note 8/15: this is still a work in progress so check back as I fill it in

I’ve been a bootcamp instructor at Metis for about a year now1. It’s been an incredible, rewarding experience and I plan to stick around for a while. In that time, I’ve been asked a lot about bootcamps. People want to know how bootcamps work, if bootcamps are right for them, holy cow are they really $15,000? I’m putting this guide together to answer those questions.

This guide is for anyone interested in moving to a technical career, like coding, data science, or similar and are able to participate in an immersive (roughly 3 months of full time work) bootcamp. I especially intend this for people who aren’t already familiar with the tech/coding world and who don’t have ~$15,000 laying around to drop on a bootcamp.


  • Bootcamps are for real. They can be a legitimately great way to start a good career that too few people have access to.
  • First, make sure joining an bootcamp is right for you.
    • Are you likely to finish and likely to be fully committed to the job search after finishing? Be very honest with yourself about this.
    • A great way to figure this out is to complete a bootcamp prep program (many are free). Bootcamp prep is also a great way to figure out which type of bootcamp (like coding vs data science) is right for you.
  • Don’t put too much pressure on getting in and plan to get rejected from your first bootcamp. Bootcamps can be selective and admissions necessarily involves chance. You’ll learn each time you interview. You might have a favorite bootcamp but there are many good ones. Most bootcamps allow you to interview again later if you are rejected.
  • Don’t let cost be an issue.
    • Any decent bootcamp will work with you on payment if you are admitted. They’ll walk you through alternative payment options.
    • If cost is a problem, consider bootcamps with alternative payment options like deferred tuition (you aren’t required to make payments until you get a job) or income sharing (your payment is comes as a percentage of your salary once you get hired). Beware that there’s typically a lot of fine print for both of these.
    • Bootcamp loans can also be a great option.

What is a bootcamp?

I’m going to talk specifically about immersive tech/coding bootcamps. Still, it’s a big category. Bootcamps are also called “accelerated learning programs”; they teach technical skills primarily to people who are new. Most bootcamps are roughly 12 weeks long and in that time they are intended to prepare someone to get their first job in an entirely new field.

Let’s stop here and just appreciate how tall of an order that is. If someone wants to prepare for an entirely new career, they might go to a 4 year college or get masters degree (2+ years with low graduation rates). These bootcamps try to accomplish the same thing in 3 months for a much, much lower cost.

That’s an extremely tall order, but for those who get into and complete bootcamps, it tends to work: Course Report found that in 2017 “80% of graduates surveyed say they’ve been employed in a job requiring the technical skills learned at bootcamp, with an average salary increase of 50.5% or $23,724. The average starting salary of a bootcamp grad is $70,698.” One reason this is possible is the immersive bootcamp model, where students are present, full-time,

  1. I work for Metis and I’m super proud of what we do, but this guide isn’t an ad for my company. I’m honestly not going to mention Metis very often. But if you really want to know, I think that we’re the best in the business for people interested in Data Science and for whom our immersive bootcamp model and cost structure works.