Chapter 2

How do Bootcamps Teach?

How can bootcamps possibly teach useful stuff in 10 weeks?

 It’s simple, really. You learn by doing. Numerous studies show that material sticks better when the learner performs the task, as opposed to only listening to or talking about it.  Bootcamps  employ a hands-on approach to get you down and dirty in the world of coding, right from the start.

Peer collaboration and individual problem solving is the name of the game at just about every bootcamp. This approach helps prepare students for real-world working environments that require speed, outside-the-box problem solving skills, and effective communication to succeed.

Let’s be honest, the most in-demand languages today might not be popular in a few years. A high quality bootcamp knows that, so you’ll do more than simply learn a few programming languages—you’ll learn how to learn. You’ll learn how to be resourceful and think outside the box so that instead of saying, “Oh sh**. I have no idea what I’m doing,” when you see a new problem or have to learn a new language, you’ll say “This… is going to be hard. But not impossible.”

Being a professional programmer means your education never ends. A bootcamp that’s doing it’s job is going to give you the skills you need to keep the learning going for the rest of your life.

Bootcamps  are able to respond more adeptly to curriculum changes to keep pace with the ever-changing world of technology. Rather than waiting for curriculum updates approved once a year (at best) in a traditional educational program, bootcamps update their curriculum all the time. Monthly, weekly, daily—whatever it takes. A good bootcamp will teach curriculum that changes in lockstep with the changes in the hiring market.

Different kinds of bootcamps

Finding the right bootcamp is like dating: there are lots of different options out there, and finding one that’s right for you might take some time. There are plenty of factors to consider, so we’re going to give you some help making sense of all the fish in the sea.


Online programs such as Bloc, Thinkful, The Firehouse Project, and Launch Academy are generally self-paced and offer premium products with virtual one-on-one mentorship. Online programs offer students flexibility but can lack the opportunities of in-person  collaboration. If you’re learning online, you’re gonna have to have a lot of self-discipline in order to keep yourself motivated and on schedule. Online programs typically don’t offer career services (shameless plug: ours does!) and are usually more focused on introducing a skill set or getting people thinking about choosing coding as a future career path. Online programs are typically quite a bit cheaper than their on-campus counterparts.

On-campus courses are usually full-time and include Dev Bootcamp, Hack Reactor, and Launch Academy (of course). On-campus bootcamps offer a completely immersive environment where you eat, sleep, drink, breathe, and bleed code (ok, maybe you won’t bleed, but it’s still pretty intense). Full-time programs are typically the fastest option due to their marathon-like days and nights of coding. No surprise then that they boast the best job placement statistics and the highest tuition cost. But if you’re looking to kick start your career and job placement is high on your list of non-negotiables, this might be the best match.

Bootcamps teach different programming languages. While many focus on Ruby on Rails and/or JavaScript, bootcamps like The Flatiron School or Coder Camps teach other languages like Swift or .Net. Some teach full-stack, while others teach only front-end or back-end. Read on for an in-depth discussion of some of the most popular programming languages.