What Coding Bootcamp Did Not Teach Me

Skills to Succeed as a New Tech Worker

Jesse Ruiz (she/they)

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Photo by Redd on Unsplash

Let’s not kid ourselves. You can’t learn everything in a coding bootcamp and certainly less material than a traditional 4-year degree. I still recommend coding bootcamp to people trying to switch careers because they are effective at job placement. But for all that coding bootcamps have to offer, there are a few things that aren’t taught, which are very important to be aware of. Knowing these skills will help you succeed in your first tech job.

TLDR: What Coding Bootcamp Did Not Teach Me:

  1. Business acumen
  2. Agile methodologies or any other type of workload management philosophy
  3. Workers compensation, benefits and rights
  4. Ethical implications of machine learning and your labor in general
  5. Career development

In this article, I will discuss these topics and why they are important for a career in tech. I do not think that coding bootcamps fall short because they don’t teach this stuff. But it is common to feel lost and overwhelmed if and when you are suddenly employed in tech without having learned about these things. Simply knowing about these topics will help you transition into your new job in tech. In a future article, I will discuss the pedagogical underpinnings of coding bootcamps in comparison to other traditional forms of education.

Note: I attended a 4.5-month long coding bootcamp for data science in 2019 and have been working in tech since then.

1. Business Acumen

This might be my most contentious claim but most coding bootcamps do not explicitly teach business concepts. And that’s for good reason. For the most part, coding bootcamps instruct on technical skills. Some assignments and projects will be presented as real-world case studies, but they don’t teach explicitly about the business side of these case studies. At most, the real-world case studies are interesting technical challenges with business requirements and industry/business specific data constructs.

An example of a real-world case study is a churn model to predict customer churn. While this project instructed students on machine learning models like…

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Jesse Ruiz (she/they)

Data Engineer, Artist, Queer writing about tech and life