Bootcamp, is it worth it?

Hi :slightly_smiling_face:,

I’m 33 and I’ve been in Switzerland for about 3 years. It started as an aventure (I took an unpaid leave) and now I’m not sure about what to do next.

As most of you, I love the financial markets. Other than a diversified portfolio I do some trading and sell some (covered & cash secured) options. On the other side, I work in the watchmaking industry and I don’t like it.

Once some of you work in tech, I would like to ask for help/opinion. I’ve no degree but I love coding. What do you think of bootcamps? Do you know if these formations have acceptance in Siwtzerland? Are they worth the investment?

Thank you!

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Disclaimer: I am a software engineer.

I don’t support and/or recommend bootcamps.

Main reason is that I don’t think you can become a proper developer in 3 months or so. They are scamming you by selling you hope. It’s like saying someone can become a mechanical engineer by taking an intensive CAD course and learning how to read mechanical blue prints.

Also in Switzerland you would be competing with all the people that “just” did an “Applikationsentwickler” appreticeship but no further college degree.

If you really want to learn it you don’t need to spend money on an expensive bootcamp. There are so many free good classes and courses available online.

Well now you hurt my feelings XD.

On that note I am somewhat involved in training “Applikationsentwicker” and at least in my canton there seem to be less and less of them (there were about 10 last year). Apparently “Mediamatiker” is the cool job now.

I am also kinda sceptical about those “Bootcamps” but I may be biased. I certanly know pepole that could have learned to code in 6 months but they would also not have needed a bootcamp for it. I also know pepole that struggled with the basics after 4 years of appreticeship.

I also learned Applikationsentwickler first. But those 4 years really didn’t give me confidence as a developer. I felt like I was just creating spaghetti code in PHP files without really understanding the big picture.

Teachers in the Berufsschule were not really useful, we learned the syntax of Java and HTML… I think the most useful subjects were creating Database structures and surprisingly how to write requirement documents.
The skills of my classmates seemed to depend heavily on their workplace. There were only 2-3 guys that really seemed to know how to get things done. The bigger part could maybe get along with spaghetti code, and a few were completely lost and survived by team projects.

I decided to leave after I finished the apprenticeship to study… mainly because they were trying to shoehorn me into some requirements engineer that only parametrised the main software according to special customer needs…

Surprisingly the more theoretical and “cryptic” subjects in my Computer Science studies helped me much more to understand practical architectural patterns and organisation of software.

But maybe that also was because I had a few year more experience in total…

Yeah the school part is mostly for the basics, the real learning happens at work. I am pretty proud of my aprentices (well technically not mine but I tought them).

While the theoretical parts are interresting and I do look into them by myself sometimes I hate school too much for now. Also most paths into further schooling contain french so there is that.

Point is there are probably not that many of those “just applikationsentwicker” going around.

I am also a software engineer. And I am also skeptical about bootcamps.

I think that a good book (s?), a good course (s?) AND a personal project is the way to go. The only way to learn to code is to actually code. You can learn to code very fast, but that will take a lot of dedication.

Even school is not that great. Many of my classmates do not know how to code after a bachelor and a master. And people in Ph.D. is even worse (most of my colleagues didn’t know how to code).

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I don’t have an opinion about bootcamps, but I do about degrees. Unless you love theoretical stuff and mathematics, it’s not worth it, in my opinion. It’s useful on your first job interview when you don’t have any job experience and there’s not much to talk about (and even on these interviews, the interviewers were mostly interested in my university internships). Once you have a practical job experience, nobody cares about your uni education (unless it’s some fancy ETH/EPFL/MIT/Oxford/whatever). Practical skills and experience is the king.

IMHO bootcamp can be a motivator to kickstart a career, but you need dig into the topic and practice it daily for at least a year or two to become competent. The best way to do that is to get any job as a junior in the field. (I know, it’s circular dependency: to get experience, you need to get a job, and to get a job, you need to have the experience.)

Anyways, most of the skills I have, I acquired outside of university (mostly as a hobby), and my knowledge and skills accelerated once I started working in the field. I also learned a lot thanks to IT certificates (I did some of Red Hat certs as I’m Linux system administrator) - I think it was one of the best learning experiences in my career, it’s very practical, daily-job stuff.

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There are some cases where they will insist on the degrees. For instance, machine learning is quite big now and they insist that you did this as school as much as possible.

But I agree that for pure programming, you do not need a degree to be a good coder. For some advanced software engineer fields (HPC, Networking, …), this may be different as well.

In Switzerland, in general, people really like degrees.

There are places like google that probably have some kind of automatic filter. If it doesn’t find the word “master” on it, you’ll get discarded.

Good morning and Thank You for your opinions,

I’ve made a professional course back in 2004 (in Switzerland they gave me one “attestation de niveau CFC”) where I learned Pascal, C, PHP, etc. Although I’ve done other things with my life in between I was always fascinated by coding.

Yesterday I even went to the IT department, but they aren’t searching right now.

I’ll try to find some practical degree that we can make on-line and go to the university just for the exams. There are some “open universities” in some countries that offers them. I’m used to study from home.

The thing is that, up until now and in the last 3 years, I’ve been just studying active trading. Forex, Stocks, Day Trading, Swing Trading, etc.
I certainly learned a lot about my self, lost money, and didn’t make good returns. It was an emotional roller coaster.

After that and following Dalio’s advice “What I am going to do different in the future, in order to have a different result”, I’ve changed methods and I’m ok with my actual approach.

With that said, I’ve now time to study other things. I would like to stay Switzerland, but not doing what I do now. I can’t complain about the salary but I need to do something more fulfilling.

Thanks a lot and have a Great Day!

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I agree, but to get a job in Switzerland without a degree in IT is quite challlenging. (For sure, there are exception). I would say that your degree allows you to get an internship/ first job. Moreover, a lot of companies based their compensations on credentials. Also, a lot of companies dosn’t want to train young in IT (apprentiship openings in IT is decreasing each year) and then complain that the market is too tight.

Moreover, most companies in IT would like you to work full time, so doing a degree while working is not possible.

The current system is not optimal at all.

As somebody already mentioned above, there are so many free good classes. Also Google provide some of them free of charge with certification. And it is always a door opener to have the word “Google” in your CV and own a Google certificate.

I would not recommend also boot camps. It is fun to go there, but you won’t learn much. Can be a good motivator for you, but if you are already motivated… Does not worth it.
I do recommend to actually do a formal education, but you can also do it free and online (but will not be easy… You still need to learn). For example coursera has some good courses from Stanford University free and if you pay 50$ you also get the certification from them.
I am a software architect and usually hire developers and I am usually looking also for patterns and data structures you usually learn first in an university. And, statistically in the people I hired, people who got deeper into algorithms and data structures in courses, they also did better in complexity decomposition and troubleshooting issues, which are skills which I believe are highly beneficial and better compensated.
Also, of course you need to take courses on the language and technology you want to work on. You need to overcome experience and formal education with learning and enthusiasm. On udemy are usually some good courses about technology and languages.
And of course, practice, practice and practice… Most of the learning is done working and doing things alone.
So, sorry I don’t have an easy solution like a meetup or bootcamp… I think there is a lot of work, but you can always start as a junior in a company and grow from there. But if you are also learning alone and from coursera or udemy or oreilly you will grow faster… But it takes a lot of work and effort.

Bonjour :slight_smile:,

I would like to thank you all for your valuable feedback, time and attention. It really gave me some guidance.

Now it’s time to work hard :).

All the best and have an excellent weekend!

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