a greater sense of achievement.

“What makes bootcamps unique is that students learn in a very practical way.”

Manuel Barzi

Ubiqum Code Academy takes things one step further. The bootcamps are based on exactly the type of tasks students will be given in their future tech jobs. A narrative runs through the programme that allows students to see progress in context, which is unique in its ability to retain engagement. The focus on replicating real-life work adds to the power of bootcamps in preparing students for their role in a company. 

When students learn coding from day one and apply theory through real-life examples, bootcamp students can contextualize concepts and feel fulfilled by providing a solution to a tangible problem.

Assessment that focuses on progress

When it comes to assessment, bootcamps make far more sense than traditional pass-or-fail exams. Imagine a real-world example where you submit a line of code to your boss. It’s difficult code, perhaps at the limits of your ability and it’s not exactly right. Would your boss simply decide to fire you because you’ve failed? Of course not! You would get feedback and move forward as a better coder. 

The coding bootcamp methodology gets rid of these graded exams and replaces them with ongoing feedback on your projects. This helps you to improve your abilities, rather than getting bad grades and moving on. Throughout the programme, projects get increasingly complex, but each stage will give you the tools and the confidence to move forward.

As part of this, the coding bootcamp methodology pushes students to use frameworks and libraries that supplement their knowledge of languages such as Java, Python, and JavaScript. They are also encouraged to join online coding communities like Stack Overflow and contribute to the community to proactively find and provide answers to problems. 

When coders find themselves in the world of work, these communities are an irreplaceable collaborative mind that has helped the coding industry advance so quickly. Open-source software is one of its cornerstones, allowing programmers to use tools that would otherwise come with a prohibitive cost.

The importance of personalised attention

The MOOC assessment method has issues beyond glossing over weak areas. With so many students on each course, there is rarely any way of getting constructive feedback from teaching staff. Furthermore, upon graduation, students find themselves with knowledge gaps and a lack of confidence in those areas. As a result, it is easy to feel lost in a MOOC, unsure of whether it is worth continuing with your course. On the other hand, the coding bootcamp methodology demands much smaller class sizes so you and your mentor know each other by name. 

All of these drawbacks in the MOOC methodology combine to make an educational system with a completion rate of less than 10%. Compare that with Ubiqum’s Code Academy narrative-driven curriculum, which retains almost 100% of students; the figures speak for themselves. 

Although the coding bootcamp methodology is often far more demanding than the MOOC approach, having a close mentor to guide you through your program works as a motivation to push bootcamp students to the next level.

The coding bootcamp methodology: an employer’s perspective

Now that we’ve looked at the advantages for the student, we’ll take a look at some of the same points from an employer’s point of view. This will help us understand why companies put so much trust in bootcamp graduates.

Firstly, the close working relationship between students and mentors in a bootcamp context mirrors that of a project manager and an employee. This ensures that students reach their goals, hand in work on time and maintain quality throughout. Employers really value this as they want their new recruits to be great coders, but also proactive in how they go about their work.

Bootcamp students learn coding through case studies that replicate real projects, gaining valuable experience in a no-risk environment. These projects go beyond just learning the technicalities of what works and what doesn’t. Students have to consider non-technical issues that may affect their work, and once they have finished, present their results to their mentor and classmates.

Learning these crucial non-technical skills gives bootcamp graduates the knowledge and the confidence to start working in real-world contexts. For employers, this is essential, as considering the pace of the industry, training coders from zero in-house is simply not possible.

Why should you learn coding at a bootcamp?

For anybody looking for a fast, quality change in their career, a coding bootcamp like Ubiqum Code Academy is a fantastic option. Bootcamps take a great deal of dedication, but it pays off. The narrative-driven, learning-by-doing their curriculum really fills the gap left by more traditional educational settings. 

This is the reason why Ubiqum Code Academy and Santander Scholarships launched Becas Santander Tech | Reskilling in Data Analytics - Ubiqum Code Academy. With this data analysis bootcamp, students have the motivation to learn and the tools to enter the world of work once they finish their course. Supported by this methodology and attentive mentors, students are moulded into competent professionals, many of whom land their first tech job in just 20 weeks.

The Becas Santander Tech | Reskilling in Data Analytics - Ubiqum Code Academy help candidates orient their skillset towards the most in-demand applications. This programme is divided into two phases in which participants will get in touch with the fundamentals of data analytics and the 50 best-performing candidates will have the opportunity to participate in an intensive bootcamp in data analysis focused on employability and based on an experiential learning model (learning by doing). 

(At the moment the Becas Santander Tech | Reskilling in Data Analytics - Ubiqum Code Academy has reached its end, but we encourage you to take a look at the Santander Scholarships to find the training that best suits you and give a boost to your professional career. Seize the chance to develop your knowledge and skills!)

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Manuel Barzi, Bootcamp Team Leader at the Ubiqum Code Academy