Career Insight

Is a Software Engineer Bootcamp Right For You?

As tech continues to grow into one of the most important industries in the world, many people try to find their way in. They want to lay the groundwork for a career in tech by learning programming languages, participating in real-world projects, collaborating with other learners, and getting career-readiness support to begin their job hunt — enter the software engineering bootcamp!

These programs have been around for over a decade but their popularity has grown steadily, making them prominent educational pathways. One factor may be the fact that 4-year degrees are no longer the sole requirement for getting a job in tech. In fact, hiring managers today see software engineering bootcamps as providing credible education and relevant training.

Is a software engineering bootcamp right for you? And what if you want an education that builds on the benefits of a bootcamp and offers more? Spoiler alert: Kenzie Academy has that covered!

The Origins of the Software Engineer Bootcamp

In 2012, research by CompTIA found that 93% of tech employers felt their IT departments had lower technical skills than their target goal.¹ As if anticipating these findings, the first coding bootcamps were launched just a year before to help bridge that skills gap. General Assembly and Code Academy (now known as The Starter League) were among the first to roll out skills-focused, short-term bootcamps similar to the ones we know today.

What Does a Traditional Software Engineer Bootcamp Look Like?

Software engineer bootcamps are intensive programs designed to prepare anyone, from tech beginners and enthusiasts to those who want to change careers, for successful entry into the tech industry. Program length varies, but can generally take from 3 to 6 months to complete. Learners can take their classes on a full- or part-time basis through in-person courses or virtually. Additionally, some software engineer bootcamps are built to provide a web development-focused curriculum that gives learners the ability to stack additional skills related to software development.

Accelerated Pace

One important aspect of software engineering bootcamps is how quickly they can be completed. Learners have the option to fast-track their education by dedicating their time to completing their program within 12 weeks. This makes it possible for graduates to build up their skills and potentially enter the workforce at an accelerated pace.

A Real-World Environment

One of the most in-demand qualities of a software engineer bootcamp is the way it teaches software engineer skills through real-world projects. As learners go through their program, they complete projects with tools, interactions, and situations they can expect in the workplace. This gives them the knowledge and skills needed to enter the web development field, while helping them build a project they can showcase to employers as they begin the job-seeking process.

Career-Seeking Preparedness

In addition to meeting the needs of employers, software engineer bootcamps may support graduates as they search for a job. This is where career services come into play. Learners may get to work with career advisors and coaches to prepare for success in the job searching process. Career services teams help learners tailor their resumes to the needs of a potential employer. They also help learners craft their portfolios and practice interviewing. In many cases, career services teams provide a direct connection to tech industry professionals, recruiters, and employers that can lead to job opportunities.

Collaborative Instruction

Whereas traditional education can flow in one direction, from instructor to learner, software engineer bootcamps take a collaborative approach. At bootcamps, learners are encouraged to interact with their instructors and peers. By working together, learners get a better understanding of what it’s like to work as a team with multiple moving parts, something that can be expected once they enter the tech industry.

The Anatomy of a Program

Software engineering bootcamps begin by laying the groundwork for a career as a software engineer. Their approach differs from that of a traditional 4-year institution because it focuses on the skills currently required by employers and the relevant training needed for today’s jobs.

Typically, a program introduces the fundamentals of programming languages, web applications, web development, and other concepts. Things ramp up in the next phase of the program, where learners take an in-depth and more technical look at concepts. It all culminates with the completion of a capstone project which puts knowledge and learnings to the test.

Program Cost

According to a 2020 study by BestColleges which compiled program costs from over 620 programs at 130 bootcamps,² the average cost was $13,579. The most expensive bootcamps came in at more than $20,000 while the most affordable ones cost a “few thousand dollars.” For comparison, the average academic year at a 4-year institution is priced at $16,300 or almost $65,000 for the full 4 years.

But What If You Want Something More?

Bootcamps offer a wide range of benefits to learners looking to get into tech. A bootcamp can provide learners with technical skills in months, real-world training, affordability, and career services. Kenzie Academy has those same advantages and builds upon them to offer learners even more benefits. It’s what makes us different.


“I usually describe [Kenzie Academy] as a beefed up bootcamp. Somewhere in between a bootcamp and going to college. If you want something that’s going to give you more than just the typical bootcamp but you don’t want the 4-year commitment of going to college to get a degree, Kenzie is the nice, sweet spot. It’s a nice, middle ground sweet spot for people who want to jumpstart their careers but want more than a coding bootcamp because it’s hard to jumpstart a career with just 6 weeks of training. It’s not enough, not for coding. Coding is such a complex thing. But not all of us have the ability to commit ourselves to 4 years of school.”

