Why a coding bootcamp isn't for everyone.
Updated: Nov 4, 2019
Image, copyright Warner Entertainment Inc.
Bootcamps seem to have become synonymous with learning to code. A six, eight, ten week hardcore introduction to programming designed to facilitate a career change. But coding should really be a skill we all look to develop regardless of whether we want to become a professional coder. An ability to code is highly useful for anyone that works with data, spreadsheets and lots of information. Sadly, though, a quick trawl of the web reveals that the choices for people looking to simply add another digital skill to their armoury are quite limited.
"Learn to code" as a statement is very ambiguous, it means different things to different people. For many, coding means being able to create websites and apps. Others may think of games as the main use of coding. The general term for programmers working in these fields is 'developers', and these days there are many intensive bootcamps available aimed at retraining people from other professions to become professional developers.
For a rapidly growing group of people however, being able to write a computer program is important for a very different reason: it enables them to explore and understand the data they have in a better and more efficient way; and to test theories they might have about what is happening in their data. This could mean analysing the text from thousands of tweets to look for certain trends, for example, or finding out which model best fits a series of financial data relating to a certain market.
Although the basics of programming are the same whatever application one wants to use coding for, the way programmers need to solve problems and the methods and techniques they need to use can be very different between the different ends of the coding spectrum.
We often encounter professional students whose goal is more about simply understanding coding, rather than sitting down and tapping out lines of code. The approach we take to tuition is driven to develop thinking in the structured way needed to get a computer to do what we want it to do. Simply having this knowledge gives the student a new set of tools when taking on a task that could be accomplished in code, whether they physically write the code or not.
This is where codetoday professional courses diverge completely from the idea of a coding bootcamp. Our camps are about building skills and developing new ways to solve problems. These courses tend to be hugely popular with people working in analytical fields, finance, science and beyond.