Jessica Benson, Kenzie Academy alum


The Kenzie Academy Mission

Kenzie Academy was founded in 2017 to level the playing field for individuals who may not have access to opportunities to earn an education and pursue a career in tech. Kenzie was also established to diversify the tech landscape and bridge the skills gap with talented and ambitious individuals.

As part of this mission, Kenzie fosters a community that prioritizes equity and diversity, welcoming people of all ages and from different professional and educational backgrounds. The Kenzie community can safely express their authentic selves and be bold.

Tech Programs

Today, offerings include software engineering — as well as UX design, full-stack web development, and cybersecurity programs designed to upskill individuals as they work their way toward careers in technology.

For the software engineering program, Kenzie partnered with Amazon Technical Academy to co-develop a curriculum that prepares learners for Amazon jobs as software development engineers as well as jobs outside of Amazon. Kenzie also partnered with Amazon to offer Career Choice, an exclusive program for Amazon employees who want to upskill their careers in tech areas like Java, cybersecurity, and web development to maximize their career opportunities.

Program Length

Kenzie’s software engineering program can be completed in 12 months — longer and more in-depth than a typical software engineer bootcamp. This approach gives learners the appropriate time needed to absorb the program’s concepts, fully develop their skills, retain information, and put their knowledge to the test with hands-on experience.

Southern New Hampshire University

In 2021, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) acquired Kenzie Academy programs. As SNHU President and CEO Paul LeBlanc put it, “SNHU and Kenzie are a natural fit because we share a mission to help bring higher education to learners who have often been left behind by traditional higher education.”

The acquisition translates to support from an accredited, nonprofit, and private university, access to federal financial aid if eligible, and more opportunities. For instance, learners now have the ability to transfer completed program credits earned through Kenzie Academy programs and apply them toward a degree at SNHU or other institutions (depending on the institution’s criteria.)

Career Services

Kenzie’s Career Services Team works together with learners to enhance their job-readiness skills as they approach the job-seeking process. During their time at Kenzie, learners have access to career fairs, hiring events, and information sessions. With the help of a Career Advisor, Kenzie learners develop a job searching strategy, review their artifacts, practice interviewing, and more to support their success in finding a job.

Also, Career Curriculum is a course offered in every program. It’s made up of job-readiness training sessions in which learners expand their job-seeking skills. These sessions help learners prepare a technical resume, LinkedIn profile, and GitHub and teaches them how to effectively present their work and experience in job interviews. The Employer Outreach Team additionally helps learners gain exposure to employer partners who are actively seeking candidates and connects them to job openings.

Flexibility

With Kenzie’s flexible schedules, learners are able to take their courses in a way that best fits their needs. Learners can attend their classes live or access them on-demand via live recordings. These include weekly kickoffs, topic sessions, study halls, Q&A sessions, and independent study time.

Learning Services Team

The Learning Services Team assigns each learner to a Learning Success Advisor who helps navigate the learner throughout their program and advise on expectations and goals. If a learner runs into a roadblock along the way, their Learner Success Advisor will provide resources and guidance to help them overcome it and get back on track.

Virtual Tech Events

The world of tech moves at lightning speeds, so it helps to stay up-to-date with the guidance of experts. Livestreams and Subject Matter Expert events offer insight into some of the most popular aspects of tech. Not to mention they also share inspirational alumni stories, advice, career tips, and so much more.

Go for More

If you believe a future in tech is right for you, we believe we can make it happen together. Whether you’re new to tech or a tech wizard ready to take your skills to the next level, Kenzie is ready to help. Apply today and take the next step toward what could be a promising and rewarding career in one of the best industries.


References

¹CompTIA, ‘State of the IT Skills Gap” on the internet, at https://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/blogs/wiredenterprise/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Report_-_CompTIA_IT_Skills_Gap_study_-_Full_Report.sflb_.pdf (Viewed Sept. 2, 2022)

²BestColleges, “How Much do Coding Bootcamps Cost?” on the internet, at https://www.bestcolleges.com/bootcamps/payment/bootcamp-cost/#:~:text=Based%20on%20data%20from%20over,cost%20a%20few%20thousand%20dollars (Viewed Sept. 1, 2022).

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